2022 Organisation and Management of Aid Other

Thematic Theories of change contributing to the Agenda 2030

Suvi Virkkunen, Alva Bruun

This working paper is one of the contributions to the EBA anthology on theories of change (ToC) in development cooperation. The authors, Suvi Virkkunen and Alva Bruun (both formerly with the Finnish Ministry for Foreign Affairs) describe how thematic ToCs have been established for Finnish development cooperation, how they are conceptualised and understood. Finland has, interestingly, established one overarching theory of ToC for its entire development cooperation, supported by several thematic ToCs. The authors go on to describe how the MFA has tackled questions on how the ToCs relate to one another, how they have approached cross-cutting issues, and how learning and reporting is accommodated.

EBA hopes that this text will be a valuable contribution not only to the anthology, but to Swedish efforts to establish ToCs in development cooperation more generally. While the authors provide a discussion of the Finnish ToCs, perhaps the most valuable part of the text is the elaboration on the many stages of the process of establishing them. Virkkunen and Bruun do not describe a simple success story, but rather critically discuss the many challenges tackled along the way.