The Humanitarian Emergency Settings Perceived Needs Scale (HESPER): Manual with Scale

Needs assessments are vital to identify the needs that are present in an affected population, and to inform the humanitarian response. There have been repeated recommendations for increased participation of affected populations in humanitarian assessment. Participation is seen as essential for avoiding basic mistakes in resource allocation, programme design, accountability, and for supporting psychosocial well-being.

In the humanitarian field, most needs assessments tend to use either population-based “objective” indicators (for example malnutrition or mortality indicators), or qualitative data based on convenience samples (for example through focus groups or key informant interviews). Whilst the latter method is not able to paint a full population-picture, the former is not able to gather information on people’s subjective perception of needs.

The HESPER Scale was developed to fill this gap. It aims to provide a method for assessing perceived needs in representative samples of populations affected by large-scale humanitarian emergencies in a valid and reliable manner.

This manual includes the HESPER Scale, as well as a detailed explanation of how to use the HESPER Scale, how to train interviewers, and how to organise, analyse and report on a HESPER survey.

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