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Ensure the needs of local stakeholders are addressed during project implementation


Ensure the needs of local stakeholders are addressed during project implementation

Ensure the needs of local stakeholders are addressed during project implementation

Posted on August 13, 2019 by Karina de Souza

Authoring Organizations: Pacific Institute
Consulting Organizations: 2030 Water Resources Group
Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ)
Universal: No
Applicable Phases: Prepare
Last Updated May 26, 2024


To create local ownership of projects or partnerships, understand the needs of related stakeholders and beneficiaries. Beneficiaries might include local businesses, communities living near the project, local or national government, and indirectly all stakeholders whose livelihoods depend on the outcome of the project work. Their needs and opinions should be considered when preparing a partnership and resulting projects.


Basing a project design on multiple perspectives may take longer, but this approach fosters ownership of the project work by the local stakeholders. These stakeholders are often the key to maintaining the project work, and can be a valuable resource when planning for long-term project sustainability.


  • First, conduct a scoping exercise to identify the local stakeholders and beneficiaries and their possible interest in the project or partnership.
  • One-on-one meetings are often a useful way to initiate stakeholder engagement. These meetings help the project team understand the nuances of each stakeholder’s perspective, rather than make assumptions.
  • Hold a joint design workshop to discuss the needs of all stakeholders so the resulting solution can represent their needs and behaviours. The workshop provides an opportunity to address necessary compromises and trade-offs before the project begins.


The Protecting Lake Hawassa (PLH) partnership in Ethiopia is working on a solid waste management project to tackle the growing water quality issues linked to illegal dumping in effluent drainage channels. The beneficiaries of the project include fisheries, hotels, tour guide workers, residents in the vicinity of the channel and inlets, and indirectly all stakeholders whose livelihoods depend on the lake water quality. The Protecting Lake Hawassa (PLH) partnership undertook a joint design workshop to discuss what the beneficiaries needed from the lake, as well as the ways each beneficiary affected the lake.

As a result of this workshop, the partnership decided on a combination of measures to address water quality issues including improving the existing pollution prevention infrastructure, strengthening solid waste management services, and promoting good habits within the local community to prevent pollution. The measures focus on the areas of the city where urban effluent is discharged into the lake. These areas include channels and inlets to the lake equipped with trash and sediment traps as well as constructed wetland treatment structures. In addition to the operation and oversight of new infrastructure and services, the beneficiaries will be engaged through a competition incentivizing community groups to keep the channels clean and to beautify streets by planting trees and flowers. The multi-perspective design allows all beneficiaries to get involved in a way that personally motivates them, and the water stewardship project benefits as a result.

Projects that have validated this Lesson

Protecting Lake Hawassa is a broad and inclusive multi-stakeholder collaboration platform established in 2017, currently facilitated by the NatuReS programme, to improve water security for people, business and the environment in Hawassa, its lake and sub-catchment area. The partnership brings … Learn More

This lesson learned reflects the beliefs and experiences of the author, not necessarily the Pacific Institute, CEO Water Mandate, or UN Global Compact.