SENS Teams

The surveys are undertaken by UNHCR and NGO partners, in collaboration with the World Food Programme, UNICEF, the Ministry of Health and other organisations specialised in conducting nutrition surveys. Since the roll-out of the SENS Guidelines in 2011, regular high-level technical trainings have taken place for survey coordinators.


There should be at least one survey coordinator supported by survey supervisors. The survey coordinator should be experienced in undertaking nutrition surveys, training, handling and analysing data, writing reports and managing logistics and people.

The survey supervisors should be experienced in training, managing logistics and people, and supervising surveyors during data collection.

Each team should consist of 4-5 people, one of whom is the team leader. The team leader in each team should take responsibility for the quality and reliability of the data collected by the team, records the data from the measurements and/or administers questionnaires. Two people are needed to take the anthropometric measurements, at least one person is required for testing for anaemia, and at least one person to help the team leader administer the questionnaires. Depending on the extent of the survey, the team leader can administer the questionnaires and record the data from the measurements, however in many contexts, it is recommended to have one additional person specifically assigned for administering the household questionnaires. For an example of job descriptions for each team member, which should be adapted to each context, see SENS Pre-Module Tool 10 in Pre-Module Survey Steps and Sampling.

If mobile phones are used for data collection, the mobile phones should be handled by one or two team members specifically trained on this. The chosen team members should preferably be familiar with smartphones and mobile technology, or at least have the capability to quickly acquire the needed skills. Normally the team leader will handle one phone with the individual questionnaires (Anthropometry and Health-Module 2, Anaemia-Module 3, IYCF-Module 4), while another team member will handle one phone with the household questionnaires (Demography-Module 1, Food Security-Module 5, Mosquito Net Coverage-Module 6 and  WASH-Module 7).

In addition to the data collection staff, data entry clerks can also be recruited if paper questionnaires are being used. If travelling by car is necessary, then drivers also need to be considered.

The composition of team members needs to be sensitive to the local context in terms of gender, ethnicity and language skills as well as local knowledge of the survey area. It is best practice to include at least one woman on each team. It is also useful to include members in each team who will be able to easily carry the height boards and other equipment.

Whenever possible, use surveyors who will be considered unbiased by the survey population and other stakeholders.

Things to watch out for:

  • The team leader must always oversee the anthropometric and haemoglobin measurements and be responsible for writing down the results. The anthropometric and haemoglobin measurements should be the priority focus for the survey team leader while in the household.


Four to six teams should be used in a survey depending upon the budget, sample size, time allocated to complete the survey, and the size and accessibility of the area covered.

It is recommended to limit the number of teams to six at a maximum.

Things to watch out for:

  • Although it is faster with more teams, it is much more difficult to train, supervise, recruit good reliable team leaders for each team, provide transport and equipment, and organise a large number of teams.
  • The more surveyors there are, the harder it is to supervise them adequately and the more risk there is to have poor quality results.
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