Both the IASC Needs Assessment Task Force (NATF) and the ACAPS project have as their ultimate goal more effective, efficient and appropriate humanitarian responses to crises.
To reach this goal, ACAPS will support the efforts of the NATF continuously with a rigorous operational learning component, which serves to identify and apply good practice and innovative approaches, including the use of new technology, to coordinated multi-sector assessments.
The aim is to achieve this by promoting better informed and more evidence‐driven responses, specifically by supporting a process of coordinated needs assessment which is timely, coherent, and appropriate to context, with results that are accessible and relevant to decision‐makers. This is partly prompted by donor demands for more evidence‐based funding proposals, as well as for more ‘joined up’ and better prioritized program strategies. Continual improvement will be required to refine assessment approaches to achieve this aim. The NATF is leading this process globally. The ACAPS project aims to support and inform this process, in part through the deployment of relevant assessment expertise on request from OCHA and country teams. Operational learning is one key component of this support. ODI and Tufts University have been contracted by ACAPS to lead this element of their support to the wider sector.
The operational learning role is envisaged to include two main elements: participant observation (real time) and after‐action review. The overall learning objective is to test the validity of various hypotheses about the role of cross‐sector assessment; to identify the most effective approaches and lessons learned from experience; and to use the results to inform the design and implementation of current and future assessments.