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NFI

Short for Non-Food Items:  Any non-food article, tool, utensil or other item which contributes to the physical and/or psychological health of populations.

PSN

Short for People with Specific Needs: People that we can expect could have special needs are particularly older people, small children, those with impaired mobility or breastfeeding mothers among others that could require any other special assistance or at risk.

Kit

A set of items used for a particular purpose or activity, generally package packaged and/or distributed together.

Commodity

A term applied to food and non-food items given in mass distribution.

HF

Short for "Heads of Family", defined as a member of a household that represents it.

Household

A social unit composed of individuals, with genetic or social relations among themselves, under one head or leader, living under the same roof, eating from the same pot and sharing a common resource base.

EDP

Short for "Extended Delivery Point".

IDPs

Short for Internal Displaced Population.

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A distribution is the hand-over of commodities to intended beneficiaries, fairly and according to specified rations, selection criteria and priorities. A distribution is the process during which control over the commodity passes from the organisation holding the stock to the intended beneficiary[1].

The objective of every distribution is to mitigate the impact on individuals after or during a crisis by providing the means to preserve their health and ensure their welfare, safety and dignity.

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Food items are often distributed with dependent demand – this means they are paired together with different types of food items to complete the full nutritional requirements of the beneficiary population. If items are to be distributed together in complementary fashion, a delay to the proper availability or repackaging of one item may be a delay to the whole process. Distribution planners should accommodate for all food items with dependent demand accordingly, ensuring that all items will be ready at the time and location of distribution in the quantities required by the programme.

If at any time one or more item is not ready or not available at any time, either the entire distribution should be delayed, or those delayed items will be removed from the entire distribution to be distributed at a later day. If at all possible, delays Delays or omissions should be avoided if possible. Setting up a secondary distribution doubles the logistical requirements, while delaying distribution can directly impact a population’s health, and/or cause serious security incidents. If at any time items are missing or delayed at any time, it must be communicated early and frequently to the community through all available channels to avoid confusion or anger on the day of distribution.

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Shelter

 

  • Ready-made shelter (tents)
  • Material to build a shelter (ex. plastic sheeting, rope)
  • Material to rehabilitate existing shelters (ex. saw, nails, hammer)
  • Cleaning-up kit (material to clean/clear existing shelters)

Bedding equipment

  • Mosquito nets
  • Bed linen and blanket
  • Mats or mattress
  • Beds

Kitchen utensils

  • Stove for cooking
  • Jerrycan to carry/stock water
  • Pots
  • Plates and cutlery
  • Glasses and cups
  • Plastic basin

Hygiene material

  • Soap and shampoo
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Hand towel
  • Soap for laundry
  • Razor and shaving cream
  • Comb, brush
  • Sanitary towels and baby diapers
  • Toilet paper
  • Anal cleansing recipient (in countries where toilet paper is not used)
  • Children’s toilets 

Clothes

  • GlobesGloves
  • Winter hats
  • Scarves
  • Shoes
  • Coats

Heating and

lighting equipment

  • Stove for heating
  • Fuel
  • Oil lamp

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Built as…

Description

Advantages

Disadvantages

Standard Kits

 

Carefully designed and prepared in advance, standard kits are typically developed based on past experience. A quantity of these kits are sometimes available in large emergency prepositioned stocks, and occasionally large international NFI vendors sell pre-made kits.

 ◊ Quick response:

  • Ready to use, no assembly needed
  • Pre-positioned (locally, regionally or international)

 ◊ Quality guarantee: the items have been subjected to a strict procedure including market survey, tender.

 ◊ Not always adapted to local customs. People may find themselves with material they do not know how to use, and therefore the reason for distributing the articles is not covered

 ◊ Some articles may turn out to be culturally inappropriate.

 ◊ Some items are not essential, so people will sell them on the local market.

Kits locally assembled

 

Locally manufactured - agencies must identify the appropriate local suppliers, assemble and pack kits as needed. The main advantage is that they can better meet the needs of the population taking into account current requirements and cultural habits.

 ◊ Highly customisable in terms of items included, packaging and labelling.

 ◊ More economical: limited or no transportation costs.

 ◊ Adapted to local customs.

 ◊ Beneficiaries are more likely used to the core component products.

 ◊ Time consuming: Search for suppliers for the various items (market survey, tender) Assemblage of the kits.

 ◊ No guarantee of quality.

 ◊ No guarantee of quick supply in case of emergency.

 ◊ Often not possible to find all the items locally.

