How Vision Aid Overseas works to address the issue of Uncorrected Refractive Error – Our Theory of Change

In order to help design better quality programmes VAO has developed a theory of change that is built on the foundation of cause and effect to better understand how what we do (various programmatic interventions) creates the impact we hope to achieve. This theory of change subsequently underpins our Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning framework and informs our communications around impact.

Four key programmatic intervention areas form the focus of VAO’s work:

1   Infrastructure and essential eye health service equipment and commodity supply, including private sector participation via social and mainstream enterprise

VAO supports this area through the establishment and support of Vision Centres (where patients can receive a walk-in eye examination, purchase an affordable pair of spectacles and be referred for further specialist care if necessary), and/or by supporting alternative social enterprise models and through supporting the development of supply chains.

2   Community mobilisation and demand generation

The communities in which we work are central in all stages of our activities.  They are consulted during the design of and implementation of programmes, and their ongoing feedback is invaluable in allowing us to learn and adapt our approaches to ensure maximum impact.  We mobilise local expertise where possible, and we develop project-specific Social Behaviour Change Communications (SBCC) to ensure the work we do is clearly and effectively communicated with the people it will affect. 

Vision Aid Overseas also supports local outreach programmes directly to communities, when the local health systems are inadequate or non – existent, particularly in the most remote areas. The outreach services complement and support any local services and are supported by the nearest Vision Centre. These are run by local eye health teams.

3   Advocacy for policy change

With our partners, VAO takes an active part in the development of policy around addressing uncorrected refractive error, underpinned by research and evidence.  At country level we are active members of the National Committees for the Prevention of Blindness (NCPB) and International NGO forums, allowing the sharing of knowledge and learning across the sector.  We have a robust monitoring, evaluation and learning (MEL) framework that helps us to build an evidence base that underpins our work.

4   Human resource development for eye health

The critical shortage of health workers is now widely recognised as one of the most fundamental constraints to achieving progress on health and achieving wider development goals. VAO supports the IAPB Human Resources for Eye Health (HREH) strategic plan, whose goal is to ensure eye health workers are integrated at all levels as part of an efficient and effective health system.  This includes working to narrow the gap in the Vision2020 targets and making access to eye health more equitable across the board.  VAO supports human resource development mainly through informal and formal capacity building, training and education, specifically in the area of uncorrected refractive error.