Stakeholders are defined in many ways. Traditionally in UNICEF guidance, stakeholders are defined as "people or groups that have an interest in a program or activity and/or are likely to be affected by it." Stakeholder analysis as a strategic tool often casts wider, including all the actors who can influence or be influenced by the achievement of a given goal or undertaking. These include the winners (those who have something to gain by achieving a goal) and the losers (those who may lose in power, status or material wealth). This is important if we are to take into consideration and somehow respond to those actors who may feel threatened by and resist change. It is also important to distinguish primary stakeholders, those who benefit from an intervention or programme.
Stakeholder analysis is used to understand who the key actors are around a given issue and to gauge the importance of different groups' interests and potential influence. It also serves to highlight groups who are most affected by a given issue and least able to influence the situation.
How to use this framework
Stakeholder analysis should be focused on a single issue, e.g. girls’ education or recruitment of child soldiers. It can serve as an analytical framework for processing data or as a data collection exercise to be done in the field:
based on review of existing information (documentary review); in group meetings;
through key informant interviews (centrally or in the field).
It can serve in an assessment exercise, in a programme monitoring exercise (e.g. to further probe positions/ interests as the programme advances) and in an evaluation (e.g. how have interests changed, supporting or impeding programme progress).
What it can tell us
Identify different groups that can be sources of information;
Interpret perspectives provided by each group;
Identify who could positively or negatively influence programme responses;
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