Strengthening Social Analysis in Rapid Assessment


Evaluations of some more recent larger scale disasters have shown that insufficient attention is often given to the social impacts of disasters – in particular to the needs and priorities identified by the affected communities themselves and to local knowledge, resources and experience.

Building on a preliminary workshop in Panama in January 2007 on the topic of social analysis in rapid assessment, ProVention and the IFRC have committed to lead the establishment of a Technical Reference Group with several NGOs to provide input and guidance to a revision of the ECLAC damage assessment methodology and the development of tools and frameworks within the UNDP and ILO led Post-Disaster Needs Assessment initiative. In July 2007, the ProVention Secretariat hosted an initial meeting with CARE, the IFRC, Mercy Corps, Save the Children, and World Vision to given an overview of the ECLAC methodology and PDNA initiative and to discuss the development of a Social Analysis component as part of the planned revision of the ECLAC methodology.


As experience with recent disasters has shown, comprehensive assessment of damage, losses, needs, vulnerabilities and capacities plays a key part in providing effective frameworks for recovery. Often however there is insufficient attention paid – particularly in early assessments – to addressing social vulnerability and livelihoods needs and a general failure to include affected communities in recovery planning and programming, especially in its earliest phases. In general there is still need for a better understanding of how social groups are affected differently by disasters, what are the broader impacts and secondary impacts on social infrastructure and livelihoods systems, and what means might be most effective for reducing both immediate and future risks.

Strengthening assessment in these areas requires more attention to social vulnerability and livelihoods analysis, greater emphasis on the participation of affected communities, closer collaboration with civil society organisations to reach communities and strengthen social protection and safety nets, and increased analysis of risks and mitigation opportunities.

Outputs & events

Technical Reference Group on Social Analysis

ProVention and the IFRC are currently working with UNDP, ECLAC, World Bank, and other partners to establish a Technical Reference Group to provide input and feedback for strengthening social analysis in rapid impact and vulnerability assessment. The Technical Reference Group is intended to complement ongoing activities within the Post-Disaster Needs Assessment programme of UNDP and ECLAC. The Technical reference Group is intended to draw on the experience and input of other stakeholders, particularly NGOs, to:

  • Provide guidance to the development of a social analysis component as part of the revision of the ECLAC methodology and further development of the PDNA
  • Create an expectation / working relationship for further collaboration on the ground.

Social Analysis workshop

As a preliminary activity, ProVention, together with the IFRC, organised a workshop in Panama from January 29-31, 2007 to share experience and ideas for strengthening the social analysis components in post-disaster rapid impact/vulnerability assessment. The workshop focused in particular on assessment in the first 1-4 weeks after a disaster, drawing on the knowledge and experience of a range of international and regional organisations.

The workshop drew in particular on the example of the response to the Yogyakarta earthquake in 2006 where the IFRC, World Bank, government, and UN assessment teams collaborated in key assessment activities and were able to draw on information being collected by NGOs and community organisations to weave together primary and secondary data for a fuller picture of the extent of damages, losses, needs, and local recovery capacities and resources.

Key resources from that workshop are available below:

Next Steps

  • Provision of ongoing guidance to the revision of the ECLAC methodology and development of the PDNA initiative through Technical Reference Group on Social Analysis