Written 2009. Last Updated April, 2014.

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The following information may be received by the RAD Network from one of the Emergency Response Networks in the Region seeking one or more of the RAD Network’s members to be deployed on a Rapid Assessment in an Emergency.


1)        Context information on:


a)        the nature of the emergency

b)        the unfolding context

c)        populations concerned

d)        the host community

e)        the environment


2)        Overall perspective of location and duration of the project;

3)        Safety aspects

4)        Resources available:

a)        Within the Rapid Deployment Team

b)        Locally at the emergency - including translating

5)        Resources needing to be taken

6)        Objectives

7)        Activities, duration, collaborations

8)        Monitoring methods

9)        Qualitative evaluation (if possible also quantitative) being sought

10)     Reporting modalities

11)     Estimated budget.


Checklist of Basic Resources


The following human and financial/material resources can help facilitate the RAD


Human resources:


o   Principal RAD resource person, organization and contact person

o   Other RAD resource people

o   Other RAD resource people co-opted from among the local people

o   Other psychosocial support people from other NGOs currently in the local affected area

o   Other local professionals not connected to the Rapid Deployment Group

o   Translators

o   Contact person for the Group Auspicing the Rapid Deployment Group

o   Contact person within the Group Auspicing the Rapid Deployment Group for briefing on Travel and Security

o   Local Drivers

o   Local translators




At least one of the local staff and especially the driver must know the security risks and the country/area visited. The responsibility for the Assessment write-up rests with the RAD Network member(s) at the emergency.


Financial/physical resources:


1.    Field communications equipment (especially for security reasons)

2.    International and field transport

3.    Portable computers and related supplies and associated power.




Who briefs RAD team about:


1.    the emergency and emerging context

2.    the relevant factors leading up to the current context

3.    information about the people(s) at risk


a.        culture

b.        religion(s)

c.        language

d.        mores and local lore

e.        conditions of flight, etc.



Field practical guidelines


1.    The Bodies auspicing the Rapid Deployment Group generally make initial contacts and preparations including safety audit with local counterparts and/or local contacts.


2.    Once at the emergency context, the Rapid Deployment Group Leader makes the initial contacts.


3.    Following briefing by the Rapid Deployment Leader, the RAD member(s) begin to introduce themselves in the local context and let it be known into the local affected people's 'grapevines' and Informal networks what the RAD member(s) terms of reference are:


a.    that we are here for initial care and nurturing support

b.    that we are preparing the way for follow-up support that may or may not be consistent with the RAD way, and

c.    that rapid assessment will take place in a day or so.


4.    Even careful observing may result in biased impressions.


5.    Quick generalizations are to be avoided.


6.    Collect perceptions of the locals and crosscheck between interviewees.


7.    The people most severely affected with trauma may be the least visible.


8.    Separate interviewee comments from your own personal observations and opinions. 


9.    Language is kept very simple.


10. Jargon and acronyms are minimized.


11. We avoid raising hopes to high, and treat everyone with profound respect.


12. Taking great care in establishing photography and videoing protocols and carrying these out with respect


13. All met are accorded the highest respect.


14. Create no impression of being voyeurs, donors or tourists.


15. Once assessment begins, the purpose and use of data is simple and accurately conveyed.


16. We give lots of recognition and appreciation.


17. Typically, no original documents are taken.


18. In many cultures, asking questions is not their way of sharing and obtaining understanding. Much can be gleaned from listening to their stories, and outlining our role and the function of the assessing in brief story form. Constant questioning may approximate interrogation and be threatening and traumatizing.

19. The RAD team uses ethical behaviour and good citizenship.


20. Check local context for any movement outside after dark, especially outside of the host family’s home. For example, one may be tempted to look at the stars or moon away from the house. A prior check may have revealed that Cobras slither around on the lawn and if you do not call out the night’s password (in the local language), security people will shoot to kill!


21. Emergencies, especially man-made ones, typically remain politically sensitive with security issues. Late night meetings away from a local’s residence are avoided and travel too early or late is avoided if there are ongoing security risks. A good rule of thumb is do not set up a regular routine, especial one that is clearly visible; e.g. do not hold meeting each night in the same place visible from a road. It may be prudent to hold meeting of RAD team in total darkness.


