Standardized Monitoring and Assessment of Relief and Transitions
SMART is an inter-agency initiative launched in 2002 by a network of organizations and humanitarian practitioners. SMART advocates a multi-partner, systematized approach to provide critical, reliable information for decision-making, and to establish shared systems and resources for host government partners and humanitarian organizations.
The SMART Methodology is an improved survey method that balances simplicity (for rapid assessment of acute emergencies) and technical soundness. It draws from the core elements of several methodologies with continuous upgrading informed by research and current best practices.
The SMART Methodology is based on the two most vital and basic public health indicators for the assessment of the magnitude and severity of a humanitarian crisis:
1. Nutritional status of children under-five.
2. Mortality rate of the population.
These indicators are useful for prioritizing resources as well as for monitoring the extent to which the relief system is meeting the needs of the population, and therefore the overall impact of relief response.
Advantages of using SMART
SMART ensures that consistent and reliable survey data is collected and analyzed using a single standardized methodology. It provides technical capacity for decision-making and reporting, and comprehensive support for strategic and sustained capacity building.
Key SMART Innovations
- Plausibility Check to verify data quality and flag problems.
- User-friendly software ENA and manuals that are easy to use even for non-epidemiologists.
- Flexibility in sample size calculation and cluster sizes, with standardized survey protocols with the use of replacement clusters, household selection techniques, and best field practices (e.g. for absent children or empty households).
- Rigorous standardization test procedures and analysis.
- Regularly updated, clear sampling guidance based on field experiences, research and best practices.
- Improved census procedure for mortality assessments.
The widely used combination of SMART and ENA has improved data quality review and assurance in larger surveys (e.g. Multiple-Indicator Cluster Surveys- MICS and Demographic Household Surveys- DHS) and has also been incorporated into many national nutrition protocols.
Additionally, SMART survey results are now used in early warning systems such as:
- Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWSnet): http://www.fews.net
- Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC): http://www.ipcinfo.org/
- Nutrition Information in Crisis Situations (NICS): http://www.unscn.org/en/publications/nics/
SMART Methodology looks to reform and harmonize assessments of and responses to emergencies and for surveillance (if used at equal time intervals). It ensures that policy and programming decisions are based on reliable, standardized data and that humanitarian aid is provided to those most in need.
APPLICATIONS OF SMART
I. SMART-UNICEF Collaboration
After 15 years of development, improvement and implementation, the SMART methodology is increasingly used and institutionalized by national governments. In order to document and learn from this process, SMART joined forces with UNICEF’s East & Southern Africa Regional Office (ESARO) and West & Central Africa Regional Office (WCARO) for six months in 2016, to review the implementation process of SMART surveys in Sub-Saharan Africa. Key outputs of this collaboration include a report landscaping the use of national, regional and small-scale surveys using SMART methods in the regions of East & South Africa and West & Central Africa, including lessons learnt on coordination mechanisms and their use in National Nutrition Information Systems. Two case studies on Burkina Faso and Tanzania were also devised, outlining the process and lessons learnt of introducing and institutionalizing SMART methods for National Nutrition Surveys.
- Nutrition Surveys and SMART Methodology in Sub-Saharan Africa
- Les enquêtes nutritionnelles et la méthodologie SMART en Afrique Sub-Saharienne
- Case Study: Nutritional Surveys using SMART Methodology in Burkina Faso
- Case Study: Nutritional Surveys using SMART Methodology in Tanzania
- Webinar: Focus on SMART in Sub-Saharan Africa: collaboration between UNICEF and SMART Initiative
- English Webinar Presentation
- French Webinar Presentation
- English Webinar Audio Recording
- French Webinar Audio Recording
II. High level Technical Assessment Meeting
The first High level Technical Assessment Meeting was held in Amman, Jordan in February 2018. The overall goal of the meeting was to provide a platform for stakeholders to discuss and deliberate on technical and policy issues focused on nutrition assessments and information management of the crisis-affected populations in the Middle Eastern region.
The specific objectives of the meeting were:
- To provide an update on Middle East SMART Strategy 2018-2020
- To provide an update on research and innovation to Nutrition assessments and
- To understand the application of SMART beyond Anthropometry and Mortality data
- To discuss the utilization of Nutrition information and survey data in the Middle East for advocacy and funding purposes
- To share experiences on mobile data collection in conflict areas.
The Full Report of the High level Technical Assessment Meeting is now available!