Participation Tools for the Pacific - Part 2: Stakeholder Analysis

Example of a Venn Diagram created for an ADB-financed project. Photo credit: Emma Walters.

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Visual Associations Mapping, Stakeholder Mapping Matrices, and Venn Diagrams can be used as stakeholder analysis tools for CSO engagement in the Pacific. 


What you need to know

Engagement of key stakeholder groups in operations financed by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) promotes good governance, transparency, innovation, responsiveness, and development effectiveness.  Effective engagement of stakeholder groups, including civil society, project beneficiaries, and project-affected people, requires the understanding and effective use of participatory tools throughout the project cycle. However, while one participatory tool may work well in one context, it may not be appropriate in another. This series of explainers provides a range of tools from which practitioners can pick and choose, according to different phases of the ADB project cycle, context, and available time/resources.  Some tools may be specific to particular phases in the ADB project cycle, such as monitoring and evaluation tools, while others may be used throughout the project cycle, such as participatory assessment tools.

This piece focuses on Tools for Stakeholder Analysis.


Tools for Stakeholder Analysis

Identification and analysis of stakeholders in ADB-assisted activities is a basic and key component of participatory approaches to engagement. Many stakeholder identification and analysis tools exist to identify stakeholders relevant to a project or policy. Several of these tools are visual tools, as opposed to text-heavy tools, which are often more readily understood and utilized in the Pacific.


Visual Associations Mapping (Tree Map)

Tree Maps illustrate associations and stakeholder groups and the relationships between them. They are especially useful in working with low literacy populations and communities.

Understanding the associations and relationships between stakeholder groups and within communities is key to building a sustainable community initiative. Mapping associations is also a process that involves stakeholders and can create buy-in to a project or intervention. Similar to Venn diagrams, this pictorial representation of stakeholder relationships is suitable to the Pacific, with its focus on pictures and symbols, rather than text.

Associations mapping is most often performed in the project preparation and design stages.

A social development specialist or locally-engaged NGO can lead this process. It is important that key stakeholder groups are included in the mapping process, to get a fuller picture of the important associations, and their influence on each other.

  1. Make a list of stakeholders and create different symbols that represent each stakeholder group. Draw an outline of a tree on large paper.
  2. Place the main organization or group being mapped at the center of the tree.
  3. Place other organizations or stakeholder groups on other parts of the tree relative to the level of engagement with the main stakeholder group (further away on the tree means a distant relationship, while nearby on the tree means a close relationship). If the organization is large or powerful (relative to the main organization) draw a large circle around it. If it is small or has low influence, draw a smaller circle around it.
  4. When the Tree Map is completed, review and ask:
  • What are the gaps between stakeholder groups?
  • What are the existing relationships that can be useful to the project or issue?

Example of a Tree Map created for an ADB-financed project. Photo credit: Emma Walters.


Source: N. Eliasov. 2013. Asset Based and Community Driven Development – Course Materials, Ikhala Trust, Port Elizabeth, South Africa.

Coady International Institute. (no date). An asset-based approach to community development practitioner manual. Ahmedabad, India: Self Employed Women’s Association (SEWA). p43.

N. Eliasov. 2013. Asset Based and Community Driven Development – Course Materials. Ikhala Trust, Port Elizabeth, South Africa. pp34-35.

Stakeholder Mapping Matrices

Matrices as used to map stakeholders’ assets, strengths, motivations and constraints in relation to an issue, to assist with project planning and design. Stakeholder matrices can be strengths-based and focus on assets and strengths that stakeholders have or bring; or deficit-based or needs-based and focus on how the stakeholders are affected by a problem, and what constraints they have. Or they may combine the two approaches.

Analysing stakeholders and their assets, strengths, perception of the problem, interests, motivations, and constraints is essential to ensure that the project design is targeted or that the policy communication reaches those who have an interest or need to know.

Stakeholder analyses are conducted during the project design phase, but may be updated during implementation.

Stakeholder analyses can be prepared by a project leader or social development specialist, but should not be undertaken in isolation. It is important that stakeholder analyses are conducted in a participatory process with a range of stakeholders, particularly ADB staff, resident missions, developing member country officials and other project stakeholder groups.

  1. Confirm the key issue that the stakeholder matrix is addressing.
  2. Make a list of stakeholder groups in relation to a central issue. Make sure to include all stakeholder groups, across civil society, government and the private sector. Decide on the matrix to be used. There is a range of matrices available, some of which are reproduced below.
  3. In a participatory workshop, put each stakeholder group on a different row and answer the questions on the chosen stakeholder matrix for each stakeholder group. Questions may include:
  • What are the stakeholder’s knowledge, experience, skills and resources that could help with the project?
  • What role could the stakeholder group have in the project?
  • How important is this stakeholder group to the success of the project?
  • How is this group affected by the problem or issue?
  • Why do they want to address the problem or issue (motivation)?
  • What stops them dealing with the problem or issue (constraints)?
  • What is their relationship to other stakeholders?
  • What is the impact of this on your planning?

These heavily text-based methods of stakeholder analysis should be used in conjunction with other pictorial mapping tools in the Pacific, especially when involving communities and beneficiaries.

Example of an external stakeholder mapping matrix. Photo credit: Emma Walters


Click these links to download more samples. 

     ADB Stakeholder Analysis Template

     AusAID Stakeholder Analysis Template

ADB. 2012. Strengthening Participation for Development Results. Manila. pp25-32.

