Operating amidst violent conflict, NGOs must be able to understand something about how conflict comes about, the way it is sustained and their own organization's place within it. In doing so, it makes sense to concentrate on nine main areas: the impact of violence; the causes of conflict; patterns and phases in conflict; human insecurity; power; change; behaviour; ethical deliberation, and NGO organizational analysis. Analysis in these areas is central to ongoing NGO programming in conflict. In other unstable but as yet non-violent situations, NGOs may also find it possible to develop the beginnings of a conflict early warning and preparedness programme in their project areas by keeping a watching brief on these nine factors.
Threat assessment should accompany any initial programme assessment, and be carried on continually during programme operations. Like programme assessments, security threat assessments should include a wide variety of inputs from the United Nations, the embassies and national government, through to other NGOs, local government and community leaders and finally individuals in the community. In the simplest terms, it is a matter of identifying what security threats are of the highest probability and greatest consequence to an NGO's operations and prioritizing resources to these threats accordingly.