Development interventions can be very complex, and while we plan for certain outcomes, it is important to note that complexity makes the attainment of goals less linear.


Dena Lomfosky (Southern Hemisphere Consultants), explains complexity as an understanding that:

  • The world is not predictable
  • People behave in ways that we cannot predetermine
  • People have agency, and we cannot control what they do or how they think
  • Interventions are part of broader systems and do not take place in isolation of their context

One of the reasons why the Theory of Change approach to evaluation is becoming more popular is because it is a framework that recognises the complexity of development. Development is understood as so complex that trying to plot the intended programme results in terms of one linear pathway of change is a tough, if not impossible feat. A Theory of Change describes multiple possible pathways of change as it takes into recognises context, assumptions and hypotheses, and takes historical perspectives into account.


Adapted from Dena Lomofosky’s presentation at the Inyathelo Advancement Academy for NPOs and HEIs: Shifting Perspectives: Differenciating between the Logframe and Theory of Change.

Author: Ruvimbo Gwatirisa, Inyathelo: Adapted from Dena Lomofsky’s “Shifting Perspectives: Differenciating between the Logframe and the Theory of Change”