Action Contre la Faim Food Aid and Alternatives to Food Aid


Food Aid and Alternatives to Food Aid

Action Contre la Faim Food Aid and Alternatives to Food Aid

Objectives of this book:

Constitute a reference for the principles and methodology of intervention

for food aid and alternatives to food aid,

from initial assessment to implementation and monitoring.

Table of Contents
PREAMBLE ...............................................................................................................................................................5
Chapter 1 : ACFIN’s Position on Food Aid .............................................................................................................7
I Introduction............................................................................................................................................................7
II Technical approach...............................................................................................................................................7
III Context and objectives of food aid programs......................................................................................................8
IV Impact of food distribution .................................................................................................................................8
V Intervention principles of food aid and its alternatives ......................................................................................10
VI Argument ..........................................................................................................................................................10
VII Summary..........................................................................................................................................................11
Chapter 2 : Preliminary Assessments.....................................................................................................................12
I Introduction..........................................................................................................................................................12
II Context Study .....................................................................................................................................................13
III Study of food markets .......................................................................................................................................13
IV Identifying the populations’ needs....................................................................................................................15
V Estimating the number of individuals in a population........................................................................................16
VI Other actors present ..........................................................................................................................................16
VII Logistical assessment.......................................................................................................................................16
VIII Deciding on an implementation plan for a distribution program...................................................................17
IX Summary...........................................................................................................................................................18
Chapter 3 : Choice of the Type of Distribution Program.....................................................................................19
I Establishing an intervention strategy...................................................................................................................19
II Responses to a lack of food availability .............................................................................................................22
III Responses to a lack of access to food................................................................................................................29
IV Key questions for the choice of program type ..................................................................................................34
V Summary ............................................................................................................................................................35
Chapter 4 : Development of the Program..............................................................................................................36
Action Contre la Faim Food Aid and Alternatives to Food Aid
I Targeting the vulnerable population ....................................................................................................................36
II Selecting work-exchange projects ......................................................................................................................39
III Determining the ration to be distributed............................................................................................................41
IV Supply logistics.................................................................................................................................................49
V How are the populations and local structures involved?....................................................................................54
VI Human resources...............................................................................................................................................56
VII Summary..........................................................................................................................................................62
Chapter 5 : Registration of Beneficiaries ...............................................................................................................63
I Introduction..........................................................................................................................................................63
II Obtaining lists realized by a third party..............................................................................................................64
III Realizing the registration process......................................................................................................................64
IV Ensuring the quality of the registration.............................................................................................................67
V Summary ............................................................................................................................................................70
Chapter 6 : Distribution Conditions .......................................................................................................................71
I Choosing a food distribution program.................................................................................................................71
II System of cash distribution.................................................................................................................................72
III Site selection and number of distribution points ...............................................................................................73
IV Awareness .........................................................................................................................................................74
V Adjust the conditions in the case of absent beneficiaries ...................................................................................75
VI Summary...........................................................................................................................................................76
Chapter 7 : Food Distribution Circuit ....................................................................................................................77
I Stations prior to actual distribution of the foodstuffs ..........................................................................................77
II Actual distribution of the foodstuffs...................................................................................................................78
III Examples of distribution circuits.......................................................................................................................80
IV Canteen circuit ..................................................................................................................................................84
V Summary ............................................................................................................................................................86
Chapter 8 : Flow Planning and Management ........................................................................................................88
I Flow of a food distribution program....................................................................................................................88
II Planning the supply of distribution points..........................................................................................................90
III Basic documents................................................................................................................................................91
IV Flow management .............................................................................................................................................94
V Itemize the losses................................................................................................................................................95
VI What weight should be taken into account?......................................................................................................96
VII Reports.............................................................................................................................................................98
VIII Flow reconciliation and monitoring ...............................................................................................................99
IX Flow of a cash distribution program...............................................................................................................100
X Summary ..........................................................................................................................................................101
Action Contre la Faim Food Aid and Alternatives to Food Aid
Chapter 9 : Program Monitoring and Evaluation...............................................................................................102
I Verifying the registration list and the targeting criteria.....................................................................................102
II Food Basket Monitoring (‘FBM’) ....................................................................................................................104
III Post distribution monitoring (‘PDM’).............................................................................................................106
IV Information to collect......................................................................................................................................108
V Role of nutritional surveys ...............................................................................................................................110
VI Summary.........................................................................................................................................................110
Chapter 10 : Frequently Asked Questions about Food Aid................................................................................111
I What is a food aid program?..............................................................................................................................111
II What is meant by ‘alternatives’ to food aid?....................................................................................................111
III A food aid program: is it Logistics or Food Security? ....................................................................................111
IV When should a food aid program start, and when should it stop?...................................................................112
V How can we be sure that the food aid reaches the most vulnerable? ...............................................................112
Examples .................................................................................................................................................................113
Figures .....................................................................................................................................................................114
Appendices ..............................................................................................................................................................115

Action Contre la Faim Food Aid and Alternatives to Food Aid


This book is part of a series of food security books developed by Action Contre la Faim (ACFIN
) and is based
upon a consolidation of experiences and investigations led over the past ten years in the field. This series looks at
and develops specific aspects of the different food security programs, especially the technical tools that can be used
within the scope of precise projects. Each of these books can be read alone or they can be complemented and
reinforced with the other ACFIN Food Security books included in the series constituting a ‘food security kit’ which
can be presented as follows:

The books address a variety of audiences including the international humanitarian community, technical and
operation field workers and the general public who wishes to learn more about food security at the international
level. Each book contains a detailed index with examples of the different tools that can be used for the
implementation of the programs, a glossary of technical terminology and commonly asked questions that can give
the reader a quick response to key points highlighted throughout the document. This series could eventually be
completed with other types of food security programs depending on the development and research led in the field
(i.e., food security in the urban context, in the pastoral environment or other topics such as community
participation). All of these books are subject at all times to additions and or improvements following the
development of the food security department at Action Contre la Faim and the continued internal and external
evaluations of the different food security activities.


This book presents the principles and methodologies specific to food aid interventions and the alternatives to food
aid. The “alternatives” to food aid are programs based on monetary support that may be either direct (cash
distribution) or indirect (stamp or voucher distribution). Due to the diverse contexts and situations found in the
field, this book does not provide an exhaustive response to all the problems encountered but will furnish a certain
number of keys and tools which will facilitate the implementation of food aid programs according to the needs of
the population in a given context.
Chapter 1 presents the position of Action Contre la Faim on food aid through its objectives, its stakes, and its
intervention principles.

ACFIN is the international network comprised of ACF Canada, ACF France, ACF Spain, ACF UK and ACF USA. The international network shares a
common charter and global objectives.
Introduction to
Food Security:
Intervention Principles
Food Aid and
Alternatives to
Food Aid
Food Security
Assessments and
Action Contre la Faim Food Aid and Alternatives to Food Aid
Chapter 2 readdresses the specifics of the initial assessment of any food aid program (the methodologies of which
having already been widely developed in the book, Food Security Assessments and Surveillance). This assessment
determines the nature and the level of the food security, as well as, where indicated, the conditions of intervention.
Chapter 3 presents and compares the different types of food aid programs and the alternatives that may constitute
the intervention strategy so as to implement the most appropriate solution possible.
Chapter 4 explains how to determine the essential aspects of intervention strategy, and Chapter 5 specifically
addresses the methodologies of the registration of the program’s beneficiaries, a step crucial to the success of the
Chapter 6 discusses the different possible distribution systems so as to help make the most appropriate choices
according to the advantages and disadvantages of each.
Chapter 7 details the organization of the distribution sites according to the selected conditions, and Chapter 8 gives
the tools necessary for planning, monitoring, and the control of the flow of products to be distributed.
Chapter 9 complements this process with the tools of follow-up and evaluation, making it possible to measure the
program’s progress and to make adjustments when indicated.
Chapter 10 ends with the most frequently asked key questions. The responses highlight the key points developed
throughout this book.


It is not possible to name each person who contributed to the development of this book; however, the methodology
and examples illustrated here are a compilation of experiences from hundreds of ACFIN expatriates and local staff
over the last ten years. Special thanks should be given to all those who have worked in the food security
departments of ACFIN headquarters and who all contributed in some way to develop the department and laid the
foundation of this Food Security Series.

Special recognition should go to Fred Mousseau, food aid expert, for having written the initial version of the food
distribution module that remains the backbone of the current book,

Kate Ogden, Caroline Wilkinson, and Henri Leturque, for their technical contributions,

Béatrice Carré and Anne-Laure Solnon for their volunteer and professional work on the quality control of
foodstuffs and the capitalization of ACFIN experiences on food aid alternatives, respectively,

Laurent Mirione and Vincent Tanguy, directors of the mission logistics service, for their constructive collaboration
on the common tools necessary for the food aid programs,

This book was updated this year by Fred Michel in coordination with a peer review team consisting of Hanna
Mattinen, Pascal Debons and Lisa Ernoul.
Action Contre la Faim Food Aid and Alternatives to Food Aid


I Introduction

Despite the promises of the World Food Summit in 1996 to halve the number of malnourished people by 2015, this
number has not ceased to grow at a rate of 4.5 million per year. In 2004, over 842 million people were considered
malnourished, even though millions of tons of food aid are provided annually.
Food aid volumes continue to depend on the stock available and the international trading price of cereals, especially
wheat. When the prices are low and the available stock becomes more abundant in developed countries, delivery of
food aid increases, and vice versa. Bilateral aid from state to state remains a political and economic tool which is
most often monetized to help support the commercial balances of the beneficiary countries, generally without
connection to the needs of the hungry. Moreover, for decades international food aid has participated in the
impoverishment of the food crop economies by the dumping of foodstuffs produced in developed countries,
flooding the national markets with low prices because of subsidies given to the “Northern” farmers. For almost ten
years, the majority of international food aid has been allocated to emergency and restoration operations, with the
help of bilateral aid: this positive sign reflects a better understanding of humanitarian needs because it is addressed,
on the basis of the analysis of the needs, to the populations without buying power and theoretically does not affect
local production. The development of the capacities and expertise of emergency humanitarian organizations
contributes to the improvement of international food aid, making it a true humanitarian action. It is within this
perspective that ACFIN places itself in order to better fight against hunger.

II Technical approach

Action Contre la Faim aims to save lives, to relieve human suffering, and to re-establish and preserve food security,
by acting at different levels, while respecting the dignity of the people and protecting the populations.

The technical strategy of ACFIN takes into account the different levels of causes (direct, underlying, or basic) that
determine the nutritional status of the individuals. This general method of tackling the problem is represented by
the flow chart on the causes of malnutrition (see figure 1).

Food security for ACFIN is based on the definition provided by the World Bank in 1986: “ensure the access and
availability by all people at all times to enough quality, healthy and appropriate food.” The key words here are
clearly: access, availability, quality, healthy, appropriate food.

The use of the food is also taken into consideration, leading to a tight collaboration with the nutritional department.
This service provides the necessary expertise on the nutritional impact of the foodstuff according to their
composition (nutrients), their methods of conservation, and their preparation.

The objective of the food aid programs is to respond to food destitution by directly providing food, while
promoting the self sufficiency of the beneficiaries
. Consequently, the ACFIN food security service has developed
specific expertise through the recruitment and training of professionals who manage the food aid programs, from
emergency programs to those of longer-term food security.

The programs make up part of a global strategy including:
- The analysis of the multiple components of food security
- Immediate food aid in response to food destitution
- Household economic support, with the goal of reinforcing the coping mechanisms to increase the access to
foodstuffs (production, exchange).

Adapted from the report written for ACF by Fred Mousseau, ‘Bitter wheat, food aid, and the fight against hunger,’ October 2005
At the ACF headquarters in France, food aid was integrated into the food security service in 2001. The fusion of food aid and food security means a precise
contextual analysis may be carried out, and immediate food security activities are encouraged, while limiting the potential negative effects and the duration of
food aid activities.
Action Contre la Faim Food Aid and Alternatives to Food Aid
This approach, developed by the food security service at Action Contre la Faim, is based on the analysis of the
local food markets and the populations’ mechanisms to live and survive, as well as on the identification and
targeting of the most vulnerable groups within the populations.

III Context and objectives of food aid programs

Food aid or its alternatives are indispensable in emergency situations, when the populations lose their means of
livelihood (harvests, livestock, economic activities) because of a conflict, an economic or political crisis, or a
natural disaster, and find themselves confronted with food destitution.

In these situations, distribution should be implemented in a fast, efficient manner in order to ensure the people’s
survival. If necessary, parallel, complementary actions should be developed. These may include: reserves of
drinking water; medical care and treatment for the malnourished in the nutritional centers. Simultaneously, food
security responses over a longer term should be prepared to replace the emergency intervention.

In such a context, the distribution should help the crisis victims survive by providing available and accessible food
products, of adequate quality and quantities in order to prevent the development of malnutrition and disease.

Another objective of food aid is to prevent the people’s resorting to the kinds of coping mechanisms which could,
over the long term, create negative consequences on the people’s living conditions and food security: total or partial
migration of the members of a household, transfer of capital, new and unsustainable economic activities such as
wood harvesting, decapitalisation of productive goods, etc.

Depending on the cause and the severity of the food deficit within the households, the type of aid program will be
based on providing either foodstuffs or cash.

Table 1: Type of aid to be provided according to the food problematic
Conditions and Causes of food destitution Food problematic Response to provide
• Level of harvest inexistent or very
• Level of food stock inexistent or very
• Market destitution, non-functioning
• Elevated prices of staple foods

Lack of food availability

Injection of foodstuffs
• Significant drop in buying power due
to loss of revenues (work, loss of
production tools) and/or the loss of
working capacity (illness, death,
• Functioning markets which can
respond to the increase in demand

Lack of access to foodstuffs

Injection of cash and food

IV Impact of food distribution

The expected impact of the food distribution program is above all nutritional because it tends either to improve the
nutritional status of the beneficiary population or to prevent its deterioration. Nevertheless, food aid often has more
or less desirable effects that must be anticipated and evaluated before deciding on the kind of intervention and the
In order to reduce the negative impacts of food aid programs, Action Contre la Faim analyses the following
parameters prior to engaging in type of activity:

Action Contre la Faim Food Aid and Alternatives to Food Aid
• Local economy and living standards of the population
Aid constitutes an economic resource for the beneficiary population. It can be sold or exchanged and can provide
resources which are indispensable to the household in dealing with the necessary expenses. Sometimes, food aid
represents an essential part of the resources of the people in crisis situations. As such, it can become a major stake
for the populations but also for the authorities or the rival groups in an armed conflict.

• International politics and commerce
Aid can also be a commercial or economical political tool of international contributors, accentuating the
dependence of a beneficiary country on external aid. Often the volume of food aid is based on international market
prices rather than the degree of the populations’ food needs. The agricultural excesses of rich countries make up the
greater part of the food aid. For example, such food aid does not permit the use of the local food availabile when
they exist and can, in such a case, generate significant degradation of the economic outlets of the local producers.

• Political situation and social relationships within a group
The economic importance of the aid can naturally tempt politicians and the local despots to divert these resources
towards political ends. Food aid, in particular, may serve as a substitute for the social assistance of a government.
Additionally, depending on the distribution method, the aid can influence the internal relationships within a group.
For example, it could create a foundation of power or situations of dependence. Aid can also facilitate a certain
social cohesion or, by contrast, create tensions (for example, in the case where only certain groups are targeted).

• Security of the people
The value of the aid can also attract the attention of armed groups, military groups, or Mafia, thereby creating new
risks, especially when there are new governments and/or population movements.

• Economic organization of a zone
Aid can enter de facto into competition with the local production, harm the pre-existing commercial networks, and
thereby cause a modification of the prices of foodstuffs in the beneficiary zone. This concerns not only the impact
of the distribution but also the choices made with regards to the merchandise (local or regional purchases or
importation from another region), the foodstuffs (type and varieties chosen), and the type of distribution (actual
food or a food coupon system). Inversely, local purchases in large quantities when availability is insufficient could
cause a price increase that would penalize the entire population of the zone.

• Population movements
Aid can stabilize populations in the beneficiary zone, or it can stir them up. The local authorities or the military
forces may be tempted to use the aid as a political instrument for displacement or regrouping. By contrast, local
authorities or military forces could oppose the aid if they believe it encourages an undesirable situation to continue.

• Perpetuation of a crisis situation
Aid can demotivate or even discourage the populations during their necessary return to self-sufficiency following a
crisis. In certain cases, as a result of taxation, theft, or the more or less voluntary participation of the aid recipients
in a war effort, aid can also become a source of provision for armed groups implicated in the crisis.

• Health of the populations
Although food aid normally has a positive effect on the health of the beneficiaries, the distribution of rations that
are insufficient in vitamins and minerals could cause the development of epidemics and serious deficiencies, for
example pellagra, scurvy, or beriberi. International aid focuses on the macronutrients (lipids, proteins) and rarely
considers the micronutrients in the composition of its rations. Food aid therefore becomes a risk, especially when it
is the principle resource (i.e., not complemented by other sources) over a prolonged period.

• Ecological environment
Certain distributed foods require more fuel than others for their preparation. This may have an ecological impact
over the long term, engendering deforestation. On the other hand, favoring local foods reduces the risks that
foodstuffs containing genetically modified organisms
might be used as planting seeds.

For more information, refer to the ACFIN paper on positioning concerning genetically modified organisms.
Action Contre la Faim Food Aid and Alternatives to Food Aid
• Cultural aspects
Importing foodstuffs can have long-term consequences on local customs. Here again, local food should be favored
in order to prevent upsetting the local eating traditions.

V Intervention principles of food aid and its alternatives

Food aid consists of distributing the food to the beneficiary populations. When alternatives to food aid are more
appropriate, non-food items (blankets, jerry cans, cooking utensils, emergency shelters) and/or cash could also be

In conformity with the project cycle management, the activities are defined with the goal of minimizing the adverse
effects previously mentioned and to maximize the results expected from the desired objectives (see above, section

Distribution programs are based on the following principles:

• All food aid programs are preceded by an assessment and an analysis of both the needs of the populations
and the socio-economic and geopolitical contexts, including the aid politics of international contributors.
This analysis shows the pertinence of the intervention and helps determine objectively identifiable
indicators to monitor the potential activities.
• Food aid is a means and not an end: an exit strategy is prepared at the beginning of the intervention; food
security activities that are aimed at longer-term objectives may be gradually introduced.
• Program implementation takes into account the logistical capacities and the human and financial resources
of ACFIN, including the capacity to manage the security necessary because of the context or the type of
• Food rations should consider the composition with regards to an appropriate supply in nutrients
(micronutrients included), local customs, and respect for the environment.
• Local and regional purchases are, when possible, favored in order to ensure culturally appropriate food and
in order to support the local economy.
• Food products of good quality are provided by respecting the definition of the appropriate specifications
and a systematic quality control of the foodstuffs from the supplier to the beneficiary.
• The existing local capacities and resources are identified and used throughout the program as much as
• Effective measures are adopted in order to ensure that the most vulnerable groups are effectively reached,
while taking into account the security risks
, the local context, and the dignity of the populations.
• All of the program’s activities are subjected to ongoing monitoring and systematic evaluations throughout
the duration of the program. An impact analysis is carried out in order to reorient the activities, if
necessary, and to optimize the definition and realization of future programs.
• The activities are coordinated with the other partners onsite, with the goal of obtaining optimal aid cover.

