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Global Shelter Cluster Information Management and Assessment Toolkit


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1D. Activity Reporting

At every stage of a cluster life-cycle and whichever the type of emergency, activity reporting is one of the key main tasks of the IMO both in terms of internal tracking of activities to be able to properly coordinate among partners, but also with regards to requirements vis-à-vis OCHA. Tracking activities is usually done through a matrix* (depending on the context , 4W, 5W, etc.) although the way partners report and/or the cluster chooses to collect activity reporting data may differ.  

  • 1Di. This note from the GSC explains why activity reporting is necessary for shelter cluster coordination.
  • 1Dii & 1Diii & 1Div. W-matrices from AfghanistanUkraine and North West Syria (2020) are a good place to start for best practice examples. The Ukraine 5W, is a good example of how the IMO uses unique identifiers for entries from partners. This method also enabled the Shelter Cluster to come up with a method for estimating a more realistic calculation of unique beneficiaries in the case that one household may have received Shelter and NFI assistance.
  • 1Dv. Meanwhile, the example from NW Syria includes guidance embedded in the document, as well as a brief user guide to facilitate updating the 4W.

Once the datasets are populated with the information necessary to track activities, it is recommended to communicate this information in a way that is useful to partners to facilitate their own bilateral coordination. Shelter Clusters have done this through static or interactive dashboards at the local level, skype groups, factsheets, or even simple gap analysis through excel. One such example may be the coordination of winterization response. In Ukraine, the Subnational Shelter Cluster created a dashboard in Tableau, while in NW Syria a simple gap analysis was done to compare needs assessment data with the activities reported by partners. A damage database was also exchanged offline at Subnational level to facilitate coordination of coverage of repairs to damaged homes all along the 467 km long contact line. 

  • 1Dvi & 1Dvii. Included here is the link to a dashboard that was developed in the Philippines using PowerBi (files accessible here) following the typhoon Goni in November 2020, and thus presents the information that was collected using 4W during the rapid cluster intervention. The PowerBi dashboard is a good example of the type of output that can be produced using activity tracking data following a sudden onset disaster. More examples of how to analyse activity reporting data are available in section 2.D. 
  • 1Dviii & 1Dix. Finally, the GSC recommends/requests that country clusters use activity tracking to develop standardized factsheets summarizing key information on the response. Guidance for developing these factsheets is available, together with access to all factsheets from shelter cluster operations.


*To note that although other tools exist to track activities, matrices in an excel format continue to be a safe and straightforward way to carry out activity tracking due to the ease of editing entries and quick way of producing analysis. Excel matrices are also efficient to roll-out both during sudden activation, and also in cases where there is a certain level of sensitivity with data, or access, which makes it challenging to keep track of progress though online platforms. Given the nature of shelter activities in some contexts, there may be a frequent need to edit planned or ongoing shelter figures throughout the construction season or after the construction season has finalized. Monitoring and evaluation of activities also may enable one to verify whether the completed activities match the coverage reported by partners. The ability to retroactively clean data is another advantage of the excel format compared to some online versions. Some clusters have found that kobo data entry incentivizes partners to report and helps keep data cleaner than partner excel entry. This is a hybrid version and enables the Cluster team to maintain autonomy over the editing and analysis of the data, while supporting partners to easily enter their activities. Other platforms do not enable such autonomy to retroactively edit activities that may have finalized over a year or more. 


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