Internal situation reports are required at the start of an emergency situation to support staff, stakeholders and organizations to respond to the emergency more effectively, understand the local context of the situation, and monitor the progress of the response.
The frequency of producing the reports is normally decided by the country office in coordination with the regional office and headquarters.
Having an internal sitrep that consolidates all the activities and progress in the response contributes to providing effective support to the operational teams at the country level or for remote teams. It also facilitates the creation of external sitreps as well as reporting processes for donors or external stakeholders. They can be used by local teams or partners to discuss strategic and operational issues concerning a specific response. Information from internal sitreps can also be used to highlight challenges faced during the response.
Gathering the information necessary to develop an internal sitrep can require input from different staff based in the countries affected by a particular crisis. When developing sitreps, it is important to develop clear reporting processes within the organization. An important first step is identifying who is responsible for providing updates, and who is responsible for consolidating, editing, and releasing the sitrep.
External Sitreps are one of the main products used by an organization to update stakeholders on its responses or identified partners’ responses to a crisis. Like the internal sitrep, the frequency of producing the reports is decided by the representative or partner in the country, depending on the objectives and key messages it wishes to communicate.
Depending on the capacity and resources of the organization, external sitreps can be developed at the country level. In cases where the external sitrep cannot be developed by the local organization, remote offices or partners can support in the development and dissemination of the external sitrep.
What should be included in a sitrep?
- The situation to date (what has happened)/ context overview
- A brief summary of “startup details” – date, place, who
- Summary of overall situation to date
- Ensure old information is deleted
- Actions to date (what has been done)/ operations
- Brief reporting of actions completed to date
- Table format may be used for repeat actions and/or progressive totals
- Actions to be completed (what will be done)/ project development / resource mobilization
- Project development
- Gaps and challenges
- Maps, pictures, etc.
- Country name and situation
- Date of the report
- Situation overview by category (ex: health, internal displacement, water and sanitation)
- Summary of programme results
- Remember your audience. Your readers may not be as familiar with the context and additional explanation could 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.
- If for internal sitreps, do not hesitate to include information on the challenges faced by during 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.