Since such large amounts of money and effort are being devoted to collecting data from health facilities, communities and populations, maximizing the impact of that data for real-world benefit is essential. This is where the Stakeholder Engagement tool is so valuable.
Data is only valuable if it is seen as relevant and useful by prospective users. When data is seen as useful, it is more likely to be ‘owned’ by those who need it to inform decision making.
For data ownership to be built, the appropriate set of stakeholders needs to be identified and involved when proposing, designing, implementing, and reporting on research and monitoring and evaluation (M&E) initiatives.
- Who needs to use the data, and what questions are they seeking to answer?
- Who has influence and resources that can be brought to bear to aid this project?
- Who will be directly or indirectly affected by the outcome of this initiative?
- Who will support our plan? Who will oppose it? Why? How do we deal with it?
- What each of these individuals contribute to the process?
Effective stakeholder analysis answers these questions in a way that significantly improves a project’s design and outcomes.