GIZ: Economics of Land Degradation Initiative’s new Massive Open Online Course

The Economics of Land Degradation (ELD) Initiative is launching a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) on ‘Options and pathways for action: Stakeholder Engagement’, hosted by Global Campus 21®. This 8 week course begins on May 5th and lasts until June 29th. It is entirely free of charge, and open to any interested party.


In continuing to support the ELD Initiative capacity-building endeavours, a second ELD MOOC is being offered by the Initiative. Building off the 2014 ELD MOOC, which focused on performing cost-benefit analyses to promote sustainable land management, the 2015 ELD MOOC addresses the importance of working with relevant stakeholders to implement sustainable land management choices effectively and sustainably.

The course introduces approaches to identify options and pathways for action, methods to identify stakeholders, and how to establish a basis for initiating engagement and discussion. At the end of the course, participants will develop their own stakeholder engagement plan. This MOOC will help participants understand how to effectively engage with stakeholders, and address and remove barriers to the successful adoption of sustainable land management. It draws from a range of publications, guidelines, examples, and case studies (inclusive of both successes and failures in order to identify best practices), selected under the guidance of experts of the ELD Initiative.

Learning Goals

  • Describe examples of possible options and pathways for the adoption of sustainable land management;
  • Clarify the objectives of stakeholder engagement;
  • Identify the main stakeholders involved in land management;
  • Undertake a stakeholder analysis;
  • Identify most appropriate stakeholder engagement instruments in specific cases;
  • Prepare material for engagement and discussion with stakeholders;
  • Critically assess conditions and skills required for successful stakeholder engagement, and;
  • Develop a stakeholder engagement plan

Elements and Characteristic

The MOOC is a web-based intensive course with flexible participation, live webinars, offline reading material, an online forum, and moderated live expert feedback. It is offered on the GIZ „Global Campus 21“ platform, with all learning materials and documents available for offline work.

The total course duration is 8 weeks (May 5 – June 29, 2015), with a minimum of 3-4 hours a week for reading course materials and collaborative online work. At the end of the course, participants are required to submit a stakeholder engagement plan that will be used to evaluate their progress and capacity to apply their knowledge and skills for successful stakeholder engagement.

Live webinars featuring expert speakers are held every Wednesday during the duration of the course, at 1500h CET (UTC/GMT + 1 hour). Those who wish to participate in the live webinars are advised to keep in mind the difference in time zones. They will be held in English, and recordings will be made available in English and if possible, in Spanish and French. Participants receive an ELD-badge upon successful completion, provided he/she has actively and collaboratively participated in the course. Certificates for participants who have successfully completed the course requirements will be issued by the United Nations University Institute for Water, Environment and Health (UNU-INWEH). Similar to the 2014 ELD MOOC, selected content produced by ELD MOOC participants will be included in a 2015 ELD MOOC Practitioner’s Guide, published by the ELD Initiative.

Assignment layout

Participants are expected to develop a stakeholder engagement plan. The plan should detail which stakeholders will be contacted (who), a timetable for engagement (when), the engagement approach (how), the level of engagement (how much), and also include an analysis of the conditions and skills required for the successful engagement of each stakeholder. The plan should include indicators of successful engagement to facilitate monitoring and evaluation of the plan once implemented. Submitted stakeholder engagement plans will be assessed by a team of teaching professionals and ELD Initiative experts, and is part of the requirement for course certification.

Target Group

There are no participant prerequisites beyond interest in the topic. Participants can be located anywhere, work in any sector, and have any background. The previous ELD MOOC brought together decision-makers, managers, supervisors, seniors as well as education and research professionals from international organizations, governments, private sector, NGOs, etc.

More information

Source: Information by GIZ from 16.03.2015