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About Needs Assessment

The needs assessment process assists CARE to gather the facts and reach consensus-with COs, Lead Members and the CI Emergency Group (CEG)-about whether a response should be initiated or that no response is required.

CARE's Humanitarian Mandate Statement commits CARE to provide assistance on the basis of need. An impartial assessment process is a necessary operational step to determine need and meet obligations of humanitarian principles. CARE's Humanitarian Mandate Statement says that CARE will respond wherever we can add value. The assessment process should explicitly assess the added value that CARE can bring to an emergency response.

CARE's commitment to accountability standards has the following implications for assessments:
  • CARE will take a ‘good enough' approach to ensure the right balance is struck between speed and thoroughness, assessment and aid delivery, and other competing factors.
  • CARE will seek to minimise assessment overload and promote coordination, by sharing assessment results and conducting joint assessments wherever possible.
  • The requirement for objective and impartial assessment of need means that CARE cannot delegate responsibility for assessment exclusively to other parties/entities.
  • Assessment should be managed as an iterative, continuous process. Initial response interventions should often begin before receiving detailed assessment reports.

In countries where CARE already has a presence, it is the responsibility of the CO to initiate the assessment process. In type 1 (small scale and severity) emergencies, it is expected that the COs can manage assessments themselves. In type 2 (major scale and/or severity) emergencies, support for assessments may be provided by CARE International under the leadership of the crisis coordination group (CCG)-including CEG and the Lead Member. In type 3 emergencies (non-presence situations), assessments will be initiated and coordinated by the CI Emergency Operations Manager.
The cost of assessments should be covered by the CO. Emergency response funds from CARE International or Lead Members may be requested to cover initial assessment costs but efforts should be made to recover the costs from donor funding whenever possible.

Needs Assessment Resources

The One Response website has a section dedicated to needs assessment. You will find guidance on needs assessment training, needs assessment terms and indicators, manuals on needs assessment as well as other tools and resources.

For information on IASC Taskforce on Needs Assessment, please visit:

For information on ECB Project's sharered assessment tools please visit where you can also access Joint Needs Assessment Database.

The Assessment Capacities Project (ACAPS) is dedicated to improving the assessment of needs in complex emergencies, sudden onset disasters and protracted crises. ACAPS is currently working with ECB consortia to build joint needs assessment capacity in Indonesia, Bangladesh and Bolivia.