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Frequently Asked Questions
What is EMMA?
EMMA stands for Emergency Market Mapping and Analysis. It is a toolkit for humanitarian staff in post-emergency contexts that aims to improve emergency responses by encouraging and assisting relief agencies to better understand, support and make use of local market systems.
Since the EMMA Toolkit was first published in 2010, EMMA has become a highly regarded and well accepted methodology. EMMA assessments have been conducted in more than 25 countries, with the participation of more than three dozen international and national-level NGOs and UN agencies, resulting in over 90 separate reports. For more about the EMMA approach, click here.
Can EMMA be used in slow-onset and chronic emergencies?
Though EMMA was designed specifically for sudden-onset emergencies, in practice it has effectively been used in a wide variety of contexts and crises, including slow-onset and chronic emergencies. Technically, an EMMA is only an EMMA if it is conducted after a crisis has already occurred - this timing is often obvious in a rapid-onset crisis and less so in a slow-onset or chronic emergency context. When a chronic emergency is so prolonged that it has become the normal situation, EMMA may not be the most relevant approach.
If a specific crisis is expected but has not yet started, you may want to consider the Pre-Crisis Market Analysis (PCMA) approach.
When should an EMMA be started?
The most straightforward application of EMMA is for sudden-onset emergencies. In such cases, EMMA may be started 3-4 weeks after the onset of the emergency, once local markets have stablized somewhat. However, EMMA may still be relevant during the coming months and throughout the recovery phase, depending on the objectives of implementing agencies.
How much does an EMMA cost?
The cost of an EMMA can vary widely, depending on a number of factors, including the geographic area to be covered and the ease of access to the various areas to be visited; how many critical market systems are being studied; the complexity of the chosen market systems; the resources (in terms of staff, housing, vehicles and meeting spaces) that participating agencies are able to contribute; and whether a consultant will need to be hired to lead the overall assessment. Hiring a consultant, when necessary, is generally the single most costly aspect of an EMMA assessment. EMMAs have been conducted for as little as a few thousand dollars and for as much as $25,000 or more, depending on these factors.
How long should the EMMA process take?
As with the cost of an EMMA assessment, the length of an EMMA depends on a number of factors related to the scale and scope of the exercise, the skill level of the assessment team and the logistical and human resources available. As commonly practiced, EMMAs take between 2-3 weeks from the start of the pre-assessment workshop through the processes of field research and analysis and the development of response options and recommendations. However, EMMAs are adaptable, and an EMMA undetaken by well-trained staff that is very focused in scope could theoretically be completed in a week or less.
Note that these time estimates include neither the time needed to prepare for an EMMA before the team gathers for the pre-assessment workshop (preparations should be started as early as possible, ideally at least 3-4 weeks before the pre-assessment workshop begins) nor the time needed to finalize the EMMA report once the assessment is complete.
For more information, please check out the Planning an EMMA page.
Who can lead an EMMA?
The EMMA Toolkit was designed to be carried out by non-specialists. In other words, the average mid-level humanitarian worker with the right skill set and experience, regardless of sector or expertise, should be able to lead an EMMA. Here are the most relevant skills and experience for would-be EMMA leaders:
- Experience serving on the assessment team for an EMMA or a similar type of emergency market assessment, such as RAM, MAG or PCMMA: This is by far the best way to develop the competencies in the various steps and tools used in emergency market analyses. Experience has shown that simply participating in a standalone training, though helpful, is often not enough to build the confidence needed to lead an actual assessment, so practical experience is key. For ideas of how to access practical training opportunities, see the Trainings page.
- Market analysis or market development experience: Not all market assessments are emergency focused. People who have experience analyzing or working with markets in longer-term economic development programming (such as value-chain development) are probably already familiar with many of the concepts and tools used in EMMA and may find that leading such an assessment is well within reach. They will just need to remember to focus on the specific emergency response objectives of EMMA throughout the exercise.
- Team leadership and capacity building skills: The ability to manage people in the fluid and stressful post sudden-onset emergency environment is critical. Even for a small EMMA team, the leader needs to be able to explain complex concepts to team members and stakeholders, narrow down the scope of the assessment, develop questionnaires and data collection methodologies, monitor the quality of data and analysis, deal with challenging operational issues, delegate duties, rely on the judgment and opinions of other and provide strong leadership.
- Analytical capacity and ability to make good decisions quickly: The EMMA leader must be able to make quick decisions, keep the assessment objectives and key analytical questions in mind at all times, confidently and definitively decide when things are 'good enough', and dispose of irrelevant information.
Can you help me find a consultant to lead an EMMA training/assessment?
The best ways to find a consultant for trainings and assessments are through local networks (such as coordination clusters) and by circulating a TOR on the Markets in Crises (MiC) listserv. (Here is a sample TOR for a PCMA leader that can be used as a starting point, in case it's helpful.) The MiC Community of Practice includes over 1300 people, including many who have led or participated in EMMA and PCMA assessments and numerous consultants. You can register for the dgroup here or, if you don't want to join, you can still send a message to the group members by writing to marketsincrises [at] dgroups.org - just be sure to tell interested people who to contact in your message. Though capacity in market analysis is expanding, in general you are less likely to find someone with market assessment experience locally. Numerous expatriate consultants are skilled in market analysis, but they often have limited knowledge of the local context. You will have to determine what to prioritize as you select a consultant.
The EMMA website does not promote specific consultants; however, we would be happy to announce your consultancy in our news feed if you would like - simply email us at emmawebmaster [at] rescue.org (subject: consultancy%20announcement%20for%20posting%20on%20EMMA%20website) , ideally with a TOR attached. Finally, you should advertise the position as soon as possible, as often the best consultants are booked many months in advance!
What resources are available to help me with the EMMA process?
The EMMA Toolkit is the central resource for EMMA practitioners and can be purchased or downloaded for free via the Get the Toolkit page. This website also provides resources related to trainings, organizing an EMMA, practical implementation of assessments and other topics. Additionally, the Markets in Crises D-group offers a forum for reaching a growing community of humanitarians and others with expertise and interest in market assessments in humanitarian contexts with specific questions or requests for assistance.
How can I get trained in EMMA?
The best way to learn about EMMA is to participate in an actual assessment. If that isn't possible, there is a growing pool of freely accessible e-learning courses and training materials online. Standalone EMMA trainings are less common than they were in the past but still happen occasionally, and can also be organized by motivated organizations or individuals.
For more information about EMMA trainings, please visit the training page.
Where can I get an EMMA toolkit?
You can get an EMMA Toolkit via the Get the Toolkit page. It is available for purchase in book form or for free download in electronic form.