Needs Assessment in Emergencies (credit-rated option)

Date: 10 - 14 Jul 2017
Length: 5 days
Location: London, UK
Residential: No

About the course:

Before relief work can take place, aid workers need to understand the present needs and the resources available in order to plan and respond effectively. Conducting accurate, effective and timely needs assessments is key to the preparation and planning of humanitarian projects.

This course aims to improve the effectiveness of personnel engaged in humanitarian relief by taking you through good practice in assessment procedure, including frameworks and principles of emergency assessments. This is an interactive course that utilises group exercises and focused discussion, giving you the opportunity to share ideas and experiences.

The course covers four main themes: organisation and management of needs assessment, data collection techniques, analytical frameworks, and sector-specific issues.

Meet the Trainer - Kelly Wooster

What does the course cover? 

  • Objectives of the needs assessment
  • Terms of reference
  • Planning assessment activities
  • Information collation and report writing
  • Data collection techniques - how they work, when to use them, and the meaningfulness of the data they produce
  • Analytical frameworks that determine the focus of the assessment, the way assessment information translates into programme response and helps establish indicators for measuring progress, impact and relevance
  • Data collection methodologies and analytical frameworks that are most appropriate to each sector
  • Links between sectors
  • Sector-specific benchmarks, especially Sphere Standards

By the end of the course you will be able to: 

  • Design and plan an effective needs assessment employing tools appropriate for the approach
  • Analyse assessment data to effectively report on beneficiaries’ needs and capacities
  • Analyse cross-cutting and sector specific issues that impact on emergency needs assessments
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the humanitarian context and underlying principles
  • Describe the importance of using a participatory approach throughout the assessment cycle
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the key skills, personal attributes and competencies required by an emergency needs assessor

Who should attend?

This course is aimed at people with some experience of working in the humanitarian sector. It would be most beneficial for aid workers who undertake needs assessments in their work or who foresee having to conduct needs assessments in the future. The curriculum will take you to the next level of competence in conducting accurate, effective and timely assessments – an essential skill before any form of relief work can take place

Course structure:

Registration will take place from 8.45 am on the first day.Training each day will run from 9 am and conclude at 5.30 pm. The day is broken up into four sessions, separated by a lunch break and coffee/tea breaks in the morning and afternoon.

From the second day, training begins with a review of the topics covered the previous day to ensure that the concepts, tools, and frameworks are fully understood. Every day ends with a period of reflection, evaluation, and questions.

Participants will be actively encouraged to engage in classroom discussions, group work and a case study or simulation. The trainers will draw on both theoretical and practical knowledge in order to make the experience and learning applicable to the realities of needs assessment.

Day 1

After registration and introductions, the course will begin with a background of assessments and analysis before covering the topic of observation. After lunch, you will learn about secondary data. The day concludes with an examination of terms of reference.

Day 2

The second day begins with a presentation on the Assessment Capacities Project (ACAPS). You will then learn about benchmarks for assessment provided in the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (UN) Consolidated Appeals Framework. The following session will cover assessment resource planning and a sector briefing on demographics. In the afternoon, the course covers spatial data and mapping followed by a sector briefing on logistics.

Day 3

The day begins with an examination of participatory assessment techniques. Briefings on the Security and WASH sectors will follow.  Semi-structured interviews start the afternoon session. The day ends with sector briefings on shelter and protection/Sphere Standards.

Day 4

Sector briefings on food security/nutrition and health start the day. Afterwards, you will learn about collating data. The remainder of the day is spent doing a hands-on analysis exercise.

Day 5

The analysis exercise continues into the morning of the fifth day. You will then learn about reporting before preparing and giving presentations on the topic. The last session is reserved for wrapping up the course: recapping the key points, answering any lingering questions, completing course evaluations, and receiving your certificates of completion. The last day ends early at 16.00 pm.

The credit-rated assessment:

Needs Assessment in Emergencies is a competency based, assessed course worth 10 Masters level credits that can be transferred to the Masters in Development and Emergency Practice (DEP) from Oxford Brookes University or other similar postgraduate qualifications.  For more information about this and the other credit-rated courses that RedR offers, click here

Please note there is a 15% additional fee to take the course as credit-rated. Full terms and conditions of the credit-rating can be found here.


The course will be taught by one of the following facilitators.

Joseph Ashmore

Chamutal Eitam

Kelly Wooster

Raphael Bonnaud

Toby Gould


The fees are inclusive of all training resources, lunch, and refreshments. For further information on pricing bands please use the link on the right.


EarlyBird Fee

Standard Fee


Band A 

  • Those working for southern national & local NGOs
  • Full-time students




Band B  

  • Individuals funding themselves
  • Those working for charitable organisations with an annual income of less than £1million/$1.5million




Band C 

  • Those working for charitable organisations with an annual income greater than £1million/$1.5million




Band D 

  • Those working for commercial, governmental and intergovernmental organisations




Early bird fee: Book and pay up to a month in advance to receive a 10% discount through our early bird scheme. 

Discounts are also available for organisations and individuals.

For more information please contact our training team. Please click here to read our full terms and conditions.

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