The Rapid Needs Assessment (RNA) is an Inter-Agency tool that provides an overview of the immediate needs at the community level during any situation where displacement – either an influx or secondary displacement – results in the establishment of new sites. The RNA is a field-driven, decentralized inter-agency tool that offers humanitarian agencies a quick initial snapshot of the situation on the ground and maps immediate cross-sectoral needs per site. The results of the RNA can inform subsequent in-depth sector-specific assessments.
The RNA process originated at field level and is based on lessons learned during the events in Arsal of August 2014 when Syrian and Lebanese households were displaced. The process centers on a multi-sectoral questionnaire that was developed in consultation between UN agencies.
The benefits of having a pre-agreed questionnaire, organizational structure and automated dashboard templates are numerous. Avoiding handwritten assessments that are difficult to process rapidly and entail problems in tracking and digitizing assessments reduces organizational delays. Having a pre-agreed timeline and roles and responsibilities ensures a more efficient process. Automated Information Management processes mean clear, digestible dashboards can be produced from collected data within a tight timeframe and disseminated to sectors to inform the response. Finally, having a common understanding of needs avoids duplications and gaps in the initial response.