SENS Training for Survey Manager

In order to have a pool of technical staff with the capacity for using the SMART methodology and the SENS Guidelines, UNHCR designed a 9-day long training for its key nutrition technical staff and partners from different regions. All trainers are highly experienced in planning, conducting and analysing surveys, either SMART and/or SENS. This training addresses the need to build the capacity of technical staff involved in M&E of nutrition interventions in UNHCR refugee operations. Nutritional surveys play a central role in M&E systems in order to assess the impact of interventions on health and measure trends in anemia and malnutrition prevalence among the most vulnerable refugee population groups.


The objective of this training is to transfer to participants the skills and knowledge necessary for them to implement in their respective countries of operation, high quality, standardised nutrition surveys following the SENS Guidelines. The participants selected for this training will be highly experienced members of UNHCR and partners who can effectively apply the knowledge and skills gained to train others well, obtain reliable data and report on results in a standardised manner.

The specific objectives of the training are:

  • Establishing standardised data collection, analysis and reporting for refugee operations.
  • Building capacity of technical staff from UNHCR and partners for conducting standardised nutritional surveys.


After completing this training the participant will be able to:

  1. Plan a nutrition survey and associated modules of anaemia, Infant and Young Child Feeding, demography, food security, mosquito net coverage and WASH.
  2. Implement high quality, standardised nutrition surveys.
  3. Analyse nutrition, anaemia and related data to a high quality.
  4. Effectively apply the knowledge and skills gained to train others well, obtain reliable data and report on results in a standardized manner.
  5. Review nutrition surveys critically, having the ability to appropriately interpret the data.
  6. Determine relevant recommendations.

Participants will not be expected to be expert users of the various software used in the training and this will require individual work after the training in practicing and using the software.


UNHCR will ensure that the appropriate participants are selected for training. A total of 20 participants maximum will be selected based on the following criteria using a questionnaire:

  1. Demonstrated knowledge of nutrition.
  2. Experience with participation in a nutrition survey: experience in anthropometric measurements of children (weight, length, MUAC); experience in conducting household interviews.
  3. Experience in training: training teams; development of training material.
  4. Experience in survey planningdecision on survey design, calculation of sample size, design of survey questionnaires, selection of clusters, elaboration of survey schedule.
  5. Experience in supervision and management of survey.
  6. Experience in data entry.
  7. Experience in analysis of data (e.g. software: EPI-Info; SPSS; Excel).
  8. Experience in interpreting survey data and writing survey reports.

Failure to meet one or more of the criteria will not necessarily disqualify a potential candidate, however preference will be given to the ones with the most experience or who will take on the role of leading future nutrition surveys in refugee settings.

In addition, UNHCR will ensure that the selected candidates meet the following criteria:

  • Ability to follow the training and participate to discussions in the language of the training.
  • Person to be involved in the planning, execution and analysis of nutrition surveys in refugee operations.
  • Either UNHCR or partner participants.

Certificates of attendance will be awarded to participants who complete the 9-day training event.


Various activities will be implemented during the training including PowerPoint presentations given by the trainers, individual and group exercises / case studies on ENA for SMART software and Epi Info software, group discussions on survey implementation, role plays, and working group activities and presentations.

The participants will be evaluated individually through a pre- and post- test, as well as through individual exercises. Daily anonymous quizzes will also be given to aid trainers in assessing which elements need to be revisited. The post- test results will allow the identification of gaps, if any, in the following key areas: i) survey planning and objectives; ii) training; iii) data collection; iv) data analysis; and v) data interpretation and report. This will allow UNHCR to assess areas where further technical support is required following the training. The trainers will be requested to evaluate each participant based on direct observations and will rate the participants on a scale 1-4 (1= Needs to work on it significantly; 2= Medium level; 3= Good level; 4=Excellent level) according to the following areas: engagement; understanding of SMART methodology; proficiency with ENA for SMART software; proficiency with Epi-Info software; and potential to be independent following training. The trainers and training will be evaluated based on pre-training / training administration, overall quality of training and satisfaction of participants.


  • The participants will know how to use the SMART tools appropriately for the assessment of anthropometry in children aged 6-59 months (manual and ENA software).
  • The participants will know the basics of Epi Info software.
  • The participants will be able to use standard methods to implement nutritional surveys, gather reliable data, and analyse and report on results in accordance with the SENS Guidelines.
  • The participants will identify areas of improvement for nutritional survey implementation among refugee populations.
  • The participants will identify areas of improvement for the implementation of similar training workshops.

For an example of a high level SENS Training agenda, see downloads below.

Contact UNHCR Headquarters for further details on implementing a high level SENS Training for survey coordinators / managers: [email protected].

ricon_download    Downloads

High Level SENS Training Agenda                                                                fticon_msword fticon_pdf

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