About SENS

Welcome to the UNHCR SENS website!

At UNHCR, ensuring good nutritional outcomes in refugee populations is a priority. Our programmes rely on having good data from these challenging, unique environments, and regular nutrition surveys, undertaken at the household level, play a key role in how we are able to deliver effective and timely interventions to improve outcomes.

UNHCR’s Public Health Section has collaborated with expert organisations and individuals in the fields of nutrition, public health, food security, water sanitation and hygiene, and malaria prevention to develop guidelines for the crucial collection of nutritional and health information from these populations on a yearly basis. The outcome of this work is the UNHCR Standardised Expanded Nutrition Survey (SENS) guidelines, or more commonly called the SENS guidelines.

The UNHCR SENS guidelines are aimed at UNHCR health and nutrition coordinators and partners to standardise the way annual nutrition surveys are conducted. A 2009 review of UNHCR nutrition surveys worldwide highlighted a lack of standardisation in data collection methods, the type of information collected, and in the ways it was analysed and presented. In order to measure trends over time, surveys need to be replicable and the same definitions, geographic boundaries, and methodologies need to be used from year to year.

The current SENS guidelines are updated to the latest version (v3) in 2019. A new module – module 1 demography – is added to provide key information on the demographic profile of surveyed population.  Other revisions to each module are 1) improve the mobile data collection tools, 2) add questions to more target groups and programs, and 3) better align to other well accepted guidelines, such as adopting food consumption score (FCS) and reduced coping strategy index (rCSI) in module 5 food security and updating the questions in module 7 WASH with that of UNHCR WASH KAP survey. Please refer to each module for details.

To improve data quality, facilitate data collection and data sharing, electronic data collection in the field (as opposed to paper-based) is actively encouraged and UNHCR has fully integrated the use of mobile technology for data collection and entry as part of the SENS guidelines.

To view SENS reports, go to the data dashboard

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SENS Brief                                                                                                                          fticon_pdf

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