A theory of change represents a conceptual description of how program activities are expected to lead to specific development changes. The REAL-Water theory of change helps to define a causal pathway to creating positive change for rural water development. In addition, it helps to set realistic expectations, measure progress, and summarize the contributions of different activity components toward the overall program impact. This version captures theoretical understanding at the program outset, which may be refined as the program progresses. This product was developed by USAID’s Rural Evidence and Learning For Water (REAL-WATER) Activity.