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Research article2021Peer reviewedOpen access

How can agricultural research translation projects targeting smallholder production systems be strengthened by using Theory of Change?

Lindahl Rajala, Elisabeth; Vogel, Isabel; Sundin, Anneli; Kongmanila, Daovy; Nassuna-Musoke, Maria; Robert, Musundire; Mulangala Muipatayi, Nasha Marianne; Karltun, Linley Chiwona; Magnusson, Ulf; Boqvist, Sofia


Sustainable development of smallholder agriculture production in low and lower middle-income countries are crucial for improving food security. To accommodate this science based evidence needs to bridge with agricultural practices and policy development, which requires coordinated actions and long term strategies involving multiple stakeholders. This paper argues that using a Theory of Change (ToC) approach, with strong emphasis on communication and stakeholder engagement, science based knowledge can be more effectively integrated in agricultural development, but also in policy development. Three projects addressing different challenges within livestock production are used to illustrate the use of and challenges with using a ToC framework. A key for reaching outcome was early involvement of relevant stakeholders in implementing teams and using the flexibility included in the ToC approach from design to implementation.


Agricultural development; Research for development; SDG2; Smallholder agriculture; food security; Food production

Published in

Global Food Security
2021, Volume: 28, article number: 100475