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SYRIA: Shelter and Non-Food Item Needs Assessment, August 2016


The needs assessment aims to assess the shelter and basic household items needs of the population in need at the sub-district level inside Syria to help the sector better define the Humanitarian Needs Overview and inform its Humanitarian Response in 2017.
To attain this, the assessment has the following specific objectives;
1. Assess the most relevant and significant form of assistance;
2. Evaluate the degree of availability and accessibility of essential shelter and NFI supplies;
3. Determine the overall perception on continued humanitarian support especially among the most vulnerable;
4. Assess the overall shelter typology of population in need and their ability to sustain their chosen dwelling structures;
5. Presence of housing, land and property issues confronting the population in need;


This needs assessment is a descriptive type and aims to understand the general characteristics of the most vulnerable population in need in Syria. To better gather and triangulate information, this assessment utilized two data collection methods namely, Structured Community Discussion (SCD) and Expert Panel Discussion (EPD). These two methods have two unit of observations namely, community and sub-district respectively. However, the unit of analysis for this assessment is at the sub-district level.
The SCD was conducted in 51 community centers of UNHCR covering 250 communities in 47 sub-districts from 24 districts in 11 governorates in Syria. It was carried out using an age and diversity mainstreaming approach and it followed a structured data collection instrument to guide the discussion rather than an open-ended form of questioning like the usual Focus Group Discussion method. The respondents of SCD include both host communities and displaced population. To ensure representation, each community center conducted separate discussions with randomly selected girls, boys, women, men and elderly. With the support of 13 UNHCR implementing partners, a total of 552 SCDs were conducted in 51 community centers1 with 5,747 persons from host and displaced community.
The EPD on the other hand, assessed 135 sub-districts in 42 districts in 11 governorates where shelter and NFI sector members have operational presence2. Similar with SCD, the EPD followed a structured discussion with the sector ‘experts3’ who were purposively selected. These ‘experts’ are the ones considered knowledgeable on their geographic coverage and whose understanding could present an overall situation of a particular location. A total of 168 representatives from 34 sector members participated in the EPD. Most of the participating staff were from local and international NGOs (57) followed by UN and partner from Red Cross movement.
The assessment started on 10 July and was completed on 15 August 2016.

Key findings: 

NFI Significance
The assessment reveals that hygiene kit, baby diapers, winter clothes, adult diapers and blankets are the top five most important basic household items especially in Rural Damascus, Homs and Al Hassakeh governorates. This accounts for 74% of the total responses of interviewed experts. Hygiene kit was cited as the most important because it consists of consumable items which the population need on regular basis yet could not afford to sustain as the priority is being given to food. Also, the demand for hygiene kits and other sanitation-related items has increased due to reported social stigma attached to poor hygiene. Both assessments also confirmed the need for more flexible NFI distribution. The need for standard NFI items such as, kitchen sets and jerry cans is decreasing, while the demand for supplementary items is on the rise.
The majority of the assessed experts also expressed that winter clothes, sweaters, underwear, boots for all family members and waterproof floor cover are the top winter items that are needed by the assessed 135 sub-districts in Syria. This accounts for 65% of the total responses. Other items preferred to be included in the winter kits include raincoats, jackets for all family members, hats, rain rubber boots and socks.

Assessment Report: 
Assessment Questionnaire: 
Available on Request
Assessment Data: 
Available on Request
Assessment Date(s): 
10 Jul 2016 to 15 Aug 2016
Report completed
Unit(s) of Measurement: 
Collection Method(s): 
Structured Interview
Population Type(s): 
Host communities
Leading/Coordinating Organization(s): 
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
Participating Organization(s): 
Danish Refugee Council
Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch
International Organization for Migration
International Committee of the Red Cross
Rural Damascus
Information Management
Inter-Cluster Coordination
Internally Displaced People (IDPs)
Needs Assessment
Syria: Crisis 2011-2021