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The success of interventions to address psychosocial issues depends on effectively identifying areas in which assistance is needed, and measuring whether the intervention is providing that assistance. This study evaluates one attempt to develop a locally meaningful assessment of emotional wellbeing (the Kakuma Emotional Wellbeing Interview or KEWI) using both quantitative and qualitative methods. The KEWI was found to have good reliability and validity according to a quantitative study, but a qualitative study highlighted some challenges. The findings of this research illustrate the importance of basing an assessment of psychosocial wellbeing on the aspects of people's lives that are particularly salient to that population, and of finding a way of taking into account the circumstances in which people are actually living. If useful and accurate information is to be obtained, there is a need for real community involvement in the planning and construction of an assessment tool, as well as in the decision-making process regarding how the assessment information is to be used. In addition, a good understanding of the norms and expectations of the population in which the instrument is to be used is necessary, both for the construction of the instrument and the interpretation of results.