Development Cooperation Handbook/Definitions/Stakeholder

Stakeholders are those involved in and/or affected (negatively or positively) by the outcome and the impact of an action, project, programme.

Agencies, organisations, groups or individuals who have a direct, indirect stake or commitment in the programme/project design, implementation, benefits or ins its evaluation.

Project team and expected beneficiaries and others directly targeted by the action intervention are key stakeholders. They are the ones who directly stand to benefit or lose from actions or who warrant redress from any negative effects of such operations.

Indirectly Affected Groups Many individuals or institutions may be indirectly involved or affected because of their technical expertise or public and private interest in actions, policies or programs, or they may be linked in some way to those who are directly affected. Such stakeholders may include different organizations, , various intermediary or representative organizations, private sector project/programme purposees, and technical and professional bodies.

Remember that the project does not achieve its objective directly!

By engaging the stakeholders early on, everyone will have a better understanding of the intervention and the challenges it faces in implementation.

The activities that the action team will carry out will produce the outputs that will empower beneficiaries to better interact with their communities and utilise project deliverables to achieve the project outcomes. These outcomes will enable the stakeholders to tackle the problems identified and produce changes in the factors generating these problems, thereby contributing to the achievement of the project objectives.

We can subdivide two main categories of stakeholders:

  1. Internal Stakeholders persons belonging to the project team
  2. External Stakeholders project sponsors, beneficiaries, and other persons involved in and/or affected (negatively or positively) by the outcome and the impact of an action, project, programme.

The Government  is always a key stakeholder. It is the primary decision maker and implementer of policies and projects.

External stakeholders can include:

  1. People who will be affected by an endeavour and can influence it but who are not directly involved with doing the work. In the private sector, examples include managers who are affected by a project, process owners, people who work with the process under study, internal departments that support the process, the financial department, suppliers, and even beneficiaries.
  2. People who are (or might be) affected by any action taken by an organization or group. Examples are parents, children, beneficiaries, owners, employees, associates, partners, contractors, suppliers, people that are related or located near by. Any group or individual who can affect or who is affected by achievement of a group's objectives.
  3. An individual or group with an interest in a group's or an organization's success in delivering intended results and in maintaining the viability of the group or the organization's product and/or service. Stakeholders influence programs, products, and services.
  4. Any organization, governmental entity, or individual that has a stake in or may be impacted by a given approach to environmental regulation, pollution prevention, energy conservation, etc.
  5. A participant in a community mobilization effort, representing a particular segment of society. School board members, environmental organizations, elected officials, chamber of commerce representatives, neighbourhood advisory council members, and religious leaders are all examples of local stakeholders.

Attention !
Sometimes one uses the term stakeholders to refer to programme beneficiaries. But stakeholders in fact are all those whose interest is affected by the programme, including those who earn from activities (suppliers etc.) and even those who lose from it (e.g. monopolies, exploiters of people's ignorance, etc.)

See Communication Planning

Guideline: Stakeholders Identification and analysis