VI Argument

ACFIN aims to contribute to reducing hunger by informing the public and by influencing the politics and the
practices of the principal actors through a proof-based analysis.
Its argument is based on the following principles:
• Detailed analysis of the causes, responsibilities, and solutions of the hunger problem in certain countries.
• Identification of the common factors of the hunger problem in the countries where ACFIN intervenes, in
order to define global tendencies.
• Defend the cause of hunger before the national and international communities.

Security risks for the populations and ACFIN teams
Action Contre la Faim Food Aid and Alternatives to Food Aid
Depending on the stakes involved, the food aid programs can be at the heart ACFIN’s lobbying, especially on the
international system of food aid to contribute to its improvement for the benefit of the populations suffering from

ACFIN means thereby to denounce as much as possible the downward spiral of a food aid system....
- Which offers only a default response to the deeper problems which continue to be overlooked,
- Which contributes to reduced food crop farming and increased dependence on the importation of foodstuffs,
- Whose allocations depend less on objective needs assessments and more on the political or commercial
interests of the donating countries.

This is why ACFIN proposes a certain number of paths for lobbying and action

• Reject the conditionality of the aid: aid should be provided according to objective assessments of the needs
and not the interests and agendas of the donating countries. Food aid should especially be provided
independently of the market reforms.
• Encourage the donating countries to reduce actual food aid in preference for direct financial aid, which
would permit the financing of other types of actions and of local food aid purchases in the developing
• Encourage food aid purchases in the Southern countries, ensuring that this will benefit the poorest countries
and their small farmers.
• See that the food aid is no longer the dominant response in emergency situations nor the default response to
structural deficit problems and chronic food insecurity. Food aid should become an instrument among
others and be used pragmatically and within limits.
• Reform or eliminate the international institutions that govern food aid, whose existence and mandate reflect
the logistical measures of dealing with surplus in developed countries.
• Review and reconsider aid politics in order to give priority to the local farmers and to favor food self-
sufficiency in the poorest countries.
• Return the responsibility and the means of fighting international hunger to the FAO (United Nations Food
and Agriculture Organization) by implementing a more responsible aid politic with the governments and
the NGOs.
• Give the poorest countries the political and financial means of fighting hunger, through the elimination of
debt, enhanced development aid, and the right to food sovereignty.

VII Summary
• Food aid and its alternatives are tools for improving food security of populations having suffered adverse
• Food aid programs are necessary when a certain population or group no longer has the capacity to feed
• Food aid responds to a lack of food availability: the alternatives respond to the populations’ lack of access
to the foodstuffs.
• Intervention principles enable risk reduction and maximized impact of the aid program.
• Food aid should remain short-term and can be relieved by longer-term programs that restore autonomy in
the targeted population.
• Food aid at ACFIN also aims to contribute to the improvement of the international system by denouncing
any wrongdoings witnessed in the intervention fields and by making recommendations.

Extract of the report written for ACFIN by Fred Mousseau, ‘Bitter wheat, food aid, and the fight against hunger,’ October 2005.
Action Contre la Faim Food Aid and Alternatives to Food Aid

I Introduction

Action Contre la Faim follows the causal approach of malnutrition to evaluate humanitarian needs. As the
conceptual chart shows (see figure 1), malnutrition is not only related to a problem of accessibility or availability of
food, and other factors must be taken into consideration. Identification of the population’s needs is therefore not
centered only its food situation; it also takes its social, medical, or sanitary problems into account. In the same
approach, the basic causes at the economic and political levels must also be fully understood. Even in the case
where Action Contre la Faim would not be able to develop responses to all the needs identified, it is important to
perform this type of multi-sectional assessment in order to ensure that the proposed response is indeed the most
appropriate. Additionally, it may serve as a way to lobby for the intervention of other actors.
Figure 1: Causal chart of malnutrition

In a crisis situation, the general context analysis and an initial needs identification make it possible to recommend
possible activities. When it is decided that food aid must be provided, these assessments should necessarily be
complemented by further investigation to help establish the pertinence and feasibility of this type of intervention.
The methodologies of the investigations are presented in the book, Food Security Assessments and Surveillance.

Adapted from UNICEF, 1997


Food availability

Food accessibility
Sanitary environment
Access to health structures
Availability, quality, and access
to water
Behaviours and responsibility
Role, status, and rights of women

Social and organisational networks
Use of food
Action Contre la Faim Food Aid and Alternatives to Food Aid

II Context Study

The context in which a crisis has occurred should be studied in depth, from various angles:
• Socio-cultural characteristics of the population: way of life, habitat, customs, role and status of women, etc.
• Local capacities and resources: administrative or traditional structures in place, their functions, their
capacities and reliability, level of education of the local population, languages spoken, capacities and
capabilities, particular constraints related to their characteristics.
• Political and social structure of the population: institutions, social system, etc.
• Conditions of access of the affected population as well as the factors influencing the safety and security of
that population and the people who intervene: risk analysis, study of the different actors involved in a
conflict, etc.
• Economic and food situation of the targeted region: the principle resources and dependencies in the zone;
exporter zone, deficitary zone, balanced zone; types of foodstuffs imported/exported
• Environment, climate, agricultural calendar and their effects on the populations in terms of activities and

III Study of food markets

As soon as a serious perturbation of the livelihood of the affected populations is suspected in terms of food
(production crisis, breakdown in the supply system), we must first, before developing any sort of program, evaluate
the food availability in the affected zone and its prospects according to the possible market reactions. The goal is to
determine whether the program should respond to the problematic of a lack of food availability or a lack of food
Seasonal variations must always be taken into consideration (agricultural calendar of local production, for example)
to identify the real impact of the crisis on the food economy. The results of this study, led at the country level as
well as at the target zone level, are then combined with the analysis at the household level (see section IV).

First, an analysis must be performed on:
The availability of basic products before and after the crisis, in the affected zone and within the whole country,
based on macro-economic data:
- Seasonality of the exchanges in a ‘normal’ year
- Level and sources of production (deficitary zones and surplus zones)
- Level of the accessibility and functionality of production sources
- Level and origins of imports
- Level and destinations of exports
- Level of stock (private and public
) and government politics on the use of reserves
- Level of bilateral donations
- Evolution of internal and external flow (cross-border)
- Evolution of the exchange rates (official and parallel) and their impacts on the prices

The conditions of functioning market:
- Price levels
- Existence of speculative phenomena
- Situation of a monopoly of the actors (merchants, government) where prices are fixed
- Level of integration (connections) of principle and secondary markets
- Creation/disappearance of markets
- Creation of new supply circuits
- Sufficient or insufficient availability of staple products

There may be national cereal offices having the role of stabilising the prices of cereals by manipulating the purchase and reselling of a part of the national
production and/or of imported products.
Action Contre la Faim Food Aid and Alternatives to Food Aid
- Changes in the types of foodstuffs and their packaging
- Types of exchange: monetary or barter
- Level and evolution of prices of staple products
- Evolution in terms of exchange
- Number of active merchants, and their capacity and willingness to respond to an increase in demand (for
example, by transfer from a surplus zone to deficitary zones)
- Capacity for storage (size of warehouses, turn-over) and for transport (delivery frequency, truck size)
- Existence of internal exchange barriers (taxes, road and bridge conditions, insecurity, front line, border
- Evolution of buying power of the population in terms of credit systems

Later, the possible market reaction scenarios must be identified in order to understand the impact on the food
availability of the affected zone according to whether food or cash is to be injected.

Table 2: Type of aid according to the conditions on the food markets (Oxfam, 2005).
Scenario Problematics and possible impacts Recommendation
No available food in the zone’s neighboring
Non-functioning markets
Problem of food availability without
possibility of being addressed by the
local markets.

Food aid
Abnormally high food prices
Non-functioning markets
Problem of accessibility due to the loss
of buying power because of elevated
prices. Cash injection would elevate the
prices even more.

Food aid
Food available in neighboring markets
Loss of revenues in the population
Functioning markets
Hindered exchange actions (taxes, conflict)
Non-competitive markets (prices controlled by
Non-integrated (or non-connected) markets
Merchants not willing or unable to respond to the
increased demand
Problem of access to food.
Cash injection would elevate prices
because the offer could not be increased
in the zone because of...
--exchange barriers,
--elevated ‘adjustments’ of the controlled
--neighboring markets not being
connected to supply the zone (increase
the offer)
--merchants not increasing the offer of
foodstuffs on the markets.

Food aid
Food available in neighboring markets
Loss of revenues in the population
Functioning markets
Exchanges unhindered
Competitive markets (prices controlled)
Integrated markets
Merchants willing and able to respond to the
increased demand
Problem of access to food.
The injection of food would lessen the
demand and prevent development of the
local economy of the food markets
(production, commerce).
Cash injection would cause an increase
in demand and the conditions in the food
markets would provide a response to the
problem while developing their

Direct aid on the
buying power by
injection of cash or
food coupons.

The staple products are classically the traditional food products consumed by the population (in terms of cereals, legumes, fats and oils, fruits and
vegetables) as well as the products of primary necessity such as soap and fuel.
Action Contre la Faim Food Aid and Alternatives to Food Aid

Additionally, food needs at the household level must be understood: especially the potential impact on their level of
resources and their coping strategies.

IV Identifying the populations’ needs

The nutritional survey will estimate the level of malnutrition prevalent within a given population through the use of
anthropometrics criteria and supplies good indications on the definition of the program’s priorities.
The food
security assessment
seeks to identify the causes of this malnutrition and of the food insecurity. It should evaluate
the population’s food availability, determine the food access and food consumption mechanisms, identify the
categories of the population that are most affected, and understand the adaptation or coping mechanisms employed.
It should also evaluate the capacities of the population to resist adverse conditions over time.

The identification of the food security needs results from this capacity to cope with a crisis in order to minimize the
deterioration of their livelihood means. (See figure 2 in the book, Food Security Assessments and Surveillance, for
more information on the coping mechanisms.)

For the specific identification of the food needs, the assessment should respond to the following questions:
- What is the current rate of malnutrition, and how has it evolved?
- What are the causes of the malnutrition?
- How much reduction or loss of livelihood has the population suffered (in terms of production, revenues,
tools/productive assets)?
- What is the cause of the loss of buying power? (elevated prices, loss of revenues)
- How have the prices of staple products evolved on the markets, and what are the exchange terms (when the
economy is poorly monetized or not monetized)?
- How have the types of foodstuffs being consumed changed?
- How significant is the drop in number of daily meals and quantities consumed?
- What changes in the sources of supply have occurred (purchase, loan, begging, gathering)?
- What changes in the levels of household food stocks have occurred?
- Are the coping mechanisms adopted unbearable or risky?
- What is the capacity of the households to cope with the adverse conditions?
- What are the prospects of revenue (economic and agricultural) according to the seasonal variations?

The crosscheck of the needs analysis of the population and the study of the food markets (see section III) help
determine whether the problematic is a lack of access to or a lack of availability of food, or both.

As the conceptual chart shows (see figure 1), malnutrition is not necessarily linked to a problem of food access or
availability, and other factors must be taken into account. For example, a problem of malnutrition is sometimes the
result of poor weaning practices or sanitary problems related to poor drinking water quality that would obviously
not be improved by food supply.

Also, even if the nutritional needs are identified as priority and the food aid represents an adapted response, the
program’s impact can be reduced because other needs have not been taken into account. For example, it is possible
that the beneficiaries would have to resell a part of their foodstuffs to cover other needs which were not covered by
the assistance, such as the purchase of hygiene products or reconstruction materials. The nutritional supply would
therefore be inferior to that which had been initially planned and would not respond to the objectives fixed by the

The identification of a population’s needs is a step that must be taken prior to any intervention, but it should also be
continued throughout the program’s ongoing verification and monitoring. The monitoring and evaluation should
help measure the results and the impact of the activities and therefore continue to identify the evolving needs of the
population (see the book, Introduction to Food Security, for more information concerning the project cycle).

Nutritional investigations are led exclusively by nutritionists who have the required expertise. Without this investigation, it is still possible to perform
MUAC measurements on children under five, with the technical advice of the Nutrition department, in order to verify whether acute malnutrition is present or
not. The results should never be used as statistically viable data.
For the information collection techniques and methodologies, see the book, Food Security Assessments and Surveillance.
Action Contre la Faim Food Aid and Alternatives to Food Aid

V Estimating the number of individuals in a population

During an initial needs assessment, it is imperative to have at least a rough estimation of the number of people
affected as well as their demographic characteristics in order to be able to evaluate the magnitude of the crisis, the
feasibility of the intervention, and the volume of assistance required.

Two options may be available from the outset:
- Figures and statistics obtained from administrations, community representatives, or other organizations
- Calculations based on local existing lists (in cases of displacement camps, for example).

In cases where this information might not be available or seems unreliable, crosschecking of different sources will
be needed, such as comparing local administration census figures to those of a vaccination campaign performed by
another organization. The number of people can also simply be estimated by the aid workers using two methods
that are explained in Appendix 3.

VI Other actors present

It is crucial to take the current or planned actions led by other organizations or local authorities into consideration.
The following elements should be studied in particular:
- The real on site presence of the actors: NGOs (local and international), international organizations (ICRC,
United Nations agencies, especially WFP, UNICEF), sponsors, local authorities, social institutions, local
- Their analysis and position: What approach are the actors taking to the crisis? What assistance are they
giving or planning to give?
- The current or forthcoming national politics: Is there a cereal reserve? How is it used to stabilize the
markets? Are any zones being neglected?
- The type of assistance provided: rations provided for distribution but also the other activities being
implemented in the other technical sectors (water and clean-up, medical, nutrition)
- How much geographic cover is included in the assistance: Which beneficiaries are targeted? How many?
In which sites or what region?
- The selection methods of the beneficiaries employed: What selection criteria are used? How are they
applied? How are the beneficiaries registered?
- The distribution methods employed: direct? How often?
- Different constraints encountered during the registration of beneficiaries and foodstuff distribution.
- Expectations and capacities for future action, which actions, when?
- Access to the affected populations? Have any zones been overlooked?

This study is essential because it constitutes the first step toward good coordination among the actors and a
cohesion of the interventions. It helps identify the zones that are not covered or poorly covered. Insufficient
coordination may, in fact, cause later iniquities or program overlaps and even limit the impact of the assistance.
Some groups could receive too much aid, others not enough. If rations or selection criteria are different, this could
encourage people to relocate in order to be in the place where they feel they will receive the most aid.
Additionally, joint cover by the different actors could influence the priorities or needs in a specific zone. Such a
zone might have such poor cover that, in the end, it appears that it should have been targeted in the first place.

VII Logistical assessment
It is essential that the logistics service be involved at the initial stage of the assessment and especially in the
perspective of developing distribution programs which require significant logistical support for the supply of
products. The logistical plan should be defined at the same time as the program to ensure its feasibility and to be
activated as soon as the budget has been validated.
The logistical assessment will study the conditions of the beneficiaries’ access to the intended aid and thereby
establish the feasibility of the implementation of activities. It therefore considers the possible alternatives for the
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purchase or reception of the foodstuffs, their shipment, their storage, and their delivery to the distribution points
where indicated.
This study thus investigates:
• The possibilities of transport and storage (including in the affected zones)
• The entry points (ports, border crossings, airports) and their import capacities (equipment and materials)
• Location of existing foodstuff stocks, their availability, their costs, their mobility
• Identification of the private suppliers and assess their capacity to respond to the demand (quality, quantity,
delivery time)
• Identification of the capacity of the humanitarian actors present who are susceptible to provide foodstuffs
and other primary necessity goods (WFP, UNICEF, UNHCR, ICRC)
• The possible routes between the supply points (entry points, stock) and the affected zones
• The customs procedures and formalities and national legislation concerning the importation of specific
(nutritional) products
• Transportation, storage, and warehouse costs
• The potential risks (security, access, quality of foodstuffs)
Appendix 4 shows an example questionnaire for a rapid assessment of the different logistical aspects in an affected

VIII Deciding on an implementation plan for a distribution program

The different assessments mentioned above should not only provide an objective view of the different domains
studied but also take the foreseeable or possible effects of food aid into account (see Chapter 1): displacement of
the population towards distribution points, aggravation of insecurity in areas adjacent to the distribution sites,
depopulation of agricultural production areas, upset of the local market, reduction in the agricultural production
volume, environmental impact, etc.

Even so, it is often the case that in an emergency context that access conditions and insecurity prevent aid workers
from performing as complete and in-depth assessments as would normally be desired. Consequently, it will be
necessary to construct a certain number of working hypotheses that will later need to be confirmed or invalidated
through the program monitoring. The monitoring and ad-hoc assessments of both the program and its impact
should thus provide a way to review the hypotheses and the corresponding choices and to consequently adapt our

There is not only one solution for the definition and implementation of a food aid program. Only by synthesizing
and comparing different assessments can the most appropriate program be decided, its pertinence and feasibility
determined, and its implementation plan drawn up. The decision to implement a food aid program should thus
systematically be based on a variety of objective indicators, such as those presented in the table below, initially
helping to establish priorities the needs of a food aid program.

Table 3: Indicators to determine the pertinence of a program
Indicators Description

Degree of food needs
Rate (evolution) of acute malnutrition
Food consumption level (quantity, diversity/quality) of families
Production and food resource levels of families
Breakdown of the production system and/or crop supply
Local coping mechanisms (households, economic actors)
Level of needs Number of people affected
Presence of humanitarian actors Capacity to cover food needs
Level of risks of adverse affects
according to the context
Access to the population
Substitution of the role of local authorities
Upset of the local economy
Manipulation or misappropriation of organized aid
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Security and political risks to the beneficiaries and the personnel
Risks of aggravation of an unfavorable situation
Potential lobbying themes

Local purchases
Nutritional quality—microelements
Forgotten populations/discrimination
Effects on the local economy caused by an international aid system
Technical and operational goals How transversal it is (with the food security and other technical activities)
Development and capitalization of innovative projects (which could be
reproduced in other intervention zones)

IX Summary
• The initial assessment establishes an analysis that serves as a reference to follow the evolution of the
situation and the causes of the identified problem.
• The nature of the food problematics (lack of availability or lack of access) determines the type of response
to be provided (injection of food or cash).
• It is at the household level that the intervention needs are confirmed; program monitoring and evaluation
ensure an ongoing needs analysis in order to respond in the most appropriate manner.
• The capacities and the intentions of the actors present determine the help determine the intervention
• Logistics are an essential part of the initial assessment so that the constraints and resources necessary for
the implementation of the program may be integrated from the very beginning.
• The decision to intervene is based on the totality of the indicators identified during the assessment process.

Action Contre la Faim Food Aid and Alternatives to Food Aid

I Establishing an intervention strategy

Strategy design is based on the causal analysis of malnutrition (see figure 1). The purpose of the ACFIN
intervention is the prevention of malnutrition or the improvement of the general nutritional status of the affected
population. Establishing an intervention strategy goes back to the basic definition of all the actions to implement in
time and space to attain the program’s objectives.