Cooperating and Coordinating with other Organizations and Bodies


1.    In some contexts the Rapid Deployment Team may be the first outside resource people to arrive.


2.    In other contexts, other bodies may be present. Gaining their collaboration and support may avoid duplication in gathering some data.


3.    Coordinating and sharing resources and information may generate more accurate assessment and save time and funds for direct caring support. Care should be taken in sharing very sensitive information, especially if you are not cleared to share


Logistical - Adequate Resources:


1.    Communications (at various levels);

2.    Accommodation

3.    Transport, fuel and power


Evolving a checklist of needed provisions and resources, and flexibly adjusting according to context.






1.    Given the current low capacity in the Region for culturally sensitive wellness-based follow-on psychosocial support, typically, any follow-on support will be by international and local NGOs and other bodies that operate under prescriptive frameworks. Aiding this interfacing so that it is intercultually sensitive is a central challenge and the greatest opportunity


2.    Establishing the responsibilities of each team member


3.    Establishing and maintaining rapport within the Rapid Deployment team


4.    Mentoring of first time RAD members by those who have prior experience in the field


5.    Issues where local or other authorities, key decision makers, and possible donors in charge of the project are not informed and are not ready to assist or meet the RAD team


6.    Key decision-makers and possible donors may also be under pressure to respond to political demands even before the findings and recommendations of the Rapid Assessment are known, resulting in inappropriate assistance or no assistance


7.    The assessment may be conducted too late, or take too long, or not provide sufficient information


8.    The information collected is, or is deemed to be 'irrelevant'- especially, if the follow-on people ignore the data and 'do their own thing’ - which is for example to engage their Western academic ‘diagnose and prescribe’ expert knowledge and way and in the process by-passing, compromising, and collapse local way.


Possible Solutions:


1.    Better preparation before leaving and better organisation in the field.


2.    Early contact and involvement of all relevant stakeholders (or agencies).


3.    Briefing agencies and stakeholders on the respectful interfacing of Regional and Outsider Way




1.    Inadequate preparation of the RAD members


2.    RAD conclusions are based on data that do not represent the true needs of the affected population


3.    Information received from field workers and official interviews is taken at face value, without crosschecking all sources.


Solution: Careful and continued monitoring of process and data collecting.


Situations may change quickly. Collect the most recent data and continue monitoring the situation when drafting the report. Depending on the situation, circulate and discuss preliminary conclusions while processing the final report.


The Report may not be finished before leaving the context. The ideal is to liaise for the arrival of some key members of follow-on support to arrive while the RAD team are still at the context so the RAD team can brief and orientate them and introduce them to the local support networks among the locals






1.    A basic principle is to endeavour to never have information gathered used to escalate the conflict or cause harm

2.    The end of a conflict may increase distress for a certain time, due to the following:


a.    News of deaths of family members, relatives, or friends may be learned during this phase


b.    Families returning to their homes may find that their home and/or other property has been looted or destroyed, or occupied by others, and vital animals lost, for example water buffalo for rice farmers


3.    There may be a return of demobilized soldiers, which can greatly increase tensions in the community, particularly if they still have their weapons, or are known perpetrators


4.    During conflicts, the situation can change very rapidly. The analysis of data must be collected quickly and thoroughly, and the results made urgently available to decision-makers to draw the greatest benefit from the assessment. Endeavour to collect information as detailed in this Resource (and associated RAD documents) and add others aspects as appropriate to context. The analysis must be as specific as possible to ensure the best development of community-based, phase-specific action. In many senses the assessment can never be ‘complete’. A skill is knowing when we have enough of the picture.

5.    It is better to have the minimum and essential personal gear capable of being carried in one light back pack which you carry with you at all times. If hostilities break out you never have to return to your accommodation to get anything.

