Needs Assessments and Analysis

A coordinated approach to the needs assessment and analysis in an emergency and to the prioritisation of the needs of affected people lays the foundation for a coherent and efficient humanitarian response. It helps improve the quality, comparability, and evidence-base for such response. Needs assessments and analysis are carried out in partnership by humanitarian actors and document the scope of a particular crisis. More importantly, coordinated assessments illustrate the needs of affected populations and informs strategic response planning and system-wide monitoring.

For protracted crises, the depth and volume of information needed for an effective response increase as the response evolves. This often translates into a requirement for in-depth cluster/sector, thematic or agency-specific assessments to inform planning and operations, which in turn necessitates a harmonized assessment approach with joint needs analysis.

Needs assessments and analysis follow the principle of humanitarian accountability and can enhance the quality of inter-agency collaboration. They can also improve donor funding levels and relationships with governments, local NGOs, and disaster-affected populations. Humanitarian Country Teams (HCTs) benefit from using coordinated assessments when responding to a disaster. 

Needs assessments and analysis provide the evidence-base for strategic planning, as well as the baseline information upon which situation and response monitoring systems will rely. It should therefore form a continuous process throughout the Humanitarian Programme Cycle (HPC).

Coordinated assessments are carried out in partnership with all humanitarian actors in order to assess the humanitarian situation and to identify the needs of the affected population. Local and national authorities, civil society and affected communities are encouraged to participate in this process, the output of which is a Humanitarian Needs Overview (HNO).

HNOs should be produced twice a year to support the Humanitarian Country Team (HCT) in developing a shared understanding of the impact and evolution of a crisis and to inform response planning. This document presents a comprehensive analysis of the overall situation and associated needs. It is structured along the analytical framework developed for the Multi-Cluster/Sector Initial Rapid Assessment (MIRA).

The HNO builds and expands upon the needs analysis chapter of the former Consolidated Appeal Process (CAP) document, consisting of a discrete step in the implementation of the programme cycle. Its development is a shared responsibility among all humanitarian actors, requiring strong collaboration between programme and information management staff as well as support from the OCHA country office and the inter-cluster coordination mechanism.

In addition to the HNO, each country will continue to produce a humanitarian dashboard to present data on needs, response monitoring, and gaps per crisis in an easily digestible format, based on the information presented in the humanitarian needs overview.

For more information visit the JIAF web page.

Below you will find a collection of key guidance and templates supporting the production of Needs Assessment-related output.

This output is designed to support the Humanitarian Country Team in developing a shared understanding of the impact and evolution of a crisis. The humanitarian needs overview helps inform strategic response planning. Most importantly, it works to ensure that credible evidence and a joint analysis of needs underpin an effective and prioritised humanitarian response.

Available in several languages, the HNO annotated template is available under the HPC Facilitation Package.

All HNOs are available here.

IASC Operational Guidance on Coordinated Assessments in Humanitarian Crises

Identifying priority needs of affected populations is the first step towards ensuring an effective and speedy humanitarian response. The Operational Guidance promotes a shared vision of how to plan and carry out coordinated assessments. Outputs from coordinated assessments support humanitarian decision-making.

Available in English, French, Russian and Spanish: Download the Guidance here.

MIRA Guidance

The MIRA Guidance outlines an approach to undertaking a joint multi-sectoral assessment in the earliest days of a crisis or change in the context. It guides subsequent in-depth sectoral assessments and provides decision-makers with timely, adequate, sufficiently accurate and reliable information to collectively identify strategic priorities. The MIRA Guidance is available in English, French, Russian and Spanish for download here. The following forms and templates are also available on the same page:

  • Summary of the MIRA Guidance
  • MIRA Report Template
  • MIRA Investigation Forms
Key Assessment Resources
Operational Guidance on Coordinated Assessments in Humanitarian Crises
MIRA Guidance (EN, RU, ES, FR)
MIRA Framework

KoboToolbox was created to be a free and accessible data collection tool for organizations in the humanitarian, development, environmental protection, peacebuilding, and human rights sectors. Kobo Toolbox is the main tool used by humanitarian organizations for primary data collection. Kobo allows users to quickly build questionnaires using a number of quantitative and qualitative question types and to collect data offline or online on mobile phones or web browsers. More information can be found here.

Useful Documents
Manual Kobo Toolbox
Kobo User Guide

DEEP is used for Secondary Data Review (SDR). It offers a suite of tools and collaborative workflows that meet the needs for compiling, storing and structuring data and qualitative information. More information can be found here.