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Understanding the needs of the people affected by the crisis is one of the most important tasks of humanitarian responders.  IMOs play a critical influencer role in the process which is normally led by senior staff either within an OCHA office or cluster.  IMOs add value to the entire process often times by asking pointed questions on exactly what information is needed.

The Needs Assessment and Analysis Section (NAAS) is based on OCHA’s Assessment and Planning Branch and can provide technical assistance. 

Essential reading on needs assessments for IMOs

Recommended reading on needs assessments for IMOs

Needs Assessment Checklists

  • Review CODs and ensure there is clear metadata on their usability in needs assessments

  • Upload COD administrative boundaries to Kobo so that all are using the same source

  • Review assessment plans in the previous year’s HNO

  • Collection information on all needs assessment timelines

  • Add to assessment registry if not already included

  • Review needs assessment registry (survey of surveys- example link) and request partners to update

  • Use the IM Network, ICCM and Clusters to encourage partners to fill in the registry

  • Develop analysis plan - reach out to NAAS section if support is needed.

  • Determine if there is a need for an assessment working group (could be associated with either the IM network or the inter-cluster coordination mechanism or both

  • Agree upon assessment working group TOR (participation, duration, chair)

  • Review secondary data to ensure that assessments complement or verify and do not duplicate existing data.

  • Work with partners to draft an overall assessment plan to include assessment purpose and modalities (ties to analysis plan/analytical framework)

  • Work with partners to develop and analysis plan including an analytical framework (find a good example)


  • General guidance on needs assessments is available here