Identifying stakeholders and partners

Stakeholders are individuals and groups who have an interest in the issue. This will include beneficiaries, their families and communities; actors in the local economy; government and community organizations and officials. This group also includes all potential partners.

Partners are formal and informal institutions and organizations that deliver parts of a program or related services, including training and business development service providers.

The TREE method starts with awareness-raising for all stakeholders, to ensure they are able to understand and participate in program design and delivery. A preliminary scan should lead to the identification of some stakeholders and potential partners, the next stage is to build a comprehensive list and develop a strategy for informing and engaging them.

When identifying stakeholders, be aware of:
  • Including the intended beneficiaries. This may mean working with local organizations to reach out to and involve women, women and men from disadvantaged linguistic, cultural or ethnic groups, persons with disabilities, etc. Identifying the organizations and groups that can assist with this may be a first step. Do not assume that such intermediary groups can or should speak for the beneficiaries: create opportunities for women and men to speak for themselves and to participate in program development. Consider tensions, divisions and conflicts, and the need to include representatives of different communities or social groups, and inclusive organizations that acknowledge all communities.
  • Identifying all organizations and individuals involved in training and business development services, not only potential partners.
  • Including community influencers such as community and religious leaders, whose opinions may impact the views of potential beneficiaries and other stakeholders.
  • Local and national government bodies and officials.
  • Social partner and civil society organizations.
  • Economic associations and organizations such as industry groups, traders’ associations and cooperatives.
The stakeholder identification table provided here is a way to capture information about and document interactions with all potential stakeholders. You may wish to use or adapt this template to meet your needs. One way to use it is to create an initial list of possible stakeholders, and gradually add to the information, noting:
  • New stakeholders added to the list,
  • Whether the stakeholder is a beneficiary, local business, other community member, service provider, formal programme partner, etc.)
  • What interests and influence they have over the programme’s goals.
  • Interactions (attendance at meetings, participation in capacity building, formal agreements signed, etc.)
The intention is to support an ongoing and dynamic relationship with all stakeholders, as well as those who become participants in the programme as beneficiaries, formal partners for delivery of services in the programme, or members of formal governance or advisory bodies.

Awareness-raising activities should be tailored to the needs and interests of different stakeholders. While government and industry officials may be well served with printed materials (in the local working language, in simple and straightforward terms) and follow up meetings; potential beneficiaries and local grassroots organizations may need information delivered more accessibly. In all cases, awareness-raising should be aimed at:
  • Increasing understanding of the barriers and challenges facing the beneficiary group, and how their greater economic well-being benefits the whole community. Awareness on the specific barriers faced by women, PWD and others; and the advantages of a diverse and inclusive approach to TREE is a particular focus. A resource for this is provided and should be adapted and delivered as part of awareness-raising for all audiences.
  • Emphasizing the connection between skills training and real economic needs and opportunities in the community.
  • Identifying opportunities for partnership, collaboration and mutual support between a new program and existing organizations and initiatives.
Awareness-raising materials and activities should:
  • Use local languages and examples that are relevant to the audience
  • Use multiple channels to reach different audiences and reinforce messaging.
  • Be assessed for impact and refined as necessary.
  • Consider the need for conflict sensitivity, acknowledging how different stakeholder groups may react and respond.