In macro needs assessments, surveys will probably be required. In contrast, in very micro settings, consultations with the local population and professional judgment can suffice to make a valid need assessment. This is because in very micro-settings, the community people can be convened for headcounts to substitute for surveys or census and professional judgment based on ocular inspection or rapid random sample or 100% physical check-ups on the population can suffice to identify health needs.
If resources are limited then a combination of the following can be done to make rapid needs assessment: 1) key informant interviews; 2) focused group discussion; 3) consultations meetings with the community, local authorities, and local professionals; and 4) workshops with community leaders, local authorities, and local professionals. In the key-informant interviews, we focus on the local people or non-residents of the community whom we believe have an intimate of the locality. For instance, community leaders and anthropologists/sociologists who have been studying the community can be classified as “key informants”. In a focus group discussion, we convene a small group who are usually composed of people whom we can also classify as key informants to discuss needs and make an assessment of the situation or needs of the community under our supervision. In consultations meetings with the community and other stakeholders, we can convene a meeting with them even without making a distinction between key informants and non-key informants and discuss with them community needs. We ask them to identify for us what their community needs are---under our supervision, of course. Workshops are very similar with focused group discussion except that the latter are more democratic and participatory. The unities arrived at workshop are usually stake-holder driven rather than driven by