Analysis Tool 1.1: Child Sensitive Assessment Matrix and Accompanying Guide

Child Sensitive Assessment Matrix

Tool 1.1 Child-sensitive Assessment Matrix and Accompanying Guide provides suggestions and a framework for the type of questions project teams should explore as part of their child-sensitive assessments and analyses. 

Additional Guidance for Child Sensitive Assessments

  • Consult adults and children of different ages because they are likely to have different opinions on children’s problems and needs. 
  • Identify issues affecting children (e.g. dropping out of school) as well those facing adults that impact children’s lives (e.g. lack of income). 
  • Identify needs of different groups of children (e.g. those of different ages and genders). It is important to identify gender specific problems facing girls and boys and define the categories of disaggregation for children to be consulted in advance of the assessments, using vulnerability criteria relevant to the particular context. For example, children: 
    • Living with disabilities 
    • Living with health conditions 
    • From minority groups 
    • With different social statuses, e.g. orphans, child headed households 
    • Who are extremely marginalised, e.g. domestic servant  
  • Seek other important vulnerability criteria that may emerge during the consultations, requiring the categories of disaggregation to be updated and expanded. 
  • Seek secondary data sources for answers to critical questions before collecting new data in the field. Possible sources will include: CRSA, gender assessments, previous needs assessments conducted by other project teams (also in other departments within SC) in the country office, and information held by local authorities. If secondary data is not available, project teams should secure additional financial and human resources to collect needed data.  

Make sure to estimate the cost of meeting children’s needs

Conduct an analysis of the costs of meeting children’s needs (tools: Cost BarriersTool / Cost of the Diet/HEA or KIIs/analysis of secondary data) which will enable an understanding of the level of incomes needed to meet those costs. Ensure that market and labour market analysis includes an analysis of the likely incomes that HH can earn from different livelihoods year round to compare with the costs of meeting children’s needs year round. Make sure you consider seasonality.  

Make sure to understand hh decision-making and dynamics

Questions to ask: 

  • To what extent are attitudes and beliefs on financial decisions (i.e. who can decide to and spend money in the HH and how) influencing outcomes for children in a HH? 
  • Can these decisions be influenced and how? 
  • What are the opportunities and constraints particularly facing women’s livelihoods?
  • How could modifying the HH economy influence dynamics in the household as one member may benefit more directly or women may be given more decision-making power and control over resources?  


  • Carry out some formative research or even basic KIIs to understand decision-making and dynamics within a HH (and other influences outside the HH on decisions) around key areas that affect child outcomes, including food expenditure, education expenditure, etc. 
  • Ensure that market and labour market analysis and value chain analysis includes a particular focus on women’s income generating opportunities.  

Make sure to understand hh coping strategies that impact children’s wellbeing and their seasonality

Questions to ask: 

  • What are the links between adoption of coping strategies that harm children and current livelihood strategies? 
  • For example, do they take place at a time of year when labour availability is low? 
  • Or is there a link between debt repayment and harmful coping strategies? 

Action for the ANALYSIS: 

  • Ensure that any needs assessment (HEA, HH survey, KFIs, etc.) include sufficient questions on coping strategies, how these vary over time and at different points of the year.
  • If and where possible, ask children how they are affected by HH shocks and stresses – do they feel difference in demands on their time, access to their basic needs etc. in times of stress? 

Action for the DESIGN: 

  • Build HH skills in budgeting and forecasting so that income can be matched against expenditure needed to ensure child outcomes year round or identify income-generating opportunities during lean seasons when HHs may typically cut back on nutritious food or take children out of school. Also build HH skills in budgeting and forecasting so that income can be matched against expenditure needed to ensure child outcomes year round.  


The assessment process is valuable even for projects that are already underway. A child-sensitive assessment can confirm if the project design is the most appropriate and effective to achieve positive outcomes for children and can also lead project teams to concrete ideas for modifying projects to maximise potential positive and minimise negative impacts on children. 

Even when a programme is about to end, the “Child sensitive Assessment Accompanying Guide” can help project teams question assumptions about positive and unintended negative impacts of the programme, prompting more in-depth assessment programme impact on children. 

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