• Complementarity of the intervention strategy:
The food aid programs can ensure the immediate availability of food and/or reinforce the mechanisms of access to
food. These programs are generally limited to a short period and are complementary to other actions carried out
either at the same time as these programs or after them.

During an acute nutritional emergency, simultaneous actions are led: in nutrition, in order to treat the people
suffering from malnutrition, and in free food distribution, in order to provide a satisfactory nutritional allowance to
the entire affected population. Parallel agricultural or economic support may be provided in order to contribute to
the autonomy of the populations and to progressively decrease the needs for distributions.

Other actions may be necessary in the health, water, and sanitation sectors if such needs are identified. These
actions may also have a direct impact on the nutritional status of a population; in this way, having drinking water
could prevent the appearance of diarrhea-related illnesses that would otherwise directly affect the nutritional status
of the population.

In a relatively stable context, food aid or its alternatives could respond not only to immediate causes but also to
underlying causes of malnutrition and prevent a deterioration of the means of livelihood such as the decapitalisation
of productive tools. The selected beneficiaries could receive food (or cash according to the nature of the needs) in
exchange for restoration work on the collective infrastructures (roads, dykes, irrigation networks). The restoration
work is determined in order to facilitate later agricultural or economic development. Interventions involving
agricultural boosts could possibly relieve distribution, helping the populations re-establish their access to
foodstuffs. In some cases food distribution may be necessary in conjunction with seed distributions, so as to protect
the seeds from consumption and to reinforce the impact of the agricultural boost.

If the crisis has caused a displacement situation, it is crucial to estimate future population movements as much as
possible: return to their places of origin or establishing themselves in their places of displacement, etc. According
to the situation, it may be necessary to plan assistance for return journeys or setting up home again (distribution of
seeds and tools or construction materials), which would allow the beneficiaries of the program to have a free
choice, unconstrained by a need to maintain the level of resources furnished by aid.

• Planning strategy:
After specifying the specific objective of the program and the type of intervention, designing the strategy requires
rigorous planning to maximize its impact according to the agricultural calendar (hunger gap, harvest), the rainy
season (conditions of access), seasonal migration movements (pastoral populations, work opportunities), movement
of displaced persons/refugees, etc (see Example 1).
Retro planning thus determines the calendar of all the necessary activities according to the type of distribution
chosen and is useful for adequately foreseeing the human and material needs. For more information, see the book,
Food Security Assessments and Surveillance.

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Example 1: Planning depends on the objective
The theoretical chart below presents the possible evolution of food and nutrition factors. The red line shows how
food cover levels for the most vulnerable households may evolve over one year of poor harvest, and the yellow line
shows how the prevalence of acute malnutrition might evolve over that same period. This represents a typical
situation found in rural zones when the most vulnerable populations depend heavily on the level of their
agricultural harvests (Taylor, 2004).

The type of intervention and its timing could be different according to the fixed objective:
- If the food distribution begins in January it could prevent the deterioration of the nutritional status of the
- If the intervention begins in March it could prevent the sale of personal goods, i.e., the decapitalization of
- In April/May, distribution could prove useful to limit the emigration movements and permit the households to
maintain their work force for the preparation of agricultural planting.
- After June/July, the intervention could consist of protecting the seeds to ensure an agricultural boost at the
moment of planting and increase the food availability during the hunger gap.
- After the month of August, a cash distribution would be most appropriate, given the improved food availability in
the zone.

Finally, it is important to include the conditions and steps for concluding the aid program in the intervention
strategy: the exit strategy. This is made easier if the distribution program has been planned as a complement or a
forerunner to a longer-term type of assistance that would contribute to the affected populations’ return to

• Formalization of the strategy and monitoring indicators:
It is the whole process that determines the intervention strategy; it should be formalized within a logical
intervention framework
: this ensures coherence among the general objective, the specific objective, the expected
results, and the activities to be led.
(See Appendix 5 for an example of the logical framework of a direct distribution project.)

Refer to the book, Introduction to Food Security, for the use of a logical intervention framework.






Oct Nov Dec Jan Feb Mar Apr May June July Aug Sept Oct

% food needs

% prevalence of

Sale of pers.
Exceptional migration


Hunger gap

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Each of these intervention phases should be monitored according to objectively verifiable indicators previously
identified. The indicators should be defined during strategy development to guarantee the possibility of monitoring
the program’s progress and pertinence: a must to ensure if the response is appropriate to the evolving needs of the
population. The difficulty is in measuring the desired results in terms of prevention: it is hard to objectively
measure the part of the productive capital which was not have been sold because of, for example, a distribution
program. It is preferable to observe how the revenue sources have evolved by using qualitative investigations (post-
distribution interviews) to see if the decapitalization phenomenon has indeed been stopped or reduced during the
program: such a trend would show the program’s pertinence for this aspect.
The indicators will therefore be different according to the objective and the type of program. In Table 4, below, the
most frequently seen indicators are listed.
Table 4: Examples of distribution program monitoring indicators
Objectives and
desired results
Objectively verifiable indicators Sources of verification
The targeted
population receives
food baskets or cash
• Cycles of distribution carried out
• Number of beneficiaries served
• Number of beneficiaries registered
• Quantity of food and/or cash
• Number of food baskets provided
• % of beneficiaries who received the
entire defined ration
• % of beneficiaries who are satisfied
with the quality of the rations provided
• Activity report
• Distribution report
• Registration list
• Distribution and stock
• Distribution report
and PDM

Food availability
within the households
is improved

• Use of the food basket
• Duration of the food basket
• Quality of diet
• % of the nutritional needs covered by
the food basket
Access to foodstuffs is
• Use of the food basket
• Structure of the household expenses
• Quality of diet
• Evolution of the staple food prices
• Market survey
Decapitalization of
productive goods is

• Evolution of the sale of goods in
overall income
• Evolution of the herd size
• PDM, food security
• PDM, food security
The accessibility of the
zone is improved
(through a restoration
• Costs of transportation and of products
• Evolution of the number of merchants
• Food security survey
and focus group
The seeds are protected
from food consumption
(through food basket
• Area of sowed land
• Level of harvests
• Pre-harvest survey
• Post-harvest survey

Depending on the nature of the food crisis, the program will be defined with the goal of optimizing its impact
within the affected population while minimizing the risks and potential adverse effects. The type of distribution
must be selected according to set objectives, taking into account the advantages and disadvantages of each type of
activity. Sections II and III, below, present the different types of distribution implemented by ACFIN according to
whether they respond to a problematic of lack of food availability or a lack of food access.

FBM: Food Basket Monitoring is the verification of quantities for each foodstuff in the ration, performed at the exit of the distribution site (see Chapter 9).
PDM: Post-Distribution Monitoring is the follow-up after distribution via a sampling of the distribution beneficiaries (see Chapter 9).
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II Responses to a lack of food availability

II.1 Free general (or targeted) food distribution
II.1.1 Description
One or several kinds of foodstuffs are freely distributed to populations affected by a lack of food availability in the
zone. The food basket is defined on the basis of the nutritional needs
and the food security analysis of
households, who may also be simultaneously suffering from access to food.
This type of distribution can cover a selected population in a general manner or in a targeted manner according to
the objective criteria (see Chapter 4, Section I) leading to a cover for the most vulnerable people. This type of
targeting allows us to complement the nutrition programs during a significant nutritional crisis. General food
distributions or distributions targeting a sector of the population (children under 5) allow the activities to be quickly
set in motion without having to register the beneficiaries, while at the same time, effectively curbing a nutritional
crisis as the following example shows:
Example 2: Free distribution to children under 5 years old
Southern Darfur – Sudan, September 2005
Close to Nyala, the capital of Southern Darfur, the Kalma camp housed approximately 70 to 90 thousand refugees
fleeing combats and perpetrated violence for more than a year. Often following several displacements, these
civilians found Kalma to be their ultimate refuge, finding access to assistance from humanitarian organizations, on
which they were totally dependent in terms of medical care and food. Distributions were theoretically carried out
every month. Even so, the rate of acute malnutrition during this period was constantly rising, reaching more than
20% among children under 5 years of age. After an investigation, the principle reason for the increased
malnutrition was determined to be poor cover of the general distribution due to a lack of systematic registration of
the new arrivals and to the logistical constraints that prevented proper supplying of full rations. It was decided to
rapidly implement a targeted distribution to all children less than 5 years old (estimated to be about 15,000 people)
with a mixed ration (equivalent to one porridge meal per day) in order to prevent the risks of malnutrition among
this particularly vulnerable population. This targeted distribution, which lasted nearly 5 months, worked well in
complement with the general distribution and the nutritional centers that could not cope with the growing number
of cases of malnutrition.

If the food security analysis indicates a lack of access to foodstuffs—in other words, an excessively weak buying
power resulting from a loss of revenues even though the level of availability is normal—a complementary or
unique distribution of non-food products or cash is indicated to help improve the access to food (see below, Section

II.1.2 Specific objectives:
- Ensure survival
- Improve the nutritional status of the populations
- Improve the household means of livelihood

II.1.3 Desired results:
- Availability of food in quality and in quantity
- Reduction or prevention of malnutrition
- Prevention of risky coping mechanisms
- Reduction of the decapitalization of productive goods (livestock, tools)
- Prevention of new, unsustainable economic activities or of falling into debt
- Increase in the capacity of households to concentrate on productive activities

II.1.4 Order of program events:
- Identify the needs of the population (see Chapter 2)
- Identify the targeted population (see Chapter 4, Section I)
- Determine the food rations to be provided (see Chapter 4, Section III)
- Prepare the supply (see Chapter 4, section IV)
- Establish distribution committees and awareness campaigns (see Chapter 4, Section V)

By ‘nutritional needs’ is meant the deficit between the current diet and the minimum required to remain in good health.
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- Organize the team (see Chapter 4, Section VI)
- Register the beneficiaries (see Chapter 5)
- Determine the distribution systems and site installation (see Chapter 6)
- Distribute food rations and manage flow (see Chapters 7 and 8)
- Verify the quantities actually received and the use of the foodstuffs (see Chapter 9)
- Evaluate the impact with regard to the fixed objectives (see Chapter 9)

II.1.5 Initial conditions:
- Large-scale emergency
- Sudden natural catastrophe
- Significant movements of the population
- Abnormally high or rising level of malnutrition
- Disintegrated social structures, lack of reliability and equity of social structures (thereby not being able to
manage distribution themselves)
Food market:
- Breakdown of production or market supply system
- Absence or inefficacy of public organisms to regulate cereal markets
- Elevated food prices and/or rapid inflation
- Abnormally low availability of staple foods, absence of certain foodstuffs
- Population cut off from its usual food source (refugees, displaced persons)
- Population having lost its harvest or means of livelihood
- Insufficient capacity of the families to produce or generate incomes (weak proportion of active workers in
the family, monoparental family)
- Poor access to production means / access to land, forests, sea, possession of assets
- Easy access to populations in terms of geography and security
- Possible distribution sites are accessible and of adequate size
Table 5: Advantages and disadvantages of free distribution
Advantages Disadvantages
• Immediate impact, rapid implementation
• Limited risks of aggravation of the
nutritional situation
• Direct contact with beneficiaries and
possibility of large-scale awareness
• Reduction of the risk of
misappropriation of distributed goods
(no intermediary)
• No discrimination for access to food
• Reaches the most vulnerable people or
• Lowered food prices on the market =>
rise in buying power
• Stimulates local economy and
production when the rations are
purchased locally
• Can complement the goods available on
the market
• Economic value of the food, making it
possible to transfer expenses to other
primary necessity stations
• Requires enough time and resources to select and register the
• Requires significant capacities of transportation and storage,
high logistical costs
• Is work-intensive
• Sometimes requires repackaging the food into individual
• Does not always respects the dietary habits and customs
compared to the lack of local availability
• Does not take into account the differences between villages
and between families when there is no targeting
• Creates dependence on the donor when the donation is in
pure form (incertitude, supply delays, types of rations and
• Develops dependency and may cause lack of motivation for
• Risks keeping the populations where they are, or
discouraging the return of refugees/displaced persons.
• Risks destabilizing the local markets (unbalanced offer or
demand) and lowering the revenues of local producers.
• Creates security risks due to large quantities of foodstuffs

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II.2 Canteens

II.2.1 Description
Distribution of cooked food rations to nutritionally vulnerable groups (the poor, children...) directly or through
existing institutions. Distribution is daily and the site may or may not offer the possibility to eat on site. A canteen
program most often aims to complement the resources of a targeted population, and the meals are distributed to
cover one meal per day, five or six days per week. Even so, it is still possible to distribute dry rations for the meals
that are not covered by the program if the needs require it. Setting up canteens can also be perceived as a primary
phase of a micro-project that the local managing committee could take over during the program’s duration.
Example 3: Canteen programs
Gonaives – Haiti, December 2004
Prior to Hurricane Jeanne, the city of Gonaives was already especially vulnerable after years of economic and
political crisis. The vast majority of its population was living in the shantytowns at the time the hurricane hit. After
the storm ravaged the weakened city, these shantytown populations were cut off from their meager resources
(fishing, market gardening, craftsmanship, small businesses). The city itself was no longer supplied in foodstuffs
that were usually imported from domestic or foreign production zones. The first food aid was literally looted by a
desperate population. In this situation, the weakest were unable to benefit from this food distribution, which
required police protection. Fearing a rapid aggravation of the nutritional situation and in the impossibility to carry
out any socio-economic targeting which would only cause greater tension, Action Contre la Faim decided to
implement a canteen program. The canteens were set up in the very heart of the shantytowns. In collaboration with
committees from these neighborhoods, the canteens provided a way to distribute one bowl of porridge per day to
each child under 5 years of age, the only fair and acceptable selection criteria for the population. This distribution
also ensured that the infantile population was protected from the risks of malnutrition while saving their families
the money that would have been spent on these meals. This distribution method allowed the weakest populations to
access the program, and the nuisance of having to come each day to collect prepared porridge stopped the people
without real need from taking food. Also, the volume of the food distributed per canteen and per day was not
attractive enough for the looters. The program was continued for four months, the time needed to stabilize the
situation and to see the markets once again receiving new stocks.

II.2.2 Specific objectives
- Prevent malnutrition and furnish a food supplement to the most needy people in nutritional terms
- Provide financial support by lessening family food expenses

II.2.3 Desired results
- Availability of food in quality and in quantity
- Reduction or prevention of the cases of malnutrition
- Prevention of risky coping mechanisms
- Reduction of the decapitalization of productive goods (livestock, tools)
- Prevention of new, unsustainable economic activities or of falling into debt
- Reinforcement of local capacities

II.2.4 Order of program events:
- Identify the needs of the population (see Chapter 2)
- Identify the targeted population (see Chapter 4, Section I)
- Determine the rations and number of meals to be to be distributed per person, per day (see Chapter 4,
Section III)
- Establish management committees and increase awareness among the populations (see Chapter 4, Section
- Register or possibly not register the under-5 population (see Chapter 5)
- Set up the canteens (see Chapter 6)
- Distribute daily rations and manage flow (see Chapters 7 and 8)
- Verify the quantities actually received and the use of the foodstuffs (see Chapter 9)
- Evaluate the impact with regard to the fixed objectives (see Chapter 9)

These canteens should not be confused with the school canteen programs that aim to improve the scholarity and education rates of the children. These
goals are not part of the ACFIN mandate. These school canteen programmes are not directly supported by ACFIN. For more information, refer to the
evaluation of the school canteen programmes led by DFID in 2004.

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II.2.5 Initial conditions
- Breakdown of the social institutional system
- Significant concentration of the population (camp, urban context)
- Level of malnutrition abnormally high or rising
Food market:
- Breakdown of the market supply or markets not accessible to the population
- Raised food prices and/or rapid inflation
- Abnormally low availability of staple foods
- Excluded population (in economic, political, and/or ethnic terms)
- Displaced population (with intent to return) without material capacity to prepare meals
- Population ‘surrounded’ by armed groups
- Population at risk, with regard to malnutrition (children less than 5 years old, pregnant and nursing
Logistics / Security
- Predation risks: looting of the populations by armed groups
- Possibility of accessible distribution sites, of sufficient size, with a small, secure warehouse
Table 6: Advantages and disadvantages of canteens
Advantages Disadvantages
• Possibility of inducing self-targeting (rations are
not very attractive and are on a daily basis)
• Ensures the consumption of the distributed ration
(impossible to store)
• Low risk of misappropriation of foodstuffs: small
quantities delivered at the distribution points,
cooked rations
• Wide-spread support in terms of fuel and water
• Verification of the nutritional quality
• Possibility of screening the beneficiaries
• Community involvement (canteen management)
• Employment of numerous people (effect of cash
• Possibility of purchasing fruits and vegetables
from the local markets to complete the rations
• Possibility to boost the dynamics of the social
• Possibility to transfer the management of the
canteens at the end of the project (exit strategy)
• Difficult to offer varied daily meals
• Difficult to offer non-stop service (7 days a week)
noon and night
• Significant logistical means (transportation, storage,
site preparation, water, fuel)
• Complicated flow management of foodstuffs
• Significant human resource needs (15 to 20 per
• Scarcity of fuels, which degrade the environment,
entailing the use of an expensive alternative (gas)
• Difficult to monitor the distributed quantities
(rations prepared in large quantities, in 50-liter pots)
• Obligation of beneficiaries to come every day to the
site for several hours, which reduces their
availability for other essential activities
• Risk of ration sharing once it is taken home
• Competition with local economic activities (sale of
prepared meals)

II.3 Seed protection rations
II.3.1 Description
Agricultural entrants and food are simultaneously distributed, covering needs for the planting season even though
the hunger gap has already begun. Adequate planning of the distribution ensures that the seeds will be used
appropriately and eliminates the constraint of food deficit (and the risk of seed consumption) that the farming
households must face.
Example 4: Seed protection program
Southern Darfur, Sudan, June 2005
In the agropastoral zone one hour south of Nyala, the situation remained relatively stable enough to allow the
population that had fled the violence to return home to prepare their fields. In order to help them get out of the
vicious circle of dependence on food aid, Action Contre la Faim decided to support these populations. They were
assisted in their renewed agricultural efforts by receiving seeds and tools. However, the seeds were at great risk of
being consumed prior to planting because of the zone’s existing lack of food, compounded by an abnormally early
Action Contre la Faim Food Aid and Alternatives to Food Aid
hunger gap. Thus, to ensure that the distributed seeds would not be even partially consumed, a month’s worth of
complete food rations were distributed to all the beneficiary families of the agricultural program. Consequently, the
farmers were able to take more risks (early sowing) in their planting strategies, depending on their forecasts for the
first rainfalls, in order to obtain optimal returns.

