A project to support coordinated assessments
The Assessment Capacities Project (ACAPS) is an initiative of a consortium of three NGOs (HelpAge International, Merlin and Norwegian Refugee Council). ACAPS works with a number of humanitarian actors, including the IASC Needs Assessment Task Force.
ACAPS VISION is to mitigate the impact of natural disasters and complex emergencies through the provision of effective humanitarian responses.
ACAPS MISSION is to support and strengthen capacities, in-country and within the humanitarian system in general, to carry out better multi-sector assessments before, during and after crises and to bring together practitioners who are dedicated to improving and sharing best-practice and innovative approaches to needs assessments.
Why was ACAPS created?
In accordance with fundamental humanitarian principles, and as endorsed by the Good Humanitarian Donorship Initiative, humanitarian aid should be based on a clear understanding of the needs of the affected population.
However, current approaches to humanitarian needs assessment often do not provide a sufficiently coherent picture of humanitarian requirements, especially not in the initial phases of an emergency. In spite of the importance of assessment, no commonly accepted methodology for assessment exists within the humanitarian system. Numerous methodologies have been developed by individual agencies and within 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 are following a disaster.
This makes coordinated assessment one of the biggest outstanding challenges to the humanitarian community.
The Assessment Capacities Project – ACAPS
ACAPS aims to improve coordinated needs assessments by:
- Developing innovative needs assessments tools and methodology
- Providing specific needs assessments training courses
- Building a roster of deployable assessments experts
- Deploying assessments experts in high disaster-risk countries or crisis-affected contexts
ACAPS has 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.
ACAPS collaborates with a large network of partners and supports the work of the Inter Agency Standing Committee (IASC) Needs Assessment Task Force (NATF). ACAPS works through the existing humanitarian architecture and reinforces the structure in place rather than creating new and separate systems.
ACAPS was established in December 2009 and is based in Geneva.