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Rapid Assessments

Last edited: January 06, 2020

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Rapid assessments collect essential data on the needs and priorities of the affected communities, usually by using a mix of observation and interview/focus group data. Rapid assessments are often done together with multiple agencies. The advantages of rapid assessment include quick data collection and efficient application of data to inform programming changes. However, data from rapid assessments is not collected in a rigorous manner and cannot replace baseline data Additionally, rapid assessments often neglect important population sub-groups and locations. Despite these challenges, rapid assessment can still be useful in conflict and post-conflict settings to quickly and efficiently collect essential data.


  • Link up with the wider international community: Whenever possible plan assessment mission with the wider international community to reduce logistic challenges and collect comparable data between agencies. See UNICEF’s rapid assessment and the GBV guideline’s rapid assessment guidelines and tools as guidance when developing rapid assessment tools to understand the risks women and girls face.
  • Collect only the most essential information: Consider what information is absolutely essential to begin programming and what information can be collected at later time. Remember, rapid assessments are not baselines and do not need to collect extensive information. Collecting data on VAWG can potentially be re-traumatizing and support services need to be in place before data on individual experiences of violence can be collected. Therefore, more general information on risks women and girls may experiences is more appropriate to collect during a rapid assessment.
  • Select a variety of sites: Going to multiple sites where the experience of conflict has been different allows you to build a wider profile of experiences to inform programming.
  • Mix of observation and interviews/focus groups: Rapid assessment tools should use a mix of visual observation and interview/focus group techniques. Perceptions of VAWG may vary with local social norms regarding the acceptability of violence. It is therefore important to collect data from interviews with professionals (e.g. health sector, government, women’s organizations, etc.) to ensure multiple perspectives. 
  • Seek out marginalized populations: Do not just speak to the community leaders. Seek out marginalized groups - such as women and girls, members of minority ethnic groups, etc., to gather information from their perspectives as well
  • Quantitative and qualitative data: Use both quantitative and quantitative data. Quantitative data can be collected and analyzed quickly and should form the core of the assessment. However, a limited amount of qualitative data is also essential to provide context.
  • Clear and simple questions: Keep questions short and simple. Data collectors will be moving quickly and need to know what information is essential to collect. Questions on VAWG can be subjective, so it is essential to reduce any ambiguity by asking clear and direct questions.