II.3.2 Specific objectives
- Increase the targeted population’s food production by securing the planting season
- If necessary, cover the entire hunger gap, up to the harvest, depending on the need level

II.3.3 Desired results
- Availability of food in quality and quantity
- Mobilization of the work force in agricultural activities
- Optimization of the use of agricultural entrants
- Prevention of the decapitalization of productive goods
- Contribution to a return to food autonomy

II.3.4 Order of program events:
- Identify the needs of the population (see Chapter 2)
- Identify the targeted population: most often the beneficiaries an agricultural rehabilitation program (see
Chapter 4 Section I)
- Determine the ration to cover the planting period (see Chapter 4, Section III)
- Prepare for the supply (see Chapter 4, Section IV)
- Inform and increase awareness of the population
- Coordinate the distribution of seeds with that of agricultural entrants (see the Agricultural Rehabilitation
- Verify the quantities actually received and the utilization of the foodstuffs (see Chapter 9)
- Evaluate the impact with regards to the fixed objectives (see Chapter 9)

II.3.5 Initial conditions:
- Hunger gap
- Rural zone
Food market:
- Raised food prices and/or rapid inflation
- Abnormally low availability of staple foods
- Population capable of farming
- Access to land and to entrants
- Stable situation allowing medium-term planning
Table 7: Advantages and disadvantages of seed protection
Advantages Disadvantages
• Easy targeting because it corresponds to that of
the seeds and tools beneficiaries
• Short period of assistance calculated from the
planting season: automatic exit strategy
• Possibility of spreading out the food assistance
up until the harvest if the food availability
remains insufficient
• Exclusion of vulnerable families which do not have
farming capacities (lack of access to land, lack of
• Heavy logistics for a supply over a very short period
• Transportation constraints for the beneficiaries who
receive a large total ration (seeds, tools, and
• Security risk for the beneficiaries because of the
attractive qualities of the rations

Action Contre la Faim Food Aid and Alternatives to Food Aid
II.4 Food for work
II.4.1 Description

The program consists of restoring community projects by the inhabitants (residents or displaced persons) who
receive a food basket as payment for their work.

The choice of the program’s location is based on the identification of the most vulnerable zones (zoning) in which
the potential projects will be selected. The nature of the projects should require a great number of workers to obtain
a significant impact on the improvement of the food availability in the targeted village. The restoration of
infrastructures should help improve development conditions within the targeted zone, for example the restoration of
a road or irrigation structures. The restoration project should be technically feasible and be long-lasting: it should
be the result of a selection process based on criteria defined by the community in advance. These criteria also take
into account the severity of the food needs: the pertinence (impact and durability) of the projects could become
secondary in order to better favor a rapid implementation of the work, such as cleaning activities. As a result, the
food baskets are packaged at the work site and the selection of beneficiaries stems from the selection of villages
directly concerned by the realization of the projects. It is then possible to establish rules for selecting workers
within these villages to ensure the participation of the most vulnerable families. By definition, only the families
having a work force can participate in the program; therefore it is recommended that the distribution be
complemented by including a proportion of free aid for the vulnerable families who lack the physical capacity to
work. The program planning should be rigorously studied so as to not present competition with other ongoing
activities, especially farming jobs.

Example 5: Food for work program
Hazaradjat –Afghanistan 2000-2005
Hazardjat is a mountainous region in the center of the country. Mostly populated by the Hazaras who are
of Shiite faith contrary to other ethnicities, this region has traditionally been neglected by the central
government. The infrastructures are practically inexistent in most of the districts that compose the region
and this isolation becomes total during the winters when the passes are blocked by snow and ice for
several months. Heavily dependent on their own production, the essentially rural population of this region
has suffered successive droughts in full force. Migratory movements began for the households who had
nothing left to decapitalize. In this situation of lack of food availability, Action Contre la Faim decided to
establish a food for work program, restoring a local road network. This type of restoration requires little
technical competence, and any able-bodied man can participate. For the vulnerable families without a
work force, a part (10%) of the aid distributed was allocated to them per village according to the selection
criteria decided between Action Contre la Faim and the local representatives (Shura). This program
allowed the populations of the participating villages to obtain food baskets covering the four months of
the hunger gap. The direct effect was the reduction of livestock decapitalization in particular. The other
result of the program was the opening of the zone, allowing small local markets to develop, offering new
economic opportunities for these populations.

II.4.2 Specific objectives
- Improve household food security
- Improve the economic and/or agricultural development of the zone (village)

II.4.3 Desired results
- Availability and accessibility to food, in quality and quantity
- Prevent short-term or risky coping mechanisms
- Creation of a favorable return context
- Lessening of debt
- Improvement of infrastructures
- Reinforcement of the local organizations
- Facilitate access to zones (opening)

II.4.4 Order of program events:
- Identify the needs of the population (see Chapter 2)
Action Contre la Faim Food Aid and Alternatives to Food Aid
- Identify the most vulnerable zones and villages (see Chapter 4, Section I)
- Select the restoration projects (see Chapter 4, Section II)
- Select the workers (see Chapter 3, Section II) and register the beneficiaries (see Chapter 5)
- Determine the salary rate (daily ration) (See Chapter 4, Section III)
- Determine the number of working days per task (see Chapter 4, Section II)
- Formalize the villagers’ contract (see Chapter 4, Section II)
- Prepare the supply (see Chapter 4, Section IV)
- Monitor the worksites and take roll of presence and absences
- Distribute and monitor the flow (see Chapters 6 and 8)
- Verify the quantities actually received and their use (see Chapter 9)
- Evaluate the impact with regard to the fixed objectives (see Chapter 9)

II.4.5 Initial conditions
- Chronic or foreseeable food crisis
- Beginning of the hunger gap / before the period of agricultural work
- Urban or rural context
- Lack of or poor condition of infrastructures: labor-intensive work opportunities
Food market:
- Poor monetization of the local economy
- Elevated food prices and/or rapid inflation
- Abnormally low availability of staple foods
- Breakdown of the market supply system
- Lack of access to farming land or other income generating opportunities
- Population without prospects for generating revenues or producing food
- Population located close to possible worksites
- Population capable of working (able and willing)
- Stable situation allowing for medium-term planning
Table 8: Advantages and disadvantages of the distribution through food for work program
Advantages Disadvantages
• Possibility of inducing self-targeting
• Low risk of misappropriation of payments in
• No systematic obligation to distribute a
complete and balanced ration: supply is
simplified whenever one type of foodstuff is
• Possibility of reinforcing the local capacities
by subcontracting the technical components
of the work
• Possibility of involving the communities for
maintaining the finished products
• Respect of the dignity of the people: aid in
exchange for work which reduces the effect
of victimization
• Difficult to obtain pertinent targeting because the
beneficiaries must be live close to the project
infrastructures and have able-bodied members available
to work
• Little opportunity to involve women in the restoration
projects (depending on the culture)
• Heavy logistics for food and tool supply with an often
intensive distribution schedule (payment of completed
• Difficult to monitor: daily presence sheet must be used
• Slow implementation when the payment is daily and not
per task
• Technical competence required to ensure a minimum
quality of the restorations
• Difficult to verify the minimum age of the workers
• Exclusion of people not able to perform physical work
(women, elderly...)
• Difficult to keep the finished products well maintained
following the closing of the project
• Risk of competition with agricultural work
• Risk of substituting the role of local authorities

Action Contre la Faim Food Aid and Alternatives to Food Aid
III Responses to a lack of access to food

III.1 Cash for work
III.1.1 Description
Similar to the food for work distribution program, this program consists of having community projects restored by
the inhabitants (residents or displaced persons) who receive cash in payment for their work. The big difference is
that the program is implemented in the zones where the food availability is sufficient but not accessible to the
population because of a lack of buying power in a local monetized economy.
The zones identified as the most vulnerable (zoning) will be considered priority to benefit from the program. Then,
the collective work projects that are the most pertinent and have the most potential for employing a large number of
workers (highly intensive-intensive work) are identified. The restoration projects should be the result of a selection
process according to criteria of feasibility, durability, and significant impact as well as the improvement of the
buying power at the level of the targeted villages. These criteria also take into account the severity of the food
needs to be covered: the pertinence (impact and durability) of the projects may become secondary in order to better
favor a rapid implementation of the work, such as cleaning activities. The selection of beneficiaries is conditioned
by the location of the restoration project; it is always possible to set up selection regulation to favor the greatest
number of vulnerable households, for example, impose socio-economic criteria on the households (number of
dependants, for example) and/or impose a maximum number of workers per home and /or a time limit for each
worker. For the households without working capacity, complementary interventions should be set up to cover their
needs (proportion of the freely distributed aid). Program planning should be rigorously studied so as to not compete
with other simultaneous activities, such as agricultural work, and its effect on the prices should be monitored to
prevent inflation due to cash injection.
Example 6: Cash for work program
Aceh Region—Indonesia, May 2005
Following the devastation of the entire coastal zone of the province of Aceh by the tsunami of December 26, 2004,
the emergency was to provide food, water, and medicine to the entire population of the villages directly affected
and those receiving the surviving populations. As the food availability gradually increased with the March and
April harvests and the restoration of the local market systems, Action Contre la Faim decided to stop general food
distributions in order to set up a distribution program of cash for cleaning projects (debris evacuation). This
program responded to the lack of food access of the households directly affected by the tsunami; these people had,
in fact, lost their homes, their production tools (materials and fishing boats especially), agricultural land and/or
their working capacity (death in the family): all this was translated into a loss of revenues and a collapse of their
buying power. This program therefore provided a way to ensure access to food for the vulnerable households,
making the markets more attractive by increasing demand, which in turn further restored the markets supply.

III.1.2 Specific objectives
- Improve the food security of the populations
- Provide support in terms of revenues, boost the buying power (and increase the rights of access) over a very
short term
- Improve the economic and/or agricultural development of the zone (village)

III.1.3 Desired results
- Improvement of access by increasing the buying power
- Before the hunger gap, allow farmers to put more of their harvest aside as a precaution
- During the hunger gap, provide employment and supplemental revenues
- Support the work market in favor of the poorest workers
- Prevent short-term or risky coping mechanisms
- Lessen debt
- Create a favorable return context
- Improvement of infrastructures
- Reinforcement of local organizations
- Facilitate access to zones (opening access)

III.1.4 Order of Program events:
- Identify the needs of the population (see Chapter 2)
Action Contre la Faim Food Aid and Alternatives to Food Aid
- Identify the most vulnerable zones and villages (see Chapter 4, Section I)
- Select the restoration projects (see Chapter 4, Section II)
- Select the workers (see III.2) and register the beneficiaries (see Chapter 5)
- Determine the salary rate (daily share) (see Chapter 4, Section III)
- Determine the number of working days per task (see Chapter 4, Section II)
- Formalize the villagers’ contract (see Chapter 4, Section II)
- Monitor the worksites and check presence and absences
- Distribution (see Chapter 6, Section II, and Chapter 8, Section IX)
- Oversee the quantities of cash actually received and its use (see Chapter 9)
- Analyze the impact of cash injection on access to foodstuffs (see Chapter 9)
- Evaluate the impact with regard to the fixed objectives (see Chapter 9)

III.1.5 Initial conditions
- Rural or urban contexts
- Lack of access to food due to low revenues (buying power too weak)
- Lack of access to land and income generating opportunities
- Lack of or poor condition of infrastructures: opportunity for intensive-intensive work
- Monetization of the local economy
- Availability of food on the markets
- No obstacles for commercial exchanges
- Competitive markets (not held by speculators, free of monopolies) which are integrated between the surplus
zones and the deficient zones
- Capacity and willingness of the merchants to develop their activities (increase offer)
- Population no longer having sufficient buying power to cover their basic needs
- Population without prospects for generating incomes or producing food
- Population capable of working (able-bodied)
- Population located close to the worksites
- Stable situation allowing for medium-term planning
Table 9: Advantages and disadvantages of a distribution program of cash for work
Advantages Disadvantages
• Boost of the local economy by increasing
the demand for goods and services
• Allows free choice of expenses for the
• Possibility of inducing self-targeting if the
salary rate is low or comparable with daily
labor wages
• Possibility of reinforcing the local
capacities (subcontracting the technical
• Possibility of involving the community by
having them keep the project going and/or
well maintained
• Respect of the dignity of the people:
payment for work reduces the effect of
• Less complicated logistics for supplies

• Difficult to obtain pertinent targeting, which by necessity
must occur where the project infrastructures are located,
with populations capable of physical work
• Few opportunities to include women in the restoration
projects (depending on the local culture)
• Difficult to monitor: necessary to use daily presence sheets
• Must have technical competence to ensure a minimum
quality of the restoration projects
• Difficult to verify the minimum age of the workers
• Exclusion of people incapable of physical work (women,
• Difficult to obtain permanence of the projects through
maintenance after the close of the project
• Risk of inflation if the market supply is insufficient
• Risk of competition with agricultural work
• Risk of substitution of the role of local authorities
• Security risks for cash transportation and management
• Greater risk of misappropriation if the distribution is not
• Risk of upsetting the work market if the payment is
superior to their ‘minimum wage’
Action Contre la Faim Food Aid and Alternatives to Food Aid
III.2 Coupons (Stamps)
III.2.1 Description
This program consists of providing coupons to households identified as vulnerable. The coupons are valid for a
certain quantity per type of food that the beneficiaries should collect from selected merchants during a given
A contract with ACFIN guarantees that each selected merchant will ensure the supply of necessary foodstuffs for
the beneficiaries in both quantity and quality. The terms of the contract may allow a cash advance to the merchant
to be able to acquire such a supply and a final payment upon presentation of the coupons as proof of having
provided the foodstuffs to the beneficiaries.
In emergency situations, cash distribution as opposed to coupons may be possible in a similar context (see initial
conditions): the advantage here is the rapidity of the implementation (no selection nor contract with sellers) and the
free choice given to the beneficiaries for the products purchased; the disadvantage is the loss of guarantee that the
distribution will cover the food needs in priority. Free distribution of cash has not yet been tested by ACFIN.
Example 7: Food coupon distribution program
NRS – Burma, 2003
The Muslim minority suffers discrimination by the Buddhist central government that neglects them from their
economic development plans. Maintained in a state of vulnerability by a system of taxation on the agricultural
production and by forbidding relocation, this community has no prospect of improving their living conditions. At
the slightest change (price increase, drop in self-production, illness), the households can no longer cope without
sacrificing their already minimal food consumption. Even though the hunger gap is accompanied by a price
increase of staple foods, Action Contre la Faim decided to implement the distribution of food coupons to the most
vulnerable households. This coupon could be exchanged with a selected seller under contract with Action Contre la
Faim for 50 kg of rice. Other than the goal of ensuring access to a staple food (which usually constitutes more than
2/3 of household expenses), this system of distribution provided a way achieve this goal while respecting the
dignity of the beneficiaries who went directly to the local stores as if buying the rice with their own money during
the agreed period. The sellers, who were selected based on their capacity to carry out such an operation, benefited
from a contract that guaranteed the sale of certain predetermined quantity. Without any risks, they were easily able
to increase the offer of foodstuffs for the program.

III.2.2 Specific objectives
- Prevent malnutrition by improving access to foodstuffs
- Provide support in terms of revenues, boost the buying power (and increase rights to access) over a very
short term

III.2.3 Desired results
- Improve access by increasing buying power
- Prevent short-term or risky coping mechanisms
- Lessen decapitalization
- Prevent debt
- Support local merchants / retailers and develop local markets

III.2.4 Order of program events
- Identify the needs of the populations (see Chapter 2).
- Target the beneficiaries (see Chapter 4, Section I).
- Determine the ration (value of the coupon) (see Chapter 4, Section III).
- Select the sellers and sign contracts with each seller
: (quantity and quality per food item, terms of payment,
procedures for “distributing” the foodstuffs).
- Register the beneficiaries and distribute the coupons (see Chapter 5).
- Exchange the coupons for foodstuffs during the given period.
- Provide sellers with the final payment at the end of the collection period.
- Verify the quantities actually collected and their use (see Chapter 9).
- Evaluate the impact with regard to the fixed objectives (see Chapter 9).

Refer to ACFIN’s ‘kit log’ for the procedures on buying and contracting with the local suppliers.
Action Contre la Faim Food Aid and Alternatives to Food Aid
III.2.5 Initial conditions
- Lack of access to food due to low revenues and loss of buying power
- Abnormally high or increasing level of malnutrition
- Inflation
- Food available on the markets
- Capacity and willingness of merchants to develop their activities (increase the offer)
- No obstacles to commercial exchanges
- Population having lost buying power and unable to cover their basic needs
- Population with no prospects over the short term to generate incomes or produce food
- People/family without work capacity
- Sufficient capacity of merchants to transport and store
- Capacity to generate multiple contracts

Table 10: Advantages and disadvantages of food coupons
Advantages Disadvantages
• Supports the local economic network
• Reduces the effects of imports (pressure on local
• Simplified logistics (supply managed by the sellers)
• Possible flexibility for the choice of foodstuffs by
the beneficiaries
• Allows targeting of the most vulnerable populations
• Allows beneficiaries to collect the foodstuffs at their
convenience during a given period
• Respects dignity by proposing a system which
follows the usual custom of collecting food from the
• Lack of viable seller depending on the
geographic zones identified as the most
• Risk of inflation by large purchases with
merchants who do not compensate by ordering
more supply
• Heavy management and monitoring of
• Impossible to set up in an environment of
dispersed homes (lack of merchants)
• Risk of substitution of the social politics of the
local government
• Risk of inflation if the offer is not developed
above the needs of the program

III.3 Subsidized sales
III.3.1 Description
The population targeted by this program can buy certain foodstuffs in a limited quantity at a price that is lower than
that on the local markets. Other than the identification of food needs, the calculation of the price takes the current
level and the annual evolution of staple food prices on the local and national markets into account. This type of
intervention is very specific in its application: it is planned from the moment of significant speculations on the
markets during the hunger gaps. This type of program responds to a lack of access to food caused by elevated
prices even though the markets are not competitive and the prices are fixed without a connection between supply
and demand.
By presenting their registration cards at the selling points set up especially for the program, the beneficiaries pay
for their rations directly in cash. The cash generated generally serves as co-financing of the operation itself.
Depending on the terms of the contract with the sponsor, the reinvestment of the income in a longer-term
intervention for the improvement of food security of the populations may be proposed (such as the creation of a
grain bank). The supply source in this type of program should be thoroughly investigated: international aid should
not be monetized through this program; rather, the focus should be on playing a role of periodic regulation of the
prices whenever the local capacities no longer have the means to curb seasonal inflation.

Action Contre la Faim Food Aid and Alternatives to Food Aid
Example 8: Subsidized sales program
Kanem – Chad, 2001
The semi-desert province of Kanem is traditionally in food deficit, such that, aside from its dune millet and the
market gardening produce raised on the few acres of irrigable land, the markets are supplied by surplus imports
from the southern regions. In this context, the merchants play a prominent role in the food availability in Kanem.
During the hunger gap, the speculative game is in full force and it is not unusual to see the prices double on the
small secondary markets, the only markets accessible to the majority of the households in this environment of
dispersed homes. This inflation provokes a significant loss of buying power of the most vulnerable households who
are forced to reduce their food consumption; the rate of malnutrition increases regularly during this same period.
With the goal of curbing this inflation by restoring access to grains for all the households in the region, Action
Contre la Faim offered each vulnerable household the possibility of buying a fixed quantity of foodstuffs at half the
average market price. The efficacy of the operation required the installation of numerous selling points to ensure
that the entire population could access and benefit from the program. Each selling point was set up in collaboration
with a local committee that then, itself, establishes ties with each village committee to ensure that the diffusion of
the informational campaign. The quantity sold to each household represented less than a month’s worth of
consumption, but the principle result was the price drop on the markets which led to a global reacquisition of the
buying power of the households.

