Theory of change
VLIR-UOS proposes a Theory of Change (ToC) approach that outlines how and why VLIR-UOS can be expected to achieve its intended societal impact through changes by and in higher education institutes (HEIs), local communities/civil society, governments, and the private sector. All projects should fit in the generic Theory of Change for ITP projects. In the long run, ITP projects are expected to contribute to more sustainable and equitable development by fostering application of solutions and evidence-based policies, a global community of skilled individuals who act as global citizens in relevant sectors, and knowledge-driven global partnerships.
By relying upon the SDG Principles of leaving no one behind, interconnectedness and multi-stakeholder partnerships as our compass, VLIR-UOS envisions that contributions to these impact areas will foster equality and inclusion in higher education systems and society at large. Moreover, depending on the thematic focus of the supported projects and resultant knowledge, the impact areas may reflect contributions to all global goals covered by the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Strategic axes & 6 outcomes
To effectively contribute to these generic objectives, VLIR-UOS focuses on two strategic axes that mutually reinforce each other:
(1) enabling HE&SIs to strengthen and take up their role as Drivers of Change
(2) enabling individuals to act as Agents of Change.
Along these strategic axes, VLIR-UOS identifies six outcomes of which 1, 2 and 4 are the most important one for ITP projects. ITP projects will primarily focus on outcome (1), though may also include outcome (2) and (4) but this will be depending on the priorities and main objectives of each ITP, meaning that some might focus more on (1) and (2) while others focus more on (1) and (4), depending on priorities and needs of the stakeholders. Yet, projects are required to document their choices to ensure alignment with their own strategy. This strategy needs to resonate with the VLIR-UOS vision towards change (= the generic Theory of Change as set out in this document).
The six outcomes are:
- Individuals apply relevant co-created knowledge, skills, and attitudes.
- HE&SIs provide higher quality and more inclusive education.
- HE&SIs make use of improved organisational systems, processes, and structures.
- HE&SIs conduct higher quality and needs-oriented research.
- HE&SIs create enhanced conditions for uptake of new knowledge, applications or services.
- HE&SIs and their stakeholders engage in knowledge driven science-society interactions.
Domains of change
An ITP project can focus on different project domains (=domains of intermediate change) that contribute to the different outcomes, with ‘Education programme and methods’, ‘People’ and ‘Networks and partnerships’ being the main ones. It is possible that ITP projects focus on one or more of the other project domains (outreach and policy support; research programmes and methods; systems, policies and infrastructure) and if this is the case, promoters are invited to clarify their focus on one of these additional domains.
Individual projects should undertake deliverables and activities that fit within the six domains through partnerships between HE&SIs and other local, national or global stakeholders. The deliverables, processes, and changes in these domains are interlinked and not mutually exclusive. Additionally, it is important to keep in mind that expectations in relation to these domains should vary for ITP projects in view of their distinct scope (in terms of time and budget).