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Guiding humanitarian projects

Risk Assessment Platform

Platform Overview:

The Risk Assessment Platform provides a mapping of a number of indicators at the community, sub-district and district levels within Idlib enclave to assist our partners in the humanitarian and development sectors in assessing risks that may affect their ability to implement projects, or hinder their efforts to realize planned outcomes, or achieve the desired impact within the community. The outputs of this platform are designed also to help to select the most appropriate locations for sustainable implementation. The first phase of this project provides information on 529 communities in Idlib enclave in northwestern Syria.

This platform is based on an in-depth analysis of a set of indicators developed by the OPC research team. Once these indicators were finalized and assigned a numerical value, the OPC data management team designed the equations and algorithms to measure them in order to determine the risk and need levels in each community and build the beta version of the platform. Then the OPC field researchers in Idlib collected the required data at the community level, which then were analyzed by the data management team who proceeded to test the platform and refine its algorithms over several technical stages to reach the highest possible levels of accuracy. The platform is updated periodically as our field team surveys security incidents and military movements in Idlib enclave on a daily basis, as well as monitoring changes at the community level that may affect population numbers and movement, or the composition or/and affiliation of the local council.

Overall objective of the platform:

To provide community-level results to measure the risk to project implementation in 529 communities in Idlib enclave by studying a number of indicators that, within the current situation in northwestern Syria and the standards adopted by international organizations, may jeopardize the ability of partners working on humanitarian and development programs to implement their projects and/or reach the planned outcomes. These indicators would also help the partners to develop their projects within Idlib enclave for the time being, in line with the military and field developments, in order to protect their staff within Idlib enclave and to ensure the best possible results and reach as many beneficiaries as possible.

Expanding the scope of the Risk Platform:

This platform is one of the OPC projects that combines the technical and practical expertise of both the research and data management teams to develop tools to monitor and measure a number of factors that affect the work of local and international organizations and the implementation of service delivery, development and humanitarian projects in Syria. The aim of these projects is to provide up-to-date, meticulous and fact-based data for partners in order to help them set and prioritize their programs and projects based on the analysis of data drawn from a rigorous monitoring and mapping of relevant factors on the ground. Thus, more features would be added to the platform in the near future to measure more important factors such as access, impact and other aspects related to the service and development sectors and the reconstruction process.

Such features could include specific indicators to respond to the needs of implementers to track a variety of operational risk in regard to access and safety to help them safeguard the integrity and continuity of the implementation process and the safety of their personnel inside Syria. Such indicators could include:

Access Indicators:

  1. Borders: status of border crossings points on the Syrian-Turkish borders in western-north Syria, including any incidents, new regulations, flow of people and goods, restrictions and incidents with humanitarian workers and personnel of development and service delivery projects, military deployment, and military operations.
  2. Roads: status of roads, incidents (road accidents, road banditry, and ambushes).
  3. Checkpoints (locations, status, controlling military group, restrictions and incidents with humanitarian workers and personnel of development and service delivery projects, affilation with administrative/political entities, whether they demand fees for allowing humanitarian supplies into the community)

Safety Indicators:

In addition to the indicators included in the current Platform that covers incidents on the community level, military developments and military control, further indicators could be tracked in relation to the stability of communities, safety of personnel and feasibility of implementation such as:

  1. Warehouses (locations, status, whether they are accessible to military groups, especially those designated as terrorist groups).
  2. Local politics and relationships between host communities and IDPs, and whether aid/services provision is creating tension in the community by tracking and analysing relevant incidents.
New indicators would be integrated in the methodology which would be revised and updated accordingly to ensure delivery of fact-based and timely outputs to aid and guide partners in their programming and project implementation in Idlib enclave.

The structure and mechanism of the platform:

The platform is based on a mapping and monitoring of 529 communities in Idlib enclave to measure risk and need ratio by identifying military control, security and military situation, and local council affiliation. A mathematical relationship has been created between these indicators so that the combination of these indicators provides a preliminary result of the level of risk in each society. The 52 indicators used to anticipate military and political developments in Idlib platform are then factored in with the other risk indicators to give the final risk result. The number of residents and IDPs in each community and the number of humanitarian and service organizations active in those communities were analyzed to give a preliminary assessment of the need level of each society which along with the risk level would enable the platform to provide recommendations on humanitarian priorities in Idlib enclave as well as risk assessment.

Indicators used to measure risk:

The final result:

By integrating the final risk index with the need indicator, the 529 communities will be classified into six levels so that partners have a list of communities ordered according to the implementation prospects and sustainability according to international guidelines and humanitarian principles and standards.


The risk matrix depends on measuring four factors:

Each of the factors listed is assigned a value between 0 and 1, where 1 is the worst and indicates a higher risk, and 0 indicates a low risk. The factors values is then aggregated to measure the final risk ratio in the area as follows:

The numerical value of each factor and its weight are calculated through combining the information provided by the research and data teams. The weights and initial contribution value were imposed based on the opinion of the research team and the estimation of the data team. The results were then tested by experimenting with real values corresponding to data from the ground in several communities. Then the weights and values were modified to provide an accurate reflection of events and realties on the ground.

Finally, humanitarian, development and service delivery work is directed by balancing the safety of project implementers and commitment to international humanitarian standards, with the levels of humanitarian work in each region by combining the results of the risk index with those of the need index. As a result, the studied areas are divided into two categories:

Where the descending order of optimal locations for humanitarian and development implementation is as follows:

The risk is illustrated in the following table

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It should be noted that all the values of weights and contributions are not necessarily fixed but can be modified according to the examination and analysis of the research team.

Results and presentation mechanism:

The results will be presented at the community level through interactive maps (currently we show static maps).

Here are examples of three-tier initial results for three sub-districts we have chosen (Jisr Al-Shughour, Ma'rat Al-Nu'man, and Al-Dana).

Maps legend:
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