Menu ENN Search
Language: English Fran├žais

Cost of a SMART survey

This question was posted the Assessment and Surveillance forum area and has 4 replies.

» Post a reply

Marie McGrath

Emergency Nutrition Network

Frequent user

16 Jun 2017, 15:02

We've had a question to ENN regarding what is the typical cost of a SMART survey. I imagine there is a spectrum and depends on context, but any information that you can share would be very helpful.

Victoria Sauveplane

Senior Program Manager, Action Against Hunger CA

Normal user

16 Jun 2017, 19:16


Generally a SMART survey costs around $10,000 USD for a sub-national (i.e district-level) survey. The main contributor to this cost is Human Resources: number of survey teams, duration of data collection and time spent per household (which is dependent on the number of indicators to be collected), and if whether external support would be needed (i.e. consultant vs. own program staff). Furthermore, the acquisition of anthropometric equipment and the use of mobile data collection (i.e. tablets) are also key costs within the budget that would be reduced if already available from past surveys. It is recommended to communicate with local stakeholders to see if anthropometric equipment can be borrowed for survey needs in case there isn't any anthropometric equipment readily available.

Examples of survey budgets are available on the SENS website; this is a methodology that is based on SMART yet adapted to refugees settings. This can be a good resource to gage an idea on all of the costs to consider when building your SMART survey budget.

Sameh Al-Awlaqi

Public Health and Nutrition Consultant

Normal user

16 Jun 2017, 20:13

Hi Marie,

Victoria has summarized all the details of SMART survey' cost in her comment. Based on my experience in the Sudan context, a district/state level SMART costs USD 10,000 as an average, but this might increase up to USD 15,000 depending on the factors listed in Victoria's comment in addition other logistics.The field test, mapping of survey areas prior to the survey (if the need be), standardisation test (ST), perdiem for mothers in ST and local guides should be considered.

International consultant could increase the cost by 10-20%.The use of digital data gathering can greatly reduce the printing cost if the system is already in place within the organisation, but it requires proper training and testing before the survey. I recommend a USD 15,000 budget to foresee any additional cost that may arise.

Mark Myatt

Frequent user

17 Jun 2017, 08:56

We looked at this in the RAM-OP work where we did parallel SMART surveys. The article is here. The c. US$19K figure will be a little inflated as it will cover of the research costs (international staff, flights, purchase of best available maps and population data). The routine cost for SMART here would have been about US$10,000. A second study is reported here. the same caveats apply. Both articles show a breakdown of costs. You can take out the research costs to get a realistic budget for a service (i..e nor research) application.

I have done quite a few surveys, many of them SMART surveys or very similar. I find that costs vary between about US$8K and US$15K. I'd guess the average for a simple district survey when you have vehicles , local premises, and local staff would be about US$10K.

Doing RAM instead of SMART can lower costs to about 50% or 60% of the cost of a SMART survey. RAM proved more cost-effective in Sierra Leone but that had the economy of scale of being a national project with multiple rounds.

I hope this is of some use.

Edward K

Normal user

18 Jun 2017, 11:38

Hi Marie,
The cost of SMART survey depends on cost elements as outlined by Victoria. Prices of cost elements depends on country context hence likely variations across countries. The cost of labour, training and transport form main cost elements. In Kenya, the cost can range from USD 20-30k. Use of average need to be applied carefully and in similar context or economy.

If you have any problem posting a response, please contact the moderator at

Back to top

» Post a reply