Third Edition
Publication Date
Publication Date: 
May 1, 2017

This basic guide seeks to help development planners and implementers to better understand the communities they are working in, and therefore to develop more relevant and effective programming. If offers assessments that will help organisations and their researchers understand: the conflicts people are facing, their governance challenges, gender-related inequalities and power imbalances, and how to protect those most vulnerable from harm, as well as the concerns of youth. As explained in the guide, “[T]he assessments described in this guide can be used to ground strategic plans and implement effective, holistic projects, especially in key areas such as health, agriculture and emergency programming. In order to deepen expertise in these areas, field staff need to deepen their understanding of what is at play in the countries where they work.”

These kinds of assessments are particularly required when preparing proposals for donor organisations, although the depth with which each component is treated will vary with the scope and complexity of specific projects and donor requirements. “Gender assessments, for example, are a near-universal donor requirement. For a given proposal to be responsive, it may be necessary to go beyond the basic assessment instrument provided in this guidance. With some major donors, such as the USAID Office of Food for Peace, similar assessments must now be carried out to ensure conflict sensitivity and to integrate good governance and social accountability into multi-sectorial development food assistance programs.”

The guide firstly highlights the complementarity among peacebuilding, governance, gender, protection, and youth assessments, which offers opportunities for integrating or combining these assessments. It then dedicates a chapter to the five areas of assessment. Each contains a list of questions that assessors should consider, a glossary of terms, and links to further resources.

Conflict assessment tool - For a basic conflict assessment, the guide suggests inquiring first into broad national or regional contexts under the term “profile” and then looking into the “3 P’s”: the problem (causes or drivers of conflict), the people (the actors or parties to a conflict), and the process (the dynamics and trends).

Governance assessment tool - This tool helps country programmes develop broad assessments of governance challenges. The analysis can be deepened by further examining the actors, dynamics, and institutional arenas involved in governance challenges. A basic governance analysis looks at the five elements of a governance/political system: consensus, rule of law, political competition, inclusion, and governance.

Gender assessment tool - Gender-related inequalities and power imbalances remain among the key factors driving chronic poverty, food insecurity, poor health, and violence against women and children. Without a sound analysis of gender dynamics, development and relief programmes may miss important opportunities to improve the lives of all women, men, girls, and boys and to develop more equitable relationships among them at the household, community, and even societal level.

Protection assessment tool - This assessment tool is designed to ensure that the actions undertaken will neither harm nor increase risks for beneficiaries and the community. Consistent with the principles of protection, systematic efforts should be undertaken to ensure human dignity and meaningful participation in and access to all actions and services.

Youth assessment tool - Conducting a youth analysis is essential for developing effective, youth-centred programmes. This tool is meant to serve as a starting point for considering what is known about the situation and status of youth in a country in some of the most important areas for youth development.

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CRS website on August 22 2017.