III.3.2 Specific objectives
- Improve the food security of the population
- Provide support in terms of revenues, boost the buying power (and increase the rights of access) over a very
short term

III.3.3 Desired results
- Improve access by increasing the buying power of the targeted population
- Reduce prices of foodstuffs on the markets and improved access for the entire population
- Prevention of short-term or risky coping mechanisms
- Decrease instance of decapitalization
- Debt prevention
- Stimulation of the local development through the benefits gained by the sale of food products
- Reduce speculation

III.3.4 Program order of events
- Identify the needs of the population (see Chapter 2)
- Identify and register the beneficiaries (see Chapter 4, Section I)
- Determine the foodstuffs and the quantities to provide for the beneficiaries (see Chapter 4, Section III)
- Analyze the buying power and determine the level of subsidization for the selected foodstuffs
- Constitute selling and awareness campaign committees (see Chapter 4, Section V)
- Establish selling points (see Chapter 7)
- Sell foodstuffs at subsidized prices and manage flow (see Chapter 8)
- Verify the quantities actually sold and their use (see Chapter 9)
- Follow the price level on the local markets (see Chapter 9)
- Evaluate the impact with regard to the fixed objectives (see Chapter 9)

III.3.5 Initial Conditions
- Deficit in isolated zone and existence of a surplus zone
- Lack of access to food: loss of buying power due to elevated prices of staple foods
- Merchants involved in speculation games (stocked foodstuffs awaiting market highs)
- Functional but non-competitive markets
- Inflation
- Population no longer having buying power which is sufficient to cover their basic needs
- Population with no prospects of generating incomes or producing food over the short term

Action Contre la Faim Food Aid and Alternatives to Food Aid
Table 11: Advantages and disadvantages of subsidized selling
Advantages Disadvantages
• Reduction of the effects of dependence,
because of the act of purchasing foodstuffs
• Provides a way to control the price of
foodstuffs on the markets, which are
accessible to a population greater than just
the beneficiaries, by reducing market prices
• The monetary counterpart could be used to
give a longer-term prospect (financing a
communal stock, for example)
• Boost of local economic activities by the
increase in demand
• Requires heavy supply logistics
• Difficult to follow the financial flow (sales products)
• Difficult to subsidize several different type of foodstuffs,
which reduces the impact of the accessibility to food
• Supply sources are reduced to only the local surplus
• Risk of substituting the government role in price
• Risk of misappropriation by the merchants (buy from the
beneficiaries at a higher price for re-export)
• Difficult to set up in a rural zone where the markets are
small and dispersed

IV Key questions for the choice of program type
The presentation of the different types of programs reveals a wide range of possible interventions. In order to
choose the most appropriate program, certain key questions must be answered, which will show, first of all,
whether the supply must be reinforced by injecting food, or the demand must be reinforced by injecting cash
(Harvey, 2005). Then, depending on the operational constraints (logistical and security limitations), the most
appropriate type of distribution will be easy to determine.

The complexity of the situations and their rapid evolution could nevertheless require a combination of several types
of parallel or follow-up distribution depending on the specific needs of the targeted population groups.
(See the theoretical example of a combined cash/food distribution in Appendix 6.)
Table 12: Key questions for the choice of program type
Problematics Key Questions How to obtain the response
Needs of the
• What is the impact on the sources of food and incomes of
the populations who have suffered the crisis?
• What are the coping mechanisms put in place by the
• What is the degree of emergency?
• What are the preferences of the population with regards
to support in food versus cash?
Semi-structured interviews
and questionnaires
Food availability • Is the food available in sufficient quantity and quality at
the local level? At the national level?
• Will the seasonal variations influence the food
• Will the roles of the government or other actors influence
the food availability?
• What are the foreseeable effects of food injection on
local production?
Semi-structured interviews
and questionnaires
Focus group discussions
with the producers
National statistics
Information on the
government policies
Markets • Are they in such a situation as to allow them to increase
the supply of the foodstuffs?
• Are the markets open, free of price fixing?
• Do the merchants have an interest in increasing the
supply following the crisis?
• What effect would there be on the prices depending on
whether cash or food is injected?
Focus group discussions
with the merchants, the
Market investigation and
price follow-up
Market analysis in the zone
with their connections in the
neighboring zones
Security • Is the population threatened if it receives assistance that
makes it more attractive to the combatants?
Interviews with the
population about their
Action Contre la Faim Food Aid and Alternatives to Food Aid
• Is the population free to move at will?
• Does the tension level allow targeting?
• Will the situation remain stable over the medium-term?
• What are the risks specific to a cash flow management?
Context analysis
Focus group discussions
with the financial agents
(bankers, merchants, money
Gender • Is there a difference in the conception of the use of food
versus cash between men and women?
• Can women be included in the program?
Focus group discussions
with the men and the women
Cost and
• What are the logistical and human resources necessary
for the implementation of the program?
• What will the program implementation cost?
Comparative analysis of the
costs of foodstuffs,
transportation, storage, and
human resources among the
different programs
Risks • What is the risk of corruption?
• What is the risk of manipulation?
• What is the risk of upsetting the local economy?
Investigation and interviews
with key informants on the
risks of political corruption
and manipulation
Investigation of food

V Summary
• The strategy determines the objectives, the expected results, and the activities to achieve them. The food
aid programs should be complementary to the other humanitarian activities over the short term in such a
way as to obtain the expected results.
• All programs must be defined with the monitoring indicators to guarantee the pertinence of the
intervention with regard to the evolution of the needs.
• The types of distribution program differ according to whether they respond to a lack of food availability or
a lack of access (loss of buying power) to food. Then, depending on the conditions imposed by the context,
the markets, the type of population to reach, and the security, the choice is determined through weighing
the advantages and disadvantages of each type of program.
• The complexity of the different situations demands ongoing reactivity and may require several types of
distribution according to the evolution of the needs and the initial conditions.
Action Contre la Faim Food Aid and Alternatives to Food Aid


I Targeting the vulnerable population

I.1 Objectives and principles

The analysis performed during the needs assessment should help establish the selection criteria for the beneficiaries
of the program. In this way, depending on the situation and the type of distribution chosen, either the entire
population or just a part of that population may be selected as program beneficiaries. Targeting exists because the
food situation of the people in the same zone is heterogeneous. Distribution can therefore either be general
(organized for the entire population) or targeted to specific groups.

Targeting is essential in order to:
- Ensure that the aid is distributed based on identified needs,
- Prevent any adverse effects of the aid,
- Optimize the use of the resources.
Targeting is an ongoing process and should be checked during and after distribution (see Chapter 9), and modified
when necessary.

Different types of targeting may be employed and used in combination:
• Targeting generally begins with zoning which establishes the levels of vulnerability by geographical zone:
which zones are most affected?
• The targeted groups may be vulnerable households who are in a socio-economic situation which does not
allow them to respond to their needs self-sufficiently: for example, farmers who have lost their harvest,
breeders who have lost their livestock, displaced persons or refugees, resident families sheltering displaced
persons, families having a lack of sufficient work capacity, etc.
• Targeting at the individual level is mostly used for the nutrition programs. However, other than preventing
or treating cases of malnutrition, this type of targeting is generally poorly adapted to reach the people who
are vulnerable in socio-economic terms.
• Self-targeting is led entirely by the population itself according to its values and knowledge of each person’s
situation. It makes it possible to rely on the traditional mechanisms of internal assistance while reinforcing
them rather than letting them compete against each other. Self-targeting may also be induced depending on
the type of program chosen and based on the opportunity costs of the distributed products (value received
versus the time and/or the effort to receive it).

Targeting defines the needs of the groups identified within the population. Two conditions of effective targeting are
as follows:
• The targeting criteria must be clear and verifiable and should allow a practical selection of the population
groups or individuals.
• These criteria must be acceptable, well understood, and well accepted by the population and the local

As the situation and the needs could evolve, targeting may occur during the course of the program by the selection
of certain beneficiaries who continue to receive assistance and by stopping distribution for others. Performing such
targeting should thus be part of the intervention strategy and can represent a step prior to stopping distribution

Generally, and in this case in particular, it is critical to give great attention to this operation: misunderstandings,
feelings of injustice, and jealousy can bring tension that could endanger the program or create security issues. The
social and political impact of the targeting is therefore to be taken into careful consideration.

The socio-cultural factors are generally decisive when it comes to the feasibility of targeting and the form that it
could take on: it is important to keep in mind the different perceptions of the affected populations who legitimately
consider the assistance to be an equal right for all whereas the targeting entails a selection based on differentiated
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needs. Whenever a society has a caste system, it is highly likely that the notion of vulnerability will seem strange to
them, all the more so since a traditional redistribution system is perhaps already in place.
Example 9: Criteria for distribution targeting
Chechnya, 2004
After several years of general distribution in the southern regions of Chechnya, Action Contre la Faim effected a
change in methods in order to eliminate the adverse effects of this food aid, especially the reselling of certain
foodstuffs that upset the commercial exchanges of this zone with the zones of the North and of Daghestan. In order
to target the most vulnerable households, successive food security assessments were performed to determine that
the working force within the households was the determining factor for vulnerability. In order to translate this
factor into objective and acceptable criteria, composition analyses were carried out on typically very vulnerable
families. As a result, only the monoparental families and families of five or more members were eligible to receive
the food rations.

Different targeting methodologies can be developed: geographic targeting, or on an individual or household level.
It is also possible to establish no criteria at all but to leave the community to carry out self-selection. Generally,
targeting often has better chances of functioning whenever the community actively participates in the process from
the beginning, in order to better adapt the process to their unique situation.

I.2 Geographic targeting

By nature, targeting occurs in the initial stages of program development through the selection of the most
vulnerable zones. Zoning determines the levels of vulnerability in order to identify the zones most affected by the
crisis. This type of targeting is thus systematically applied and is itself based on objective criteria.

After the preliminary assessments, more precise geographic targeting is performed to determine the situation at the
village level according to the consequences of the adverse events: access to commercial axes, amount of production
or livestock, degree of the destruction of infrastructures, access to water, rates of morbidity and malnutrition, etc.
(See the book, Food Security Assessments and Surveillance, for more information concerning the methodology of

In the cases of distribution in exchange for work, targeting at the village level is the crucial step because by its very
nature, the work should be communal and will require the participation of people coming from this community. It
can also be difficult to get people who are exterior to the beneficiary community to come work on the restoration
project. In a later step, zoning is crossed with the selection of a specific population group in the chosen zone.

Example 10: Geographic targeting for general distribution
Chechnya, 2000
In the same targeted distribution program presented in Example 9, the initial general distribution was based on
geographic targeting: after the Chechen conflict was reopened (1999), the consequences of the crisis were fairly
heterogeneous in the country: the almost unaffected northern zone had practically no destruction, the population
remaining stable, and the economic activities continuing relatively normally.
The central zone (Grozny and the plains zone) was the most severely affected by the conflict with severe
destruction of infrastructures and homes, large-scale population movements (towards Ingushetia especially), and
heavily upset economic activities. For these reasons, almost all the humanitarian aid was concentrated on this zone.
The southern mountainous zone was also affected in lesser proportions due to the population being more dispersed
and the access paths being more difficult. The population had moved relatively little. The living conditions were
degraded due to the fact that it was impossible to continue most of the economic and agricultural activities. The
absence of humanitarian actors operating in this zone, except in the medical domain, was the supplemental reason
that led Action Contre la Faim to decide to carry out general food distributions for the entire population of this

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I.3 Individual targeting

Anthropometrical data (height/weight ratio) provide an objective basis for the selection of people. The nutritional
programs systematically function with this type of criteria. Food aid usually does not follow this type of criteria
because it is sufficient to widen the cover of the nutritional programs to complement the aid within the population.

In emergency situations, some population groups are more vulnerable to the risk of malnutrition. For example,
children can be identified as a particularly vulnerable group with easily identifiable objective criteria (see Example
11, below). Similarly, targeting pregnant and nursing women is relatively easy to do and corresponds to a
vulnerable population group in situations of food crisis because their status requires nutritional needs in quality and
quantity that are above average. This type of targeting usually complements the emergency nutritional programs on
a temporary basis (a few months).

Finally, through the existing social institutions, it is possible to reach groups of vulnerable individuals such as
hospital patients or orphans, if there are identified food needs. Similarly, schools can be used to reach the class of
children over five years old if it has been shown that they are more affected by the crisis than other classes of the

Beyond these types of normal targeting, it is usually difficult to target individual members of the household, for
example, elderly or handicapped people. The fact that they do not have the capacity to work and thus lack direct
access to food does not imply that they are more vulnerable, depending on how they are taken care of by their
family or the community. For this reason, it is often recommended to carry out targeting rather at the household
Example 11: Individual targeting of children less than 5 years old
Darfur – Sudan, 2005
In a situation of nutritional crisis provoked by a severe lack of food availability, food aid activities aimed to cover
all the children under 5 years old, a class of the population that is particularly vulnerable to the risk of acute
malnutrition. Here, the identification may be performed by the verification of the identity papers, but in most
intervention contexts, this is rarely feasible. It becomes necessary to depend on identification by height so as to
remain the most objective and efficient: on average, a child under 5 is less than 110 cm tall. Usually, this objective
selection criterion is easily accepted by the affected populations.

I.4 Household targeting

The vulnerable households must be distinguished from those which have a specific food need. Although generally
the two categories coincide, the objective of the program sometimes entails targeting a predetermined category.
For example, if the impact of an agricultural rehabilitation program is reinforced by protecting the seeds through
the distribution of food rations, the targeted households are necessarily farming households; these may not
necessarily be the most vulnerable, though, compared to the households without access to land or other economic

Socio-economic analyses of the population identify the vulnerability factors that may be used to establish the
typology of the population according to their levels of vulnerability. However, it can be difficult in practice to
impose certain socio-economic criteria coming from the food security assessment (such as income levels or the
type of work, the surface area of the cultivated land, or the size of livestock herds). It is rarely possible to verify
such criteria, and the risks of inclusion and exclusion
are high. The choice of the criteria to be applied, according
to the results of our analyses, should be decided together with the concerned populations. Finding a good
compromise by involving the populations in the process minimizes the risks of inclusion/exclusion by making them
responsible for such risks.
Often, it is possible to redefine the simple and objective criteria which more or less confirm the results of the food
security assessment. For example, the composition of the households and the ratio of active workers / family size

The inclusion risk is that of integrating people among the beneficiaries even though their situation does not require it. By contrast, the exclusion risk is that
of not helping people who should be among the beneficiaries because their type of needs could be covered by the program.

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can demonstrate the vulnerability level of monoparental families, female headed households or even large families
having few active members capable of work (children, handicapped members, elderly).

To protect against an inflation of the number of eligible households, it is possible to set a maximum proportion of
beneficiaries. This proportion should come from the analytical results and focus on the most vulnerable households
among the population, who should be receiving our aid. (See an example of indicators to establish the different
socio-economic vulnerabilities during the distribution program in North Moluku, Indonesia (2002), in Appendix

Household targeting based on medical criteria remains problematic even though it is often proposed in pandemic
situations such as HIV/AIDS. The vulnerability of a household is not directly related to whether or not it is affected
by HIV/AIDS. Targeting only those households affected by the virus results in the exclusion of numerous
vulnerable households. It is preferable, therefore, to base the targeting on socio-economic criteria with the
hypothesis that the households affected by HIV/AIDS and made vulnerable due to the lack of work force within the
family will be covered by the distribution program.

I.5 Self targeting
I.5.1 Led by the population
Few programs have been used this process, even though it carries the great advantage of placing the responsibility
on the populations, who best know who should benefit in priority from food aid. Most often, the difficulty is in
obtaining a relationship of mutual confidence between the teams and the community representatives. This
relationship of confidence should be constructed around a common interest: optimizing the impact of the program.
Sharing and agreeing on the needs analysis and the objectives to be attained through targeting should be the first
step with the community representatives. They should then be able to choose, completely transparently, the priority
households for assistance according to their knowledge of the reality of each household as well as they means of
livelihood and their ability to cope with the crisis. It is important to remember that their prospects and their values
may be different from those of ACFIN. Moreover, the community naturally will take the existing, traditional
solidarity system into account and could legitimately wish to reinforce that. As a verification exercise, the criteria
and the arguments presented by the community representatives should later be verified.

I.5.2 Results from the type of distribution:
In each case, the results of self-targeting are influenced by how attractive the populations find the distributed ration,
which must be optimally decided (see chapter 4, section III).

The distribution of food coupons could induce self-selection of the people with the greatest need whenever the
program has a limited quantity and the staple foods are not very attractive because they have little resale value.
Distribution of basic cooked meals (open canteens) is a similar case. The beneficiaries must actually go to the
canteen site on a daily basis and often wait several hours to obtain the meal, and these inconveniences discourage
those who have less need (their opportunity costs are too high).
Food or Cash for work programs could be a strategy to reach the most needy who are motivated to obtain rations
equivalent to the value of the lowest market salary in exchange for physical work. Generally the for work programs
are not very technical and often laborious, thus inducing even further the self-targeting.

II Selecting work-exchange projects

The restoration projects should be seen above all as contributing to the improvement of food security in the targeted
zone, and their identification should be the result of a socio-economic assessment of the zone (existing and
potential commercial pathways between the deficit and surplus zones, for example). The restoration projects
inherent to the distribution for work programs should be the result of a selection process and the expected impact of
the restoration sector is just as important as that of the cover of the food need. The primary objective of this process
is to choose the most pertinent project.

The next step is to ensure the feasibility of the project and its appropriateness to the human, financial, and logistical
means. The purely technical definition of the projects will not be discussed here, because by definition each project
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will be specific to an intervention zone and this domain stems most often from an expertise in civil engineering.
Based on experience, the types of restoration projects for work may be but are not limited to:
- Road restoration (widening, protection, gutters, reinforcement)
- Bridge restoration
- Restoration of public social buildings: schools, health centers
- Restoration of dykes, protection walls
- Restoration / cleaning of canals
- Restoration of irrigation structures
- Digging a water reservoir
- Cleaning and evacuating debris (following a natural catastrophe or conflict)
- Clearing and cleaning of arable land

II.1 Specifications of the project

This step is used to determine the necessary resources for realizing the project and verifying its feasibility. The
following different aspects of the project must be specified:
• Information on the location of the project and the characteristics of the vulnerability of the concerned
villages (degree of destruction, level of agricultural production, situation of isolation, etc.). Establishing a
map that presents the entire project is recommended.
• Information on the concerned population: total number of households for each village, typology and
proportion according to the level of vulnerability to crosscheck with the geographical targeting information
of the zone.
• The technical characteristics of the project. For example, for the roads, the length, width, and surface depth,
and the different tasks to be performed: excavation, banking up, compaction; for canals, the length and the
width at the base, etc.
• An estimation of the volume of work in man-day units: for each type of task the number of days necessary
for completion of that task per person should be estimated. This estimation should be realistic and be
established in agreement with the local personnel and population. Through this estimation, payment per
task can be established by multiplying the number of fixed days for that task by the determined daily salary
(see Chapter 4, Sections III.4.4 and III.5 and refer to Appendix 8 which provides an example of the
payment ratio in food according to different tasks.)
• An estimation of the number of qualified workers (excluding the salaried team) and a description of the
tasks allocated to them. (Most often these are team leaders and technicians: masons, carpenters, surveyors.)
Workers may have to be selected through a certain process. According to the cover of food needs that is
given as an objective, the maximum duration per worker may be fixed. Consequently, the number of
workers needed to realize the project can be determined: if this exceeds the number of potential candidates
participating in the project, it will be necessary to establish selection rules (see Section I.5.2).
• It is recommended to include a supplemental allocation dedicated to the vulnerable families which cannot
participate in the project due to their physical inability to do so (absence of working force in addition to
vulnerability criteria).
• The minimum age of the workers should be set according to the national law in order to prevent child
• The timetable of the project which establishes the calendar for all the activities: supply of material,
registration of the workers, realization of the projects, worksite monitoring, distribution, verification of the
use of the food or cash distributed.

