Strengthening Education in Emergencies Needs Assessment

Robust needs assessment and analysis is critical to improve the ability of humanitarian actors to effectively and efficiently respond to emergencies. Conducting and strengthening needs assessment and analysis is one of the six core cluster functions, mandated by the Inter-Agency Standing Committee. 

Ensuring strong capacities to undertake assessment and analysis among country education clusters and working groups is critical to help:

  • Identify, understand and estimate the education needs of the affected population
  • Provide a sound evidence base for developing comprehensive education cluster strategies
  • Advocate for education needs to be prioritized 
  • Facilitate informed decision making, including feeding into the Humanitarian Needs Overview and Humanitarian Response Plan processes 

The Global Education Cluster is committed to ensuring country clusters and working groups have the requisite resources and capacities to fulfill responsibilities around needs assessment and analysis.

Available tools and resources include:


With generous support from DG ECHO, the Global Education Cluster revised its Guide to Education in Emergencies Needs Assessments, which provides a foundation for and is an accompaniment to the Needs Assessment Package. Although the Guide is focused on education needs assessments where multiple partners are working together, the principles and guidance are also applicable to single agency education assessments. The Guide provides practical guidance on conducting, participating in and preparing for needs assessments. Chapter 1 focuses on identifying the key decisions needing to be made and the information needed to inform those decisions; this provides the basis for all assessment processes. Chapter 2 explains how to meet those needs and highlight remaining information gaps by conducting a secondary data review (SDR). Chapter 3Chapter 4 and Chapter 5 provide guidance on how to conduct and participate in the three types of assessments most relevant to Education Cluster Teams: joint education needs assessments, harmonized needs assessments and multi-sector needs assessments. Chapter 6 concludes the Guide with suggestions on how to prepare even before assessments are deemed necessary or a crisis strikes.

Additionally, the Global Education Cluster developed the Coordinated Education in Emergencies Needs Assessment and Analysis Coaching Programme.

The IOM Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) Field Companion, which provides a variety of approaches to improve the quality and relevance of the information collected by DTM and enable country clusters to better identify urgent needs and gaps. The DTM can provide data on the availability and access to education services, which can be used as high-level snapshots. In addition to standard DTM products, the Guide for Sector severity and priority IDP locations with DTM data includes questions designed to answer key analytical questions of interest to Education Clusters. Given that education questions will not be automatically included in DTM data collection forms, it is important that Education Cluster teams contact the DTM coordinator in country to discuss their information needs and review the Education Field Companion for lists of recommended questions.

Multi-Sector Needs Assessments (MSNAs), which are mandated by the Humanitarian Country Team, coordinated by the Assessment Working Group and facilitated by REACH, provide a crisis-wide overview on needs and vulnerabilities to inform the Humanitarian Needs Overview and Humanitarian Response Plan. MSNAs provides data on both education facilities and households needs, through household surveys. It is important that Education Clusters engage in the MSNA process to make sure data collected is relevant to their information needs. Recent examples of MSNA reports can be found here and here.

USAid Logo

In the face of unprecedented challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the significance of addressing children's education and protection needs holistically has become more evident than ever. With the support from USAID - Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance (BHA), the Global Education Cluster and Global Child Protection Area of Responsibility (GCPAoR) have joined forces to address the gap between the urgency of ensuring children's well-being and access to quality education and the scarcity of tools and resources to collect and assess comprehensive data for informed and inter-sectoral responses. The project aims to enhance data availability for strategic planning and response at the country level in education in emergencies and child protection through the following three results:

  1. Scaling Up Support for Education Needs Assessment: Strengthening the abilities of countries to conduct comprehensive education needs assessments and analysis at both national and local levels.
  2.  Integrating Child Protection in Education Assessments: Enhancing the incorporation of child protection considerations into education needs assessments across six countries. This involves prioritizing children's perspectives through participatory approaches during data collection.
  3. Enhancing Emergency Education and Child Protection Readiness: Improving tools, resources, and capacities at local and national levels to effectively respond to sudden onset emergencies related to education and child protection.

To date, 4 Assessments have been conducted in Burkina Faso, Niger, Myanmar, and Northwest Syria.

Learn more about the project and findings here.

The Calculating Education Cluster People in Need (PiN) methodology is recommended by the Global Education Cluster to ensure a robust PIN measurement. Calculating the PIN is a fundamental cluster task and provides the overall scale of the needs, which will help know the size of the affected groups for planning and costing purposes. For the HNO it is expected that it will be mandatory for clusters to provide a breakdown of the PIN in terms of 1) Geographical area, 2) The different affected groups (IDPs, residents, returnees, refugees, etc.) 3) The severity of conditions in the education sector, 4) Sex.

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