Needs assessment

The principle of impartiality dictates that humanitarian aid should be distributed according to need, establishing the priority of aiding the most urgent cases. Individual humanitarian agencies as well as the coordinated efforts of the humanitarian 'system' must therefore have an accurate, timely and comprehensive (multi-sectoral) understanding of the needs. A proper needs assessment thus provides the foundation for evidence-based programme choices, interagency and cross-sectoral coordination and future planning.

Man sitting on ground speaking with NGO worker

Photo: Lauren Harnett/Oxfam

Key actors

Specialized in humanitarian needs analysis and assessment, the analysis of global crisis data, and evidence-based decision-making

Implements information and knowledge management activities in the areas of field-based assessments, monitoring and evaluations, building capacities of organizations, and information products

Key references

Overview on the different types of coordinated assessments, approaches and procedures, and guidance on how to plan and carry out coordinated assessments

Tools for the job

Guidance providing guidance on developing a humanitarian needs overview, explaining the purpose of a joint analytical process, the main steps required, roles and responsibilities, and tools and methods to support needs analysis

Tool to help select appropriate indicators and to find standard definitions and applications of those indicators for needs assessment and monitoring and evaluation

Compilation of tools and templates for the coordination, planning, data collection, situation monitoring, and analysis of humanitarian needs assessments

Organizational perspectives

Handbook providing guidance on UNHCR’s approach to humanitarian needs assessments, offering practical advice on how to design and conduct needs assessment and analysis

PHAP certifications

Certification badge for Humanitarian Needs Assessment (HNA)

The PHAP Credentialing Program offers Core and Advanced level certifications in Humanitarian Needs Assessment (HNA) (coming soon).

Upcoming courses: 

25-29 November:
Geneva

9-11 December:
Mexico City 

20-24 January:
Bangkok