Adapted from Pocket guide NFI Distribution, MSF

Sometimes there are circumstances that make ot necessary to distribute items in addition to kits. This can be done:

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If vendors are unwilling or unable to meet kitting requirements, then kitting will need to be conducted on the premise of the organisation or its partners. The act of an organisation conducting it's its own kitting can be very time consuming and require attention to detail. Kitting will need to be formalised well in advance to distribution, but not so far in advance that items inside the kit may expire. Organisations should also account for their own storage capabilities - will they be able to safely store kits matching distribution needs? At what point are they storing too many kits?

Any kit or repackaged good item must be transported and and packed in durable overpacking capable of withstanding not only the movement in a warehouse or transport to a distribution site, but also transport back to the home of the recipient and potentially even last for weeks or longer inside a beneficiary place of residence. Overpacking should be able to withstand rips and tears, and even be resistant to water damage. Solutions might include packing kits in:

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This guide does not intent to address targeting or the decisions about what to distribute to who and other key questions; there should be a dedicated technical teams specializing in food security, WASH, education, shelter or others, other sectors that will have better input on these needs. However, due to the multiple activities needed to distribute commodities on time it is recommended to involve logistics personnel in the planning and decision making process. This will assure that what is decided could be feasible and that the decided plan makes sense alongside other logistics plans.  

Distribution should occur once clear evidence informs the distribution plan. Unfortunately sometimes it is not possible to wait until full assessments are done, such as in the first phase of an emergency. In these situations, distributions may start without good planning in order to save lives and/or alleviate the suffering , however it is strongly advised  advised that some form of verification will still be necessary to ensure that the beneficiaries identified have legitimate need.  A proper assessment will still need to be completed as soon as possible, but distributions can potentially start without assessments if planners gradually modify their content and systematisation to align with new evidence and contextual information.

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How many days for preparation and delivering the supplies to the distribution site?What’s the transportation time between the main warehouse and the field location?How long does it take to source the item? Are they available in the market?

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If a distribution is intended on the day D, logistics should trigger the reception at:

 D – (2days) – (5days) – (15days) = 22 days in advance

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Another way to look at this is following a time linetimeline; Before Distribution – Day of Distribution – After Distribution.

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In the days before the distribution, implementing organisations should think about how they are going to will set-up and manage the distribution in a manner that is effective, efficient, safe, and respectful of the needs of beneficiaries.

Approach

The decisions made regarding the distribution approach should take into consideration the information provided by the assessments about needs and size of beneficiary population, including: the types of beneficiaries being served, the number of beneficiaries being served, the existing coordination and community leadership structures, the population literacy level and the security and access situations in the area.

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  • How much responsibility is appropriate/efficient/worthy to give to the beneficiaries themselves?
  • What kind of resources (i.e., time, space, staff, financial resources) are available to set up and run the system?



Another key aspect to take in consideration consider when deciding the approach and setting up a sound distribution system is the access.

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Few distribution points

Many distribution points

Advantages

  • Need less staff.
  • Less infrastructure, sites, distribution structures, roads.
  • Less transport required for distribution.
  • Fewer crowd control problems.
  • Easier access for women.
  • Shorter journeys home.
  • Beneficiaries can see the distribution taking place.
  • Special arrangements easier.

Disadvantages

  • Longer journeys to the households.
  • Potential crowd problems.
  • Difficult for beneficiaries to see the distribution.
  • Difficult access for weaker groups.
  • More staff and transportation needed.
  • More structures, roads, access, cleared sites needed for distribution.

UNHCR

Location

A range of factors will determine the location and number of distributions centres. They include the number of refugees and the number at each site, their locations and the distance between each location, and the availability and location of resources such as storage sites.

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Ideally, distribution points should be located far away from crowded areas such as markets or hospitals, in enclosed areas such as schoolyards that enable the distribution team to control entry and exit, and avoid over-crowding. Distribution teams can also create their own enclosed sites with stakes and rope or other local materials, in which aid agencies may have to invest in additional crowd-control staff to ensure order within the site. Distribution points should never be in the vicinity of military barracks or facilities, nor should they be in locations that force beneficiaries to travel to or through highly militarised areas.

Organising Distribution Sites

Distribution sites must be constructed in such a way that distributions and the collection of commodities can be carried out safely, efficiently and in an orderly way. UNHCR recommends at least one distribution site per 20,000 individuals and two distribution staff per 1,000 beneficiaries, not including monitors or security staff. 

