48-Hour Assessment Tool: Food Security and Livelihoods in First Phase Emergency

Date of Design: 
Oxfam/ Emergency Capacity Building Project
Contact Institution: 
Philippa Young: pyoung@oxfam.org.uk
Pathway Component: 
Agricultural Income, Value Chains & Market Systems, Diet, Food Access, Food Expenditure, Food Prices, Food Production


Brief Description: The purpose of this tool is to obtain a quick understanding of the emergency food security and livelihood situation within the first few days after a rapid-onset disaster. This tool collects information on food security and livelihoods. The results of this initial assessment are meant to inform the design of first-phase responses, in the first six to eight weeks after a disaster occurrs. A more detailed assessment led by food security and livelihood specialists is expected to take place at a later date. 

Uses: This tool aims to support response teams to gather an adequate picture of the food security and livelihoods situation in order to design rapid responses that can meet immediate needs and protect livelihoods in the context of practical constraints that usually follow a rapid-onset crisis. 

Tool Components: The toolkit contains six separate documents:

  1. Objectives and Guidance Notes
  2. Assessment Questionnaire
  3. Decision-Making Tree
  4. Response Menu
  5. Report Format
  6. Annex: Technical Rationale 

The assessment questionnaire is divided into four sections:

  1. Community & Household Focus Group Discussion
  2. Markets and Traders Status after the Disaster – Questions for Traders
  3. Cash Delivery Structures – Questions for Money Transfer Agents
  4. Coordination and Other Actors’ Response Plans 


Number of Staff Required: The number of staff on the assessment team is not specified; this will vary depending on available resources. Note that it is recommended that external technical staff (not the assessment team) conduct the analysis and draw the response recommendations from the results. 

Time: The assessment should take place within a week after a rapid-onset disaster, ideally within the first 48 hours. The assessment should be completed, including recommendations and report writing, within a few days (ideally 48 hours).

Cost of Assessment: Not specified; this will vary according to context.

Training: The 48-hour assessment tool is designed to be accessible to all levels of staff with different skill sets and experience. It was developed for: 1) humanitarian staff with no or limited technical skills (e.g.: humanitarian program managers) and/or; 2) food security and livelihoods technical staff with little experience of rapid-onset disasters in urban and rural contexts. 

Geographic Targeting: This is a community-focused assessment tool and should be used on a clearly defined, disaster-affected area.

Type of Data Collection: A variety of qualitative and quantitative data, including typical household food security, livelihoods, market functioning, money transfer systems, and water and sanitation systems, will be collected. 

Degree of Technical Difficulty: This tool is intended for staff with limited technical experience. However, analysis and response recommendations should be supported by more experienced staff. 

Complements other Resources: This tool can be used in conjunction with processes such as the Multi-Cluster/Sector Initial Rapid Assessment (MIRA) to complement them with detailed food security and livelihoods information necessary for rapid response design. This assessment tool assumes that an Emergency Market Mapping and Analysis (EMMA) might still be necessary a couple of weeks after the disaster and that if a Household Economy Approach (HEA) baseline exists, it can provide important background information on the pre-disaster context and outcome analysis and triangulate the findings of the 48-hour assessment.

This summary is part of a larger resource called the Context Assessment Tool Locator.