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Identifying Stakeholders

Participation Analysis

Source of Information:
• GTZ. ZOPP: An Introduction to the Method Eschborn, March 1988. p 4.
• GTZ. ZOPP FLIPCHARTS. March 1987. pp 7-8.
• NORAD (Norwegian Agency for Development Co-operation. THE LOGICAL FRAMEWORK APPROACH (LFA). 1990(?) pp. 28-33.

Participation analysis - or stakeholder analysis as it is sometimes called - seeks to identify all persons, institutions, etc. involved in a project, in addition to the target group and the implementing agency, and speculates on their expected support or opposition to the program. This analysis is used at the preliminary stages of a project in order to incorporate interests and expectations of persons and groups significant to a project or program.

Organizations and authorities at different levels and interest groups have different motives and interests. It is of fundamental importance to analyze these interests and expectations both early on in the planning process and later again during the implementation of the project or program. A fundamental requirement of all development projects is that the objectives reflect the needs of the society and the interest groups, and not merely the internal needs of institutions.

All parties should be listed which are likely to be affected by the development, both positively or negatively, directly or indirectly.

This procedure is generally carried out in a workshop setting, with representatives of key participants in a program. ‘Role playing’ may sometimes be employed as a way to better understand the positions of the various groups during the planning process.

The procedure used in the ZOPP approach for project definition and by NORAD is as follows:

1 - Write down all the names of interest groups, institutions, individuals, organizations, authorities, who are:

  • Concerned in any way with the project
  • Located in the region
  • Hold an influential position
  • May be affected by the problems addressed in the program

2 - Group the parties involved into type of organization; i.e., individual, organizations, government, etc. to facilitate discussion and analysis.

3 - Take a closer look at some of the groups.

    Select the most important; i.e., those expected to have particularly strong influence over the project and cannot be ignored.

    Analyze these groups according to:

      a) Characteristics: social (members, social background, religion, cultural aspects), status of the group (formal, informal, other) and structure (organization, leaders, etc.).

      b) The main problems affecting or facing the group (economic, ecological, cultural, etc.).

      c) The main needs and wishes, interests (openly expressed, hidden, vested), motives (hopes, expectations, fears), and attitudes (friendly/neutral/hostile towards implementation agencies and others) as seen from the group’s point of view.

      d) The potential in terms of both strengths (resources) and weaknesses of the group, and what could the group contribute or withhold from the project

      e) The linkages indicating main conflicts of interests, patterns of cooperation or dependency with other groups.

    - It may be advantageous to define three categories: active, beneficiaries, and those affected.


4 - Set priorities: decide whose interests and views are to be given priority in addressing problems?

  • Which are the groups most in need of external assistance?
  • Which interest groups should be supported in order to ensure positive development? In which way should they be considered?
  • What conflicts would occur by supporting given interest groups and what measures can be taken to avoid such conflicts?
  • Essentially, how should the project react towards the group?

For additional information:
See in Issues: Stakeholder Perspectives, Shlomo Angel.

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