The ACAPS project is dedicated to improving the assessment of needs in complex emergencies, sudden onset disasters and protracted crises.
Needs driven humanitarian assistance must be based on a clear understanding of the needs of the affected population. This places assessment at the core of the humanitarian agenda. However, in spite of the importance of assessment, no commonly accepted methodology for assessment exists within the humanitarian system.
Numerous methodologies exist within individual agencies and sectors, but it is difficult to compare the results from these different assessments. There is no consensus on how to carry out a common multi-sectoral assessment which would provide the humanitarian sector with a shared understanding of what the main needs following a given disaster. This makes assessment one of the biggest outstanding challenges to the humanitarian community.
What is ACAPS?
To address this challenge the Assessment Capacities Project (ACAPS) was established in December 2009 by a consortium of NGOs (HelpAge International, Merlin and Norwegian Refugee Council). The objective of the project is to strengthen global, regional and in-country needs assessment capacities. The ultimate goal of this support is to provide a strong evidence base for emergency decision-making, leading to a better response. ACAPS collaborates with a network of partners, and supports the work of the Inter-Agency Standing Committe (IASC) Needs Assessment Task Force (NATF). ACAPS is based in Geneva.
What does ACAPS do?
ACAPS supports and strengthens in-country capacities both to prepare for and to respond to crises by undertaking better coordinated multi-sector needs assessments. ACAPS seeks to support Humanitarian Country Teams with expertise on how to collect timely and relevant data and to carry out a rigorous analysis of this data by providing:
Tools and Methodologies
Working in partnership with practitioners and academics ACAPS is developing innovative assessment tools and methodologies to help the humanitarian actors to get more comprehensive, accurate and timely data on humanitarian needs and to improve the quality of needs analysis. This feeds into global efforts to develop a commonly accepted coordinated multi-sector assessment methodology.
ACAPS provides training in coordinated multi-sector assessments to humanitarian actors to increase their capacity to deliver effective needs assessments. The training package and contentis being developed with the Needs Assessments Task Force and the partners to the project.
Deployable assessments experts
The ACAPS roster of experienced, well trained and deployable assessments experts can, upon request, be deployed to support in-country assessment processes before, during and after crises. The ACAPS roster is deployed through the existing humanitarian architecture, and reinforces the structure in place rather than creating new and separate systems.
For further information on ACAPS, including where and how to access assessment-related technical expertise, please contact the ACAPS Project Management Team, Geneva, Switzerland at: email@example.com or visit the ACAPS website www.acaps.org