Any activity, project or programme in fundamental rights should start with thinking about the women, men, boys and girls living in your community.
Knowing the community will help identify organisations and individuals who take an interest and should play an active role in relation to a specific fundamental rights issue – the “stakeholders”. It entails being inclusive, for example of people with disabilities or marginalised groups in society so that everybody can be heard on decisions that affect them.
Systematic mapping of stakeholders is an important step for fundamental rights initiatives at any level. To avoid the temptation of always involving the same organisations, stakeholder mapping should go beyond the network of known organisations and individuals in a given fundamental rights field. It is important that the voices heard are as representative of the whole community as possible.
Many different approaches and tools can be used for stakeholder mapping. It is worthwhile spending some time searching for the most appropriate tools. However, there are some common elements that are found in most stakeholder mapping exercises.
Tools for stakeholder mapping
Most mapping tools advise the user to distinguish between different types of stakeholders. There are multiple classifications that can be used to distinguish between stakeholders including:
- Impact: ultimately affected (primary) and indirectly affected (secondary).
- Interaction: anticipated support or opposition.
- Legitimacy: legitimacy or urgency of rights / views.
- Networks: relevance of networks or interest groups.
- Performance: according to function or area of performance.
- Power: ability to influence or have power.
- Relationship: whether there is a current or desired relationship.
These classifications are quite general and should be further developed for multi-level governance in the field of fundamental rights. Considering relevant rights issues such as gender, sexual orientation, disabilities, ethnicity, age etc. can help ensure that there is no bias or discrimination in the classifications.
Many mapping exercises use a ‘four key steps’ process. The stakeholder classifications identified above, play an important role in this process.
Step 1: Identify stakeholders
It often helps to bring together a group of colleagues and partners to go through the process of identifying relevant stakeholders. The classifications above provide a focus or orientation for this process.
Step 2: Analysis
From the provisional list of identified stakeholders, it is helpful to analyse their relevance or relationship to the activity or project. The classifications above assist in this analysis, which commonly focuses on five issues:
- Contribution of stakeholders to the activity or project.
- Legitimacy of the stakeholders in the activity or project.
- Willingness of the stakeholders to engage with the activity or project.
- Influence of the stakeholders over the activity or project.
- Necessity of involving the stakeholders in the activity or project
Step 3: Mapping
The mapping exercise typically involves placing the identified stakeholders on a graph. The axes used in the graph often reflect the most important issues identified through the classification and analysis exercises. The stakeholders are placed in the relevant field on the graph, often in small, medium or large circles depending on their importance to the activity or project.
Two examples of graphs with different axes are shown below (SH stands for stakeholder): Alternatively, you can read the content of this image in the text version (Word).
Step 4: Prioritisation
Having identified and mapped the full scope of stakeholders, the final step in the process is to identify those individuals or groups that should be targeted for the activity or project. In many cases, resources are not sufficient to engage the full spectrum of stakeholders identified. Therefore, having a clear idea of whom to prioritise is a key factor for effective engagement.