Coordinated needs assessments and joint impartial analysis are essential in order to deliver targeted responses to populations affected by humanitarian crises and make informed prioritization decisions. This has been widely recognized by signatories of the Grand Bargain and is currently being addressed through the Needs Assessment Work stream, towards which JIPS contributes alongside many other actors.
It is important for JIPS to keep up to date on on-going efforts of humanitarian and development actors in this area, to be able to effectively work together and invest our efforts where it is most needed. This relates to our efforts in developing and delivering trainings as much as it does in relation to our work directly in the field.
To this end, our colleague Svend-Jonas Schelhorn, member of JIPS’s Information Management & Innovation team, joined a Coordinated Assessment and Information Management (CAIM) trainingorganized by OCHA in Berlin. As an opportunity for professional learning and exchange, it also enables us to improve training initiatives led by JIPS, such as the Profiling Coordination Training and the Collaborative Data Analysis module currently being piloted through ACAPS’ Humanitarian Analysis Programme in Geneva.
Improving our expertise through continuous learning
The CAIM training represented a practical learning opportunity, building upon experiences and practices in the field and latest policy and guidance. Its main objective is to strengthen humanitarian actors’ capacity to support coordinated assessments and needs analysis and to implement such processes in both new and escalating emergencies situations and humanitarian crises.
In particular, the training focused on the implementation of the “Multi-Cluster Initial Rapid Assessment” framework (MIRA) in the Humanitarian Programme Cycle, along with an analytical workflow.
Topics addressed in the training included:
- Coordination set up;
- Design and implementation of data collection;
- Data processing; and
- Joint inter-sectoral analysis.
Main takeaways: learning and exchange on coordinated assessment
By involving together analysts and coordination experts, the practical exercises carried out during the course showed that pairing strong analytical skills with coordination skills is essential: a mutual understanding of both mindsets is imperative in order to reach a good analytical outcome, reflecting rigorous methods in data analysis and adequately contextualised findings. In fact, it is no secret that even the best analytical product is useless unless its essence is presented in a manner that can be understood by the target audience. For us at JIPS, this reinforces our intention to continue to invest equally in improving rigorous methods and coordination capacities of our partners.
During the training, participants also had the chance to apply the MIRA framework in scenario-based exercises (e.g. for secondary data review and humanitarian needs prioritisation), which proved how time and resource investment in a thought-through analytical process and in agreed-upon categories should become a new norm. In fact, doing so accelerates information gathering and categorisation, and enables stakeholders to have more focused discussions.
Finally, exercises on joint analysis conducted during the training showed how joint analysis should be seen as part of a broader collaborative process. Diverse approaches and strategies are necessary to conduct a collaborative joint analysis at inter-agency level, with governmental counterparts and local communities also involved. However, without preparation and incentives to participate, buy-in to such processes by relevant stakeholders remains extremely difficult to maintain.
The road ahead
Overall, the CAIM training was a great opportunity to increase our knowledge base and expertise in practical skills for analysis and coordination skills, and was also important to better understand and get insights into analytical approaches used by partners.
However, while the training reflected the current strong interest in joint analysis, it also confirmed a continued need to document and develop best practice in this area to strengthen the capacity of the sector more broadly.