PDF II Approach

PDF II support is provided in two ways:

  • Technical Assistance to ‘champions of change’, primarily Ministers, through embedded advisers. This support is provided by way of medium to long term organisational support to Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs). Although PDF II does not provide capacity building for MDAs it is able to channel such requests to DFID for consideration and where deemed appropriate, such requests are channelled to programme better placed to provide support.
  • Building evidence base through research and explorative studies. PDF II funds policy studies and policy consultations to build evidence base in support of the technical assistance provided by embedded advisers. It also funds explorative studies to further advance social and economic pro-poor policies.

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It is recognised that policy formulation is not one single, discrete decision but is best understood as a set of processes, activities or actions. In this regard, PDF II’s commitment to support ‘champions of change’ in policy formulation over the five year period of the programme can be explained by how, in what ways and to what extent the ‘champions of change’ are better able to use PDF II’s support across five dimensions of potential changes in policy formulation as listed below:

Framing debates and getting issues on to the political agenda: this is about attitudinal or mind-set change, drawing attention to new issues on policy development and/or enforcement of regulations and affecting the awareness, attitudes or perceptions of key stakeholders.

Encouraging commitments from the public sector and other policy stakeholders: this is about affecting language and media statements that, for example, promote recognition of specific groups or endorsements of international declarations.

Securing procedural change at domestic or international level: this is about changes in the process whereby policy decisions are made, such as opening new spaces for policy dialogue and/or regulatory enforcement/monitoring.

Affecting policy content: this is about changes in legislation and regulations relating to policy implementation which can be as effective as changing actual policies. This can be quicker to achieve and more direct in bringing about improvements in the operating environment.

Influencing behaviour change in policy execution/regulatory enforcement: this is about implementing changes in policies and enforcing adjustments to regulations. Policy execution requires changes in resource allocation, decisions and behaviours so as to implement these changes at various levels in order to be meaningful and sustainable.

As mentioned, PDF II is a flexible rapid response facility which cuts across several ministries, departments and agencies and also cuts across different sectors. This puts PDF II in a unique position to provide key information and learning to other DFID programmes as well as government agencies not directly supported by PDF II. PDF II also organises various dialogues and learning events from time to time as part of its role supporting policy formulation. The dialogues provide the platform to support the five policy formulation dimensions mentioned above.

Click here to download the PDF II Theory of Change infographic.

Action Theory Change Theory





Plan and design how embedded adviser support to the beneficiary, or ‘Champion of Change’, will be monitored
Develop terms of reference, identify and engage embedded adviser
Supervise, monitor and review embedded adviser performance
Identify beneficiary policy research needs and develop Terms of Reference
Provide oversight and quality assurance of research process
Facilitate dissemination and call for action
Relevant high quality support delivered to ‘Champions of Change’
Relevant and high quality PDF policy research, explorative studies and consultation products delivered to ‘Champions of Change’


Policy makers agree to consider adjusting policy based on evidence from PDF II products.

Nigeria’s “Champions of Change” use increased capacity and evidence to deliver reforms


National Assembly supports policy priorities defined by evidence and approves budgets adequate for implementation

National Government implements policies that lead to poverty reduction.


Complementary programmes funded by DFID wider support.

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