Situational Reports (Sitreps)
Situation Reports (sitreps) are an essential tool in humanitarian response. Sitreps can either be internal - designed to provide the organization with updates that will help IOM understand how best to improve or further support the response - or external - designed for external audiences, providing an overview of the situation and updates on IOM's response activities.
Sitreps are developed by the country office, with support from the regional office and headquarters as necessary.
At the onset of an emergency, internal situation reports are required. These reports help the regional office, headquarters and other missions supporting the emergency, understand the context of the situation and the progress of the response.
The frequency of producing the reports is decided by the country office in coordination with the regional office and headquarters.
Having an internal sitrep that consolidates all the country office's activities and progress in the response not only helps the regional office and headquarters provide effective support to the country office, it also makes developing donor reports and external sitreps much easier. In addition to this, the IASC Emergency Directors Group, may convene to discuss strategic and operational issues concerning a specific response. The Director of the Department of Operations and Emergencies (DOE) is a part of this group and information from internal sitreps can be used to highlight challenges faced by the country office/s as necessary.
Gathering the information necessary to develop an internal sitrep can require input from several operations staff within the country office. It is important to develop a clear reporting process within the mission. Identifying who is responsible for providing updates and who is responsible for consolidating and releasing the sitrep.
Two templates are available in the Tools and Reference section to assist in gathering and consolidating information for the internal sitreps:
1. Internal Sitrep Information Gathering Template: This template has been developed to help guide country office in gathering and consolidating the information needed for an internal sitrep. This is the template that can be provided to programme managers or operations staff to gather information needed for the internal sitrep. Using this template helps guide the staff that are required to provide information to understand what information in needed.
2. Internal Sitrep Template: This template has been developed to help consolidate all information gathered within a country office. It includes all the sections that would be relevant for Regional offices and headquarters to better understand the situation, achievements and challenges faced by a country office.
These templates should be adjusted to meet the existing needs and capacities of the country office.
- Remember your audience. The regional office and headquarters may not be as familiar with the context and additional explanation on how activities link to broader IOM and inter-agency strategies in country would be helpful.
- Avoid reporting about meetings attended and focus more on the achievements that resulted from meetings.
- Check figures. Ensure that numbers within the report add up as appropriate. Compare what was reported in the previous period to ensure that what is reported in the current period does not contradict what was reported in the past.
- Avoid repeating achievements that were already reported in previous sitreps.
- Do not hesitate to include information on the challenges faced by the country office in implementing activities, this information is helpful giving the regional office and headquarters a better idea of the difficulties faced by the country office in achieving desired outcomes and will enable them to provide better support.
External Sitreps are one of the main products used by the country office, regional office, headquarters and missions with resource mobilization functions to update stakeholders on IOM's response to a crisis. Like the internal sitrep, the frequency of producing the reports is decided by the country office in coordination with the regional office and headquarters.
- Information to produce the external sitrep should be taken from the internal sitrep. There is no need to create a separate system to gather information for the external sitrep.
- Information on the external sitrep should be results based and should demonstrate how IOM's emergency programmes contribute to the priorities of the overall humanitarian response.
Depending on the capacity of the country office, external sitreps can be developed at the country level. In cases where the external sitrep cannot be developed by the country office, headquarters, namely the Donor Relations Division (DRD), and the Preparedness and Response Division (PRD) and the regional office can support in the development and dissemination of the external sitrep.
Prior to release, external sitreps must be endorsed by DRD in coordination with PRD. External sitreps are shared at the country, regional and headquarters level. DRD shares regular updates (sitreps, newsletters and other IOM products) with all donors in Geneva and with the IOM network of donor focal points (IOM offices in donor capitals).
External sitreps are made available on the IOM website and IOM country office websites.
Information on the external sitrep should be results based and should demonstrate how IOM's emergency programmes contribute to the priorities of the overall humanitarian response.
While the external sitrep is disseminated by DRD at the global level, country office should also share the document with their donor counterparts locally as well as with other key stakeholders as part of their public information activities and overall communications strategy. In addition, it is recommended the country office maintain a mailing list that can be used to regularly share this information by email. The Media Contact list template, in the Public Information in Emergencies entry can be adapted for this purpose.