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  • Secure enough to ensure that items are not stolen or misappropriated.
  • Near to water points and constructed with separate latrines for men and women.
  • Big enough for on-site commodity storage and shelter for queuing during delays or rain.
  • Near to rest facilities for distribution workers.
  • Constructed near to vegetation or trees, which provide shade and act as windbreaks.
  • Provided with chairs or benches for persons unable to stand in line.
  • Be safe Safe for women and children.

Site

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Layout

The lay out composition of a distribution site will depend on factors including the available terrain, the weather forecasted for the distribution day, the distribution system, the size of the affected population, the available permanent structures. Every distribution site must have:

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  • A clearly delineated distribution space.
  • Different lines for men and women if needed and when culturally appropriate.
  • A simple structure that facilitates the flow of beneficiaries through the distribution point; progressively organise people into single lines.
  • The registration stage can be used to organise the beneficiaries according to the supply types (e.g., grouping different family sizes).
  • A one-way flow of beneficiaries: avoid flows of people that overlap or the need to have people moving against the natural flow of distribution.
  • Clear space between where people are waiting and the stacks of commodities for distribution.
  • The waiting and registration area should have be both shaded and have the presence of bathroom facilities in case beneficiaries have to wait for extended periods of time. Ideally there should be sufficient latrines for the crowd, but this is not practical in view of the large numbers of people assembled on the site. A rapid distribution will help offset the limited shade or facilities, as well as preventing beneficiaries from having to wait excessively long.
  • It is important to provide a water source, especially in hot weather.

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1. Facilities
2. Beneficiary Waiting Area
3. Registration Area
4. People With Special Needs (PSN) Protection Desk
5. NFI Distribution Area 
6. Complaints Desk

7. Entry Points

8. Exit Points
9. Male Line
10. Female Line 
11. PSN Line


People with Specific Needs (PSN)

An extra effort must to be made to assure the distribution is accessible for all beneficiaries and that any potential special needs are covered. Beneficiaries with special needs may include older people, small children, those with impaired mobility, or breastfeeding mothers among others that could require any other special assistance or at risk.

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  • Remove physical barriers.
  • Prepare fast track queues and dedicated waiting areas.
  • Train the staff and given resources to assist PSN.
  • Facilitate transportation of heavy or cumbersome items from the distribution site back to individual homes with wheel barrowswheelbarrows, donkey carts, or community support groups.
Distribution area with pull carts to assist PSN reach their home location:


Distribution Teams

The size of a distribution team should be linked to the size of the distribution. Generally, the larger the distribution, the larger the team. At a bare minimum, distribution teams should contain the following:

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Teams should be made up of both genders and be sensitive to the political context by trained and sensitised as well as informed and committed with applicable codes of conduct and protection measures. 

The hand over handover of food or commodities is a highly sensitive moment, especially if it is not well managed. The staff Staff must to be familiar with the general distribution organisation and understand his/her rollrole, be able to answer questions or how to redirect them, and be instructed to know what to do in case of running problems or major incidents. The staff working on the front line or dealing directly with beneficiaries must to receive specific training.

Pre-Positioning Supplies

Sufficient commodities for the distribution ideally should be pre-positioned in the distribution enclosure the day before distribution. The pre-positioned quantities are based on prior calculations based on the number of beneficiaries to be served and the ration agreed upon. Up to 5% extra commodities should be pre-positioned to allow for damages, mis counting or additional beneficiaries. 

Communicating with Beneficiaries and Host Communities

Providing the intended beneficiary population with full information before distribution Is the key to a successful, problem-free distribution.

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  • Reach out to all different groups of the population using multiple channels of communication.
  • Particularly involve women and the distribution committees (if already in place) in order to avoid information going out only through the community leaders, who might have their own political agenda.
  • Use different methodologies and means such as meetings with groups of beneficiaries (including those at risk), posters and picture messages, information boards, radio, megaphone and others.
  • Use the local language and reach out also to those who are non-literate.
  • Allow them to fully understand the messages and give feedback.

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  • Distribution is free of charge.
  • How refugees can report any abuses by the staff who manage distributions.
  • Who will receive the commodities that are to be distributed, and selection criteria (if relevant).
  • What items refugees are entitled to receive (quality and quantity).
  • When distributions will occur (date and time).
  • The location of distribution centres and the areas (populations) that each will cover.
  • How distributions will be organised and how those who receive distributions should behave.
  • The purpose and use of the items distributed (to avoid misuse or undesired effects).
  • When future distributions are planned, and their frequency, so that refugees can plan ahead.

