Publication Date



Any reference to or quotation from this document must include the following citation: Miller, E., Hartwell, A. S., & Rossman, G. B. (2010). Unpacking Twaweza’s Theory of Social Change: Citizen Agency, Information, Accountability, and Basic Services: Critical Issues and Questions. Amherst, MA: Center for International Education.

Contact author: Gretchen B. Rossman,

This document was supported through the Twaweza Monitoring & Evaluation contract between the Center for International Education, University of Massachusetts Amherst, and Twaweza/Hivos Foundation, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. The ideas within are the authors; no official endorsement should be inferred.


The purpose of this paper is to define the key concepts – and links between them – of Twaweza’s Theory of Social Change. These are the notions of citizen-driven change, citizen agency, information, monitoring and accountability, and basic services. The analysis shows ambiguities and, at times, conflicting working definitions in Twaweza’s use of these terms in its major public documents. We then integrate relevant scholarship to elaborate these central ideas and to pose questions that Twaweza may engage with in the spirit of its claims to be a “learning organization.”