5. Internal information management at the Country Office level


  • Identify internal information management needs.
  • Establish internal information flows and communications tools.
  • Ensure the Information Management Officer facilitates information sharing.
  • Consider the full range of sources of information available.

Effective information management requires internal information management systems to be put in place. If internal information sharing mechanisms are not in place, it will be difficult to answer external queries. The IMO needs to make sure that information sharing mechanisms are in place, and that everyone gives the information they need to and gets the internal information they need, when they need it.

The IMO should build on existing information management systems (such as internal filing systems or intranets) where possible. If a system does not exist, the IMO should prioritise creation of an appropriate system for management of emergency information. The lead member for the response should be consulted for assistance with establishment of an adequate IM system.

The type of IM system will depend on the availability of information technology in the affected country; reliable internet access, for example, would enable an online- or cloud-based IM system such as CARE’s TempoBox or DropBox, which can be accessed by all staff with internet access, as well as email communications. However this will more likely be the exception than the norm and other more basic IM systems may need to be developed.

Depending on the type of system being used and the scale of the response, a commercial option may need to be considered; the Lead Member should be sought for advice on this. A discounted financial arrangement with companies such as DropBox can often be made in emergency circumstances.
You may also consult the Minerva website.

The IMO needs to receive and help facilitate the flow of all of the following internal information needs at the CO level.
Type of information Who has it Who needs it
Before the emergency strike, EPP and early warning information ERT or field staff, assessment team, or Government , in-country Humanitarian coordination systems communication or specialised early warning systems Lead Member, CI CEG, using the alert form or heads –up communication
Humanitarian situation,

Impact of the disaster

Assessment team

Field staff, in-country humanitarian coordination mechanisms, cluster meetings, Government communications, media etc.

All senior managers

Programme coordinators

Proposal writers

Details of critical decisions about CARE’s response Country Director, senior managers Emergency response team
Details of CARE’s activities including distribution figures Field staff All senior managers

Programme coordinators

Funding and budgets available for the response Programme coordinator

Contracts officer or proposal writer, grant management team

All senior managers

Finance unit

Supplies required for the emergency response Emergency Coordinator

Programme Coordinator

Field staff

Procurement team

Logistics team

Status of supplies procured (procurement pipelined) Procurement team Programme and field staff


Planned movement of supplies Logistics team Programme team and field staff
Staff required for the emergency Emergency Coordinator and senior managers Human resources unit
Arrival of incoming staff Human resources Unit requesting staff


Safety and Security Officer

Expenditure Finance Unit Programme managers
Monitoring and evaluation results M&E staff All senior managers


Some simple protocols on information flows and the use of communications tools can help.

The Country Director and all other key emergency response team members need to copy the IMO on all reports and critical information.

The IMO should:

  • Be proactive about facilitating information flow;
  • Take verbal or phone reports from staff unable to input to reports;
  • Write and share meeting records;
  • Create an internal emergency information email list of staff involved in the response (when possible);
  • Establish a generic email address so that email addresses can remain consistent even if staff turnover is high (e.g. 2016 EarthquakeIM@care.org);
  • Ensure that key reports, sitreps, etc. are shared internally with the CO staff as well as with CARE International;
  • Ensure functional units are using and continually updating tracking tools, and that these are being shared with the IMO regularly, including:
  • Establish a centralised filing system;
  • Make use of available information management tools such as intranets, Minerva, Communicate relevant information to external humanitarian coordination mechanism (Gov., UN, Cluster reporting mechanism, INGO consortium etc.);

The IMO collects a range of data for both internal and external reporting. He or she should establish and communicate a regular reporting system where field coordinators input data from CARE’s response to ensure that the IMO can report in a timely manner both within CARE and to external parties (donors, clusters and others). This is particularly important for Cluster reporting, which has its own timelines for submission into its ‘4Ws’ [1] reporting.

An important part of establishing information flows involves socialising the use of data collection templates (such as those that collect SADD – see below), and facilitating the process (via Field Coordinators or MEAL staff) to ensure that field teams understand the need to collect this data and are aware of how to collect it using the template provided.

As the emergency progresses, the frequency of reporting both within CARE (i.e. for sitreps) and externally (i.e. cluster 4Ws reporting) will decrease. Field teams and the CO generally must be informed of these changing reporting timelines, to reduce their workloads and enable them to focus on responding in their respective areas.

[1]4Ws: Who, What, Where & When is a global tool used to capture data and generate information products such as maps and table of achievements to date

5.3.1 Reporting population data

For general reporting on the outreach of a response an individual should be counted only once, no matter how many interventions s/he/they benefit/s from. The response team should use deductive methods to eliminate duplications in the total number of people reached by all interventions of the response. There may be two or more interventions providing assistance to the same population groups several times over the course of a response. In this case, the number of beneficiaries may overlap and data collection by intervention can lead to double counting when reporting on the whole response. In case of an overlap between two or more sectors covering the same population, in the same area, please indicate the highest figure reached by one of the sectors.  Record figures for each sector separately for monitoring and evaluation purposes, but never add them together unless they are all geographically separate activities.

To prevent double counting, it is important to design an appropriate monitoring and reporting formats as early as possible in the response cycle to prevent double counting (see M&E guidance in the CI toolkit).

Report beneficiaries of interventions that have taken place: The planned target beneficiaries or registered people of concern cannot be reported as actual beneficiaries if they have not received the actual service or assistance planned.

For further information on how to report population data please refer to Annex 42.12

The following internal and external information sources should be consulted regularly:

5.4.1 Internal CARE information sources

  • Assessment teams and reports
  • Field offices and field staff
  • Senior management team meetings
  • Programme support staff
  • CARE International Members in various countries
  • Central filing systems
  • Project documents including project proposals and reports
  • Country Office intranet
  • Minerva
  • CARE Emergency Toolkit

5.4.2 External information sources

  • Community representatives
  • Government reports and agencies
  • Cluster, OCHA or Humanitarian Country team or any coordination meetings
  • Local news media
  • International news media
  • United Nations agencies
  • HICs
  • UN websites including reliefweb.int
  • Other NGOs (local and international)
  • Assessment reports
  • Coordination meetings
  • Suppliers and commercial organisations
  • Local weather and hazard monitoring agencies