The Day Before the Distribution

Prior to the launch of the distribution, the team needs to ensure that all structures, commodities and equipment are in place and that operating procedures are clear; this can help to expedite the distribution process and reduce the chances of disorder or problems at the site.

The team leader must to ensure that everyone involved in the distribution knows their role, what is expected from them, and have an enough knowledge about the exercise itself. A briefing to the core team is mandatory, and detailed briefings should be given to specific staff, such as those persons involved with crowd control, registration team, or complaint mechanism.

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Once all the members of the distribution team are in position on the day of distribution, all possible questions or concerns from staff are addressed, the commodities are in place and beneficiaries have been assembled in the waiting area, the distribution can begin.

Registration/Verification

The first step during the distribution is the registration and control of beneficiaries. Registration is the stage where intended beneficiaries are confirmed as eligible. It is also the moment when the distribution team can ensure the distribution is documented and that the resources distributed have an identifiable beneficiary at the end of the chain.

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  • Manual Distribution Lists
  • Distribution Cards
  • Biometric/Digital Control

Manual Distribution Lists

Largely used for small to medium sized distributions in “one shot” interventions designed to tackle a specific need. This methodology consists of the collection and registration of beneficiary information manually on paper using a standard form to capture basic data. This simplified process facilitates the implementation and flow of ad-hoc/first time distributions, however, all the information gathered has to be cleaned and processed manually at a later stage; as manual registration is prone to human error, the monitoring/reporting process may become cumbersome. 

A manual distribution list will likely only contain beneficiary names and some household information, but no quantitative way to track individuals. Ideally, beneficiaries should produce some form of ID to match the list, but this is not always possible, especially in the early stages of an emergency. The manual list method also frequently utilises fingerprints or a signature as verification source, which cannot be verified in real time and largely can only be used for resolving claims of fraud or misuse after the fact. 

Distribution Cards

Distribution cards are commonly used in camps or in situations in which cyclical distributions are common. Distribution cards are also useful when the beneficiary list is consistent. This methodology utilizes the creation and distribution of cards made from plastic or some other durable material. To facilitate this, organisations involved with distribution will intentionally identify Individuals or families who frequently receive distributed items though a formal registration process, and provide each individual or family with a distribution card. Distribution cards might includes a serial number or ID code that refers to specific households containing all the information gathered during registration. The serial number or ID codes and correlating beneficiary information are maintained in separate system, usually an electronic database through which numbers can be quickly searched. Paper lists might be used in some situations where a computer database isn't accessible, but it is important that paper lists contain ID or serial numbers, and that data captured at the point of distribution is re-entered into a database later.

While a card system will require some investment on databases as well as time to gather information, prepare, issue and distribute the cards, this methodology greatly facilitates the registration process, especially if the card can be read by a bar-code or similar machine. Cards should ideally be accompanied by another source of verification at the time of distribution to assure the beneficiary identity.

Biometric/Digital Control

Biometric registration refers to the process of tracking recipients of distribution using unique biometric features of individuals. Biometric features might include fingerprints, eye, or facial features, all of which is automatically captured by recognition software and lined to the individual with a server-based database of beneficiaries. A biometric database might even be used at different geographic points if the beneficiary is migrating or mobile. While many biometric tracking systems are still developing due to high levels of sophistication and data management required, the use of this technology is increasing. A biometric system not only reduces input and duplication errors, but they also facilitate update, back-up, reporting, monitoring and auditing controls.

In order to prevent duplication and omissions of records, it is preferable that the registration and verification take place at the same time, assuring a proper segregation of duties between different parties. Programs with limited staff will often combine the process of collecting, processing and verifying registration data into one team. To minimise data manipulation and fraud, however it is important to segregate these tasks.

The staff responsible for registration/verification must assure the following steps:

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  • Define roles and tasks (data collection, data cleaning, data processing and backing-up) in standard operating procedures (SOPs).
  • Train teams on all elements of the participant registration process: data protection principles, informed consent and workflows.
  • Explain the registration objectives and highlight any data security risks and mitigation strategies.
  • Introduce SOPs and applicable protocols.

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In order to prevent duplication and omissions of records, it is preferable that the registration and verification take place at the same time, assuring a proper segregation of duties between different parties. Programs with limited staff will often combine the process of collecting, processing and verifying registration data into one team. To minimise data manipulation and fraud, however it is important to segregate these tasks.