II.2 Confirmation of the project: the villagers’ contract

A distribution for work program requires heavy implication of the beneficiary populations to ensure that they adopt
the program as their own and see it perpetuated. The collective quality of the projects means there must be a pre-
established agreement between the representatives of the beneficiary populations (village authorities) and ACFIN.
The final phase of the work project selection process is thus the signing of a contract (written and translated)
between the representatives of each concerned village and ACFIN.
The terms of the contract should at the very minimum specify the following points:
- The rules for the selection of workers
- The number of days and workers necessary
- All the tasks to be performed
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- The pay level for each type of task
- The frequency of the payments
- The payment procedure, according to the verification of the project’s progress

(See Appendix 9 for an example of a villagers’ contract for a food for work distribution program.)

III Determining the ration to be distributed
III.1 Minimum needs of an individual

The ration should be established on the basis of a needs and food habits assessment of the populations by the
Action Contre la Faim nutritionists and technicians in food security.

III.1.1 Macro-nutrient needs
The minimum food needs of an individual vary in quantity and in quality, depending on age, health, types of
activities, living conditions, climate, etc. However, as it became necessary to calculate average nutritional
requirements without taking all the individual variations into account, the following norms have been established
(adapted from the standard WHO/SPHERE):

2,100 calories per person, per day,
10 to 15 % of the total energy stemming from proteins,
20 to 30 % from lipids
55 to 70 % from carbohydrates

Particular attention is given to the amount of lipids, which should be defined according to:
- The activity level of the targeted populations
- The health status of the targeted populations (pregnant or nursing women)
- Climate / temperature (in colder climates, more energy provided by lipids is necessary)

III.1.2 Micronutrient needs

The micronutrients are usually forgotten in the food aid baskets where traditionally the actors are concentrating on
the supply of macronutrients. However, this presupposes that the populations have a diversified diet with
continuous access to fresh fruits and vegetables. The reality is obviously different whenever the populations are
suffering from a crisis and they no longer have access to this natural food resource, such as when displaced (or
refugee) populations are assembled in camps, cut off from food markets and gathering sources: they initially
depend entirely on exterior aid. However, the absence of vitamins and minerals in a diet over a two- to four-week
period could cause death, and even today there are still epidemics (scurvy, pellagra, beriberi) that are due entirely
to deficiencies in micronutrients.
For these reasons, it is imperative to consider micronutrients in a separate category as a component of the food
basket whenever the need is shown: absence of fruits and vegetables in the population’s diet. The goal is to provide
at least the minimum requirements as defined by the SPHERE standard (see Appendix 10).
To prevent deficits in micronutrients, the food basket should be improved by one or more of the following:
• Supply in fresh fruits and vegetables
• Fortification of certain foodstuffs (vitamins A&D fortified oil, mixed flour such as Corn-Soy Blend (CSB)
or Unimix, custom fortified legumes or cereals depending on the specific needs)
• Supply in products concentrated in vitamins and minerals (called condiments) such as Sprinkle, TopNutri,
or QBmix.
• Supply of vitamin and/or mineral pills (tablets)

The micronutrients are the vitamins and minerals essential for good human health; they are found in food in its natural state.
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Table 13: Advantages and disadvantages of different products rich in micronutrients
Products Advantages Disadvantages
Fresh fruits and
• Supply most of the essential
• Provide a nutritional response to a
nutritional problem
• Could boost local production and
• Easily integrated into the food
habits of the population
• Very difficult to manage in logistical
terms (very short shelf life)
• Limited supply sources for large
• Risk of upsetting the local markets
• Season-dependent availability

Mixed and fortified

SP450 etc.)
• Provide nutritional balance (in
macro- and micronutrients)
• Supply the essential micronutrients
• Provide a nutritional response to a
nutritional problem
• Source of curative treatment
• Relatively long shelf life (1 year)
• Often available through
international suppliers
• Expensive (3 to 5 times the price of
‘normal’ flour)
• Prevent local supply of cereals in
• Do not meet the minimum
requirements for all the
Fortified foodstuffs
(cereals, legumes,
oil, salt) in vitamin
A, iron, calcium,
thiamine, niacin,
riboflavin, iodine
• Provide cover specific to needs
• Provide a nutritional response to a
nutritional problem
• Relatively long shelf life (1 year)
• Could (technically) easily be
produced by international
• Long delay in setting up production
• Prevent supply on the local markets
(requires a long-term investment to
ensure the quality and durability)
• The impact depends on the
preparation method for certain heat-
sensitive micronutrients
Protein biscuits
(BP5, NRG5)
• Nutritionally balanced (macro- and
• Supply the essential micronutrients
• Provide a nutritional response to a
nutritional problem
• Easy to manage in logistical terms
• Easy to distribute (appropriate
• Very expensive
• Never available on the local markets
• Attractive to combatants
concentrated in
vitamins and
minerals, such as
Sprinkle, Top Nutri,

• Cover most of the needs in
• Provide a nutritional response to a
nutritional problem
• No risk of overdose
• Easy to manage in logistical terms
• Possible to supply locally if the
rest of the ingredients of the ration
(cereal, legumes, oil) are supplied
• May be expensive
• The impact depends on the
preparation method and precise
• Acceptance by the populations has
yet to be tested
• Require an awareness campaign and
verification of the use
(vitamin C, vitamin
A, Folic acid,
• Easy to distribute from a logistical
point of view
• Give rapid impact for the
• Could have a life-saving curative
• Possible to respond to a specific
deficiency (of a specific vitamin or
• Often affordable and available
• Must follow a specific protocol
• Dangerous risk of overdose for
certain micronutrients
• No impact over the medium term
and does not respond to causes
• Creates the impression that a
deficiency in micronutrients is a
medical problem
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Example 12: Distribution of a vitamin-C-enriched food basket
Ghor - Afghanistan, 2002
The Ghor province in Afghanistan is cut off from the rest of the country during the winter period. As in the
majority of the country, in 2002, this rural region experienced its third consecutive year of drought. At the end of
winter, an investigation was carried out to explain the hundreds of declared deaths following similar symptoms:
painful joints, paralysis of the lower extremities, ecchymosis of the legs, gingivitis, bleeding diarrhea. The results
of the investigation confirmed that it was a scurvy epidemic, due to a lack of vitamin C in the population’s diet. At
the time of the investigation, the number of scurvy cases was dropping significantly. The population was once
again able to access wild plants and an herb, particularly rich in vitamin C, which was used in their daily tea.
However, the effects of the disease continued to be perceived by the population as a consequence of the cold. At
the beginning of the following winter, the lack of food availability was evident: it was once again caused by
another drought which prevented their having sufficient food stocks. Action Contre la Faim therefore decided to
carry out a general distribution in the entire province for the estimated 210,000 people, in complement to the wheat
distributed by other actors. The objective was to offer a better nutritional balance by distributing a food basket of
lentils, oil, and iodized salt for the adults, and CSB and sugar for the children. Above all, the desired result was to
prevent a new epidemic because the continued adverse conditions (lack of access to micronutrient sources). The
first option considered was to add cans of tomato sauce to the ration because this product, reputedly rich in vitamin
C, is well known and accepted by the population. The results of the analyses of the different tomato sauces
available from local and foreign (European) suppliers showed that vitamin C was virtually absent in their products.
With the precious little time remaining before the beginning of winter, a decision was finally made to complement
the ration with vitamin C tablets. At the distribution points, the beneficiaries were received in groups inside a tent
to inform them of the risks and causes of scurvy and to explain the dosages. The post-distribution investigation
showed that this information had been well respected. There was no scurvy epidemic that year. Continuing towards
this same objective, ACF led market gardening programs the following year in order to contribute to the improved
diversification of the population’s diet.

III.2 Complete or complementary food basket?

Except for specific cases of population displacement (people no longer being able to have direct access to
foodstuffs), the population affected by a crisis is often still equipped with a way to find within its own resources a
part of the food that it needs. It is difficult, practically speaking, to precisely determine what additional part is
necessary, all the more so since even if the population is able to find a part of its resources itself, it can often
compromise the family’s food security over the long term (for example, decapitalization of livestock, migration,

Despite this difficulty, it is necessary to estimate the foodstuffs available to the potential aid beneficiaries. The
following must be taken into account:
• The possibilities of acquiring foodstuffs on the market, income generating opportunities, and coping
mechanisms set in action
• The potential from gathering and the access to plants and wild animals,
• The seasonality of the agricultural production, the populations’ access to these production means.

Whenever the populations have access to other food sources, a decision may be made to reduce the ration—for
example in half—by considering that it acts as a complement to other resources. With the same logic, a decision
may be made to supply only oil and legumes if the availability and access to cereals is sufficient—(see Example 12
above). In these cases, the food basket provided will not be considered to be nutritionally balanced without
integrating the estimation of the cereal resources of the population.

III.3 Food basket contents

Once the necessary nutritional requirements have been estimated, the foodstuffs must be selected. In order to do
this effectively, the following elements must be taken into consideration:
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• Local availability of foodstuffs and potential impact of local purchases on the market,
• Food habits and the acceptance of these foods and their preparation methods by the population
• The nutritional quality and supply of these foodstuffs
• The quantity of fuel necessary to prepare them,
• The targeted population: for the children less than 5 years old, it is sufficient to provide foodstuffs that may
be cooked into a porridge. In zones where there is a high prevalence of HIV/AIDS, very high-calorie foods
should be provided to palliate the loss of appetite and facilitate preparation with minimum physical effort
(cereals in flour form rather than grain form, for example),
• The maximum number of different foodstuffs, according to our capacity, to be distributed in the
appropriate conditions
• The monetary equivalent of the chosen foodstuffs whenever self-selection of beneficiaries is induced or
whenever economic support of the households is indicated

In principle, milk is excluded from the composition of food baskets
The distribution of milk could easily discourage breastfeeding that is otherwise supported by the ACFIN
nutrition programs. If a woman stops breastfeeding, it could have harmful consequences on her child’s health
(poorer milk quality, possible contamination of the added water, poorly washed bottles) and can create a
dependence on expensive products that must be purchased after the distribution program has ended. Without
strict monitoring of the mothers’ use of milk, it is not conceivable to distribute this product.

It is also necessary to know the national or local politics set in action by the authorities concerning foodstuffs,
especially the practices of subsidized or imposed prices.

The identification of the most appropriate foodstuffs is realized through semi-structured interviews with key
informants, women in priority, as well as through a study of the local markets and the flow of foodstuffs
(production, imports and exports in the zone). Interviews with local merchants and transporters may also prove

Post-distribution monitoring (PDM) provides useful elements for possible readjustment of the food basket (see
Chapter 9, Section 2): How is the received food basket used: consumed, resold, etc.? How effectively has the food
basket covered the food needs? What is the impact of the distribution on local production or the local market?

III.4 Calculating the food basket according to type of distribution

The composition of the food baskets may be easily calculated by using the Nutcalc software that is based on a
standard table of the nutritional characteristics of each kind of foodstuff. The quantities for each food resulting
from this calculation should precisely establish the nutritional and caloric supply of the ration corresponding to the
program’s objective.
It is important to take into account the quantities actually available to the families: especially for cereals, if they are
supplied in grain form, the beneficiaries must grind them; an estimated 10% of the quantity is lost on average
during this process, plus an additional percentage given as payment to the miller where applicable. In this case, the
quantity should be reconsidered and raised to within the theoretical norms to compensate for these losses,
depending on whether a miller must be paid or not. This information is verified during the post-distribution
monitoring phase.

Whenever the distributed food is in grain form and is suspected of containing genetically modified organisms
(GMO), ACFIN takes action to ensure that this grain cannot be used to agricultural ends (see Chapter 4, Section
IV.4). If there is such a risk, the grain must be ground. The quantities per ration will be calculated for the ground
foodstuff and not in grain form.
Calculations are always based on the supply of an individual daily ration that is then projected over the duration of
the distribution cycle. If a decision is later made in favor of family food baskets, the calculations should correspond

In a canteen, the meal should be tested, and the opinions of the beneficiaries and the cooks should be collected.
Protein is principally supplied in meat, fish, eggs, dairy products, and legumes; the latter are generally chosen for their low price and their facilitated
logistical management (dry material). Lipids are supplied in all the animal or vegetable oils; the latter are generally very easily available. Carbohydrates are
principally found in the cereals. Micronutrients are supplied principally in fruits and vegetables (see ‘Choice of Food Basket’ below).
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to the number of individuals within each household, with each member receiving an equal portion. In emergency
cases, with the goal of accelerating the onset of distributions, it may be necessary to establish a standard per-family
food basket depending on the average family size. This distribution scheme should be temporary except for the
distribution for work program that are not adapted to a system of paying each worker according to the size of his
family (see Chapter 6 for more details).

III.4.1 ‘Complete’ food basket
A complete food basket should comprise of at least 2100 kcal/day/person and be nutritionally balanced.
Table 14: Example of complete food baskets
Foodstuff Daily ration (g) Monthly ration (kg)
Food Basket 1: ‘Classic’
White flour 400 12.00
Vegetable oil 45 1.35
Lentils 120 3.60
Iodized salt 5 0.15
Total 570 g 17.10 Kg
Energy = 2125 Kcal
from lipids = 22.2 % (52.4 g)
from proteins = 12.6 % (66.8 g)
Food Basket 2 with ingredients for children
Sorghum 400 12.00
Vegetable oil 40 1.20
Dry beans 80 2.40
Mixed flour (CSB) 40 1.20
Sugar 10 0.30
Iodized salt 5 0.15
Total 575 g 17.25 Kg
Energy = 2138 KCal
from lipids = 23.6 % (56 g)
from proteins = 12.6 % (67.5 g)

The two food baskets described in the above example represent a complete and balanced daily needs cover for an
individual in terms of macronutrients (carbohydrates, lipids, and proteins). They are generally used initially in
emergency situations where the affected populations have no other source of access to food. Food basket 2 is more
adapted to cover the needs of young children (under 5 years old) within the family through the presence of mixed
flour and sugar so as to prepare a porridge.

These food baskets can be complemented with products rich in micronutrients if necessary (see Section III.1.2).

III.4.2 ‘Children under 5 years old’ food basket

It is difficult to rule on the caloric content of a food basket for children under 5 years old. Their needs are very
variable depending on their age, and it is not acceptable to establish one food basket corresponding to the average
age because it would be insufficient for the older children in this category. It is thus necessary to consider at least
the needs of a five year-old child, which is about 1250 Kcal/day. However, it is recommended to increase this
estimation to 1500 Kcal/day to take into account the significant risk that the ration will be shared with brothers and
sisters who are older than 5 and will not have additional food assistance.

Table 15: Example of food baskets for children under 5 years old
Foodstuff Daily ration (g) Bimonthly ration (kg) Monthly ration (kg)
Mixed flour CSB 260 3.90 7.80
Vegetable oil 35 0.53 1.05
Sugar 60 0.90 1.80
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Total 355 5.33 10.65
Energy = 1540 KCal
from lipids = 29.6 % (50.6 g)
from proteins = 12.2 % (46.8 g)

This food basket may be distributed in a premixed, cooked, or dry form. (See below the comparison chart of
advantages and disadvantages of these three forms of the food basket.) For the cooked ration, the cooking method
in a canteen setting (adding water) must be taken into consideration for the calculation of the final portion of the
cooked meal to be given to the beneficiaries. (See Appendix 11 for an example of a recipe to prepare porridges in a
50-litre pot.)

Table 16: Advantages and disadvantages of the different types of food baskets
Advantages Disadvantages

• The women can collect the food basket
more quickly and continue their daily
• The distribution cycles can be once a
week or once every two weeks, and
daily activities can be continued
• There is less embarrassment when meal
preparation is still the mother’s
• The ration may be prepared at the same
time as the family meal
• No control over who consumes the
• No control over how the ration is
• The food basket could be resold or
exchanged on the market
• Requires distribution at least every
two weeks (shelf-life of the ration)
• The ration could cause diarrhea if
not consumed within 2 weeks

• The nutritional balance of the meal is
ensured as well as the quality of the
water used in its preparation
• Strong chance that the ration will be
consumed by the targeted beneficiary
• Induced effect of self-targeting of the
most vulnerable households
• Weak market value (attractiveness) of
the ration, which prevents predation risk
• No additional fuel expenses for the
• Increased feelings of
embarrassment which may prevent
certain households from coming to
the canteen
• The collection time is longer
• Upsets the daily activity schedule

Dry ration
• The women can collect the ration more
quickly and continue their daily
• Distribution times do not affect ongoing
daily activities
• Reduced feelings of embarrassment
• The ration may be prepared at the same
time as the family meal
• The shelf life is longer, which makes it
possible to have less frequent
• No control over who consumes the
• No control over how the ration is
• The ration could be resold or
exchanged on the market
• Increased predation risk

III.4.3 Ration of protein biscuits
In acute emergencies, the most efficient distribution is the use of protein biscuits (BP-5 or NRG-5), which alone
provide a balanced ration (33.6% of energy from lipids and 12.9% from proteins). The distribution should be
accompanied with an awareness campaign on the use and possible preparation of the biscuits: in emergencies it is
recommended to distribute a simple note in the local language with a few illustrations to ensure good
comprehension for everyone.
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This product can be prepared into a porridge for children and can thus be consumed by all the age groups. Another
great advantage is that this product does not require preparation for its consumption, (other than something to drink
as the biscuits are fairly dry and difficult to swallow). The packaging has been studied so as to obtain the daily
rations corresponding to the nutritional needs:
One box contains 500 grams, in the form of 9 individually wrapped bars. Each bar is made up of two biscuits.
The caloric value of one box is 2275 Kcal, which is equivalent to the needs for one (active) adult for one day.
The caloric value of one bar is 253 Kcal.
In this way, it is easy to calculate the number of boxes or bars according to the ration to be provided. For example,
a complementary ration covering half the nutritional needs over a period of one week requires distribution of three
boxes and five bars.

