A review of theories of change for youth employment using a MLT approach

CEDIL/Africa Centre for Systematic Reviews and Knowledge Translation present:

A review of theories of change for youth employment using a MLT approach


As part of What Works Summit 2021

Date: 26 October 2021

How can evidence from a study in one setting be transferred to another? How do we understand what are the ‘ active ingredients’ of a programme which make it work.  These issues are addressed by using mid-level theory. That is, a theoretical approach which rises above the level of projects but below a level of abstraction which is too general to be testable or yield operational principles. MLT focuses on causal processes and other assumptions for the theory of change. This webinar will out the CEDIL approach to MLT illustrated with an example from youth employment 



Chair Dr Eve NAMISANGO, Economist & Epidemiologist and lead of livelihoods theme, Africa Centre for Systematic Reviews and Knowledge Translation

Eve’s background is in economics, specializing in development and global health. She has over ten years’ experience in youth led development addressing issues of vulnerability, poverty, inclusion and unemployment. She has evaluated projects in these thematic areas in several African countries. Her other research interests include gender and inclusive development in fragile states.



Dr Howard White, CEO Campbell Collaboration, and Research director CEDIL

Howard is Chief Executive Officer of the Campbell Collaboration. Previously he was the founding Executive Director of the International Initiative for Impact Evaluation (3ie) and before that led the impact evaluation programme of the World Bank’s Independent Evaluation Group. He started his career as an academic researcher at the Institute of Social Studies in the Hague, and the Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex. As an academic he leans toward work with policy relevance, and working in the policy field leans toward academic rigour as a basis for policy and practice.

Katairo Thomas

Thomas has a background in Epidemiology and Biostatistics. Currently, he is a consultant with 3ie and a research fellow at the Africa centre of systematic reviews and knowledge translation. With Campbell, Thomas has worked on the EGM identifying interventions to improve youth employment.



Further CEDIL resources on Middle Level Theory:

Cartwright, N., Charlton, L., Juden, M., Munslow, T. and Williams, R. B. 2020.
Making predictions of programme success more reliable. CEDIL Methods Working Paper. Oxford:
Centre of Excellence for Development Impact and Learning (CEDIL)

Vigneri, M. 2021. Science in the Middle: Middle level theory in international development. CEDIL Methods Working Paper 3. London: Centre of Excellence for Development Impact and Learning (CEDIL). Available at: https://doi.org/10.51744/CMWP3

Using middle-level theory to improve programme and evaluation design – Methods brief, downloadable by following this link: MLT Brief Download

Blog Post: What can we learn from the HIV pandemic about how to tackle Covid-19? A middle-range theory lens