The staff responsible for registration/verification must assure the following steps:

  • Train personnel involved in registration process, define team composition and division of tasks, consider potential challenges between the information collectors and respondents (such as language barriers and gender norms).
    • Define roles and tasks (data collection, data cleaning, data processing and backing-up) in standard operating procedures (SOPs).
    • Train teams on all elements of the participant registration process: data protection principles, informed consent and workflows.
    • Explain the registration objectives and highlight any data security risks and mitigation strategies.
    • Introduce SOPs and applicable protocols.
  • Conduct a post-training skills check and address any knowledge gaps.
  • Monitor the registration process and provide mentoring and feedback. At the beginning of the registration process, teams should regularly check the quality of data collected (i.e., blank fields, differing usage) to identify any gaps.

Manual Distribution Lists

Largely used for small to medium sized distributions in “one shot” interventions designed to tackle a specific need. This methodology consists of the collection and registration of beneficiary information manually on paper using a standard form to capture basic data. This simplified process facilitates the implementation and flow of ad-hoc/first time distributions, however, all the information gathered should be cleaned and processed manually at a later stage; as manual registration is prone to human error, the monitoring/reporting process may become cumbersome. 

A manual distribution list will likely only contain beneficiary names and some household information, but no quantitative way to track individuals. Ideally, beneficiaries should produce some form of ID to match the list, but this is not always possible, especially in the early stages of an emergency. The manual list method also frequently utilises fingerprints or a signature as verification source, which cannot be verified in real time and largely can only be used for resolving claims of fraud or misuse after the fact. 

Distribution Cards

Distribution cards are commonly used in camps or in situations in which cyclical distributions are common. Distribution cards are also useful when the beneficiary list is consistent. This methodology utilizes the creation and distribution of cards made from plastic or some other durable material. To facilitate this, organisations involved with distribution will intentionally identify Individuals or families who frequently receive distributed items though a formal registration process, and provide each individual or family with a distribution card. Distribution cards might include a serial number or ID code that refers to specific households containing all the information gathered during registration. The serial number or ID codes and correlating beneficiary information are maintained in separate system, usually an electronic database through which numbers can be quickly searched. Paper lists might be used in some situations where a computer database isn't accessible, but it is important that paper lists contain ID or serial numbers, and that data captured at the point of distribution is re-entered into a database later.

While a card system will require some investment on databases as well as time to gather information, prepare, issue and distribute the cards, this methodology greatly facilitates the registration process, especially if the card can be read by a bar-code or similar machine. Cards should ideally be accompanied by another source of verification at the time of distribution to assure the beneficiary identity.

Biometric/Digital Control

Biometric registration refers to the process of tracking recipients of distribution using unique biometric features of individuals. Biometric features might include fingerprints, eye, or facial features, all of which is automatically captured by recognition software and linked to the individual with a server-based database of beneficiaries. A biometric database might even be used at different geographic points if the beneficiary is migrating or mobile. While many biometric tracking systems are still developing due to high levels of sophistication and data management required, the use of this technology is increasing. A biometric system not only reduces input and duplication errors, but they also facilitate update, back-up, reporting, monitoring and auditing controls.

Any time biometric data is used to track beneficiaries, organisations should consider social and political implications of biometric tracking, and place protection concerns at the highest level. Information that can track an individual across multiple locations and time can also be used to target vulnerable persons, and may be the subject of scrutiny by law enforcement, armies and even non-state actors. Before implementing a biometric registration process, agencies should consult with protection professionals about concerns, and with local government bodies about laws governing gathering biometric data. 

Safety

Security measures used in a distribution should be defined according to the risks involved. These risks can go from small-scale robbery to large-scale coordinated attacks and the same activity in different places will have different risk factor.

Distribution sites can quickly become chaotic, crowded and potentially dangerous places to both field staff as well as beneficiaries, particularly when there are long wait-times or commodity shortages. Security at distributions is usually the responsibility of government authorities. However, in some conflict situations, local law enforcement authorities cannot be viewed as neutral, and other crowd control mechanisms may be necessary. Once serious disorder has broken out there is little that humanitarian actors conducting distribution can do except to ensure the safety of the distribution staff, usually through evacuation.

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  • The first layer of a security mitigation measure is community involvement: it is key to have local leaders supporting to spread the distribution rules and criteria. Communicating with Communities (CwC) teams Special teams that communicate with communities also play a critical role in informing people about the activities and criteria of assistance.
  • The presence of security forces should respect a strict progressive use of force approach when managing crowds. Force should only be applied when absolutely necessary, and in accordance with the level of threat.
  • Have a prepared contingency plan and an evacuation strategy.
  • Information is key: good visibility and constant community engagement help to keep people under control, especially in the case of shortages or changes in the food basket or distribution systems.
  • Mind people’s minimum comfort needs: water, shade, access to sanitation.
  • Appoint one person to be responsible for security decisions on the spot. Make sure that all other staff are aware of which person it is. SHe/he shee should be easily visible.
  • Provide staff with communication means like radios, whistles or establish another method to signal an emergency.

