Thematic Areas

Reflection-Action Lenses

AoA - Actor & institution analysis

AoA - Actor & institution analysis

Actors and institutions analysis involves identifying the actors and institutions that are friends/enemies/neutral/not to be trusted, and analysing the reasons for their action or quietness.

Participatory tools for actors and institutions analysis

  • Chapatti diagramA chapatti diagram can be used to map the relationships between different actors and institutions and their relative power.
  • Forcefield analysisForcefield analysis can be used to map actors, institutions and other factors that might help or hinder you in your work or in your progress towards a goal.
  • Gatekeeper toolA Gatekeeper tool can be used to identify actors and institutions who can help you access powerful people who you want to contact or negotiate with in connection with your advocacy or campaigning work, for example.

Some key questions for actors and institutions analysis

  • Which actors and institutions are:
    • friends of people living in poverty/excluded groups?
    • enemies?
    • neutral?
    • potential allies for specific objectives?
  • What are the interests, agendas and mandates of these actors and institutions?
  • Which institutions and actors are duty bearers or have the power to advance respect for key rights? How are they connected from local to national and international levels? What have they done to date? What more could they do and what blocks them from doing more? How might we influence them?
  • Are there differences within these institutions – progressive and regressive voices or forces – and can we exploit these to good effect?
  • Are these institutions transparent – can we and others access information about them and their budgets, for example? What information do we need to advance the struggle for rights?
  • What organisations are our allies in the struggle for rights and what support can they bring?
  • What institutions and actors will actively seek to block change and what can be done to neutralise them?



Here you can download some resources

Tools in this toolbox

Balloons and stones

To help identify factors that might help or hinder you in your work or in your progress towards a goal. The stones represent thin…

Chapatti diagram

To explore relationships between things – particularly the relative importance, influence or power of people, organisations or gr…

Chapatti diagram - spaces of power

To explore power relationships between organisations and people, focusing on spaces of power (closed, invited, created).The chapa…

Citizens' budget

To share information about a budget in a clear and simple way. Budgets reports are often very long and written in complicated tec…

Community power map

To map spaces of power in a clear, visual way and presenting local information, problems and opportunities. A community map can b…

Forcefield analysis

To identify helpers and spoilers – people, organisations or events that might help or hinder your work. For a similar tool, adapt…

Gatekeeper tool

To identify people who can help you access duty bearers relevant to your advocacy or campaigning work.The processDraw up a table …

Helping relationship spiderweb

To explore the web of people and organisations that can support a person in a difficult situation and to identify what makes a he…

Income and expenditure calendar

To analyse income and expenditure over the year of an individual, household or organisation.Steps in the processIn this example w…

Income and expenditure pie chart

To analyse the relative allocation of an individual or organisation's income on different categories of expenditure. It is a part…

Income and expenditure tree

To analyse income and expenditure of an individual, household or organisation.Steps in the processIn this example we look at hous…


To present local information, problems and opportunities in a clear, visual way. A basic map of a local area can be overlaid with…

Monitoring Matrix of Information Access

This tool was developed to support civil society organizations, citizens and civil servants in evaluating the performance of loca…

Pillars of power

Use pillars of power analysis tool to identify the institutions without whose support your target would collapse. It helps you st…

Spectrum of allies

Movements seldom win by overpowering the opposition; they win by shifting support out from under it. Use a spectrum-of-allies ana…


To track changes or document the history of a community or organisation.By capturing the chronology of events as perceived and …