The programme of economic reform being implemented in Ethiopia is likely to hit the urban poor hardest. Various schemes have been planned by the government to mitigate the impact, including introducing a system of vouchers to be exchanged with local traders for food and kerosene. The article describes a limited, one-day RUA which was carried out in Addis Ababa as part of an assessment of the feasibility of the voucher system. Information was sought on the characteristics, indicators and measurement of poverty, the type of assistance required, and whether potential beneficiaries would receive information about such programmes. A supplementary question of interest was whether Rapid Appraisal techniques were useful in designing such large-scale programmes.