The Needs Assessment Task Force was established in 2008 with the mandate of harmonizing and promoting cross-sector needs assessment initiatives for consistent, reliable and timely data on humanitarian needs in complex emergencies and natural disasters, to strengthen informed decision-making and improve humanitarian response. One of the body’s main products is the Multi-Cluster/Sector Initial Rapid Assessment (MIRA) approach. The MIRA approach is meant to provide the initial information fundamental to all humanitarian operations and actors to inform strategic decision-making and should be followed, in later phases, by further in-depth sectoral assessments. The MIRA is composed of three fundamental elements: (1) review of pre- and in-crisis secondary data (culminating in the production of the Preliminary Scenario Definition (PSD)), (2) systematic collection of primary data using an agreed upon data collection form, and (3) joint analysis.
In June 2012 the South Sudan Humanitarian Country Team requested the Inter-Agency Standing Committee Needs Assessment Task Force (IASC NATF) to facilitate an assessment support mission to South Sudan to promote systematic use of the South Sudan Initial Rapid Needs Assessment (IRNA) tool and of the Coordinated Assessment Methodology by familiarizing humanitarian practitioners in South Sudan on the purposes and uses of it. It is envisaged that this will enable the humanitarian community to better assess and analyze the effects of emergencies on the population of South Sudan, as well as ensure a more evidence-based Consolidated Appeals Process though strengthened data and analysis on needs.
The July 2012 South Sudan Assessment Field Support Mission seeks primarily to:
i. Train the in-country team to lead and undertake rapid inter-sectoral and in-depth sectoral coordinated assessments as appropriate and establish an Assessment Working Group, to include:
• maximizing the use of secondary data
• identification of appropriate levels of detail required in an assessment
• guidance on designing and adapting a common data collection form
• develop assessment plan that translates into an actual in-crisis assessment
ii. Develop a roll-out plan for the country
A review and collation in-country of secondary data and a secondary data analysis will initiate the process through a one-day workshop. This will lead to the development of state-level Preliminary Scenario Definitions (PSDs) to inform the overarching assessment plan.
The South Sudan Field Assessment Support Mission includes staff and support from OCHA, ACAPS and ACTED."