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New tools for assessing humanitarian needs

The Good Enough Guide to Humanitarian Needs Assessment (GEGA) has been developed by the Emergency Capacity Building (ECB) Project and the Assessment Capacities Project (ACAPS). It provides a comprehensive framework for needs assessment, accompanied by a set of practical tools.

This guide is primarily targeted at field staff tasked with carrying out assessments, specifically project staff and their managers. Senior staff needing to understand what assessments involve are a secondary audience.

Sphere for assessmentsSphere 4 Assessments has been developed by the Sphere Project and ACAPS. It is a short guide to help staff identify and implement sections of the Sphere Handbook most relevant to assessment.

It is geared to assessment teams in the field, managers implementing organisation-wide assessment strategy, and coordinators developing and implementing joint assessments.

This tool is part of the ongoing series of “Sphere 4” guides that will cover the humanitarian programming cycle including assessment, programming, monitoring and evaluation.

Copies of the guides are available on request to those interested in contributing to the piloting process (see details at the end of this article).

Both guides agree that the use of commonly agreed indicators in humanitarian needs assessment will contribute to greater coherence and coordination at the national level and in the humanitarian sector overall.

Both follow the assessment cycle from assessment preparedness through to information-sharing and learning.

The GEGA provides an overall framework and practical tools to manage the assessment cycle, while Sphere 4 Assessments provides more detailed guidance on how to ensure that standards and indicators are incorporated into the assessment process.

Both guides strive to improve the sector’s competence in making assessments and are based on best practice. The GEGA provides a practical framework for this, while Sphere 4 Assessments provides more detailed guidance in the area of standards and indicators.

Both resources are platform-neutral and will be useful for staff in any organisation, regardless of the specific assessment approach used by that organisation.

Sphere 4 Assessments complements the GEGA in three ways:

The GEGA is targeted at assessment staff with limited or no assessment experience, while Sphere 4 Assessments addresses a higher level of competence and provides targeted guidance on how to work with Sphere principles and standards.

The GEGA describes various assessment techniques and tools, while Sphere 4 Assessments provides specific content to work with in the area of standards and indicators.

Sphere 4 Assessments is relevant for in-house guidance on the use of assessment indicators, regardless of how much of the GEGA resource is incorporated into an agency assessment.

After the pilot phase, appropriate cross-referencing will be included in the final versions.

  • Would you like to pilot Sphere 4 Assessments? Please email the Sphere Project office
  • Would you like to pilot the GEGA? Please download it from the ACAPS website