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Step 4 - Roles of the Facilitator

In most cases participatory market mapping is a temporary and catalytic process. By the end of the roadmap process these facilitated events should have been replaced by more permanent, actor-led spaces for their continued coordination and cooperation. Whether this happens or not depends on the value the market actors feel they derive from the events, which in turn depends on how well they are facilitated. Experience has shown that the role the facilitators play in these participatory events is critical to the success of the process, in particular in the following 4 main areas highlighted in Figure 2, below.

Figure 2 Roles of the facilitator in participatory market mapping

Creating the space

  • Convene market actors
  • Interpret positions
  • Democratise the space

Managing the Energy

  • Manage expectations
  • Celebrate small achievements
  • Realise potential
  Facilitator Roles during Participatory Market Mapping  

Channel the Process

  • Monitor progress
  • Plan strategic exercises
  • Respond flexibly

Moderate Conflicts

  • Mediate tempers
  • Uncover interests
  • Encourage constructive dialogue

  • Creating the space +

    The first role of the facilitators is to bring the market actors together and create a space where they can effectively interact and discuss their market system, carrying out the following:

    Convene Market Actors: Facilitators need to bring together all the required market actors, including the marginalised and women, and ensure they have a productive and valuable workshop session so they are encouraged to attend subsequent workshops. The interest and demand among market actors for further events will depend a lot on the progress made of the previous events, as well as the ‘hooks’ and effective communication of the value of future events to the actors.

    Encourage Sharing: At the first event it is common for market actors to be quite reserved in the way that they talk to each other, not revealing their real needs and interests and instead making statements designed to protect their existing positions. Facilitators need to help the market actors feel safe and trusting so they can open up, revealing information about their market operations for the benefit of others.

    Democratise the Space: Market actors have different levels of confidence and enjoy different positions of power within the market system. Facilitators have a critical role in creating the space for the market actors to interact in a democratic way, so they all have the same opportunities to have their concerns and interests discussed. This is particularly important for ensuring gender equality and representation of the marginalised. Appropriate communication techniques need to be used, which are sensitive to the levels of education, cultural background and disabilities, as follows:

    • Know the Participants: Carry out quick checks of the event attendees to ensure the communication methods cater to the languages the participants are most comfortable working in, their level of education (literacy and numeracy skills) and if any of them have disabilities (physical, mental, psychological).
    • Avoid Jargon: Although the roadmap uses some technical terms, when facilitating the workshop, make sure the language is appropriate to the participants, avoiding jargon and complicated terms.
    • Be Creative: Speaking and writing are only two forms of communication, so use other media, such as pictures, photos and role play to facilitate communication within the actors, as well as developing the market mapping framework.
  • Manage the flow +

    The second role of the facilitator is to carefully manage the flow between the market actors to encourage a positive, pro-active mentality and a tangible commitment to take action, as follows:

    Manage Expectations: Especially at the beginning of the process, market actors may have unrealistic expectations about what is involved, in particular that they can benefit from the process without having to pro-actively engage, such as receiving grants or subsidies. Even when they understand the process, they may have unrealistic expectations about how quickly they will benefit. The facilitator needs to carefully manage the expectations of the market actors so that they understand the value of the process, but realize it will take time and work.

    Celebrate Small Achievements: As progress can be slow leading to low motivation and interest from some market actors, facilitators need to identify and help the actors celebrate small achievements. This helps build their belief that the process will provide real and lasting benefits for them all if they continue to commit.

    Realise Potential: As the interactions between the market actors increase, leading to increased levels of trust, facilitators need to help the market actors convert this into concrete commitments to action plans to overcome the energy system barriers.

  • Guiding the process +

    The third role of facilitators is to guide the participatory market mapping process in the direction of its objectives, as follows:

    Monitor Progress: Information about how the events are progressing is very important in helping the facilitators plan subsequent events. This is so that they build on any momentum, learn from mistakes and strategically steer the process towards tangible market development impacts. The outcomes of each workshop, verbal reports on other complementary activities being facilitated, and new knowledge about changing market conditions are all critical areas facilitators need to be actively monitoring.

    Plan Strategic Exercises: Exercises during events can be useful tools for increasing interaction between market actors in targeted ways. Facilitators need to carefully plan well-chosen exercises that can generate constructive dialogue appropriate to the particular participatory event milestone, such as increasing input from women actors.

    Respond Flexibly: There is a very important balance between planning strategically and responding to opportunities. Facilitators need to steer the participatory process following a carefully planned structure, but allowing some flexibility in the event timetable to respond to the interests and concerns of the market actors as they emerge.

  • Moderating conflict +

    The fourth role of the facilitators is to moderate conflict and where possible diffuse existing tensions between market actors, as follows:

    Mediate Tempers: When some market actors are brought together within participatory events they may end up conflicting with each other if underlying feelings of resentment and blame are released. The facilitators need to be aware of these potential conflicts and mediate as required, such as addressing the tempers of actors on particular issues. This helps draw out information about the market barriers, including an understanding of how the market actors can better overcome them by working together, through win-win opportunities rather than working against each other.

    Uncover Interests: In conflicts and arguments market actors tend to stand by their positions, based on their fundamental needs and core interests. Facilitators need to help market actors uncover each other’s underlying interests so that they can be discussed and common ground can be identified for market actors to work together more productively in the future.

    Encourage Constructive Dialogue: When facilitators are faced with conflict, they need to be able to react on their feet responding sensitively to the unique circumstances they face. Facilitators need to be able to stabilise high-tension situations by encouraging market actors to engage in constructive dialogue on potential solutions rather than pointless venting of emotions.

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