Evaluation Toolkit for Breastfeeding Programs and Projects

June 2012

3.4 Stakeholder identification and analysis

Page last updated: 04 November 2013

The WK Kellogg Foundation Evaluation Handbook defines stakeholders as any person or group who has an interest in the project being evaluated or in the results of evaluation. It acknowledges that involving every stakeholder ‘may not be realistic’ but encourages consultation with representatives from stakeholder groups in designing and redesigning the evaluation plan and providing them with timely results and feedback (WK Kellogg Foundation 2004).
It is important to include stakeholders in the evaluation process, for a number of reasons:

  • so the evaluation is useful to the people who actually do the work being evaluated
  • so people (both staff and service users) understand how and why their data is being collected and analysed
  • to engage people in the early stages of what may become a change process
  • so people can celebrate good news.
The guide, Planning for effective health promotion evaluation, suggests that people can participate in different ways, and not everyone has to be involved at the same level; for instance, people can participate in information sessions, be part of advisory groups, or simply consent to have their data collected (Round et al 2005).
Stakeholder identification might include, for instance, some or all of the following:
  • program funders/sponsors
  • policy makers
  • politicians
  • program participants (including priority groups, if any)
  • program staff
  • program managers
  • related agencies or organisations
  • local/other spheres of government
  • media/communicators
  • community members at large.
Once you have identified all the potential stakeholders, it can be helpful to draw up a ‘map’ to better understand the interests of each party and the values underpinning their interest. Some stakeholders may be more interested than others, or more influential in terms of, say, ongoing funding decisions. This mapping process will also help you to decide at what point stakeholders should or could be involved in the evaluation, for instance as a member of the evaluation team or an advisory group, as a participant in an interview or a survey, or simply as an ‘interested outsider’ who should be kept informed. A grid such as the matrix below might help you ‘map’ where stakeholders sit in terms of their influence or power, and their level of interest.

Title: 2x2 matrix diagram of influence and interest. For detailed description of this image please refer to the descriptive link next to the image. D

There are many tools available on the internet which can assist in the stakeholder identification process, including a few which are listed in the list of resources at the back of this document.