The Emergency Market Mapping and Analysis Toolkit

The Emergency Market Mapping and Analysis Toolkit

by Mike Albu

Paperback(Book and CD)

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Markets are a crucial component of how people survive. Understanding how markets function and then are disrupted in emergencies is critical to any analysis of hunger, and of food and livelihood security. The Emergency Market Mapping and Analysis (EMMA) techniques described in this toolkit assist frontline staff in undertaking rapid assessments of market systems in the first few weeks of a crisis. Its purpose is to improve early response planning so that resources are used effectively, and to try to ensure that opportunities to bolster future recovery in the local economy are not missed. This toolkit can help prevent lasting damage to the livelihoods, jobs and businesses on which people’s long-term security depends.

EMMA assumes limited previous experience of economic or market analysis. Instead, the focus is on simple visual, graphical and largely qualitative ways of describing the impact of the emergency on people and on the critical market systems upon which they most rely.

The Emergency Market Mapping Analysis Toolkit is designed for generalists, as well as specialist staff working in the food security, shelter, water and sanitation sectors.

The author takes readers through ten practical steps in order that they can both understand the important market aspects of an emergency situation, and are able to communicate this knowledge promptly and effectively to decisionmakers.

The toolkit contains a CD-ROM with an electronic version of the toolkit, supplementary reading, and associated training materials.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781853396991
Publisher: Practical Action Publishing
Publication date: 04/28/2010
Edition description: Book and CD
Product dimensions: 6.70(w) x 9.50(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Mike Albu works for Practical Action and has been employed as both consultant and international NGO manager in the field of pro-poor market development for over 10 years. He also has many years prior practical experience of community-based livelihoods and appropriate technology development projects in Africa and South Asia.

Read an Excerpt


The EMMA toolkit: introduction and overview Introduction

0.1 Introduction

In recent years, international humanitarian agencies have been adapting their responses to emergencies. Many have begun using cash-based initiatives, alongside or in place of conventional relief distributions of food and non-food items. Local procurement is also being encouraged, and opportunities for other innovative responses explored (Harvey 2005, 2007).

These changes in practice draw attention to the need for better analysis of markets. There is a growing realization that the best opportunities for assisting women and men may be missed unless emergency responses are designed with a good understanding of critical market systems. Moreover, lack of this market analysis in humanitarian programmes may be damaging the livelihoods, jobs, and businesses upon which people's long-term security depends.

Markets are a crucial component of how people survive. So understanding how they are functioning and disrupted is critical to any analysis of hunger, and vulnerability to food and livelihood insecurity or poverty.

Paul Harvey, Humanitarian Policy Group, ODI

Market systems matter in emergencies

Market systems play a vital role in supplying critical goods or services to ensure survival and protect livelihoods, both in the immediate aftermath of a disaster and in the longer term. Before, during, and beyond any crisis, emergency-affected women and men also depend on market systems as sources of income and remuneration.

The rationale for EMMA is that a better understanding of the most critical market systems in an emergency situation enables humanitarian agencies to consider a broader range of responses.

As well as conventional in-kind distributions and cash-based interventions, these response options can include local procurement and other innovative forms of market-system support that enable humanitarian programmes to make better use of existing market actors' capabilities, while understanding the risks.

The results of using EMMA therefore are:

• more efficient use of humanitarian resources;

• less risk of prolonged dependency on outside assistance;

• encouragement for the transition to economic recovery.

Gender and market systems

People's relationships with other actors in market systems (i.e. traders, employers, buyers) are shaped by issues of power – which often have gender, class, or ethnic dimensions. We cannot assume that the roles and responsibilities of women and men, and hence their market needs, are the same. EMMA explicitly deals with these differences in its selection of target groups (section 1.6), and deals with power as a component of the market environment in market-system mapping (section 0.11).

0.2 EMMA: what, why, who, and when?

WHAT is the EMMA toolkit?

EMMA is a set of tools (this toolkit) and guidance notes (the reference manual on CD-ROM). It encourages and assists front-line humanitarian staff in sudden-onset emergencies to better understand, accommodate, and make use of market systems. It does not offer a simplistic blue-print for action. However, EMMA does provide accessible, relevant guidance to staff who are not already specialists in market analysis.

The EMMA toolkit adds value to established humanitarian practices in diverse contexts. EMMA tools are adaptable, rough-and-ready, speed-orientated processes designed to reflect the information constraints and urgency of decision making required in the first few weeks of a sudden-onset emergency situation. The EMMA process is therefore intended to be integrated flexibly into different organizations' emergency-response planning.

