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Learning Briefs | August 22, 2019

Evaluation and Program Planning

Assumptions, conjectures, and other miracles: The application of evaluative thinking to theory of change models in community development

Assumptions imbue program planning and evaluation. They can be a resource for or risk to the success of programs and the validity of evaluations. Whether an assumption functions as a resource or a risk depends on the extent to which it is explicated (Nkwake, 2013). Unexamined and unjustified assumptions are the Achilles’ heel of development programs. In this paper, we describe an evaluation capacity building (ECB) approach designed to help community development practitioners work more effectively with assumptions through the infusion of critical thinking into the program planning, monitoring, and evaluation process.