Theory of Change

1. What Does Dóchas Want?

Dóchas is the Irish Association of Non-Governmental Development Organisations, an umbrella group for a diverse range of organisations: large and small, young and old, secular or faith-based. Dóchas has a membership of over 60 organisations who bring different priorities and approaches to Development. However, they share one vital characteristic: their commitment to tackle poverty and inequality in the world.

Irish Development NGOs have a vision of how society could be, and they work to create a world where justice, equality, solidarity and respect for human rights are the norm.

2. What Is Dóchas Doing?

Dóchas provides strength and coherence to the Development NGO sector, and identifies gaps and opportunities to ensure our members’ work has the greatest possible lasting impact on global poverty and inequality. In particular, Dóchas wants to create opportunities for NGOs to share experiences and knowledge, and to translate their shared learning into activities and recommendations for better practice, both at NGO and at Government level. In other words, Dóchas at its most fundamental is about helping the members to get the best out of themselves and maximise their overall impact.

Through Dóchas, our members work together to face common challenges, such as those relating to the legacy of rapid growth in the sector: The tremendous level of support in Irish society for global Development has led to a rise in the number of NGOs and initiatives aiming to fight extreme poverty.

This new diversity is very welcome, but its down-side is that the sector has become less coherent, and that existing and emerging quality standards are not widely known or applied and that mechanisms for shared learning are not adequately used to capture NGO experiences to date.

As a result, many NGOs work in isolation, and NGO experiences are not informing Government policy sufficiently. By strengthening our network, and strengthening the mechanisms for NGO learning, Dóchas can promote the articulation of quality standards for the sector, which can be used to improve NGO impact and to inform Government decision-making.

3. How Is Dóchas Doing That?

The work of Dóchas is based on a Strategic Framework that sets out the overall priorities for the  network. Those priorities arose out of a process of analysis of the current challenges facing the Development sector in Ireland, and were translated into an Implementation Plan, which was adopted by Dóchas at the end of 2010.

Our “Intervention Logic” is simple. Our members provide the knowledge, staff and finances needed to  deliver effectively on our common plans, and they have mandated Dóchas to lead the way. Through  Dóchas, our members work together on issues that are better dealt with together than alone, and they seek to leverage the energies, skills and expertise of all those who can make a difference.

How we do this is detailed in our annual Work Plans, and is reported in our annual reports and audit reports.