Mapping Exercise Unveils Gaps and Opportunities in the Use of Protection Needs Assessment Tools for Disability Inclusion


General IASC-Guidelines Pilot Countries

Phase 3- Leave No One Behind! project has issued a detailed mapping exercise which assessed if and to which extend global and local protection needs assessment tools identify disability-specific risks, barriers, enablers and capacities. Despite notable advancements in disability inclusion, the study revealed inconsistencies and areas for further improvement in humanitarian needs assessment tools and methodologies.

Mapping Exercise Overview

The study was conducted by external consultant Stephen Perry. It examined protection needs assessment tools in our six African pilot countries, including Somalia, South Sudan, Uganda, Niger, Nigeria, and Cameroon, alongside a comprehensive review of over 110 global resources. This analysis aimed to identify gaps and areas for improvement in incorporating disability-inclusive perspectives within protection needs assessments.

By contrasting on-the-ground practice against existing global guidance, the study increases understanding of how tools vary due to the rapidly changing humanitarian sector and specifically where targeted support could lead to more effective and inclusive tools.

Key Findings Highlighting Challenges and Opportunities:

Personnel Turnover

Despite a high awareness of the IASC Guidelines on Inclusion, the study revealed challenges stemming from rapid personnel turnover and a continuous introduction of new tools, creating potential fatigue and confusion, and affects utilization of older needs assessment tools.

Evolution of Needs Assessment Processes

The impact of emerging efforts, such as Multi-Sector Needs Assessments (MSNAs), the Joint Intersectoral Analysis Framework (JIAF) to estimate the number of persons in need, and the UN OCHA’s “Flagship Initiative,” could accelerate the development of more disability-inclusive tools.

Under-Utilization of Washington Group Questions

Despite advocacy efforts, Washington Group Questions were found to be under-utilized. Especially large multi-sector needs assessments that are frequently the cornerstone of the humanitarian needs assessment process use the questions with varying success across different contexts, if at all.

Limited OPD Involvement

Organizations of Persons with Disabilities (OPDs) were reported to have limited participation in the Protection Cluster’s needs assessment process. OPDs need to be targeted to a greater extent and intentionally in humanitarian response processes by making needs assessment tools more accessible.

Inconsistency in Indicators

The study underscored the importance and lack of robust disability-disaggregated indicators, revealing that the IASC Guidelines only provides a preliminary and rather incomplete list. This results in little consistency in the types of questions asked, and how.

In conclusion, the study emphasizes that a continuous evolution and improvement in tools and methodologies is imperative for disability inclusion throughout the entire Humanitarian Program Cycle.

Executive Summary available

An Executive summary of the report is now published and available on our project website. Beside the above highlighted findings, it includes specific recommendations to improve the situation.

For those interested in a more in-depth look, the full report is available upon request.