The foregoing guides the use or non-use of the following resources:




Grassroots Organisations and Networks


1.    Intercultural Indigenous and other networks of natural nurturers

2.    Indigenous women's organizations and networks

3.    Indigenous and traditional healers

4.    Indigenous organizations and networks

5.    Local Grassroots women's health networks

6.    Local grassroots community based organizations & networks

7.    Local religious groups, spiritual, community and religious leaders and the social outreach of these groups

8.    Women's groups and networks

9.    Women's, youth, disabled, minority groups, associations or networks,


Non-state entities:


1.    Local NGOs and CBOs

2.    Representatives of universities, agencies, associations, services:

3.    Cultural anthropologists, sociologists if any;

4.    Central UN administration in-country, if any;

5.    UN agencies;

6.    NGOs - international, regional

7.    Health and mental health professionals and relevant associations if any;


Intersectoral Sources:


1.    Physical health services

2.    Specialized mental health services

3.    Rehabilitation centres for physically disabled

4.    Education:

a.    primary and secondary school teachers,

b.    professors at universities,

c.    post secondary technical/vocational schools;

5.    Cultural, youth, sports, and social groups:

a.    clan,

b.    village,

c.    camp, and

d.    community leaders,

6.    Representatives of the elderly;

a.    Pre-existing social welfare and services and

b.    newly introduced activities for:

                                                                                                      i.    Families, including family reunification,

                                                                                                    ii.    refugees

                                                                                                   iii.    displaced

                                                                                                   iv.    Returnees, etc.

7.    Women: widows, survivors of torture/ rape, kidnapping, etc.

8.    Children and adolescents, including:


a.    unaccompanied minors,

b.    orphans,

c.    street children,

d.    children/adolescent head of  families, and

e.    child soldiers;


9.    Survivors of extreme violence (rape, torture, abducted) and former detainees/prisoners during conflicts and their families, including released prisoners of war

10. Other vital sectors: food, water, shelter, sanitation

11. Police, army, and other local or international security forces.


Central and Regional National Authorities:


Given the nature of the information we seek, the following may be of limited value


1.    Ministry of Social Welfare or of ad hoc Ministries (for example, "interior" and "security", "reconstruction", or "rehabilitation"

2.    Ministry of Education

3.    Ministry of Health

4.    Other ad hoc central district offices, local refugee offices, local UN administration, etc.;

5.    Other national, regional, and local administrative authorities;

6.    Regional/local security authorities


Maintaining Rapport with Local NGOs and Community based Bodies


The following is adapted from the Paper Governments and Facilitating Grassroots Action

Traditional government and non-government wellbeing agencies may start with being the interfacing entities arranging local introductions, transport, hosting, liaising with military, and the like. Once these local community based service provider entities see RAD associated grassroots initiatives seeking out and linking with natural nurturers and self-organising wellness restoring phenomena, these service based entities typically see RAD activity as a threat to their own funding and their jobs. If grassroots wellbeing action really starts to be effective on a larger scale, this may raise a fear of presupposed downsizing within traditional community based wellbeing services and local community bodies taking a service delivery approach- with similar fear within sections of the local bureaucracy.

Because of these perceived threats, the foregoing entities may mistakenly seek to undermine RAD activity and local grassroot mutual-help wellbeing initiatives. They may fail to see scope for multiple lateral integration between lateral/bottom-up and top down processes, or appreciate the scope for shifting from vertical integration to lateral integration. The obvious claim from within the local people who have adopted First World Way is that grassroot wellbeing action is 'unprofessional' - that it is not under the direction and control of professed experts. Also, that it is not organised 'properly' - in other words, it is not 'top-down'.

This is a very real issue that has distorted relating in past RAD Assessing in Disaster Areas. For ways of addressing this issue, refer:


o   Interfacing Alternative and Complementary Wellbeing Ways For Local Wellness

o   Relational Mediation and the Daughter on Bail Story.





Other RAD Links:


·         Rapid Assessing of Local Wellness, Psycho-Social Resources & Resilience Following Disasters (RAD)                                                                         

·         Evolving RAD

·         Recognising and Evolving Local-lateral Links Between Various Support Processes

·         Regaining Balance through Mutual-Help - A Story from Life

·         RAD and Resilience

·         Action Researching RAD in the Field

·         RAD Experiential Learning Gatherings

·         Self Care of the RAD Rapid Deployment Team

·         Possible Terms of Reference for RAD Assessment of Local Psychosocial Resources and Wellness

·         Responsibility for Distributing RAD Reports




·         Lace Webs and Laceweb

·         The Laceweb Network


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