The multiple roles of affected stakeholders in evaluation

Respecting human rights is ultimately about people. It is by listening to, and engaging with, people who are at risk of being impacted that we can best design and refine long-lasting solutions to prevent and address harm. Yet, when it comes to evaluating what’s working – ‘tracking’ in the language of the UN Guiding Principles – the views of affected stakeholders are often ignored altogether, or accessed simply to answer questions designed by and for others.

Stakeholder perspectives may be collected through surveys and one-off consultations or deduced from the data gathered in grievance mechanisms. These tools can be useful, but have limits. They often provide a snapshot of a single moment, rather than a view across time. They are typically used once it has been determined what should be measured, what information will help measure it, and how that information will be interpreted. The people whose lives are most affected take a backseat.

The field of participatory evaluation offers a richer perspective to bring stakeholder experiences to the fore. It helps companies move away from practices that focus on extracting data from people, towards building meaningful relationships of trust and collaboration.

“There is an untapped opportunity to explore how we move away from evaluation driven by a thirst for numbers to evaluation that puts people first; and to understand that if we start with the people directly affected, then that will ultimately lead to better data.”

Jana Mudronova, Shift Advisor
What we are doing in this area of work

We are developing a handful of short guidance notes supported by case studies that show what the inclusion of stakeholders’ voices in evaluation can look like in practice. We aim to inspire companies and their partners to integrate stakeholders more consistently, directly and creatively into their evaluation of human rights processes and initiatives. Our work will:

  • Cover a spectrum of methodologies for integrating stakeholder voices into evaluation that already exist and can be built upon.
  • Show how stakeholder-centered evaluation can complement – rather than replace – other data collecting activities, such as audits, to address information gaps and enable more accurate data interpretation.

Latest Resources

Research and Outputs on Stakeholder Voice
2 Resources
July 2019 | Concept Note

Stakeholder Voice: Learning from Affected Stakeholders to Better Evaluate Program Effectiveness and Outcomes

An increasing number of companies, investors and civil society organisations have expressed the need to better evaluate the effectiveness of company efforts to mitigate adverse human rights impacts in terms of outcomes for affected stakeholders. This paper focuses on ways to involve “stakeholder voice” in that evaluation, by which we mean the experiences, perspectives and […]

December 2018 | Thought Leadership

Engaging Affected Stakeholders: Evaluating the Quality of Processes for Company-Community Engagement

In this paper, Shift Advisor Lloyd Lipsett describes the best questions to ask and the best practices to use when evaluating your company’s engagement with affected stakeholders.

About the Valuing Respect Project