Humanitarian Needs Assessment – The Good Enough Guide

ACAPS has published Humanitarian Needs Assessment – The Good Enough Guide, to help humanitarian staff design and implement needs assessments in emergencies.

What assistance do disaster-affected communities need? This book guides humanitarian field staff in answering this vital question during the early days and weeks after a disaster, when timely and competent assessment is crucial for informed decision making. Developed by the Emergency Capacity Building Project (ECB) and the Assessment Capacities Project (ACAPS), the Good Enough Guide is especially aimed at national project managers and their teams. Essential reading for field staff carrying out assessments, the Good Enough Guide is also for humanitarian policy makers and researchers.

Needs assessment is essential for programme planning, monitoring and evaluation. In an emergency response, however, a quick and simple approach may be the only practical possibility – in other words, needs assessment has to be ‘good enough’. ‘Good enough’ does not mean second best. Following the same principles as previous Good Enough Guides published by the ECB, good enough here means choosing a simple solution rather than a complicated one.

This guide does not explain every activity that you will need to carry out for your assessment, but it will take you step by step through the assessment process, offering a number of useful tools and resources. The steps and tools are most directly useful for initial and rapid assessments in the first weeks of an emergency, but the principles and practices described apply at any stage in the response.

The Good Enough Guide was developed through wide-ranging consultations which began in November 2012. Input was through workshops and field tests and by face-to-face, e-mail, and phone discussions. Comments and feedback were received from over 150 individuals and organisations, all of which strengthened the content of the guide significantly.