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  • Arent van Wassenaer

Early Stakeholder Engagement / Early Impact Assessment / Early Project Assessment


Often, impact projects are being structured through the connect between "money" (investors, multilateral development banks, IFIs) and market based solutions: dredging companies and/or terminal operators will submit unsolicited proposals for maritime facilities, contractors and road operators for new infrastructure projects, pharmaceutical companies (sometimes) for medicine distribution projects.

Such projects may, indeed, contribute to solving certain issues in a specific region. And, such projects may indeed have a positive impact on some of the SDGs.

However, if one would have taken a more holistic view at a specific region, it might very well have been that a different shaped project, or a different shaped programme of projects, eventually would have had a much more positive impact on a larger number of SDGs in the same region.

Take a look at the website of the Famine Early Warning System. Through this system it is possible to, in an early stage, identify regions where famine is to be expected as a result of weather conditions (rainfall resulting in flooding or drought), conflict, macroeconomic condtions, availability of seed, import restrictions on fertiliser. Erosion may result in changes in micro climatic conditions. No doubt that, apart from severe crisis or famine, this may cause additional health issues.

Supposed such data could be used to bring together major stakeholder groups to, together, identify the interests at stake. If such interests could be joined into a number of common objectives, if the "cake" could be enlarged, then a number of business cases could be developed which, indeed, would foster economic growth through better water management, better agricultural results, value creating infrastructure projects, etc.

Grow Africa is an initiative, founded jointly by the African Union (AU), The New Partnership for Africa\'s Development (NEPAD) and the World Economic Forum in 2011. According to its website it works to increase private sector investment in agriculture, and accelerate the execution and impact of investment commitments. The aim is to enable countries to realise the potential of the agriculture sector for economic growth and job creation, particularly among farmers, women and youth.

For projects, such as those developed under the Grow Africa initiative, it is essential to engage stakeholders in a very early stage. To, again in a very early stage assess the impact projects can make, to develop business cases which in many respects make sense. In other words: to shape potential projects "early". Techniques such as "scrum", "accelerated workshops" and simulation training and gaming may assist in an early assessment of the validity of such jointly developed proposals.

There is a parallel with the development of CAPEX-projects by big industrials: out of every 20 projects they envisage, an average of just one will, eventually, be brought into operation. The same sort of percentage no doubt will hold for impact projects. Who will invest in these early development costs?

There is capital in abundance. It is the lack of projects which is the big challenge. It is the aim of The Faithful Goose to assist in Early Stakeholder Engagement, Early Impact Assessment and Early Project Assessment. To assist in bringing together the right stakeholders such to further the development of real projects with impact.


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