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EMMA in Action

Keep in mind that both EMMA and PCMMA [PCMA] are not stand alone tools.

Emmeline Saint

Who is EMMA for?

EMMA is for members of staff leading early assessments on the front line during sudden-onset emergencies, and during the transition to early recovery programming. By extension, EMMA is also for their managers and for decision makers responsible for planning initial and early responses to crisis.

EMMA is designed for generalists, as well as staff specializing in food-security, shelter, water, and sanitation sectors. This includes both front-line international support personnel drafted into a major emergency situation, and experienced local or national staff who may have good knowledge of livelihoods and economy in the affected area.

EMMA assumes limited previous experience of economic or market analysis. For this reason, EMMA tries to avoid technical language, or tools which require refined quantitative skills. However, those who conduct and lead EMMA processes – alone or with a small team – will greatly benefit from a pragmatic capacity to organize assessments flexibly, to reflect on information, and to think analytically.

EMMA is, in effect, an emergency stop-gap process: a pragmatic responses to the typical human resource limitations and shortages of information that constrain efforts to address market-related issues in sudden-onset emergency situations. By implication, it is less relevant for professional economists or market specialist who aim to conduct more thorough analysis of market systems, food security, or economic rehabilitations needs – for example in recovery phases of emergencies.

When to use EMMA?

EMMA aims to encourage speedy, rough-and-ready market-system analysis during the first few weeks of an emergency situation. It is designed for use in rapid onset emergency situations when background information is limited; when time and capacity to analyses existing markets are limited; and when expert market-analysis capabilities are not yet available.

EMMA is not relevant to rapid assessments and initial concept notes in the first few days of a crisis. It can be used, however, as soon as an emergency situation has begun to stabilize. This is so that the findings are not in danger of becoming immediately out of date due to further changes as the situation evolves. Typically, this means that EMMA is used once absolute priority needs (survival) are already being addressed; once displaced people have settled at least temporarily; once market actors have had a chance to assess their own situation and begin devising coping strategies.

In practice the timing of EMMA will depend on reconciling the information and decision-making needs of the organization that is using the toolkit with the availability of staff to conduct these exercises.