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A stakeholder is a person or a group of people who have a direct interest in the project because its existence will materially affect their lives. The interests of stakeholders will be established by dialogue with them, as will their attitudes and reactions to the project and the demands it may make upon them, and they are therefore crucial to the participation process. The identification of stakeholders through stakeholder analysis at an early stage is therefore essential (see Chapter 13 for a fuller description). Stakeholders may include: project beneficiaries; local people who are not beneficiaries; NGOs; community-based organisations such as women’s groups; government departments and agencies; private producers and entrepreneurs; farmers’ associations; fishermen; local artisans; industry; trades unions; professional associations (e.g. engineers); donors; consultants; councillors and other political representatives. It is important to include minority groups, low status groups and the poorer groups in society.

Stakeholder analysis is also used to assess the relationships between the project and all the actors. It can then be used as a basis for designing approaches to build on those relationships, where they are positive, or improve them where they are negative.

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