Category refinement in humanitarian needs assessments

MODERATE NEED, ACUTE NEED Valid categories for humanitarian needs assessments? Evidence from a recent needs assessment in Syria
26 MARCH 2015 by Aldo Benini,

Needs assessments in crises seek to establish, among other elements, the number of persons in need. “Persons in need” is a broad and fuzzy concept; the estimates that local key informants provide are highly uncertain. Would refining the categories of persons in need lead to more reliable estimates?

The Syria Multi-Sectoral Needs Assessment (MSNA), in autumn 2014, provided PiN estimates for 126 of the 270 sub-districts of the country. It differentiated between persons in moderate and those in acute need. “Moderate Need, Acute Need – Valid Categories for Humanitarian Needs Assessments?” tests the information value of this distinction. The results affirm that refined PiN categories can improve the measurement of unmet needs under conditions that rarely permit exact classification. The note ends with some technical recommendations for future assessments.”


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