III.4.4 ‘For work’ ration or salary rate
Although the cash and food distribution programs are carried out in different situations, determining the daily
ration (salary rate) follows the same logic: the food value of the daily salary rate is considered in its monetary
equivalent according to the price of foodstuffs on the local market.
This salary rate is determined based on three conditions:
• The salary rate should be maintained at a level which is inferior to that practiced on the work market so
as to not ‘deviate’ the economic actors from their traditional activities and create inflation. Sufficiently
low level, but acceptable salaries can result in self-selection of the most needy workers. This criterion
is predominant when the local economy is monetized and especially so for the salary rates in cash
• The rate should be sufficient to cover the identified food needs (depending on the price of foodstuffs on
the local market). This criterion is predominant when the economy is poorly monetized or not
monetized and especially so for the salaries in food form.
• The rate should be slightly superior to the revenues obtained by the risky coping mechanisms adopted
by the populations, such as collecting firewood, for example, so that the program is profitable for the

One supplemental criterion could be added: the responsibility and competence level (for the team leaders), which
may correspond to a higher amount. Even so, take care to maintain a pay scale of not more than two levels
(qualified and non-qualified workers) to keep the system manageable.

It should be noted that for this type of distribution, it is not possible to distribute rations per worker according to the
size of his family. As is true for the determination of all rations, the salary rate will be determined according to
market survey (cost of labor, price of foodstuffs) and semi-structured interviews with the affected households
(adopted coping mechanisms) and key informants (economic actors: merchants, craftsmen, farmers, government
workers, etc.).

III.5 Time period covered by each food basket

Once the daily requirements to be supplied have been defined, the frequency of food basket distribution is
established. Based on the examples above, it may be decided to supply certain food baskets monthly if the goal is to
cover all the needs, or every two months if covering only half the needs. Ideally the food baskets will be fractioned
as little as possible for logistical reasons. Depending on the access constraints (such as the rainy season or
dispersed homes), a food basket covering several months may be distributed if is not possible to access the
distribution points more frequently than that.

The disadvantages for the beneficiaries should also be considered: the total weight of the provided food basket
could become a veritable constraint for its transportation. For example, a monthly ration for one person could
weigh 17 kg. If a decision is made to distribute a food basket covering a family of five people over a period of two
months, this would mean this family would have to transport approximately 170 kg of food back to their home. It is
recommended to consider the price of transportation because the beneficiaries generally pay this by giving a certain
percentage of the ration. In this case, it is preferable to either increase the ration to include the necessary ‘payment’
proportion or organize transport for the family. In conclusion, a fair compromise must be made between the
advantages and disadvantages:

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Table 17: Advantages and disadvantages of the time periods covered by the food baskets
Duration Advantages Disadvantages


(bimonthly or
• Each distribution is performed more
rapidly (less volume at each cycle)
and its organization is easier
• The beneficiaries have smaller
quantities which are easier to
• Predation risk is reduced (less
attractive rations)
• Greater flexibility when the delivery
flow is strained (or even uncertain)
• Much more time allocated to the
collection of the food basket for the
• Significantly greater organizational
requirements for distribution and
• Could incite the beneficiaries to migrate
to the distribution points


(monthly or
• More appropriate when the
beneficiaries have long distances to
travel or farming activities to carry
• Less effort and less cost for the
implementation of the program
• Each distribution takes more time
• The beneficiaries could have to pay for
transportation and/or storage for their
food basket
• Risk of reselling certain higher-priced
• Greater risk of predation

In the case of premixed food baskets (oil/CSB/sugar), the amount of food per beneficiary is calculated for two
weeks maximum: beyond this time, the oil mixed with the flour turns the ration rancid and makes it likely to cause
diarrhea. Distribution should be carried out at least twice a month. For the fresh products that are difficult to
conserve during the summer months or in hotter climates, it is preferable to supply the canteen with fresh products
on a weekly basis.
For the distribution for work programs, it is advised to set up payments based on the completion of tasks. The
workers are informed that they will be paid once the task has been completed within a certain deadline. This
deadline per task results in the realistic and reasonable estimation (often established with the help of local
personnel), which helps determine a predefined hourly rate. For the program, this method of payment minimizes
the risk of disturbing the project schedule. If the work is finished earlier, the workers have the option of performing
a supplemental task to increase their salaries. This approach presents the advantage of maintaining the principle of
the opportunity cost of the work, while allowing the workers who have a greater need for cash to be able to earn it.
Even so, it sometimes happens that it is preferable to set a maximum working time, after which time the worker
should hand over his place to other beneficiaries so as to widen the program cover.
In this way, each worker (of the same level) will receive the same ration; this could present a problem in certain
situations where large families are most vulnerable. Two options are possible in this case: increase the number of
family members eligible to participate for the large families (going from one to two, for example), and/or allow the
workers belonging to large families have a longer time limit. (See Appendix 8 for an example of ‘food for work’
food baskets according to the tasks.)

The definition of a food basket will be defined on the basis of nutritional needs and the analysis of food security,
but it must also conform with our capacity to acquire, transport, store, and distribute the chosen foodstuffs within
the fixed deadlines and with the desired quantities, which could lead us to reconsider the quality or quantity of the
food initially selected.

III.6 Choosing the right packaging

Minor variations of the food basket can be planned for practical purposes related to packaging constraints. For
example, a ration of 90 cl of oil could be increased to one liter in order to distribute the oil in its original bottle. In
the same way, we have seen that the packaging of protein biscuits was especially studied so as to obtain ready-to-
distribute and ready-to-eat rations. Similarly, combining the foodstuffs into a carton or a packet (kit) is a factor of
speed and efficiency in the distribution process. This system is advantageous for the simplicity of the distribution
structure required; it is especially interesting in cases of security problems or when rapid distribution is called for.
However, pre-packaged rations require advanced preparation for the repackaging of the foodstuffs and are
expensive to realize (cost of packaging in materials and labor).

Action Contre la Faim Food Aid and Alternatives to Food Aid
When the purchases are made by Action Contre la Faim, it could be worthwhile to negotiate kit packaging by the
supplier. If this is not possible, a repackaging assembly line could be set up.

Another problem of a kit is its fragility, especially when it contains foodstuffs in fragile containers. This is the case
of plastic oil bottles that run the risk of leaking onto other foodstuffs or of breaking. Working upstream from the
packaging, for example establishing with the supplier a reinforced container for the oil, could prevent such
problems all along the supply chain and during distribution. The blending of the kit with a distribution of certain
additional foodstuffs is also a way to prevent this type of problem.

Another advantage of the kit is the management and the monitoring of the stocks and the flow because only one
article must be inventoried.

Whenever distribution by kit is not possible, it is necessary to distribute the foodstuffs in individual packets per
type of foodstuff, which requires setting up an appropriate distribution circuit and the practice of scooping for loose
food item distribution. Another possible method is distribution by group, which provides a good compromise. This
refers to having several food baskets grouped together in sacks, tins, and/or cartons depending on the original
packaging of each type of foodstuff (see Chapter 7, Section II).

IV Supply logistics

The question of the supply of foodstuffs to be distributed is an integral part of the definition of the program because
it determines not only which foodstuffs it will be possible to distribute but also when the distributions may begin
and where they may take place. The objective is to have planned the logistics before hand so that the procurement
process can begin as soon as the start of the program has been confirmed. Without this anticipation and the
effective coordination between the logistics and food security teams, the intervention would lose precious time
from its very beginning, which would result in diminished impact.

IV.1 Internal organization and coordination

See figure 2 for the general distribution of the roles of the logistics and food security teams. The specifics of a food
distribution program make up, through their good coordination of various actions, an undeniable stake in the
success of the intervention. The logistical chain from the purchase to the distribution should be established for large
quantities of foodstuffs, in contexts that are often difficult due to inadequate infrastructure and transportation. In
emergency situations the supply deadlines are determined to guarantee the positive impact of the intervention.
Therefore, it is necessary to be able to plan and manage the different logistical activities in a fast and efficient
manner. However, it is impossible to know how to place an order and therefore start distribution before carrying
out an initial assessment which identifies the beneficiary population and the quantities and qualities of the aid to be
provided, and which helps define the distribution methods (packaging of foodstuffs, thus system of distribution,

In a similar way, distribution cannot commence before carrying out registration or verifying the beneficiary lists.
The activities thus occur in a chain sequence, and each of these links should be put in place in a way that is both
coherent and coordinated with the others. This coherence necessarily occurs via a coordination mechanism that
provides a way to set the tempo of the different activities and to manage the priorities: in this way, hypotheses
should sometimes be established (for example, the number of beneficiaries forecast) so as to be able to move ahead
in the program implementation (for example, place an order with a supplier).

Information flow is dependent on the establishment of a system and of appropriate tools that ensure that each actor
receives the information he or she needs within the set timeframe. Other than the management tools described in
Chapter 8, action plans must be used in order to visualize the expectations of the planned activities. (See Appendix
12 for an example of an action plan.) The capacity to manage the constraints and priorities of the program on a
daily basis depends partly on the flexibility of the established systems (for example, the use of security margins in
storage areas) and partly on the communication mechanisms and effective decision processes (meetings,
coordination stations, etc.).
Action Contre la Faim Food Aid and Alternatives to Food Aid
Figure 2: Role distribution between the logistics and food security services

-Definition supply

Quantities and
specifications of

Purchase or

Order form










distribution and
stock reports



Adjustment of methods according
to the results of the PDM

-Target population
-Food baskets
-Distribution period

- Population cible
Quantitative report to the

Action Contre la Faim Food Aid and Alternatives to Food Aid
IV.2 Supply source

Two large sources of foodstuff supplies are usually possible. They may be used in combination:
- Purchases made by ACFIN locally, regionally, or from headquarters
- Partnership with the ‘World Food Program’ (WFP) or another specialized organization which would supply
us with the food to be distributed

The WFP often plays a key role, as much in the mobilization of the food aid as in the primary logistics. It is
sometimes responsible for all the logistics, up to the extended delivery point, or the land destination point closest to
the intervention zone. Action Contre la Faim then takes over the responsibility of the transportation between the
extended delivery point and the distribution site, as well as the distribution to the beneficiaries. The extended
delivery point is either a secondary warehouse of Action Contre la Faim or a distribution point where food is
delivered, store, and distributed. All partnerships with WFP are formalized by a contract
, which defines the
responsibilities of each party.

The choice of the supply source should take into account a certain number of elements:
• The impact of the purchases
In a food deficit zone, making local purchases could upset the local market and result in a price increase or even the
disappearance of certain foodstuffs from the market. Such an effect could weaken the food security of the
population living in the purchasing zone. By contrast, if the local market is well supplied (no problems of
availability) and the food insecurity of the targeted population is related only to a weakness of its means of
purchasing foodstuffs (problem of access), then a local purchase could be beneficial not only to the local population
who produces but also for the program which is thereby rapidly supplied.
• The costs of buying and transporting the foodstuffs
The budgets for our interventions are limited, and the costs will often influence our capacity for action by limiting
the volume of available food and thus the number of rations that we can buy and distribute.
• The delivery time
Local purchases generally permit rapid availability of the foodstuffs whereas foreign supplies could take anywhere
from several weeks to several months to arrive. The degree of urgency of the situation will define the acceptable
delays and generally influence the logistical choices, at least at the beginning of the intervention. The possibilities
of borrowing can also be investigated with the other actors present.
• The quality of the foodstuffs
The food basket defined by Action Contre la Faim is composed of a certain number of foodstuffs, the availability
and costs of which must be evaluated on the different markets or with our partners. The quality of the packaging:
the selected distribution method leads us to define the necessary packaging specification (loose bulk, individual
rations, family rations, etc.). In certain countries, marking the containers may prove to be necessary in order to
respond to the legal obligations (national laws may require specific information to appear on the package) or to
provide certain information to the beneficiaries (for example, cooking directions). These specifications will not
necessarily be available everywhere.
The ‘cultural’ quality: the local markets offer the advantage of providing foodstuffs that are culturally known and
accepted by the concerned populations.
• The capacity for logistics management
The choice of the supply source should be realistic and coherent with our logistical capacity to buy, transport, and
store the foodstuffs. The customs and administrative constraints: it is impossible to import food into certain
countries; in others, importing means paying exorbitant taxes or import fees. For certain specific products such as
the condiments, the customs procedures could be even more complicated and unknown products could be
considered medication rather than a type of foodstuff.
• The independence of the action
Depending on WFP or another organization could be a constraint in terms of efficiency because we would no
longer oversee the supply chain nor the quality and quantity of the foodstuffs. This could also be a constraint
whenever our needs analysis and our assessment of the responses to the crises differ from those of our partners.
Similarly, this independence could be necessary in order to remain coherent with our position on aid and neutral
concerning the international politics.
• The local sanitation protocols and norms

In fact, the partnership is formalised for each operation by a letter of intent declaring the responsibilities of each party (Field Level Agreement), a formal
intervention proposal, and a budget.
Action Contre la Faim Food Aid and Alternatives to Food Aid
The local authorities can require sanitation, nutrition, or other protocols and norms, which would impose or exclude
certain foodstuffs: the refusal of foodstuffs possibly containing genetically modified organisms, for example.

(See Appendix 13 for a feasibility control sheet, which covers the logistical aspects for the preparation of the
logistics plan.)

IV.3 Supply chain

Depending on the type of distribution chosen and the size of the program, the supply chain will be more or less
complex and will require rigorous coordination for the delivery schedules from the warehouses to the distribution
sites. Figure 3 (below) presents an example of the supply circuit.

In the case of canteens, deliveries to the sites are usually done weekly at the most either because the storage
capacity is limited or, more importantly, in order to minimize the predation risk and prevent having an attractive
volume in stock. The transportation and inventory needs, which become significant in this kind of scenario, thus
should be anticipated.

In the case of distribution of mixed rations for children under 5 years old, it is necessary to repackage the rations so
that they may be rapidly distributed on the sites, especially when the beneficiaries are not registered (see Chapter
5). Moreover, these rations cannot be kept longer than 2 weeks, and this preparative work should thus be set to this
intensive rhythm. This type of distribution, covering several thousand beneficiaries, consequently requires a
significant volume of work in the warehouses to mix and package the food baskets. (See Appendix 14 for an
example of the preparation of 13,000 mixed food baskets by a team of 120 people.)

For the distribution of food coupons: the supply chain is generally delegated to the selected merchants. The
preparative work here involves the selection and contracting with these merchants. Logistical expertise will be
necessary for developing the terms of the contracts to guarantee an effective supply (quality, quantity, deadline) so
as to achieve the program’s objectives.

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Figure 3: Example of a supply chain for food distribution


ACF base
Secondary warehouse

ACF base
Secondary warehouse
Capital base,
Supply source
Action Contre la Faim Food Aid and Alternatives to Food Aid

IV.4 Quality control of the foodstuffs

The principle is to ensure that the distributed foodstuffs are not hazardous to the health.
. Quality
control is implemented from the procurement to the distribution of the foodstuffs to the
. Even if the logistics service is responsible for the implementation of formally defined
‘controls,’ especially in a systematic manner upon reception of the foodstuffs, it is the responsibility of
each intervenient throughout the process to participate in quality control:
• The food security team defines the technical specifications of the foodstuffs including the
norms of quality
• The logistics team contract the suppliers (or donors), ensures storage and transportation.
• The food security team distributes the foodstuffs to the beneficiaries.
• The administrative team ensures the budgeting and authorize expenses to control the quality
• The head of mission generally guarantees the quality of the programs with the populations and
the partners (authorities, sponsors).

The food security team should consequently perform sensory tests (visual and tactile aspects, taste and
smell) of the foodstuffs systematically upon reception of the supply. If something appears suspicious,
the logistics service should be notified so that a sample may be taken and tested in the laboratory.
Distribution is thus suspended and cannot continue until after confirmation by the test results that the
foodstuffs are safe for human consumption.

(See Appendix 15 for the main possible alterations by type of foodstuffs and the recommended steps
to be taken depending on the quality problem.)

IV.5 Position of ACFIN on genetically modified organisms

ACFIN first respects the current national legislation concerning genetically modified organisms in the
intervention site.
ACFIN makes a distinction between foodstuffs and seeds for GMO. In short, ACFIN does not
recommend testing for the presence of genetically modified organisms in the distributed foodstuffs.
Additionally, these tests are rarely available and are often very expensive. Until now, there has been
no proof that genetically modified organisms may be dangerous to human health. Given the urgency of
the food crises, it is unrealistic to be able to guarantee the absence of genetically modified organisms,
and such an enterprise would be detrimental to the objective of the intervention: rapidly curb the food
deficit of the affected populations.
For the seeds, however, ACFIN advocates the exclusive distribution of local products adapted to the
environment and to the agricultural techniques of the populations. Consequently, to prevent the risk of
distributed foodstuffs such as corn or wheat from being used as planting seeds, ACFIN recommends
having them ground (or crushed).

V How are the populations and local structures involved?

In principle, considering the local populations as responsible actors rather than passive victims
encourages them to actively participate in the identification, implementation, and monitoring of the
responses. It is the populations who best know their needs and resources. Such implication is often a

Refer to the ACFIN position paper on quality control - 2005
Refer to the quality control section in the ACFIN Kit Log
The technical specification (quality norms) of the staple foods used in the distribution programs are described in the
‘specifications of staple foods’ available in the food security department or in the Kit Log. This tool should be used in cases
where no existing quality norms have been established in the country of intervention.
Refer to the paper on the position of ACFIN on genetically modified organisms – March 2003.
Action Contre la Faim Food Aid and Alternatives to Food Aid
gauge of efficacy and speed in the distribution because it is founded on pre-existing expertise,
mechanisms, and structures.

Finally, supporting the existing social structures and the reaction mechanisms already set in action by
the population should limit the phenomenon of dependence on exterior aid and favor the stabilization
or development of autonomous mechanisms of access to foodstuffs.

The local social structures are usually present in three major forms:
- The local or national administration
- The traditional organization
- The local civil organizations, associations, and cooperatives
An assessment of the context and the actors should help to evaluate the pertinence of the involvement
of these structures in the implementation of the program and then to decide the form and level that this
involvement could take on. (See also Chapter 2, Section IV, ‘Other actors present.’)

This assessment should include three major questions for each structure considered:
• Social and geographical cover
Is it present in all the targeted regions? Is it available for all the individuals, social categories, or
social groups targeted?
• Capacity
What is the capacity to participate in the implementation of the program? What are the human and
material resources available, the motivation and the seriousness of the personnel? What type of
expertise do they have?
• Social and political position
What is its credibility in the eyes of the population? Will its participation create discrimination
risks, whether positive or negative? Could it have an impact on the political dealing, the control
and security of the populations, the social relationships, and the balances of power present? Could
it cause a negative perception of the neutrality of Action Contre la Faim, thereby compromising
the presence or security of the teams?

The investigation could show the existence of national or local politics, practices or programs already
in progress, such as the systems of social protection or of redistribution led by the administration or
the traditional organization. These pre-existing politics or mechanisms must be respected as much as
possible, but these systems should also be used as a foundation for the implementation of the program.
(See Example 15 on the program in the Sakhalin Island.)

If it appears that no social structure has survived the crisis or that it would not be opportune for the
present structures to participate in the program, Action Contre la Faim could intervene directly,
without local support.
Whenever the capacity of the local structures is insufficient to participate in the program, it is often
preferable to reinforce these structures through training, or material, human, or financial support,
rather than disregarding them and creating an entirely separate Action Contre la Faim structure.
Coordination with these local structures could be a key element for the exit strategy. In this case it is
recommended to promote the creation of ad hoc structures within the local population as soon as
possible, in the form of committees made up of elected representatives of the beneficiaries or local
population. These committees could thus be in charge of implementing a more or less significant part
of the assistance, such as the registration of beneficiaries, storage, handling, or distribution.
Such committees are veritable relays between the population and Action Contre la Faim, providing
representation for the latter, an information path, and reciprocal listening. They can be formally
established for the necessity of food distribution, but their existence can also ease the exchanges with
other organization or the local authorities. (See Appendix 16 for an example of the establishment of
committees and the distribution of the actors’ capacities during the subsidized selling program in
Kanem, Chad, 2001.)

