Social sciences preparedness and response interventions: Vulnerability assessment tool development and training

Material provided: Report (with Executive Summary)
Unit definition: 4 person months
Provider country: Bangladesh (BRAC), France (IP), United Kingdom (University College London)
Short Description: Vulnerability assessments provide ethnographic investigation of locally-defined case definitions of social groups most likely to be marginalized or excluded before or during an epidemic. The Vas can offer analysis of complex factors leading to or aggravating marginalization.


Description of the facility

University College London has a global reputation for excellence in research and is committed to delivering impact and innovations that enhance the lives of people in the UK, across Europe and around the world. UCL anthropologists originally developed the Vulnerability Assessment to detect and evaluate social drivers of vulnerabilities and have implemented it in dozens of cities around the world. The variants for infectious diseases, COVID-19, and antimicrobial resistance are offered in the framework of ISIDORe. This service provider can offer services in English and German.

The Institut Pasteur is a private, state-approved, non-profit foundation for biomedical and multidisciplinary public health research. The Anthropology & Ecology of Disease Emergence Unit, which coordinates the Sonar-Global network, has extensive experience conducting multi-disciplinary social sciences research for epidemic preparedness and response in Africa and Europe. It contributed to developing the Sonar-Global Vulnerability Assessment for COVID-19 and in France, implemented the VA and multi-scalar engagement with stakeholders, including political authorities. This service provider can offer services in English, French, Italian, and Spanish.

James P Grant School of Public Health, BRAC University, Bangladesh. BRAC University is a private University in Bangladesh with deep experience of seeking solutions to challenges posed by extreme poverty. The team has substantial experience conducting community engagement in relation to multiple problematics (antimicrobial resistance, epidemics) in Bangladesh and has the capacity to work with South Asian service users to guide implementation of a vulnerability assessment and to develop a community engagement plan to be put into place following a VA. This service provider can offer services in English and Bangla.

Scope of the service

This service will develop a Vulnerability Assessment to assess social drivers of vulnerabilities to specific infectious diseases or to anti-microbial resistance. The VA is a qualitative tool that integrates a highly detailed interview guide and an observational guide. The tool provides rich qualitative insight into individual experience of a specific infectious disease problem, knowledge and experiences of formal and informal aid and assistance, and standard vulnerabilities indicators. The tool is designed to move beyond standard categories of “vulnerable groups” and to identify complex interacting factors that produce or exacerbate marginalization and exclusion.

In addition to custom-development of the tool, the service provider will train field researchers to use the tool, to conduct thematic analysis on the data, and to develop locally meaning case definitions of vulnerabilities.


Service providers will:
– Engage in one or more consultations with service user to determine the specific problem to be investigated, the population(s) to be studied;
– Undertake when needed literature searches and analyses to develop a more grounded understanding of the populations and specific infectious disease problem;
– Develop the full VA interview guide, in consultation with the Service user
– Test the VA guide and adjust if needed
– Train Service user teams to use the tool and to analyze the data


The team will include one experienced senior anthropologist and a junior social sciences researcher.


A fully developed tool and observation guide will be produced and tested (here with the assistance of the service user). The service provider will provide a minimum of three training sessions (or more, depending on research team needs) to introduce the tool and to provide guidance for the coding and analysis.

The ISIDORe project has received funding from the EU Horizon Europe research and innovation programme under grant agreement No. 101046133.

A note on language
Select language