Backbone Support & Stakeholder Actions

Stakeholder Actions

Stakeholder Actions refer to the actions that need to be taken by the individuals who join the collaboration, as well as what those individuals need to know for those actions to be effective. Given that multi-stakeholder collaboration is at the center of this methodology, it is important that the universe of stakeholders impacted by the issue being addressed are invited and represented in the work. This is so that all key actors have the opportunity to contribute to and benefit from the collaborative effort.

This does not mean they all have to be in the room or virtual meeting at the same time. It may be necessary or beneficial to engage stakeholders in different constellations to serve time zones, specific interest groups or as a way to work through conflict and with power.

Each building block needs an explicit strategy to identify, engage and ensure the meaningful participation of target groups, in particular women, smallholders, youth, indigenous peoples and other discriminated and marginalized populations.

It is important to have:

●      An understanding of who key stakeholders are

●      A good mapping and categorization of key stakeholders

●      A plan for how to best engage your stakeholders

Generally, we can think of stakeholders in four categories:

●      Government

●      Private sector (including farmers)

●      Civil Society

●     Development Partners

The composition of people involved and taking action will evolve along the journey. As we understand more, take action, learn and reflect, we adapt and our initial network of stakeholders adapts too. We will draw in others and help to orient them to the collaborative learning and co-creation so far and moving forward.

More guidance on stakeholder engagement is here.

Backbone Support

The Backbone Support is the foundation required to support the multi-stakeholder work. This primarily encompasses people and funding, but it can also include communications, event organizing, facilitation, convening and lots of coordination. At the heart, the members of the Backbone Support team are process guardians and role models of the Essential Practices (more on that coming up). They are deeply committed to the effort and process and support the learning and transformation of everyone involved. 

The Backbone Support can be provided by any organization that has the capacity and interest. It could be a UN agency, an NGO, an Academic Institution, etc. The key is to ensure they are as neutral as possible, putting the interest of the collaborative effort at the center, rather than their own interests.

What should my backbone consist of?

It is important to resource our Backbone Support teams based on the needs and desired outcomes of the engagement. For example, if we are holding a short series of dialogues, we may just need one person to facilitate the sessions and one person to manage the project. But if we are developing a more complex, multi-year platform, experience has shown us that the roles below are very important.

➔    Leadership

➔    Skilled Facilitation

➔    Project Coordination

➔    Event Organizing/Online Collaboration

➔    Communications

➔    Political Lobbying/Networking

➔    Private Sector/Stakeholder Engagement

➔    Logistics and Administration

If your collaborative effort is somewhere between a multi-year process and a series of dialogues, consider hiring a leader and contracting some of the other key roles, such as a facilitator and coordinator, on a short-term basis. A link to the Role Descriptions that can be adapted for recruitment can be found here.  

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