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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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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.

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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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  • 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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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.

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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.

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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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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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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 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. 

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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 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.

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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 complaints are recorded, documented and are addressed accordingly. A help-desk should be visible and be accessible without impediments, but also be away from the waiting area to ensure privacy and personalised support. It is advisable 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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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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  • 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 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.

References

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Sites and Resources 

References

Sites and Resources 

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