Rethinking our theory of change
Our Theory of Change (TOC) is the roadmap that helps us figure out where we're going and how we get there, and it needs to be reviewed periodically to check how the activities of FairFight align with its vision for change. For us, this process involves "sticky notes-sessions" with our volunteers. During these sessions, we split in small groups that discuss and note down key-words regarding our current activities and objectives on the coloured post-its, as well as ideas on what is missing in our TOC schematic. When this is done, we assign the sticky notes on the four different levels of our TOC: inputs; activities; outcomes; long-term change. We then critically discuss whether our TOC is able to fit all of the points that we raised, or whether it needs to be changed.
Our last "sticky note session" took place in August during our big volunteer get-together, and it quickly became apparent that we had outgrown our current TOC, so we set about changing it.
The main point that we have reconsidered is what an ambassador of change looks like. Particularly, thanks to the lessons learnt from our interaction with Tinashe, our 1st ambassador of change, we realised that martial arts (MA) training was not sufficient but that it had to be embedded within a life path, consistent with the values of Budo. Those values include improvement of the mind and gaining agency as an active member of your community. That means growing the mind through education and growing personal and professional capacity through experience, training, mentoring. FairFight cannot do these things alone. We are an organisation primarily based in Martial Arts and not an educational / vocational skills provider. Our ambition is therefore to find like-minded partners (universities, local NGO’s, local community projects…) that can help us to create this life-path for our most dedicated and committed FF students.
The FairFight journey does not stop upon graduating from high school. Our ambassadors of change will have the skills, the experience and the confidence to pay forward the work of FairFight in their own communities, in line with the values of Budo. In essence we consider FF students as the centre point of growth (Budo) within the MA community (Dojo) that services the broader community. All 3 are interdependent and grow with each other.
Below you will find our reworked TOC. We have simplified, streamlined and reflected our new priorities. We are very excited to work with this new model in our upcoming projects in Zim and India this mid-October.
The bottom row lists the “input” that FairFight uses in order to have active projects.
The second row are the activities that resort directly from the inputs.
The third row represents the outcomes of these activities.
The fourth row lists our medium term goals (2-3 years).
The top row represents out long-term goals of change, which are considered a success once the projects can sustain themselves without further mediation by FairFight.
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