The Rapid Assessment for Markets (RAM) is an instrument allowing humanitarian practitioners with limited market expertise and time to develop a rapid and basic understanding of key markets within the first few days after a shock. The RAM is designed to provide a quick and basic first understanding of key markets in the immediate aftermath of a shock. The RAM strengthens response analysis by providing market data, essential for informed decision-making on appropriate transfer mechanisms (i.e. in-kind or cash-based)8 if relief is to be provided. The tools used in the RAM, such as market mapping tools, can also reveal possibilities for market-support interventions and identify entry points to support market recovery. Therefore, the RAM is not biased towards a specific form of response, but facilitates reflection about a wide range of response options. It should be noted that the RAM does not assess the need for relief; this is the purpose of household and community needs assessments (highlighted below). Strictly speaking, the RAM can be used to analyse any commodity market – that is, it can be used for goods and services. However, the focus of attention in the immediate aftermath of a shock will typically be on goods.