COVID-19 Door-to-Door Needs Assessment for Informal Settlements

This short form (17 questions) can be used to conduct voluntary “slum” censuses or surveys. Community members with minimal training/experience can use this form to:

  1. Understand, prioritise, and respond to urgent food and security needs in their own community.
  2. Sensitize neighbors to COVID-19 symptoms and provide practical guidance tailored for low-resourced settings. Respondents can voluntarily receive an SMS with links to additional online information.
  3. Tally the number of households that have a person with current COVID-19 symptoms to share with local health bodies coordinating the local COVID-19 response.


  • Severe food insecurity on the FIES scale can be calculated (
  • Two questions focus on food security coping mechanisms and feasibility of implementing common COVID-19 guidance. This might help to adapt COVID-19 guidance as the pandemic unfolds.
  • Given that most form users will not have an ethics review before data collection, the identity and specific symptoms of any person(s) with COVID-19 symptoms are not collected.
  • A household GPS coordinate and respondent name are collected to enable targeted emergency food relief. GPS coordinates and names are both sensitive information and need to be protected. Limit access to the server where this data is stored, and never distribute or show this information publicly. Name and GPS information should only be used for targeted COVID-19 relief.
  • Guidance to use the questionnaire is available at

This form was designed by Nicera Wanjiru Kimani and Dana R. Thomson with help from Caitlyn Bradburn, Radheshyam Bhattarai, Samantha Watson, and Beatrice Hati. This form was programmed and released by @yanokwa and @ln. It is currently being used by community mappers in Kibera, Nairobi, Kenya to inform local food relief efforts.

Download the Door-to-Door Needs Assessment for Informal Settlements XLSForm to get started. If you need help using or deploying it, reply below.


Thanks for doing this important work and for sharing your materials, @Dana_R_Thomson!

What I love about this project and post is the focus on process and survey design. Sometimes we get hyper-focused on technology on this forum, but the technology only exists to support and augment human processes. I highly recommend reading the guidance document.

On the technology side, it's a great use of sending an SMS directly from a form. Documentation for that feature is here.


thanks for giving suggestion