Although designed with sudden-onset situations in mind, EMMA is also likely to be valuable for staff planning for the transition into the early recovery phase of programming.


EMMA's aim is to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of early humanitarian actions taken to ensure people's survival; to protect their food security and their livelihoods; and to help agencies to avoid doing harm. EMMA helps front-line staff to both understand the important market aspects of an emergency situation that may not otherwise be considered adequately or early enough; and communicate this knowledge promptly and effectively into programme decision-making processes.

Six reasons why EMMA is valuable:

1. To make early decisions about the wisdom of different direct-response options. EMMA compares the likely outcomes and risks of different types of direct intervention (see Box 0.5) to decide which forms (or combinations) are most appropriate in meeting people's priority needs.

2. To assess opportunities for complementary 'indirect' actions. EMMA explores opportunities for alternative indirect forms of market support (see Box 0.5) that can rehabilitate or assist recovery of critical market systems.

3. To reduce the risk of doing harm. EMMA increases awareness of the potential to harm businesses and households in critical market systems. Hence it can reduce aid dependency, promote long-term recovery, and increase the stability of local markets that provide people with goods, services, and sources of income.

4. To assist in monitoring the performance and accessibility of market systems. EMMA profiles can help agencies to track both the continuing impact of a crisis, and the outcomes of humanitarian actions, on critical market systems. Up-to-date information about market access and performance can alert managers to any adverse effects of humanitarian actions, and enable them to make appropriate decisions about when and how to phase out assistance.

5. To improve the quality of disaster preparedness. Through better knowledge of how critical market systems work, their potentials and vulnerabilities, EMMA market maps and profiles can improve the quality of disaster-preparedness planning.

6. To define the requirements for more detailed market analysis. Where information is poor, time is short, and skills to interpret market data are weak, EMMA can still help managers to define detailed terms of reference for more thorough research of particularly critical market systems.

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 response 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 specialists who aim to conduct more thorough analysis of market systems, food security, or economic rehabilitation 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 analyse existing markets are limited;

• 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 (e.g. producers, retailers, traders) have had a chance to assess their own situation and begin devising coping strategies

This means that if suitable personnel are available, EMMA can potentially be used within two weeks of the onset of an emergency. However, it will often take rather longer.

EMMA may continue to be useful for many weeks (or even months) into a crisis, if humanitarian agencies' understanding of key market systems that relate to emergency needs remains sketchy, or if changing market conditions need to be monitored. It may be valuable for early-recovery programming if more rigorous market analysis is not feasible.

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.

0.3 EMMA and market systems

The 'market system' is a fundamental concept in EMMA. A market system is the entire web of people, businesses, structures, and rules that are involved in producing, trading, and consuming any product or service. The market system determines how a product or service is accessed, produced, exchanged, and made available to different people. This concept is best explained and revealed by using an example of a market-system map (see Box 0.7).

Mapping is one of the main tools in EMMA. Market-system maps, and other tools such as seasonal calendars, are at the heart of EMMA. Research and interviews with all sorts of different market actors and other informants are used to rapidly draw up comprehensive pictures of the system. These maps capture the most relevant available information and enable comparisons to be made between pre-crisis and emergency-affected situations. They are also vital tools for communicating EMMA findings and recommendations to busy decision makers.

EMMA and market-system selection

EMMA investigates market systems for different items separately. As the example in Box 0.7 illustrates, every crop, non-food item, or service has its own particular market system. This means that it is necessary to decide early in the EMMA process (Step 2) which market systems – i.e. which items, crops, products – are critical from the humanitarian perspective.

The need to focus on particular market systems is not a huge obstacle to using EMMA in practice. Although EMMA analyses every market system independently of every other system, it is perfectly feasible to conduct fieldwork for two or more EMMA studies simultaneously. Also, some commodities may have such similar market systems that it is feasible to use one as a proxy for others. For example, essential household items that are imported from outside the disaster area may come along very similar supply chains.

0.4 Overview of EMMA – the three strands

The EMMA process has three basic strands, represented by the strap-line 'People, Markets, Emergency Response'.

Initially, the strands are relatively separate, like parallel lines of enquiry in an investigation. However, as EMMA proceeds, these strands should knit together like a rope, providing a strong, coherent analysis to support the weight of your final recommendations (see Box 0.8).

