Rapid Assessment for Markets: Guidelines for an Initial Emergency Market Assessment

Date of Design: 
International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement
Contact Institution: 
Pathway Component: 
Value Chains & Market Systems, Food Access, Food Expenditure, Food Prices, Non-food Expenditure

Content Summary

Brief Description: This document presents a Rapid Assessment for Markets (RAM) designed to provide a basic understanding of the capacity of selected markets to provide people with key commodities in the immediate aftermath of a sudden shock. The RAM strengthens response analysis by providing market data, essential for informed decision-making on appropriate transfer mechanisms if relief is to be provided. The tools used in the RAM can also reveal possibilities for marketsupport interventions and identify entry points to support market recovery.

Uses: The RAM is an instrument allowing humanitarian practitioners with limited market expertise and time to develop a rapid and basic understanding of key markets within the first few days after a shock.

Tool Components: The RAM includes a five-step process and a series of tools to gather, analyze, interpret, summarize, and monitor market data and obtain a basic understanding of key markets. The steps include:

  1. Defining the scope of the assessment
  2. Collecting market information
  3. Analyzing market information
  4. Reporting the findings
  5. Monitoring market evaluation


Number of Staff Required: The RAM requires a team leader with knowledge of how markets work. Additionally, member(s) of the logistics team need skills in: field work and assessments; ability to break down and rephrase complex questions; ability to adapt the language to the interviewee; ability to collect information using rapid and participatory rural appraisal tools; language skills; basic numeracy and analytical skills; and Excel and database skills.

Cost of Assessment: Not given, but will depend on a range of factors including security situation, logistics in getting to markets affected by shocks, size of team, available time, scope of assessment, etc.

Training: A RAM orientation session of at least 2-3 hours is strongly suggested.

Geographic Targeting: The RAM is meant to assess and analyze markets after a shock and provide an overview of the shock affected population. The number of marketplaces included is dependent on the size of the team, geographical and logistical constraints, the size and importance of the markets, the number of interviews to be conducted and the time available.

Type of Data Collection: The RAM is by definition meant to be rapid and provide a quick snapshot valid for 4-6 weeks following a shock. Data is collected through interviews using questionnaires provided. Users should not feel constrained by the questionnaires and should adapt them as needed. The guide also recommends sources of secondary data that might be useful to inform the analysis.

Degree of Technical Difficulty: The team leader needs to have significant experience and leadership capabilities. The RAM requires technical oversight from the RAM team leader for a number of reasons, the most significant being the fact that RAM team members are likely to be non-technical staff members, with little or no experience of market analysis or emergency assessments.

Complements other Resources: The guide provides lists of secondary data resources that should complement this assessment. They include sites such as ReliefWeb, FEWSNET, IPC, MAP-ACTION, and many others.

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