Depending on who manage the distribution, we can find three different methodologies, that differ on the approach, the means and objectives, while sharing the same goal, to save lives and alleviate the suffering of the crisis affected population. The information in this guide, focused on the physical distribution, can be used by all the possible actors involved in a distribution, but is though with assumption that the distribution is managed by an agency or one of its partners (NGO, governmental, local or international).
Mainly in the case of Food, the The government at different levels may be the receptor and distributor to affected communities or families making use or coordinating with local government or public distribution systems. For agencies involved in distribution, “maximum use should be made of existing organizations and structures within the affected localities, with adaptations and redeployment as necessary” (WFP, 1991). However, Government intervention frequently involves mechanisms for price stabilization, such as sales of food through public distribution systems or subsidized food or NFI sales through fair price shops than large-scale free distribution which usually is distributed to selected vulnerable groups through schools, social welfare, clinics, etc.
By set up
Portable distribution setups usually assembled out of vehicles to assist in multiple locations or areas without a permanent location.
Example: Open areas designed with ropes, trucks.
Permanent or Semi-permanent distribution locations where basic infrastructure will be available for distributions.
Examples: MSUs, Community Centers.
By kind of commodity
The same population is served several times by the same pool of commodities in a well-defined period of time
Example: Food distribution.
A group of people or location is served once for the distribution of a specific type of supplies.
Examples: NFIs, vaccination.
By targeted population
In certain geographical locations, all populations within a specific group will receive supplies.
Example: Any children of school age receive educational supplies.
Beneficiaries are selected by specific criteria generally based on vulnerability and needs.
Examples: Families with three or more children receive a complementary mosquito net.
Type of situation in which these systems have been used
Prerequisites for Success
Commodities are given in bulk to a representative of a group of beneficiaries who further divide it among the group.
Group of heads Heads of family representative. Family
All of the commodities for the group of families are handed over to a representative of the group. The commodities are then immediately redistributed to the individual family heads by the representatives.
Individual heads Heads of family.Family
Commodities are handed over directly to each family head.
Distributing agencies should always ensure that those who lack the traditional family structures (e.g., unaccompanied minors, unsupported elderly or disabled people) also receive assistance, and should establish a distribution system that can accommodate this. This might mean grouping vulnerable people into “households” for the purposes of receiving assistance.
The system election selection will have an impact in the physical set up for the commodities handover. (see Distribution Process)