Challenge 2: Information
There are two things to take into account:
(i) inform all stakeholders involved before, during and after your project
(ii) establish communication channels that allow you to share information on a regular basis.
Before, during & after
In practice, many projects give limited attention to sharing information on opportunities, on the development of projects, on the progress of projects during implementation, as well as on the results of the project. While actually informing the stakeholders during all these stages can help you to overcome potential obstacles before they occur. The chance of misinforming the stakeholders, losing interest, or getting “donor-fatigue”, or of not being satisfied with the progress of the project is present. Why? This is often due to investors, beneficiaries, practitioners or supporters of projects not being fully informed during the different stages of project implementation. It can help you to save time and money, to continuously learn of the exisitng needs and interests, as well as the vast amount of knowledge and experience that might already be existing among your stakeholders.
Some types of soft information gathering are:• using questionnaires asking questions related to your intention for community development
• focus groups: talking to people in groups. This will allow for people to discuss with a small number of people on the issues you suggest. Think about who you want to invite, how you organize their attendance and when it takes place to ensure a diverse range of participants that are able to attend without too much effort.
Migration & Development Programme
AfroEuro realized, based on their previous experiences, that projects could turn out to be less successful when all involved parties were not fully informed of the projects' goals and objectives. In the past, this led to misunderstandings or led to limited engagement of stakeholders as they were not aware of their roles in the project. Therefore, the organization ensured they spend a considerable amount of time in informing all stakeholders before implementing the project. Through awareness raising activities among migrant communities in Europe, as well as through consultations and meetings in local communities in Ghana, the organization ensured that responsibilities and goals were clear to all engaged stakeholders. After these elaborate information sessions, they felt more assured of the potential of the sound implementation of the project.
Involving partners (such as local actors, migrant communities, financial institutions, etc) is one thing, but keeping partners involved throughout the process is another. Regular and continuous information flows back and forth between all actors stimulates the engagement of those involved and can avoid early termination of the project due to misunderstandings, lack of a shared understanding of goals, or lack of monitoring of finances.
Establish communication channels
To be able to share your information, it is important to make sure that your project establishes the right communication channels that are suitable to communicate with your stakeholders. If you are dealing with remotely located communities, it might not be very useful to seek contact through the Internet. However, arranging certain moments in time to receive text messages on your mobile phone with updates of the project might be more suitable. Or, if your audience is large in numbers, perhaps online tools or a website to keep people informed might work better and be more cost-effective than other channels such as printed materials.
How often do you want to exchange information with your partners?
How do you want to reach out to your partners?
How do you wish to inform your beneficiaries?
India Development Foundation for Overseas Indians
Finding the right communication channel
The Foundation aims to reach out to the all Diaspora of Indian descent. They reach out to millions of people and needed to find the most appropriate communication tool to not only inform the Indian Diaspora of the possibilities, but also to exchange information and inspiration. They have developed a website that functions as an informative tool, has a fundraising purpose, and also offers the Diaspora the opportunity to become part of their knowledge network. Through their network they actively seek out to the community to stimulate exchange of relevant knowledge and raise support for their efforts.