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Unmet Demand

Indicator Phrasing

% of the target population reporting sellers’ inability to offer them the required essential goods
See indicator in other languages

Indicator Phrasing

English: % of the target population reporting sellers’ inability to offer them the required essential goods

French: % de la population cible faisant état de l’incapacité des commerçants à leur offrir les produits essentiels nécessaires

Portuguese: % da população-alvo que relata a incapacidade de os vendedores disponibilizarem os bens essenciais necessários

Czech: % příjemců pomoci, podle kterých jim prodejci nebyli schopni nabídnout požadované základní zboží

What is its purpose?

The indicator assesses the proportion of people who received cash-based assistance (CBA) but were not able to purchase the most essential goods due to inadequate supply.

How to Collect and Analyse the Required Data

Collect the following data by conducting individual interviews with a representative sample of the CBA recipients:



Q1: When using the [specify the modality], did it ever happen that none of the shops was able either to sell or order for you some of the most essential goods, such as [provide examples of items the target population perceives as most essential, such as flour, oil, etc.]?

A1: yes / no / does not remember


(ask the following question only if the previous answer is YES)


Q2: How big a portion of these most essential goods could you not buy because the shops did not have them or could not order them for you?

A2: _

1) only a very small portion of the required goods was not available

2) about a quarter of the required goods was not available

3) about a half of the required goods was not available

4) more than half of the required goods was not available

5) does not remember


(the following question is not mandatory but is recommended)


Q3: Can you please tell me what exact goods you were not able to purchase? Please be as specific as possible.

A3: (predefine various types of goods based on your modality and the local context; include option “other – specify: …………………….”)



To calculate the indicator’s value, divide the number of respondents who could not buy a quarter or more (answers 2 - 4) of the most essential goods due to these not being available by the total number of respondents (exclude those who did not remember). Multiply the result by 100 to convert it to a percentage. 

Disaggregate by

Disaggregate the data by location, gender, age group, and other vulnerability criteria.

Important Comments

1) If the data shows that many people were not able to purchase the commodities that were supposed to be covered by cash assistance, you must reconsider whether cash is the best possible option.


2) It is pivotal to run a market assessment prior to cash disbursements as well as continuous market monitoring throughout the period when cash is distributed. Changes in market functionality may affect the appropriateness of cash assistance.


3) If you conduct cash transfers / voucher distributions in several phases (or in several locations), do not wait to conduct the post-distribution monitoring until all distributions are over. Starting with the post-distribution monitoring immediately after the first phase / location will help you identify potential weaknesses and address them in the remaining distributions. 


4) It is important that you also assess why the sellers could not ensure the required supply through key informant interviews


5) Ensure that the enumerators are able to understand and record the specific goods that were not available. For example, instead of just recording “fertilizers”, instruct them to record the exact type of unavailable fertilizers.


6) As you can see, people who reported that only a very small part of the required goods was not available are counted as not having problems with purchasing the required goods. This is because even in normal situations in many contexts it is common that shops do not always have everything stocked. Considering these respondents as being unable to purchase what they wanted would result in misleading conclusions.


7) Always adjust Q1 to the intended use / restriction of the cash-based assistance – for example, if you provide vouchers for agricultural inputs, ask about the most essential goods, such as seeds, shovels, etc.  


This guidance was prepared by People in Need ©

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