Primary Data collection

Coordinate or lead emergency WASH primary data collection

After the Secondary Data Review, it may be necessary for the WASH coordination platform and its partners to collect additional data to fill information gaps. This process is called primary data collection. Depending on the modalities agreed with the partners in the assessment strategy, several options are available to the coordination platform. These options usually complement each other, and can be used separately or simultaneously, depending on the emergency phase.

Contribute to multi-sector needs assessments (MSNAs) initiatives

MSNAs are assessment initiatives and mechanisms covering several sectors. They are usually led by the Inter Cluster Coordination Group (ICCG) or OCHA and supported by agencies specialized in assessments (such as REACH, DTM, etc.). Their methodology, tools and timelines are defined in consultations with the different coordination platforms through an Assessment or IM technical working group. They include:

  • Large-scale one-off multi-sectorial assessments, usually in support of the Humanitarian Needs Overview or Flash Appeal. One example is the Multisector Initial Rapid Assessment (MIRA). MIRA is a joint needs assessment tool designed by the IASC that can be used in sudden onset emergencies, including Level 3 Emergency Responses. See the MIRA guidance in the Key guidance and tools)
  • Regional or national level rapid assessment systems, such as Rapid Response Mechanisms (see the 2015 DRC RRM Booklet.pdf in Field examples)
  • Regular multisector needs monitoring systems (see the Displacement Tracking Matrix in Useful weblinks below)

The WASH coordination platform should actively engage with all MSNA mechanisms/initiatives to make sure that data collected meets the WASH coordination platform’s information needs (for instance by ensuring the inclusion of the WASH Core indicators), and use the data collected to feed the WASH sector needs analysis.

Coordinate or lead WASH-specific assessments

Given the limited space for WASH indicators in MSNAs, the coordination platform may want to complement them with WASH-specific assessments. This is necessary when a more elaborated understanding of needs and vulnerabilities is required to inform WASH strategic planning.

WASH-specific assessments are often carried out in partnership with multiple WASH agencies, and coordinated by the WASH coordination platform, ideally through an assessment TWiG.

Depending on the context and resources, WASH-specific assessments can be joint or harmonized:

  • In joint assessments, the same methodology and tools are used, and data collection, processing, and analysis form one single process among the agencies involved. The WASH coordination platform often leads the entire process, from initial design to final analysis. Considering the large amount of resources required, coordination platforms can request external support from specialized agencies, such as REACH, with whom the Global WASH Cluster has a long-lasting partnership. Click here for an example of response-level joint assessment 
  • In harmonized assessment, data collection and analysis are undertaken separately. But data is sufficiently comparable to be compiled into a single database, and to serve as the subject of a shared analysis. To set up harmonized assessment protocol, the coordination platform should ensure that:
    • WASH core indicators are integrated in partners’ assessment questionnaires
    • Partners’ assessments cover the priority geographic areas and population groups defined in the assessment strategy
    • Partners use common operational datasets (COD) such as OCHA’s administrative boundaries and population figures
    • When possible partners’ assessments must be synchronized in time (example: after the rainy season)

Whatever the option chosen, the WASH coordination team needs to have solid skills and experience in the implementation of WASH assessment

Key external web links