Theory of Change Project - thanks to Foundation North

In mid 2019, we decided to dedicate some resources to exploring the feasibility of expansion of the programme into new communities in Northland and nationally. By early 2020 we were poised to start direct engagement with new communities in earnest, and then Covid-19 struck.

Covid-19 significantly changed the complexion of how we could practically engage with communities. And it fundamentally changed how we would come to think about our expansion journey. Given the opportunity of time in 2020, we were able to create some space for the organisation to reflect on our 5 years in Whangārei to date. For I Have a Dream (IHAD), this proved to be an incredibly valuable taonga.

One of those reflections was a simple humble acknowledgement of the significant complexity of the environment and context that we operate in, not least due to being faced with the added complexity that Covid-19 brought to that.

The original Theory of Change framework for IHAD in Whangārei was developed before the programme started operating there.

We saw that it was time to take what we had learnt to date and are learning each passing day and take a fresh look at how exactly we can and should bring our resources and experience to bear to maximise our positive impact.  We had a feeling that a one size all model might not be the answer to meeting the complexities and needs in the communities that we serve.  It was time to go and find out.

We recently received funding support from Foundation North and the Centre for Social Impact Team to help I Have a Dream to design and execute an evaluation process to re-set our Theory of Change. This includes the development and design of appropriate measures to monitor ongoing implementation, evolving needs (and responsive needs-based practices) and success against key short-mid-long term outcomes.

The project will be a genuine co-design collaboration process with key stakeholders including students (where appropriate), whānau, IHAD staff, school leaders and staff and relevant local NGOs etc. We aim to complete the project by mid-2022.

By revisiting and re-setting our Theory of Change and using a whānau-centric co-design approach to do this, IHAD is looking to “power up” our current understanding of the needs of our students, kura, whānau and communities and our organisational responses to those. We believe that this will help us to make positive improvements to our existing Whangārei

operations, greatly increase our ability to engage successfully with new communities in Tai Tokerau and greatly strengthen our case for future funding support. It’s all about getting stronger and getting better.   

It is really great to be partnering with Foundation North on this project as well, not least due to our strong aligned focus on increased equity. 

If you would like to learn more about the Theory of Change Project, please get in touch with Chris Twiss – chris@ihaveadream.org.nz


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