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Household Emergency Assessment Tool (HEAT)

The Afghanistan humanitarian community is pleased to release the common household level needs assessment tool for use in all emergencies.  This will replace the previous separate PMT and RAF assessment tools with one single emergency needs assessment tool.

The Household Emergency Assessment Tool (HEAT) is a multi-sector tool for all emergency response in Afghanistan intended to indicate emergency assistance needs.

The agreement to use this single tool has been the result of months of work by the Humanitarian Coordinated Assessments Working Group (HCAWG). This group was set up at the request of the Humanitarian Coordinator and Humanitarian Country Team, in response to slow and inaccurate assessment data collection and analysis in 2015. The initiative also results from requests of many NGO partners who asked us to streamline the diverse approaches to humanitarian assessment for natural disasters and conflict displacement.

The HEAT builds on the years of experience honing assessment methodologies in the field by the Emergency Response Mechanism (ERM) NGOs, and now incorporates the expertise of key UN partners, including WFP’s Vulnerability and Assessment Mapping unit. We have now a robust and appropriate assessment tool for emergency requirements.

This tool does not attempt to replace in-depth sector assessments, but the enumerators are trained to make observations and comment on likely secondary implications and longer-term issues for inclusion in assessment reporting. The assessment reports will be shared with both the assessment team participants and the clusters, who can determine requirements for secondary, multi-sector or sector specific assessments.

The tool is for household level assessment which is appropriate in the majority of emergency cases in Afghanistan, however the HCAWG will next agree on a common assessment tool for larger-scale emergencies where household level assessment is not appropriate, in addition to common approaches to post-distribution monitoring.

The HEAT tool is accessible in three different formats, including hard copy paper assessment form, soft copy fillable PDF and mobile data collection on Android, iOS, and many other devices. The first two formats are available here online, while the online platform will be rolled out and made available in the coming months.

In order to ensure comprehensive roll out and far-reaching use of the new tool across the humanitarian community, training sessions supported by the Afghanistan Common Humanitarian Fund (CHF) will take place for all interested NGOs across the country over the coming months. Additional information on training, assessment reporting and mobile data collection and analysis will also be shared in the coming month through OCHA offices, the clusters and ACBAR.

Joint Rapid Needs Assessments


In an increasingly complex operating environment, stronger coordination around humanitarian needs assessments is critical to enable effective assessment of multi-dimensional needs; optimise available resources (including use of trained enumerators); reduce the burden on key informants; and capitalise on a sometimes brief window of access. Under the direction of the humanitarian leadership group and the Humanitarian Country Team (HCT), members of the Inter-Cluster Coordination Team (ICCT) and Humanitarian Access Group (HAG) were tasked with developing a joint assessment form and guidance note to support effective coordination for inter-agency joint rapid needs assessments. 
This guidance note identifies enabling conditions, shares best practices and overarching guiding principles for joint rapid needs assessments. 

Purpose and scope

The purpose of this exercise is to ensure that aid agencies engaged in the humanitarian response in Afghanistan agree to a common structure, template form and a minimum set of enabling conditions necessary to carry out the independent and impartial, multi-sector assessments that form the basis for the delivery of humanitarian aid. These enabling conditions are grounded in the imperative to build a robust  evidence-base from which partners can implement a needs-based response.

Guiding principles

The four humanitarian principles of humanity, neutrality, impartiality and independence underpin all joint assessments. This guidance note is also informed by the Joint Operating Principles (JOPs), the HCT Data Sharing Protocol as well as the joint UN-Government Standard Operating Principles for IDP verification (“the IDP SOP”).

Single multi-sector assessment form

One common rapid multi-sector needs assessments form (annexed to this guidance note) will be used by all agencies participating in either joint assessments in areas affected by escalating conflict, or as an initial assessment for areas that become more easily accessible following a peace agreement. The assessment form is aimed at ensuring that the humanitarian response is informed and adapts to the views, experiences and preferences of crisis-affected people and is drawn from indicators within the existing HCT-endorsed Household Emergency Assessment Tool (HEAT) and the JIAF indicators used for the Humanitarian Needs Overview (HNO). This condensed common form will ensure speed in assessing multi-sector needs, enable humanitarian actors to mount an initial response and identify areas in need of further sector-specific assessments.  In many cases, questions have been collapsed to reduce the length of each interview, often using a single question as a proxy indicator for other assumed needs. All partners commit to use this form for rapid multi-sector needs assessments.