Complaint/Feedback Mechanism

It is important to acknowledge beneficiaries' concerns and complaints while referring those with specific problems to access the distribution services.  A complaint or feedback system must be in place, ensuring that it will be possible to keep records of complaints and those complaints are recorded, documented and are addressed accordingly. A help-desk should be visible and be accessible without impediments, but at the same time also be away from the waiting area to ensure privacy and personalised support keeping it away from the waiting area. It is advisable as well to appoint a representative from the distribution committee in the help desk. Any help desk should be able to converse in the language of the recipient population, and ideally be taken from the local community

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Distributing organisations are also responsible for the proper closure and clean-up of a distribution site. Generally, this includes clearing the site of any refuse, resolving any outstanding issues, compensating casual labourers, and putting a plan in place to report on and monitor the results of the distribution.

Reconciliation

After the distribution, warehouse and distribution team teams should reconcile and agree upon the correct number of items dispatched and distributed, spotting problems such as: excess distribution and mistakes on waybills, registration problems and thefts, or other discrepancies. The shorter the time between activity and reconciliation the easier it will be to find mistakes. The distribution team will need to submit an activity report which requires the use of warehouse data and the reconciliation is a mandatory part of the process.

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  • Amounts dispatched from the source and received at the distribution point.
  • Amount distributed.
  • Balance left after distribution/showing as a return from distribution.
  • Balance recorded at source following reception of returns.
  • Any registered losses.

Reporting

After a distribution, it is essential that a distributing organisation report internally and externally on the intervention and its results, allowing all stakeholders to know results, including shortfalls or gaps in numbers of population served. In general, every report should include information on which commodities were distributed, in what quantities, to which populations, in which areas, and in what time period. If all of the needs of the community were not met during the exercise, it is suggested that the distributing organisation is requested to include the percentage of total needs met. Any problems that occurred during the distribution should be noted, particularly if they may impact the ability of partners to operate in the area moving forward. Photos with captions should be attached to the report, where possible.

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Item

Description

Distributing organisationOrganisation

Fill in the name of the organisation that organised the distribution.

Site(s) and location Location

Fill in the name of the distribution site (e.g. Name of a School) and its location (governorate, district, village/neighbourhood).

Date(s) of distributionDistribution

Give the exact dates of the distribution, inclusive (e.g. January 4-7, 2017).

No of beneficiaries Beneficiaries

Give the total number of beneficiaries served through the intervention, dis-aggregated by gender and age.

Rations

Specify what each household was meant to receive, including whether different packages were delivered to different sized families (e.g. 3 blankets/family of 6, 1 bar of soap/person).

Initial stock countStock Count

Give the number of items delivered at the outset of the distribution, listed by item (e.g. 1,000 blankets, 1,000 mattresses, etc.).

Stock distributedDistributed

Give the total number of items distributed, listed by item (e.g. 850 blankets, 850 mattresses, etc.).

Remaining stock count Stock Count

Give the number of remaining items, if any, listed by item (e.g. 150 blankets, 150 mattresses, etc.). Ideally, this number will equal the initial stock count minus the stock distributed.

Percentage of needs coveredNeeds Covered

Give an estimation of the needs covered. If there was a shortage of stock, then this number will be below 100%. Similarly, if there are new arrivals, the team might note that the needs as per the assessment have been covered but that new needs have arisen.

Distribution approachApproach

Detail how the distribution was set up and managed.

Problems encountered during Encountered During the distributionDistribution

List any problems encountered during the distribution such as fraud, issues of access, claims of exclusion, etc.

Plan for followFollow-up

List any actions that the organisation plans to undertake in the aftermath, e.g. a PDM or a follow-up distribution to account for new arrivals.

Evaluation

Following the full closure of a distribution, distributing organisations may want to start thinking about conducting a post-distribution monitoring (PDM) exercise in order to assess the effectiveness, appropriateness and coverage of the intervention, and overall satisfaction with the assistance provided. Ideally, PDMs should evaluate a single response about a month after the intervention occurs. This allows time for beneficiaries to use the items provided and give useful feedback on quality, and account for the possibility that the recipients of aid might have moved.

