Summary of MeSSI meeting, Atlanta


7-8 February 2012

The expert meeting on the Measurement of Specific Sphere Indicators (MeSSI) took place at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, USA in February 2012. Bonnix Kayabu was invited to take part, as a representative of Evidence Aid. The objective of the meeting was to develop expert consensus on a select set of Sphere indicators, which would be useful for cross-sector evaluation of humanitarian responses in a broad range of settings. The meeting also aimed to identify specific guidance on how to measure selected indicators, with the intention of incorporating them into existing tools in those instances where the methods and data are appropriate. The indicators will be used to evaluate the effects of humanitarian actions on populations affected by disasters, excluding refugees.

Selected indicators should be used after interventions and actions have begun, while the intention is humanitarian response rather than recovery. This is usually in the period up to 3-6 months after the onset of a disaster. The indicators should be applicable across most settings where a disaster has occurred and should focus on outcomes, but take into account Sphere’s rights-based and participatory approaches.

Over 200 indicators from several phases of humanitarian action were identified in the Sphere standards. Some of these are difficult to measure in a reliable way and methods used to measure indicators often vary; with little comparability between emergencies or across time.

After two days of discussion, the participants in the MeSSI meeting agreed on 56 indicators and proposed ways to measure them, with the selected indicators to be placed within a measurement tool. When possible, the indicators will be measured using already recognized best practice and indicator data can be collected in the field or taken from information that had already collected. The ‘tools’ will be designed to facilitate use across settings, but they may need to be adapted to the local context of each emergency.

Next steps:

  • March 2012: Conference feedback sent to participants
  • June 2012: Finalise the complete measurement guidance (indicators summaries)
  • September 2012: Translation of selected indicator summaries into a cross sectional toolkit, the toolkit will be piloted and results will be shared.

The MeSSI project will provide some limited field support to any partners wishing to use the tool.