ADB. 2019. Guidelines for Preparing a Design and Monitoring Framework. Manila. p17.

Australian Government AusAID. 2005. AusGuideline 3.3 The Logical Framework Approach. Australia. pp28-29.

Pacific Research and Evaluation Associates. 2014. The Pacific Guide to Project Proposal Preparation Using the Logical Framework Approach: Learner Guide. pp17-21.

Victorian Government Department of Sustainability and Environment. 2005. Effective Engagement: building relationships with community and other stakeholders – Book 3 The Engagement Toolkit. Victorian Government. Melbourne. p87.  

Venn Diagrams

Venn diagrams are useful for identifying relationships between stakeholder groups, the relative power or influence of groups, how close or distant groups are to each other and the strength of relationships between groups. They can be used to assess current or future (desired) relationships.

Venn diagrams offer a visual tool that is particularly suited to the Pacific, in comparison with heavily text-based stakeholder analysis tools.

In the preparation stage of the ADB project cycle, although they can be updated during the project cycle to track changes in relationships between stakeholder groups.

ADB Social Development Specialist; CSOs engaged to lead the stakeholder analysis; professional facilitator.

  1. Identify an organization or issue whose stakeholders you will map.
  2. List each of the stakeholders relevant to that organization or issue.
  3. Cut circles of different sizes and write the names of the stakeholder groups on each circle. The size of the circle allocated to each stakeholder group indicates the relative power or influence of that group (large circles indicate more power and influence, while smaller circles indicate less).
  4. Using a large piece of paper place the circles on the paper based on the relationships between groups: if two groups are closely connected, these circles may touch or overlap. If the relationship is distant, they will be placed far away from each other on the paper.
  5. When this process is completed, assess the Venn Diagram as a whole asking:
  • What is missing?
  • What do the gaps indicate?
  • What work needs to be done to engage with close and distant stakeholders?

The banner photo for this piece is the example.

ADB. 2012. Strengthening Participation for Development Results. Manila. pp25-32.

Centre for Disease Control and Prevention. EvnPHPS Assessment Toolkit. Stakeholder Mapping Venn Diagram.

FAO. 2006. Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) Manual. Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations. St Lucia. p21.

Victorian Government Department of Sustainability and Environment. 2005. Effective Engagement: building relationships with community and other stakeholders – Book 3 The Engagement Toolkit. Victorian Government. Melbourne. p89.   

Wageningen University and Research. Managing for Sustainable Development Impact. Venn Diagram.


Key Questions to Ask
  • Have resident mission staff (e.g., the CSO Anchor) and other key informants helped identify stakeholders?
  • Are all relevant stakeholders identified and listed?
    • Marginalized and vulnerable groups (especially poorest groups, ethnic minorities, female-headed households, and migrant groups)?
    • Main client/beneficiary groups?
    • Groups who will be negatively affected by the project?
    • All potential supporters and opponents of the project?
    • All different kinds of male and female stakeholders (using gender analysis if necessary)?
  • Should these stakeholders be divided into user, occupational, age, income, or ethnic groups?

Source: ADB. 2012. Strengthening Participation for Development Results. Manila. p28.


Lainie C. Thomas
Unit Head, Climate Change and Sustainable Development Department, Asian Development Bank

Lainie Thomas heads the Fragile and Conflict-Affected Situations (FCAS) and Small Island Developing States (SIDS) unit. Prior to her current assignment, she supported civil society participation in ADB’s operations through its NGO and Civil Society Center and led health and education projects in Southeast Asia. Before joining ADB, she worked for a range of international and local nongovernment organizations. With more than 25 years of development experience, she has also worked in the field in Kenya, South Sudan, Azerbaijan, Somalia, Cambodia, and The Gambia.

Emma Walters
Management and Participatory Engagement Consultant, Asian Development Bank

Emma has 20 years’ experience working with Australian and international organizations. Over the past eight years, she has worked on projects designed to increase civil society participation in ADB work, with a focus on the Pacific. Her expertise includes facilitation, training, and partnerships for international development. Since 2012, she has also worked with the University of Sydney as a soft-skills trainer on Australian-government funded short course programs on agricultural research in Africa.

Suzanne M. Nazal
Senior Social Development Consultant (Civil Society and Participation), Sustainable Development and Climate Change Department, Asian Development Bank

Suzanne Nazal organizes knowledge events, develops knowledge products, and provides technical support related to strengthening civil society participation and engagement in ADB’s operations. She also co-manages the social media platforms for ADB’s NGO and Civil Society Center. Suzanne worked with several NGOs in the Philippines before joining ADB. She holds a master's degree in urban and regional planning from the University of the Philippines.

Ninebeth S. Carandang
Principal Social Development Specialist, Human and Social Development Sector Office, Sectors Group

Ninebeth Carandang is in charge of ensuring safeguards compliance of ADB-funded projects in the Pacific region, supporting the engagement of civil society organizations at various stages of the project, and managing the resolution of project grievances including concerns raised by civil society. She has over a decade of work experience in the field of social development, poverty, and gender.

Asian Development Bank (ADB)

The Asian Development Bank is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific, while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty. Established in 1966, it is owned by 68 members—49 from the region. Its main instruments for helping its developing member countries are policy dialogue, loans, equity investments, guarantees, grants, and technical assistance.

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