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Organizing a PCMA Assessment

Organizing a PCMA assessment is a lot like organizing an EMMA or a similar type of post-crisis emergency assessment. The biggest difference is that more time and effort will be needed to properly define the scope of your PCMA before the full assessment team assembles (for example, you'll need to decide which crisis will serve as the reference crisis and will need to clearly define the objectives for the assessment). Because PCMA is still a relatively new approach, organizations are still learning how to adapt it for different contexts and objectives. This page addresses a few basic questions about organizing a PCMA and provides links to resources that provide additional information. To help build the body of knowledge and tools on pre-crisis assessments, sharing learning from experiences to date is especially important. You can read about others' experiences and share your own advice here


I have been trained in EMMA. Does this mean I can implement a PCMA?

If you are an experienced EMMA leader, there is a big chance you can go out and lead a PCMA. If you have only participated in a standalone EMMA training and have not actually served on an EMMA assessment team, you might want to participate in a PCMA exercise before leading one, but remember that PCMA follows the same basic principles as EMMA and that, if you decide to use EMMA as your primary toolkit for the assessment, it will largely follow the same methodology. The main differences relate to the timing and the objectives. For someone with practical experience in market assessments, the guidance document should be fairly straightforward to pick up and apply. PCMA may be different from other types of market assessment in terms of practical concerns like team structure, timing and scenario definition, but most of the basic theory, concepts and analytical processes are the same as those in other market assessments. 


What kind of support is available to agencies that would like to carry out a PCMA? Do you have some PCMA trainers you could recommend? Do you have some PCMA training material/resources?

The PCMA guidance document (web version; PRINT version available here; also available in French, SpanishArabic and Bangla) is the most comprehensive document available on PCMA. If your agency does not yet have the capacity to conduct an assessment with the support of the guidance document, we would suggest starting to build internal capacity by having qualified staff volunteer themselves as team members in other agencies’ PCMAs. Once they are comfortable with the PCMA process, they can then take on responsibility for training other staff. We encourage agencies to announce their plans for PCMA activities through the MiC dgroup and their relevant country coordination groups.

At the moment, there are few people who have led PCMA trainings and exercises, and there is no official PCMA training curriculum, though several trainings have been conducted in conjunction with initial pilot exercises, and we have compiled much of this training material here. However, people with strong experience leading other emergency market assessments, like EMMAs, are likely to be comfortable taking on a PCMA with a little extra preparatory work.

We suggest announcing PCMA leadership opportunities through local networks (such as coordination clusters) and the MiC dgroup and, as always, encourage you to use the same forum to share training materials and learning from trainings. 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] (subject: consultancy%20announcement%20for%20EMMA%20website%20news%20feed) , 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! 


How long does a PCMA exercise take? How much does it cost?

The length of a PCMA exercise depends on its scope and objectives, and on the market assessment tool that is used. If the EMMA Toolkit forms the basis of the assessment, it is safe to assume that the PCMA will take approximately as long as an EMMA exercise, or roughly 2-3 weeks. This includes a theoretical and practical training of about 3 days, data collection for 4-6 days (depending on the size and transport conditions of the geographical area you are working in and the number of staff you have), and data analysis for 3 days. The assessment leader will need an additional 3-5 days to produce the report. If a more rapid assessment tool, like RAM, is used, a PCMA will likely take less time, somewhere in the range of 3-5 days. As with EMMA, additional time should be allotted for pre-assessment preparations; ideally, these should begin no later than 2-3 months before the desired start date of the assessment. 

Generally it is reasonable to budget $10,000-20,000 for a PCMA assessment. Costs vary depending on several factors. If you don’t have internal capacity to lead the exercise, hiring an international consultant can add to the cost; this is generally the single most expensive part of any market analysis exercise. Other factors that will influence the cost are the geographic scope of the assessment and whether you will be renting vehicles (normally more expensive)  or using your organization’s own fleet (normally cheaper).


For a more extensive list of questions and answers about PCMA, click here

For a set of key resources on PCMA, including the Q&A document described above, click here