Awareness of stakeholders is an admonishment to remember that your audience for the intervention is not limited to your target population. Again, referencing a program to end child hunger, we are not just concerned about the kids. Even if we focus on a problem that directly engages the children, we must include aspects of that child’s community. This is especially true with minors. Parents are going to be important in those cases. Their extended families are probably going to be important because you often have multiple caregiving, guardian, and family structures to consider. Schools are a potential intervention staging forum and delivery systems in addition to the place where we disseminate information. Also, consider the community organizations the children may encounter like afterschool program, extracurriculars like taekwondo or dance class, churches, and community lunch programs or summer food programs. These are stakeholders in the process. They are also potential entry points for our intervention. If we have relationships with them or desire relationships to make our program work, they should be listed in the assumption’s column.
Those entities listed prior are at the level of program operation. They touch the child directly. Other stakeholders may not engage with the children daily or at all, but they are also important to the program implementation. For example, funders and governing bodies are important to consider. Governing can be local like the school board or parent association. It can be neighborhood like a neighbor’s association or park committee. It can be state like the state department of education or USDA-affiliated farmer’s market. It can also be federal like family nutrition programs or child health insurance programs.
The task is to compile relationships, goodwill, data, informal commitments, and other value in the assumption’s column connecting all available stakeholders to the intervention. The intent is to set the stage for the intervention by creating the baseline of the need, but also the community’s functioning in a way. How you would describe that community as it stands right now? When we begin our conversations about outcomes and begin reporting the impact of the program, we are going to compare directly to what we found or what we assumed in our assumptions. We want to show with evidence that we’ve made a difference.