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Desk review is an important early step of EMMA/PCMA that can help to refine the scope of your assessment and also save you time during the field research. If reliable data on one aspect of your market systems is already available, you probably don't collect primary data on that subject. During the desk review, you'll generally be gathering information on a wide range of information, including data on
- The target population for your assessment, including any available information on livelihoods strategies, income and expenditure and needs;
- The different elements of your chosen market system(s), including the market chain, environment, infrastructure, inputs and services, and overall market performance;
- The impacts of past shocks on the chosen market system(s)
This spreadsheet, used in preparation for a PCMA in Pakistan, provides one example of what type of information can be gathered during the desk review process and how to organize it.
Often, the most relevant information comes from sources that are accessible only locally. Ask for market and livelihood baseline reports (such as Household Economy Approach studies, food security and livelihood assessments, etc.), previous needs assessments, research reports, coordination meeting minutes, sectoral standard operating procedures and/or sectoral or organizational strategy documents. Start your desk review process by contacting the following groups to see if they have documents or data sets available that might help you:
- Your own organisation (logistics and finance departments generally have a good understanding of markets and collect market-related data for their own purposes);
- Government offices at local, district and central levels. Depending on the context, it could be the Statistics Bureau, Ministry of Trade, Chamber of Commerce or another related ministry;
- Other organisations working in the area (Food Security and Livelihoods or Cash Clusters/Working Groups, WFP Vulnerability Analysis and Mapping (VAM) Unit, etc.
In addition to local sources, the following global websites may have documents that can contribute to your desk review process:
RELIEF-WEB: for general news and updates on emergency situations (organised by countries and sectors), lot of maps, OCHA Situation Reports, Clusters Reports
FEWS-NET: for food security information, description of livelihood zones and market profiles, data on market and trade, food security, map of trade flows.
MAP-ACTION: source of maps and technical information, for example of trade flow
UNOCHA: “Who Does What Where” -a contact management directory.
LOG CLUSTER: logistic information relevent to conducting fieldwork, road conditions and travel times, maps and supplier database (for contacts).
UNICEF: for general country overview information, especially for water and sanitation, health sector, essential household items. Focus on children’s needs.
WFP: for information on food security issues, search by country, CFSVA and CFSAM reports.
UNHCR: usually good for information on shelter needs, especially for refugees and IDP movements.
IOM: International Office for Migration. Reports related to movement of people and shelter needs.
IFRC: for links to national Red Cross organisations (especially relevent after natural disasters).
WFP VAM: the Vulnerability Analysis and Mapping branch, for detailed reports about food insecurity.
Microfinance Gateway: for country profiles on microfinance institutions and credit services.
Food Economy Group: resource for Household Economy Analysis (HEA) reports and guidance.
Livelihoods Connect: resource for sustainable livelihoods approach, reports and guidance.
SEEP-Network: good for web-links to country-specific sites on microfinance, enterprise development
BDS-Knowledge: huge library of reports on enterprise development, market analysis.
UNDP: for more detailed reports on long-term development policies and livelihoods strategies.
Value Chain Development Wiki: A value chain resource reference
Microlinks: Micro-Enterprise Learning and Knowledge Sharing
The Markets in Crises Community of Practice: library of market assessment reports, organized by country