In parallel, agencies may wish to perform a market survey where the price of commodities on the local markets is collected regularly. The market tends to be distorted in emergency or conflict contexts, and there can be large fluctuations in price provoked by the timing of distributions making very difficult to interpret quantitative data. Market surveys may reveal impacts of distributions on local vendors, if items are being resold, or even if cheaper or more appropriate items are available locally for procurement or cash vouchering.  

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  • Affected people: IDPs, returnees, host communities or other potential recipients of aid.
  • Distributing agency: Agency, NGO or any of kind of partner conducting the distribution.
  • Donor or Contributing Organisation: Agency contributing with stock, funds, or other kind of support to the distribution.
  • Government authorities: local or national authorities covering the area of intervention.
  • Cluster: coordinating body that can assist in the organisation of the intervention.

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Actor

Roles and Responsibilities

Affected people People

  • Assistance in distribution planning.
  • Assistance in the identification of people at risk.
  • Establishment of committees with adequate representation of women.
  • Information-sharing on the specific concerns of different groups.
  • Dissemination of information on the commodities and the distribution process and system.
  • Crowd control at the distribution site and other casual labour for distribution related activities.
  • Assisting vulnerable members of the displaced population.

Distribution Agency

  • Establishment of distribution site and distribution-related processes.
  • Dissemination of information to affected populations.
  • Management and equitable distribution of relief commodities using the appropriate distribution system.
  • Participation, inclusion, safety, and accountability in the distribution process.
  • On-site monitoring of distribution processes.
  • Reports on quality, quantity and impact of commodity distributions.

Donor or Contributing organisation Organisation

  • Movement of stocks to the field for distribution (if applicable).
  • Provision of funds or other types of support for the intervention.
  • Guidance on technical issues where appropriate, e.g., protection referrals.
  • Monitoring the distribution program and reporting to donors and governments as relevant.

Government authorities

  • Security and the creation of safe spaces for distribution.
  • Creation of initial beneficiary lists in consultation with communities (when appropriate).
  • Free and safe access of relief personnel to beneficiaries and of beneficiaries to aid.
  • Consultations on distribution set up, approach, and process.
  • Relevant permissions.

Clusters

  • Coordination of the distribution and support for additional capacity if needed.
  • Advocacy around access.
  • Receipt and review of distribution reports.
  • Information management
  • Creation of intersectoral coordination spaces.

Adapted from Shelter Cluster

Distribution Committees

To assure the affected population involvement in the process and guarantee that its participation is efficient and effective, a best practice has shown to be the creation of distribution committees. Distribution committees tend to work better in stable environments, should ideally reflect the ratio of men and women in the population, and all population groups should be represented. Committees can meet both before and after distributions, where all issues related to distribution should be discussed freely inside the committee and brought to the appropriate agency’s attention. These committees will act as a link between the agency in charge of the distribution and the affected population, helping to:

  • Keep unrealistic expectations in check.
  • Ensure overall understanding of procedures and restrictions.
  • Ensure receipt of feedback from the community or camp population on all issues related to distribution.

Protection Considerations

Protection mainstreaming means distributing organisations, partners, employed third parties and all other entities involved in the distribution are undertaking activities in a manner that safeguards people from violence, coercion, deprivation, and discrimination and that aims at attaining full respect for the rights of the individual.

The distributing organisation should undertake all effort to integrate protection into every part of the distribution process incorporating the four key elements of protection mainstreaming, which include:

  1. Avoiding causing harm and prioritise safety and dignity.
  2. Ensuring meaningful access.
  3. Practising accountability.
  4. Promoting participation and empowerment.

A protection-based approach should be included when planning the logistics of distribution to advocate and highlight the importance of impartiality and non-discrimination to achieve a successful and sound distribution. All members of the team have a role in ensuring the safety, dignity and integrity of people in aid distribution. Coordination, fairness and planning are crucial to respond to their specific needs, cultural values, physical context and environment preservation.

As a compendium, the following list should be considered:

  • Distribution times are safe for beneficiaries to travel to the distribution point and return home without exposure to further risk of harm.
  • Physical location of the distribution can be easily and safely accessed, particularly against the risk or threat of gender-based violence and attacks from armed groups.
  • Commodities distributions are designed to be respectful and inclusive of cultural and religious practice.
  • Commodities distribution methodology are designed to preserve safety and dignity.
  • Options for home delivery of shelter materials/NFIs for vulnerable persons (e.g., persons with disabilities who cannot access the distribution point, elderly, child-headed households, etc.) or systems by which representatives can collect assistance packages on their behalf.
  • Commodities are packaged in a way to avoid injury or strain to beneficiaries. Distributed items should not be of excessive size or weight, and should be easy to manage for elderly or persons with disabilities.
  • The provision of additional NFIs essential for personal hygiene, dignity and well-being, including sanitary materials for women and girls are consistent with cultural and religious traditions.
  • Complaints mechanisms and monitoring are integral to the distribution plans.

