Note: Keep the power analysis light - 'good enough' to ensure effectiveness and efficient investment of resources. More scoping is required once you have established your main change objectives and who the specific targets of your influencing work are, for example to investigate their views and position on the issue in more detail
Alliances: Effective alliances may be ‘horizontal’, bringing together similar organizations such as peasant producers or women’s savings groups, but often Oxfam can play a particular role in convening (and building trust within) ‘vertical’ alliances of non-usual suspects, bringing together civil society organizations with private sector companies, urban groups, middle class philanthropists, sympathetic state bodies or faith-based organizations. Pivotal moments: Change is sometimes a smooth, steady process, but often emerges from ‘critical junctures’ – windows of opportunity provided by elections, changes in leadership, natural disasters or conflicts. Oxfam’s theory of change stresses the need to improve its ability to identify and respond to such moments. Nor is change always peaceful – it is often accompanied by social conflict. Improving our understanding of the turbulent and complex dynamics of change in the lives of poor people is at the heart of Oxfam's strategic plan. Note: remind participants that their informal networks are as important as their formal ones. It’s important to network externally and make the most of opportunities to influence people. This is particularly important when doing a power mapping exercise as people often forget to make the most of their personal networks, who they know that my well have contact with or influence over important stakeholders.
Visible power Power is most commonly associated with the state and formal political Institutions. Laws and legal processes create a formal system for the exercise of this power. Most advocacy by CSOs is directed at this formal or visible type of power. Advocacy is seen as a way to use existing power structures to persuade those with power to make changes to legislation, policies or the allocation of resources. Invisible power Values, beliefs and attitudes, and cultural norms and practices, all reinforce the status quo and can cause people to accept their powerlessness and even blame themselves for it, or fail to see that their situation could be different. For example, despite being against the law, the practice of dowry (the payment in cash or/and kind by the bride’s family to the bridegroom’s family) is still widespread in parts of South Asia. Laws (in the formal arena of power) prohibiting the practice have not brought about the change required in practice. Laws are not enforced both because powerful groups with ‘hidden’ power do not see it as an important issue or in their interests to enforce the law, and because strong social norms mean most women themselves may accept the practice. Hidden power Un-elected and un-accountable groups and institutions can also be powerful, such as big corporations. These groups have hidden or informal power to influence the formal decision-making processes and can determine what gets discussed, who sits around the table, and even what is decided. This often results in the concerns of less powerful groups being excluded. Increasingly CSO advocacy has targeted those who try to influence decision makers, such as corporate lobby groups. More fundamentally, some advocacy is aimed at exposing these hidden processes and opening up decision making processes so that those who have been excluded can have a voice.
Targets need to be specific Limited number of fronts on which your organisation or you can work. Refer to named individuals rather than simply institutions
One element it doesn’t look at fully is the relationship between targets – ‘who influences who’ So actively think about that. If you’re a visual person you can capture some of that thinking by drawing a power map (next slide)
This explores the relationship between targets – ‘who influences who’. Ask participants to spot the error. Answer: IMF has not been broken down to specific individuals within it! Ask them to remind you why that’s a problem i.e. IMF is a large institution – there may be allies and opponents within it so don’t treat it as ‘a blob’.
Calp 3 Power Analysis Webinar Presentation
POW ANALYSIS &
• Re-cap on HCH, power and context analysis
• Gender & Power
• Power mapping
Top tips on doing
Models CALP participants have used. What’s
worked? What’s been challenging?
• Introduce institutional & process mapping
Re-cap context/power analysis/HCH
• Putting power at the centre of our thinking: political
power, economic, psychological, religious and cultural
and who & what drives change
• Transformative change – i.e. sustainable changes in
power relationships in the lives of poor people
• Achieving change involves using power and affecting
power relations and putting power at the centre of all our
When do you analyse your context?
• At the beginning to ensure your programme:
- takes account of the external context
- establishes why change is necessary and what that change
should be (your ToC)
• Once you have established your main change
objectives and who the specific targets of your
influencing work are – go deeper
• Be alert to changes in the external environment
throughout your influencing work
When analysing the external context it is
• Grapple with complexity
• Deepen our understanding of power, power
• Understand the interaction between political and
economic processes and the trends in distribution of
power and wealth – (see political economy analysis)
• Work out your theory or theories of change in order to
decide HOW to go about your programmes and WHO to
• What are the important local and national changes
happening in your context?
• What are the main obstacles (attitudes and beliefs,
institutions, economic or political players) to change?
• Which of these changes are most relevant (whether
positive or negative) for poor and excluded people?
Understanding power is
fundamental if you are to
understand how change happens.
What is it?
Who has it?
How it is exercised?
Dimensions of Power - Is decisionmaking?
•Hidden – e.g.
operates behind the
•Invisible - based on
ideology or beliefs.
Who decides what’s
•Made in closed groups
(formal or informal)
•With invited parties
•Created (e.g. when
less powerful actors set
up own structures and
set own agendas)
And made at what level – household,
local, national, global
What is a 'power analysis map’? Why do one?
• Understand the networks and relationships between
people and institutions – who has the direct power to
deliver the change you want, who can influence them?
• Who makes decisions concerning your objective?
• How are these decisions made?
• Who can influence the decision making process and
those with the power to bring about the change you
• Allies and opponents? What are their interests?
• Make your stakeholders specific to your objective i.e.
‘targeted’ & ‘prioritised’
• Your analysis of an institution needs to be subdivided in
to named individuals so
a) you can be specific and
b) there may be allies/champions, opponents/blockers,
floaters or targets within one institution
• Think about how power can shift and change
Power Mapping cont.
• More than way to cut a cake!
• So a few different tools to establish:
- the stakeholders for your advocacy objective(s)
- their degree of power to deliver the change you want
- who has influence over who.
Power Power mapping grid
Institutional or Political Economy
Analysis and Process Mapping
Analysing policy and decision-making processes
Underlying processes of decision making, and how policy is
developed and decided on
The technical processes e.g. how budgets processes or service
The less tangible issues of social exclusion, gender relations
and historical legacy in decision-making
National and sub-national relationships
Laws and regulations
Ideology and cultural/religious values that effect decisionmaking
• The formal and informal ‘rules of the game’ and how they
are embedded in organisations and processes
• Some institutions will need to be ‘taken as given’, and
therefore understood better so can work with or around
• Some can be changed – and therefore you need to
understand them in order to work out how
• Help illustrate the network of flows of decision making,
resources or information
• Help identify bottlenecks and constraints
• Help analyse opportunities for changing processes to
make them more efficient or effective
• Help us work out how formal and informal institutions
• how things are intended to work
• how they actually work
An example: small scale mining licensing procedure
Organisational mapping of the budget process for urban
sanitation in Senegal
DFID’s Political Economy Analysis: How To Note
Power analysis & power mapping as part of
your programme’s advocacy and campaigning
Put it at the core of any successful campaign strategy development.
Dispel the myth—power analysis is not the same as power
Integrate it at all the stages of strategy development
Analysis happens within the media – so be on top of it!
Ideally all members of the team should be part of power analysis
(programme officers/managers, communications staff,
advocacy/campaigns staff, MEL)
“Share the love” of power analysis (allies, partners, experts).
High maintenance: constantly update and review
Don’t hesitate to block initiatives that are not based on rigorous
Don’t overdo it – rigorous but light!