Syndicate content

If you know what stakeholders really think, can you engage more effectively?

Svetlana Markova's picture

The World Bank Group surveys its stakeholders from country governments, development organizations, civil society, private sector, academia, and media in all client countries across the globe. Building a dialogue with national governments and non-state partners based of the data received directly from them is an effective way to engage stakeholders in discussions in any development area at any possible level.

Let's take the education sector as an example to see how Country Survey data might influence the engagement that the Bank Group has on this highly prioritized area of work.

When Country Surveys ask what respondents identify as the greatest development priority in their country, overall, education is perceived as a top priority (31%, N=263) in India.1 However, in a large country, stakeholder opinions across geographic locations may differ, and the Country Survey data can be 'sliced and diced' to provide insight into stakeholders' opinions based on their geography, gender, level of collaboration with the Bank Group, etc. In India the data analyzed at the state level shows significant differences in stakeholder perceptions of the importance of education. The survey results can be used as a basis for further in-depth analyses of client's needs in education in different states and, therefore, lead to more targeted engagement on the ground. In the case of the India Country Survey, the Ns at the geographical level may be too small to reach specific conclusions, but this example illustrates the possibility for targeted analysis.

Country Surveys offer more granular analyses of specific themes in the education sector. Early childhood development is considered a very important development priority by a vast majority of stakeholders (78%, N=632) in Vietnam.2 While support across most stakeholder groups is very strong, development partners think differently. When building a dialogue around early childhood development, it would be worth tapping into civil society as third-party ambassadors, while considering very targeted strategies for reaching out to the donor community. As Country Surveys gather data from a limited circle of development specialists in countries, further qualitative research is recommended to supplement the survey results.


County Surveys collect data from diverse respondent groups, ranging from government clients who work directly with the World Bank to non-state actors who only observe the World Bank's work, participate in its events, or use its reports and data. Disaggregating data by those who collaborate with the Bank Group and those who do not, provides greater understanding of the clients' focus which can then allow for better use of engagement resources. While in the aggregate, a plurality of Mongolian stakeholders rate education as a top focus area for the World Bank (32%, N=357), those who say they professionally collaborate with the Bank Group want a different sort of emphasis.3 Understanding these caveats is important for addressing clients' needs, channeling resources in the right direction, and developing productive partnerships in the country.


Assessing the World Bank's mission to end poverty in the country, Cambodian stakeholders say that education is a top driver for poverty reduction (38%, N=156).4 However, the data broken by gender suggest that education is significantly more important for women in the development context. This kind of knowledge would inform large outreach campaigns, shaping messages for broader audiences.


Another useful set of data for stakeholder engagement strategies would be comparing opinions of experts from different development fields. Overall, a third of stakeholders in Nepal believe that shared prosperity would be achieved through education and training that better ensure job opportunity (33%, N=324).5 The data disaggregated by stakeholder specialization shows that several sectoral groups, not surprisingly including education experts, strongly support this idea, while other expert groups may visualize shared prosperity through different lenses and, therefore, need to be approached with different messages.


The Country Survey data can be used in multiple ways to inform strategic stakeholder engagements. Disaggregating the data based on stakeholder types is critically important for crafting targeted messages and outreach campaigns. However, one has to keep in mind that the Country Surveys are just one data source for country teams. Complementing the regular consultations that take place on the ground, the Country Survey data can help teams track perceptions and identify red flags that might not emerge from other conversations, discussions and evaluations.

Country Surveys also provide trending data, monitoring stakeholder opinions on a regular basis in all World Bank Group client countries and comparing data across years. Read about the trending data in the next Country Surveys blog.

Add new comment