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Different stakeholders in a sudden onset disaster context

Why is stakeholder mapping and analysis so important?

Every humanitarian context is different. The level of engagement, interest and influence of different stakeholders in the development and implementation of humanitarian interventions will vary not just in every country, but also at a district and local level. There is also a time dimension: stakeholder engagement and influence at the outset of an emergency may be significantly different, one year, or even one month later. Regular analysis of all the different stakeholders directly, or indirectly involved, is a central aspect of effective project management. It is also provides a way of managing risk, by identifying key stakeholders who potentially may negatively influence programme delivery, and designing the programme to address these risks.

For this exercise, a useful one-page guide is provided by Rapid/ODI.

Rapid ODI list three steps:

Step 1 - Specify the issue

Stakeholders are defined and identified in relation to a specific issue – concentrating on people and groups that have a concrete ‘stake’ in a specific issue or topic.

Step 2 - Develop a long list of stakeholders

Gather a small group of informants, preferably with varied perspectives and backgrounds, to brainstorm all the stakeholders or interest groups associated with the purpose of your analysis. You should consider all possible stakeholders in the public sector, private sector and civil society.

Step 3 - Conduct stakeholder mapping

The long list of stakeholders can be analysed to determine ‘clusters’ of stakeholders with different levels of interest and levels of influence over the issue.

(Rapid/ODI n.d.: 1)


Your role in this fictitious scenario is a newly appointed accountability officer in a national charity. The issue is to identity the actors with a ‘stake’ in the accountability of the humanitarian response outlined below.

It’s 15 August 2017 and following a recent disaster, you have been deployed to support the local team to identify and engage with the right stakeholders to ensure their disaster intervention responds effectively to identify needs and is accountable to your key stakeholders. This is the first time your NGO has operated in this area but it has significant experience in responding to emergencies like this, providing basic relief assistance like blankets, food and cooking kits. It also has some staff trained in cash transfers.

A report of the emergency is summarised as follows:

Heavy monsoon rains occurred on 12 August 2017 in three north-western districts of Amzumaria. The areas affected are both in the hill and coastal parts of the country. An existing government risk analysis estimates at least 40,000 people are vulnerable to floods and landslides in these areas, with potentially 10,000 living in isolated hill areas with poor road access in the rainy season.

Refugees fleeing fighting in the neighbouring country of Cozamaria have added to the local population, either staying with host families, or in two temporary camps. Conditions in the camps were already poor before the flooding and the arrival of the refugees had added demand to already limited local food supplies, raising prices and creating local tensions.

At least three national and international NGOs were already supporting the refugee population which may number up to 15,000 with a high proportion of women and children under five. In the past two days, there have been unconfirmed reports of increased acute watery diarrhoea in both camps.

There are a number of local community-based organisations and faith based groups working with the local population and providing some humanitarian assistance at least in the coastal areas, but it is unclear if they are providing any support in the camps. Some local businesses are also interested in providing relief assistance.

The Interior Ministry of Amzumaria is leading on search and rescue, mainly through armed forces personnel. The three national and international NGOs already present are working together to conduct an initial needs assessment, but at present, there is limited coordination with the Interior Ministry at a national level. The Health Ministry and the Welfare Ministry are both monitoring the situation but have not yet engaged.

The north west of Amzumaria is relatively poor compared to other parts of the country. It lacks investment in its infrastructure and is represented politically by a minority party that lacks influence at the national level. The disaster is receiving only limited coverage in the national media, and there has already been significant concern raised in the media and in parliament over the refugee situation.

Local government is under resourced but there is an active network of community-level committees, led by male elders, which cover most villages. Mobile phone coverage is generally good and there is a functioning banking system.

Your organisation is supported by donations from the public in your country and there is the possibility of securing substantial funding for your emergency response from a European government and from an oil company which wants to start looking for oil in the north western region.

Your task

Read the imaginary scenario above again. Using steps one, two and three, complete a stakeholder analysis for the disaster your NGO has been tasked with managing. Share a summary of your analysis in the comments and don’t be shy about learning from your peers. Guide each other, ask questions and respond to each others’ posts.

  • Are there any important stakeholders missing that you need to identify?

  • Which stakeholders do you need to engage with to better understand their level of interest or power?

  • From an accountability perspective, what would be any potential concerns at this point that you would want to highlight to your senior management?


Rapid/ODI (n.d) Stakeholder Analysis [online] available from https://www.alnap.org/system/files/content/resource/files/main/pg-stakeholder.pdf [11 December 2018]

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This article is from the free online course:

Disaster Management and Accountability

Coventry University