Needs Assessment Overview


One of the key ways that Distribute Aid connects communities to uphold human dignity is by through our needs assessment process. On this website you can find a central hub of information about the needs of our humanitarian partners: what items do our humanitarian partners need to meet the basic needs of their displaced and otherwise disadvantaged people?

The data presented on this website is the result of consulting with nearly 50 grassroots humanitarian groups directly supporting displaced people across Europe and Lebanon. Its presentation here is intended to empower individuals, aid groups, and Distribute Aid to turn the immense enthusiasm that exists in the grassroots humanitarian aid sector into a flow of aid that is timely, efficient, and tailored to the real needs of recipients.


Gathering and sharing knowledge about humanitarian needs offers several benefits:

  • If you are interested in collecting donations to support people on the move in a particular region, you can use this information as guidance on what items to prioritise collecting.
  • If you already have specific items to donate and want to know where those items are needed, you can use this information to find out.
  • If you are an on-the-ground organisation, participating in our needs assessment process allows Distribute Aid to arrange mutually beneficial “aid swaps.” This happens when we discover that two groups in the same region have complementary surpluses and needs.
  • If you are a user of any of Distribute Aid’s services, then you have benefited from our needs assessments; our team members use the data internally to aid match, seek out in-kind donations, and more.
  • If you are passionate about upholding basic human dignity, this information highlights the disturbing extent to which large systems and governments have failed to meet the basic needs of people on the move. It also underscores the importance of grassroots aid movements for filling in the gaps left by larger entities.

A Couple of Important Reminders...

Grassroots groups only appear to fill needs when there are gaps in services provided by the state or other large actors. Generally, if there was no need, the group would not have formed. Therefore, every service exists because it is needed and not provided in any other form, and every requested donation is needed because these services could not run without donations. Similarly, every need that is filled by a grassroots group is a need that would not otherwise be filled. To put this into context, every meal that is distributed is a meal that may have had to be skipped by the beneficiary otherwise. Every pack of diapers that is distributed would not have otherwise been available for a baby, or the caregiver(s) would have had to go without something else so they could afford diapers.

Our needs assessment data should be seen as a general overview and guide. You should always get in contact with receiving groups in the region to confirm the items are still needed and check if they have restrictions on what type and material they need to be.

Get Started

You can explore our needs assessment data using our needs explorer. You can see information about the humanitarian situation in the regions in which we operate by visiting our regions pages.