How to identify and engage with stakeholders

Activity 2.3

How to identify and engage with stakeholders


Strategically identify and engage with stakeholders to expand gender analysis insights and influence policy outcomes.

  • How do I find stakeholders and experts for my gender analysis?
  • How do I develop a stakeholder engagement plan?

Stakeholder engagement means finding and engaging with a wide variety of people who may be interested in or influential for your policy project. In the context of gender analysis, stakeholder engagement can:

  • Help you understand and define gender issues, perspectives, and experiences
  • Raise awareness about gender equality
  • Improve accountability for the outcomes of your policy project
  • Give a voice to those impacted by the policy
  • Engage gender experts and improve policy decisions

How do I find stakeholders and experts for my gender analysis?

Firstly it is important to understand the purpose of your stakeholder engagement. Why is it important to your policy and what do you want to achieve? Then you can formulate your plan.

Here are some ideas of stakeholders you may like to consider connecting with:

  • People within your organization
    • Managers
    • Policy experts
    • Teams with experience in gender analysis or gender mainstreaming
  • Content experts (Subject experience)
    • Researchers and other content experts
    • Policy specialists
    • Data specialists
  • Decision makers
    • Ministers and leaders responsible for your policy
  • Other organizations
    • Organizations which represent the interests of people who will be impacted by the policy change
    • Organizations which would use a service you are proposing
    • Organizations which would be impacted by the policy change
  • Context experts (Lived experience)
    • Women and men who would use a particular service
    • Women and men who would be impacted by a particular change
    • Women and men whose voices are traditionally marginalized in the policy process

How do I develop a stakeholder plan?

A Stakeholder Engagement Plan is an overview of who you are going to engage with, how, for what purpose, and what time intervals. Firstly, map your stakeholders according to their level of influence and level of expertise or interest helps you prioritize engagement. Managing your stakeholder appropriately will shape your engagement.
  • Influence refers to the extent to which others will determine the success of the project and shape its outcomes
  • Interest refers to the extent to which stakeholders are committed to the outcomes of the project, and will commit time and resources to see it succeed.

This will help you plan out the type and frequency of engagement as follows,

  • High influence, high interest people (Manage closely, involve, collaborate, empower): you must fully engage these people, and make the greatest efforts to satisfy them.
  • High influence, less interest (Keep satisfied, inform): put enough work in with these people to keep them satisfied, but not so much that they become bored with your message.
  • Low influence, high interest (Keep informed, involve): inform these people, and talk to them to ensure that no major issues are arising. People in this category can often be very helpful with the detail of your project.
  • Low influence, less interest (Inform): again, monitor these people, but don’t bore them with excessive communication.

Pulling all this information into a concise plan will help you track progress and ensure all stakeholders are included as required, and who is responsible for this and the timing.

An example of the headings of this plan could include:

Stakeholder name


Their interest in the policy: low, medium, high

Their Influence over the policy: low, medium, high

Type of engagement: inform, consult, involve, collaborate, empower

Method of engagement

How often to engage

Who in your organization will engage

Desired outcomes from engagement

Approaches to effective stakeholder engagement

Engaging with stakeholders in a variety of ways is critical to good gender analysis.

Engagement is not a single activity but a process, one that often requires building relationships and trust. By developing a plan, and clearly understanding the influence and interest of stakeholders, you can adopt of variety of engagement approaches and use time and resources effectively.

For example, the IAP2 Spectrum of Public Participation can help shape stakeholder and community engagement depending on level of interest and influence. It outlines how to,

  • Inform
  • Consult
  • Involve
  • Collaborate
  • Empower

The IAP2 Methods Matrix lists a diverse range of engagement methods or approaches that can be used depending on the context, scale, budget, time and goals of engagement.

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