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close this bookEmergency Management (United Nations Children's Fund, 390 p.)
close this folderWorkshop Session
View the documentSession 0: Opening Session
View the documentSession 1: Course Introduction*
View the documentSession 2: Perceptions of Emergencies
View the documentSession 3: Simulation*
View the documentSession 4: Principles of Emergency Management
View the documentSession 5: Early Warning & Pre-Disaster Planning
View the documentSession 6: Assessment
View the documentSession 7: Programme Planning
View the documentSession 8: Water & Sanitation
View the documentSession 9: Health
View the documentSession 10: Food and Nutrition
View the documentSession 11: Media Relations
View the documentSession 12: Supply and Logistics
View the documentSession 13: Children in Especially Difficult Circumstances
View the documentSession 14: International Relief System
View the documentSession 15: Funding
View the documentSession 16: Key Operating Procedures
View the documentSession 17: Applications of Emergency Manual and Handbook
View the documentSession 18: Training of Trainers

Session 6: Assessment

Learning Objectives

1) Be familiar with links between ongoing monitoring and emergency assessments, be able to identify thresholds and mechanisms which precipitate assessments.

2) Be able to focus on assessing needs which lead to UNICEF interventions.

3) Be able to compile consistent information to ensure programme credibility and facilitate effective planning, implementation and fundraising.

4) Be able to identify different types of needs assessment recognizing the interative process (monitoring and evaluation).

5) Be able to identify appropriate, timely and focussed methods, tools and work teams for assessment. (Be familiar with suggested formats in handbook as starting point).

6) Know how to communicate assessment information appropriately.

Learning Points

1) Why do assessment:

a) To determine where endangered people are
b) To determine victims needs
c) To help set priorities for action
d) To gather data for programme planning

2) Types of assessment

a) Situation assessment or initial reconnaissance
b) Needs assessment
c) Sectorial assessment
d) Resources assessment: what is available and what needs to be imported
e) Epidemiological surveillance

3) Keys to successful assessment

a) Identify the users

b) Define the information you need for a specific type of response

c) Decide on format that will make the information usable

d) Collect information at the right time (e.g. needs cannot be determined in the immediate aftermath of a cataclysmic disaster)

e) Use standardized classification of information (use recognized international reporting procedures).

4) Key indicators for preliminary assessments: number of affected persons in the population - morbidity/mortality: number of children and women; main risks.

5) Take of stock lessons learned from previous assessments of emergencies, where best information came from, methods of identifying felt needs of victims themselves.

6) Know that international, interagency assessment teams are there mainly for credibility and fundraising not for detailed planning and they don't stay around to implement.

7) Know who should participate in which type of assessment (e.g., ministries, agencies, consultants).

8) Describe concept of resource inventory and that UNICEF is there to ensure that gaps are filled not necessarily by UNICEF but by appropriate entity.

9) Techniques for extrapolating sectoral needs.

10) Techniques for nutritional surveillance and screening and the difference between that and nutritional monitoring. Know its weaknesses and that it is not an early warning tool.

11) Link the concept of assessment with UNICEF's situation analysis - i.e., the importance of base-line data, demographic, nutritional and epidemiological.

12) The importance of having the implementing party take part in the assessment from the beginning so they understand needs and plan realistically.

13) General background on other types of assessment to use results in planning UNICEF response, crop assessment, shelter damage, infrastructure damage and population displacement.

14) Deal with the judgment issues - where info gathering is important but emergencies imply decision-making based on limited information -therefore, be able to weigh the cost in lives and/or money of waiting for detailed information. Different types of emergencies have different time parameters.

Possible Learning Methods

- Lecture with selected use of Cuny materials - outline from Bangkok.

- Group Exercise

As a UNICEF programme officer you were asked to participate in a multi-sector "Rapid Needs Assessment" of an emergency situation caused by a civil conflict resulting in internal displacement of a segment of the population. Your responsibility is to assess the needs of children and women in a) Health; b) Water; c) Nutrition and d) Shelter.

1. What types of information will you seek in each sector in order to assess needs at this stage of "initial assessment" as distinct from that which you would seek when doing a "thorough assessment.

2. How and where would you obtain the information for each sector.

3. What format would you use to present your information to make it usable and easily understood, and which channels would you use to communicate above information to users.

- Divide participants into four groups and ask each group to assess needs in one sector.
- Reconvene in a plenary session and discuss group reports on their assignments.

Required Reading

- UNICEF, "Assisting in Emergencies", Chapter 4 (Part 3), Chapters 8-14. Annex 1.

Supplementary Reading

- DMC, Disaster Assessment, Chapters 3, 10, 12

Speakers' Preparation Aids

- Outline of Fred Cuny's lecture in the Bangkok workshop


Speaker’s Aid

TITLE: Assessment
AUTHOR: Fredrick Cuny




1. Initial Assessments

a. Made by visiting the disaster area, talking to the victims, monitoring indicators and identifying problems

b. Provides the first firm data on the location of the victims, and what are their needs and priorities

c. From the basis of setting action priorities and gives the initial hard data for subsequent monitoring.

2. Assessment Focus - will depend on the interests of the organization and the type of emergency

a. To obtain a general impression: "do we have an emergency situation?"

b. Needs assessment: long term or short term

c. Sectoral assessment: by health or housing

d. Resource assessment: to collect information of in-country resources

e. Epidemiological assessment: concerned with threats to health - not usually needed after catacylsmic disasters, but essential after long term disasters.

3. Steps in Making an Assessment

a. Planning: preparing checklists, forms, etc., and planning the field trip.
b. Field Trip: complete checklists, etc. and assess indicators
c. Interpretative: look for patterns, analyze data, and make personal interpretations
d. Forecasting: extrapolate
e. Reporting and disseminating - aim at wide distribution and feedback

4. Key to Successful Techniques

a. Identify the user of the assessment: decide what information is needed by that user
b. Timing: not too early, not too late, depending on type of data wanted
c. Use recognized definitions and agreed standard measures.

5. Methodology Options

a. Structure:

1. Observers - team or individual (usually a team with local and expert knowledge is best)
2. Surveys: simple but statistically sound basis essential

b. Coverage:

1. comprehensive
2. Cultural sector analysis

c. Survey Instruments:

1. Checklists
2. Questionnaires
3. Formatted manuals with portable computer systems

6. Specific Topics of Importance

a. Mortality: death rate -

b. Morbidity: Prevalence, severity, responsiveness to control
c. Epidemiological data - especially when unusual concentration of people
d. Cold chain
e. Nutrition Centered Health Approach - data collection limited to supplementary feeding programs.

7. Miscellaneous

Food: rarely needed in case of catalysmic disaster - the problem is usually one of distribution not security. Even in drought, should be introduced carefully to specific targets.

Other Critical Issues

- Ongoing assessment - organization


- Training suggestions for field workers undertaking assessments to prepare them

- Patterns mentioned but no examples given of common patterns and how to interpret them

- Organization - links to govt: government approval for order collecting activities vital if to get statistics quickly


Day _______________
Session ____________

1. In your view, what were the key points learned in this session?

2. Comment on the application of these within UNICEF and your situation.

3. Suggest any additional critical points that should have been covered.

4. Do you have comments on the suggested reading?

Suggest any additional information sources for sessions of the day.
Case Studies:

5. Comment on the learning methodology (lectures, group work, films) used in the session.