A. Gap analysis ('people') strand

This strand is about understanding the emergency situation, priority needs, and preferences of those most affected by the emergency: our target population. It also puts these households' needs (the gaps in their resources) in the context of their economic profile and livelihood strategies.

B. Market-analysis strand

This strand is about understanding each critical market system in terms of its constraints and capabilities to play a role in the emergency response. It develops a map and profile of the pre-crisis baseline situation and explores the impact of the emergency on it.

C. Response-analysis strand

This strand is about exploring different options and opportunities for humanitarian agencies. It looks at each option's respective feasibility, likely outcomes, benefits, and risks, before leading to recommendations for action.

The three strands run throughout the EMMA process, supporting each other, as follows.

The results of the gap analysis inform the market-system analysis by defining what the market system has to achieve if it is to meet people's needs. These results also contribute to the response analysis, for example by describing women's and men's preferred forms of assistance (see Box 0.9).

The results of the market-system analysis inform the response analysis by assessing what the market system is capable of delivering, and by identifying the main constraints that it faces (see Box 0.10). Early market-analysis findings may also support the gap-analysis process by highlighting issues that require field investigation, for example market-access constraints of which the target population are unaware.

The response-analysis results inform the final conclusions and recommendations of EMMA, by evaluating feasibility, risks, advantages, and disadvantages of the response options or combinations of options identified during the EMMA process (see Box 0.11).

Early response-analysis findings also contribute to the gap analysis and market-system analysis processes, by indicating a variety of feasible options and narrowing the scope of EMMA fieldwork so that interviews can focus on gathering the most useful information.

0.5 The EMMA process – ten steps

The EMMA process can be divided into ten steps, covering the general sequence of activities. However, EMMA is also an iterative process. In practice, activities in different steps will overlap, and we may return to particular steps repeatedly, as our analysis of each market system is revised. This continues until a 'good-enough' final picture is achieved.

The way in which these three parallel strands and the ten consecutive steps are interrelated is represented in the flow-chart in Box 0.13.

0.6 EMMA's principles

EMMA builds on what humanitarian agencies already do.

• EMMA is a flexible process, with a few clearly defined tools, which is intended to be adapted to each situation and each agency's ways of working.

EMMA is not just business-as-usual: it asks humanitarian staff to think differently.

• EMMA draws attention to the importance of market systems that are critical to meeting affected populations' priority needs, both now and in the longer term.

• EMMA may lead agencies to consider unconventional kinds of response, including 'indirect' actions to rehabilitate or support damaged market systems.

EMMA is for non-specialists to enable them to make urgent decisions that are 'adequate for purpose'.

• EMMA is mostly qualitative rather than quantitative.

• EMMA is intended to assist early decision making in the first weeks of a crisis, looking forward up to one year ahead. It does not provide the detailed analysis ideally required for long-term programming.

EMMA does not put markets before people.

• EMMA is about making markets work for women and men in emergencies. Most crisis-affected households were involved in market systems before the crisis occurred: perhaps for acquiring food, essential items, and services, or for selling products (e.g. crops) and labour.

• In the EMMA process, understanding the market system for an item like rice therefore includes not just the retailers and millers who trade in rice, but also farmers and agricultural labourers (who may be men), suppliers of seeds and inputs, and of course rice consumers (who may be women).

EMMA has a livelihoods perspective.

• EMMA differentiates between different livelihoods and social groups, recognising that men's and women's normal livelihood strategies shape their relationships with market systems, their coping strategies, and their different needs in an emergency.

• Gender roles, ethnicity, wealth rank, health status, disability, etc. may all be important factors affecting people's access to and engagement with market systems, their coping strategies, and needs.

EMMA allows you to integrate existing and relevant information from different sources:

• household surveys, trader interviews, official statistics, market profiles, and other literature.


Excerpted from "The Emergency Market Mapping and Analysis Toolkit"
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Copyright © 2010 Oxfam GB.
Excerpted by permission of Practical Action Publishing Ltd.
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Table of Contents

Part One: Introduction
The EMMA Toolkit
Part Two: EMMA Toolkit
Step 1: Essential Preparation
Step 2: Market Selection
Step 3: Preliminary Analysis
Step 4: Preparation for Fieldwork
Step 5: Fieldwork Activities and Interviews
Step 6: Mapping the Market System
Step 7: Gap Analysis
Step 8: Market-System Analysis
Step 9: Response Analysis
Step 10: Communication Results

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