Continuous Context-Specific Protection Analysis


Detailed understanding of the risk patterns people experience, as far as possible from their own perspective, is the basis for targeted efforts to measurably reduce risk and avoid interventions based on generalizations


  • Start with the experience of the affected population to identify specific threats, who is vulnerable to these threats, and why. Avoid pre-defining “most vulnerable” criteria, groups, or individuals.
  • Identify what capacities people can bring to bear to reduce the threat and/or their vulnerability to a threat. Engage the affected population as far as is safely possible. Identify what community-based solutions and coping mechanisms already exist.
  • Disaggregate the risk patterns beyond sex and age to include gender, ethnicity, time, location, political affiliation, religion, disability, economic status, and other factors which have implications for exposure to threats.
  • Identify the relevant protection laws and practices to help establish a benchmark for reducing risks. These include national law, international humanitarian law, human rights law, and refugee law as well social, cultural, and religious practices which may be protective.
  • Examine the policies, practices, motivations, behaviors, attitudes, ideas, and beliefs that drive those responsible for the threats, and at what level, and their knowledge of and ability to comply with fundamental legal obligations and practices. A similar examination should explore these same drivers for a person’s vulnerability and capacity in relation to a particular threat.
  • Contextualize analysis of the risk patterns identified based on the historical and cultural environment.
  • Engage multiple actors (within and outside of the humanitarian community) to contribute to data collection and analysis from multiple disciplines and perspectives.
  • Use existing knowledge and experience to establish assumptions and then continuously examine and revise assumptions as more information emerges.
  • Analyze on a continuous basis to inform strategy development, program design, implementation, and M&E. Analysis should inform program, funding, and reporting cycles, but should be independent and not constrained by those cycles.
  • Purposefully design information management systems to enable continuous analysis, including monitoring disaggregated risk factors and tracking critical milestones in the causal logic underpinning the intervention.
  • Recognizing that a comprehensive analysis takes time, use initial or interim response activities to deepen analysis and inform appropriate pathways within program design. These could include, for example, capacity building exercises, dialogue with local actors, a one-off distribution, a community mobilization activity, etc.
  • Adapt existing tools used for assessment or other information-gathering initiatives for continuous analysis. For example, an organization may adapt participatory appraisal tools, such as a community mapping exercise, to routinely reassess specific threats and vulnerabilities to be addressed, and relevant capacities to do so.
  • Build and promote a culture of analysis, which prioritizes continuous analysis, not just data collection.