Summary of Considerations

  • Assess the region of the distribution site and avoid proximity of natural crowded places such as markets.
  • Plan your distribution time accordingly to the caseload. People tend to stress when they end the day without being served.
  • Ensure sufficient community mobilisers and crowd control in the area well visible.
  • Create buffers and one-way flow of people.
  • Define the limits of the distribution site and use natural barriers to avoid people out of designated areas.
  • Separate and secure the stock area.
  • If distributing from a mobile setup, ensure exit routes are cleared.
  • Provide a seasonally friendly place for beneficiaries to wait including basic drainage (raining season) or shading (dry season) .
  • Setup up a control between the waiting area: beneficiaries should be let in the site based on the capacity to process them.
  • Make the distribution rules clearly visible with banners and megaphones.
  • Avoid using the same gate as entrance and exit.
  • Follow the plan: avoid surprising the population with a sudden change in the system.

References

  • .
  • Monitoring the distribution program and reporting to donors and governments as relevant.

Government Authorities

  • Security and the creation of safe spaces for distribution.
  • Creation of initial beneficiary lists in consultation with communities (when appropriate).
  • Free and safe access of relief personnel to beneficiaries and of beneficiaries to aid.
  • Consultations on distribution set up, approach, and process.
  • Relevant permissions.

Clusters

  • Coordination of the distribution and support for additional capacity if needed.
  • Advocacy around access.
  • Receipt and review of distribution reports.
  • Information management
  • Creation of intersectoral coordination spaces.

Adapted from Shelter Cluster

Distribution Committees

To assure the affected population involvement in the process and guarantee that its participation is efficient and effective, a best practice has shown to be the creation of distribution committees. Distribution committees tend to work better in stable environments, should ideally reflect the ratio of men and women in the population, and all population groups should be represented. Committees can meet both before and after distributions, where all issues related to distribution should be discussed freely inside the committee and brought to the appropriate agency’s attention. These committees will act as a link between the agency in charge of the distribution and the affected population, helping to:

  • Keep unrealistic expectations in check.
  • Ensure overall understanding of procedures and restrictions.
  • Ensure receipt of feedback from the community or camp population on all issues related to distribution.

Protection Considerations

Protection mainstreaming means distributing organisations, partners, employed third parties and all other entities involved in the distribution are undertaking activities in a manner that safeguards people from violence, coercion, deprivation, and discrimination.

The distributing organisation should undertake all effort to integrate protection into every part of the distribution process incorporating the four key elements of protection mainstreaming, which include:

  1. Avoiding causing harm and prioritise safety and dignity.
  2. Ensuring meaningful access.
  3. Practising accountability.
  4. Promoting participation and empowerment.

A protection-based approach should be included when planning the logistics of distribution to advocate and highlight the importance of impartiality and non-discrimination to achieve a successful and sound distribution. All members of the team have a role in ensuring the safety, dignity and integrity of people in aid distribution. Coordination, fairness and planning are crucial to respond to their specific needs, cultural values, physical context and environment preservation.

As a compendium, the following list should be considered:

  • Distribution times are safe for beneficiaries to travel to the distribution point and return home without exposure to further risk of harm.
  • Physical location of the distribution can be easily and safely accessed, particularly against the risk or threat of gender-based violence and attacks from armed groups.
  • Commodities distributions are designed to be respectful and inclusive of cultural and religious practice.
  • Commodities distribution methodology are designed to preserve safety and dignity.
  • Options for home delivery of shelter materials/NFIs for vulnerable persons (e.g., persons with disabilities who cannot access the distribution point, elderly, child-headed households, etc.) or systems by which representatives can collect assistance packages on their behalf.
  • Commodities are packaged in a way that avoids injury or strain to beneficiaries. Distributed items should not be of excessive size or weight, and should be easy to manage for elderly or persons with disabilities.
  • The provision of additional NFIs essential for personal hygiene, dignity and well-being, including sanitary materials for women and girls are consistent with cultural and religious traditions.
  • Complaints mechanisms and monitoring are integral to the distribution plans.

Sites and Resources 

References

Sites and Resources 

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