Action Contre la Faim Food Aid and Alternatives to Food Aid
Given the collective character of the infrastructure to be restored in the for the work programs, each
community should form a local project committee. This committee should become a partner that will
finally take over the finished project and will be responsible for its maintenance (provided that they
have the means to do so). It is upon the foundation of this common interest that the partnership should
be built. The committee has an operational facilitator role and is in charge of:
- Presenting projects to Action Contre la Faim,
- Helping with and participating in asessments to determine the material needs,
- Providing qualified personnel on the site,
- Mobilizing the work force,
- Providing the construction materials and other inputs not provided by Action Contre la Faim,
- Supplying the guarantees and authorizations from local administrative authorities (village
leaders and /or town leader and/or district leader).
It should also relay the awareness messages and participate in the process of worker selection and,
where indicated, the selection of vulnerable households who are incapable of participating in such

Whatever solution chosen, it is important to put the collaboration terms in black and white with a
partnership contract, establishing the responsibilities of each party in the implementation of the
program. (See the example of a formalized partnership in Appendix 17.)

The role of women
Women generally take care of the acquisition, storage, and preparation of the foodstuffs within a
family; they also play an important role in the distribution of the foodstuffs among its different
members. It is recommended to encourage their active participation in the different steps of the

VI Human resources

VI.1 Making a team

The personnel needs often depend on the capacities and involvement of the population and the local
structures in the program. Other factors, such as the number of beneficiaries, the number and the
geographic dispersion of the sites, and also the various constraints related to the context (especially
insecurity) will also be determining when defining the number and the level of competence of the
people to recruit.

A list of the functions and qualifications usually required is presented in Section VI.2 below. It is a
delicate task to define the composition of a typical team because the needs vary from one program to
another. Thus, some positions are not required in some cases or should be multiplied in others. For
example, when the community itself manages registration, Action Contre la Faim generally provides
methodological support and tools (forms, maps) and ensures monitoring through the presence of
monitors who verify that the process occurs smoothly.

By contrast, in the case of distribution implemented by Action Contre la Faim, a complete distribution
team is required, composed of a supervisor, monitors, distributors, etc., at the distribution site. The
ACFIN team will ensure at least the general supervision of the distribution, beneficiary selection
management, and foodstuffs flow management.

Logically, the constitution of a team will begin with the exhaustive review of the different activities
led by Action Contre la Faim. Once the activities are identified, the quality and the number of
positions to be filled must be decided. The size of the team will thus be determined according to the
required calendar to perform all the activities according to the retro-planning method. If, for example,
10 distribution sites must be covered each month, and each of these sites requires an average of five
Action Contre la Faim Food Aid and Alternatives to Food Aid
working days (roundtrip transportation, site preparation, awareness, distribution, PDM) to perform the
monthly distribution, at least two distribution teams are necessary.
The same method can be applied for all the phases of the project. Similarly, the number of necessary
monitors will be determined by the number of visits in the village and of questionnaires with
beneficiaries that must be completed. Including the estimated time for preparation, realization, and
analysis of the collected information, we will know how many monitors should be recruited so as to
have the tasks completed within the set deadline.

As for expatriate teams, these will also vary depending on the size of the project, the available profiles,
the degree of urgency, and the duration of the project. (See figure 4 for a presentation of the general
organization chart of the distribution programs.)

Working under the hypothesis that a project requires more than one expatriate, we have three
• Distribution of the ‘Food Aid’
responsibilities by geographic zone with the same
prerogatives (identical description of job position, other than the location)
• Distribution of the responsibilities by task within the same geographic zone: depending on the
profiles of the ‘Food Aid’ expatriates, the positions are specialized partly in the organizational
aspects (logistic aptitudes) and partly in their analytical aspects (socio-economic aptitudes).
• Distribution of the responsibilities by geographic zone and by task

Note: in any case, all the positions considered here are ‘Food Aid’ positions (without title distinction)
and supervised by the responsible of food aid within the Food Security Service or the food security
coordinator, if there is one for the mission. Where there is a specialization by task, it is possible to
send expatriates from the ‘logistics pool’ to cover the organizational aspects and expatriates from the
‘food security pool’ for the analytical aspects.

As for all the Action Contre la Faim projects, the logisticians have the role of ensuring supply, storage,
and transportation/delivery in addition to security management, communication, and vehicle
management. However, in certain configurations, when the project is very large, it is necessary to have
a logistician dedicated only to the tasks of supply, storage, repackaging, and delivery of foodstuffs to
the distribution points. Even if this logistician works exclusively for a food aid project, he is managed
by the logistics service at headquarters and by the mission’s logistics coordinator (or the
logistician/administrator). In this case, it is recommended that the title ‘supply’ logistician or
‘support’ logistician be used rather than ‘distribution’ logistician in order to prevent role confusion.

In the case of cash distribution, the role of the logistician is replaced by that of the administrator who
manages the ‘supply’ and transfer of the cash on the mission. In the case of a work for distribution
program, the technical part of defining and selecting the projects often requires the specific expertise
of the activity sector in question: civil engineering for restoration of an infrastructure (roads, bridges,
irrigation canals), hydraulics (reservoirs), architecture (homes), etc. In this case, the organization chart
will be divided into two teams: the food security team identifying the vulnerable zones and people plus
the distribution and monitoring, whereas the technicians will define the restoration projects and follow
their progress.

Regardless of the type of program, it is crucial to have a clearly defined structure, founded on an
organization chart and the descriptions of the position, with accurate details of the responsibilities of
each team member as well as the relationships among the different positions.

‘Food Aid’ designates the expatriate responsible for a distribution program.
Action Contre la Faim Food Aid and Alternatives to Food Aid
Figure 4: General organization chart for distribution programs

Whenever the project does not require the Log support position, those responsibilities fall under Log/Admin. Similarly, when the FA1 and/or FA2 positions are not indicated,
the responsibilities described for them fall under those of the team supervisor.

Needs assessment
Define methods
Implement distrib.
Monitoring (PDM)
PDM report
Distrib. report

Needs assessment
Define method
Centralize request &
Implement distrib
Monitoring (PDM)
Centralize reporting
(distrib and PDM)
Food Aid (FA)

Head of


FA 1 FA 2
-Reconciliation &
Finalization report
for donor(s)
- Stock report

Distribution by task
Needs assessment
Define methods &
Monitoring (PDM)
PDM Report
Distrib calendar
Implement distrib
Distrib report
Distrib report
Donor report
logistics at
food aid at

VI.2 Which qualifications for which functions?

The activities led during the course of food distribution activities require the following:
• Know and understand
Candidates with suitable training or experience in sociology, economics, or agriculture, depending on the context,
will be needed for the research, monitoring, and investigation work. They will also need good prior knowledge of
the socio-cultural context and a real capacity for analysis. Good person-to-person and leadership qualities are also
useful for heading meetings and interviews.
Depending on the situation, the knowledge of the context should be specific to a particular domain, such as the
social services system, if that is implicated in the intervention.
• Train and facilitate
The training of Action Contre la Faim personnel or that of its local partners in the operation requires particular
attention. The objectives and principles followed by the program should be properly understood if they are to be
correctly transmitted and discussed with the local population. The tools and methods used should be known and
understood by the personnel, which is even more important when considering that these people may have to assume
relatively heavy responsibilities (related to food management or the list maintenance).
• Communicate and lead
At every level of the program, conversational exchange and communication between Action Contre la Faim and the
local population or its representatives is crucial. This requires mostly human and audiovisual resources because
reunions must be led, information must be received and transferred, etc.
• Count and register
Registering the program beneficiaries is a meticulous and precise job of collecting and verifying information, and it
requires good person-to-person contact and professionalism. Establishing beneficiary lists on the computer initially
requires specific qualifications of being able to create and edit the database, and to plan and supervise the data entry
by the data entry team. This team should have minimum computer skills (to use EXCEL spreadsheet software).
• Organize and manage
Regardless of the context and the method of distribution chosen, it is necessary to have supervisory personnel with
strong organization and management skills. In fact, these qualifications are necessary whether for finalizing or
managing the flow of merchandise, to set up and manage distribution points, or to count and process the names on
the lists, etc.
• Distribute
Physical distribution of the foodstuffs requires a certain number of functions. The first two functions, handling and
security, are described below. Additionally, public information must also be ensured on site. Identities must be
verified and beneficiary signatures acquired at the entrance of the distribution site. The food must be taken out from
the stock and given to the beneficiaries. Sometimes verification at the exit is also necessary. Whenever the rations
are premixed or cooked, hygiene measures must be set in place. A team supervisor, who oversees and coordinates
everything, will be responsible for ensuring that the distributions run smoothly.
• Transport and storage
The presence of logistics professionals is vital to ensure the supply of merchandise. The actual number of
professionals needed and their exact qualifications will be defined according to whether the supply is handled by
Action Contre la Faim or subcontracted to one of its partners or to a private company.
Handlers are employed for loading and unloading the merchandise from the trucks at the distribution sites, for
supplying the foodstuffs in the distribution lines from the site stock as well as transport that stock outside the
distribution line directly to the beneficiary. A volunteer team within the community most often performs this work.
When this is not possible, the employees are often daily workers, paid by the ton handled.
• Ensure security
Whether during registration or distribution, it is always necessary to ensure the security of the site and of the
personnel. It is preferable that the community itself perform this task by designating volunteers who will be in
charge of controlling crowds and ensuring the security of the stocks and the site. When that is not possible, a
security team can be recruited to cover these tasks. Employing daily workers is not recommended; it is better to
place the responsibility on regular employees.

The development and implementation of a distribution program requires a wide range of profiles and
skills: investigators, monitors, data entry operators, socio-economists, social workers, nutritionists,
agronomists, logisticians, administrative and coordination personnel. These qualifications and the
Action Contre la Faim Food Aid and Alternatives to Food Aid
activities ensured by them are complementary and interdependent. The needs in terms of personnel and
specialties should thus be identified and planned so that all the required activities may be optimally
carried out (assessments, registration, supplying, distribution, monitoring, etc.) by teams with the
corresponding skills.
(See Appendix 18 for job descriptions in distribution programs whether held by expatriate or local personnel.)

VI.3 Worker ‘under pressure’

In food distribution, there are numerous sources of pressure on the personnel, whether they be expatriates or
nationals, truck drivers or monitors or supervisors. The following is a list of potential sources of such pressure:
• Pressure from the group
In a crisis context where many people are in a precarious situation, a person hired by an international organization
could be seen as having access to significant resources, whether by that person’s salary, the responsibility that
person may have over the registration of beneficiaries, the management of foodstuffs, etc.
• Pressure from local or traditional authorities
These authorities sometimes see their power ‘short-circuited’ by the registration system and the distribution
implemented by Action Contre la Faim. As a result, they may place pressure on the Action Contre la Faim
personnel so as to receive a part of what they feel is due them or so as to direct the assistance toward themselves,
whom they see as priority. Threats are possible, especially when the employee’s family lives in the intervention
• Personal interest
The often massive quantities of food passing through Action Contre la Faim’s programs of is sometimes the
principle resource of a region or a given population. This can represent astronomical amounts compared to the
buying power in the intervention country.
• Human needs
Faced with a significant crisis, when the food quantities are limited, it is not always easy to decide to give priority
to the most vulnerable groups when the entire population has obviously been affected.

Several principles should be highlighted:
• Supervision and control
The supervisory personnel should ensure their regular presence within the teams, especially onsite during
registration and distribution.
• Listening to the personnel
Some people hesitate to talk about problems during team meetings, and so individual contact is very important.
Having a good understanding about how the people function and work is imperative; one must be observant and
identify the problems and anomalies in order to be able to remedy them.
• Organization
Good distribution of the tasks and the responsibilities is crucial to avoid problems. Some tasks should not be
performed by the same teams, especially registration and list verification, physical distribution and PDM.

A true partnership with the communities and their representatives is necessary; this means having good information
and transparency concerning the intervention (targeting criteria, etc), an open mind, and willingness to listen to the
concerns of the beneficiaries or the communities.
Action Contre la Faim Food Aid and Alternatives to Food Aid

VII Summary
• The development of a distribution program consists of precisely defining:
- Who is addressed by the program (targeting)?
- Which restoration project will be the object of for-work programs?
- What ration should be distributed
- Where the rations may be obtained and how they will be delivered
- With whom the distribution will be carried out (local structures and human resources)
• The more convinced the population is of the pertinence of the targeting, the more effective it will be.
• The food basket should cover the observed needs in macro- and micronutrients.
• The food distribution program requires significant logistics support that demands a clear responsibility
chain and ongoing coordination.
• Involving the local populations and local structures facilitates the work of Action Contre la Faim and the
adhesion of beneficiaries to the program.
Action Contre la Faim Food Aid and Alternatives to Food Aid


I Introduction

Registration is the establishment of beneficiary lists indexing a certain amount of information about them. It
constitutes a crucial step in the intervention, ensuring the quality and the impact of the distribution program.
Registration involves:
• Making a precise census of the number of beneficiaries
• Identifying the target population according to the established selection criteria

Registration has multiple objectives:
• Obtaining nominative lists of beneficiaries or heads of families which will be used during distribution
• Precisely quantifying the number of beneficiaries per distribution site and for the whole program
• Obtaining a minimum of personal information to better know the family identity and situation and certain
socioeconomic data relative to the beneficiaries (such as family size, origin, and profession)
• Making identity verification during distribution possible, using this information

Registration is mainly used for the implementation of the distribution program. It can also, if necessary, contribute
to the development of our understanding of the beneficiary population by increasing the amount of information
available. Only the most useful (related to the objectives of the program) and usable information should be
collected. For example, when wanting to have better knowledge of the displaced populations, these people may be
asked their places of origin, their arrival dates, their current professional activities. When targeting a specific
population group, information concerning the selection criteria can also be collected: access to land, number of
family members who are working or able to work, number of children, presence of handicapped or elderly people,

Registration should theoretically be completed before any distribution is carried out. However, in practice,
sometimes registration cannot precede the distribution due to the level of the nutritional urgency or security
constraints and problems of access to the population. In these cases, registration should be completed as soon as the
situation allows.

Distribution without registration: one possibility
The only possible case of non-registration is targeted distribution for children under 5 years old. This is a strategy
that is reactive in emergency situations because it does not lose precious time in registration and lessens the volume
of work: the beneficiaries are identified by height, which is a quick and easy verification method at the entrance to
the distribution centers (maximum allowable height 110 cm). From that point on, the eligibility of that beneficiary
is guaranteed. However, the disadvantages of non-registration are as follows:
- all the beneficiaries must be covered in no more than one day. The beneficiaries are marked with ink, if that is
culturally acceptable, and thus it would be impossible to identify these beneficiaries the next day (or even several
hours later) and know which ones had received their rations and which had not (unless they receive the ink mark at
the moment of actual distribution). To lessen this time constraint, it is possible to separate the children by gender
and thus serve only girls one day and only boys another day.
- without having advance registration, it is not possible to know precisely how many beneficiaries are expected on
the day of distribution. This creates the risk of not having prepared enough rations. However, it is possible to have
estimations of the proportions of children under 5 among the population through different national studies or
through other actors when family composition is taken into account (nutrition, food security, medical situation,
sanitation, etc.). If this is not possible, experience has shown that planning for an estimated 20% of the total
population is recommended.

Although technically registration is for establishing lists of beneficiaries, it is also used as a way to distribute
distribution cards to the program’s beneficiaries. Existing cards are upgraded, or new cards are handed out to
beneficiaries who do not already have them or who have unusable cards. Finally, the term ‘registration’ can be
stretched to an even wider meaning:
Action Contre la Faim Food Aid and Alternatives to Food Aid
• As a way to apply the predefined targeting criteria: beneficiary candidates ‘apply’ to be qualified as
beneficiaries of our program. It is usually during registration that we can verify that these people
correspond to the criteria. If they are eligible, they are included in the program.
• As a way to update the beneficiary list by excluding the people who do not meet or who no longer meet
these selection criteria and, on the other hand, by including new eligible people who do meet these criteria.

The initial assessment (see Chapter 2) should establish the feasibility of registration and its conditions.
The security conditions and access to the population, the social or administrative structures in place, the
capacity of the personnel, and the degree of emergency are also determining in the choice. Awareness of
the population should also be integrated into the preparation. To prevent repetition, the information to be
collected about the beneficiaries should be determined in collaboration with the partners as much as
possible, whenever the lists are shared for different ends.

II Obtaining lists realized by a third party

Registration can be realized by our partners or by the population itself.
• Registration realized by a partner (authority / other organization)
It can be carried out by another actor present, the local administration, or a humanitarian partner. This may be the
case of UNHCR when a population of refugees or another organization has already gone through registration to
fulfill the needs of another assistance program.
Action Contre la Faim need only validate the quality of the completed registration by verifying the following points
in particular:
- The reliability of the partner’s targeting: what type of population has it registered? If the category of the
registered population does not correspond to our targeting criteria, is it possible to create new lists
according to our criteria?
- What type of information has been collected from the population? Can its conclusions or evaluation also
be provided?
- What are the registration methods used? This will help determine their oversights or litigation points if this
becomes necessary.
- What are the materials that can be used following this registration? lists, whether on computer or not, and
distributed registration cards?
We must ensure the quality of the lists provided ourselves. (See section IV, ‘Ensure the quality of the registration,’

• Registration realized by the beneficiaries themselves
The beneficiary lists are obtained from the beneficiaries themselves. For this, it is necessary to create or use a
committee or representative of the beneficiaries, who will perform this work with the population. This could be a
good solution to obtain quick, reliable results. The objectives must be presented to the committee with great care
and attention, as well as the criteria and the steps to follow. The realistic means to be used to complete this task
must be defined with the committee. These different elements, especially the selection criteria, should be
understood and accepted.

As in the preceding case, our team must ensure the quality of the lists provided. (See Section IV, ‘Ensure the
quality of the registration.’) It is also advisable to have several sources of information for crosschecking purposes.

This is also the easiest solution to implement the distribution and the one most respectful of the population and its
social structures. The community or its representatives are in charge of establishing the lists that must then be
verified by our team. Unfortunately, this is not always possible, and it is sometimes necessary to realize this
registration ourselves.

III Realizing the registration process

Usually, registration is realized by Action Contre la Faim when the distribution will be direct to the beneficiaries
(individually or by family) and there is no other way to obtain reliable lists. Two conditions are thus possible to
access the population and register the future beneficiaries of the program:
Action Contre la Faim Food Aid and Alternatives to Food Aid
• Visit and register the people at their homes.
• Summon them to a predetermined site. (The conditions of a direct registration where the beneficiaries or
the whole population are summoned to a given site are presented below.)

In practice, registration in the homes is rarely used due to time constraints.
Table 18: Advantages and disadvantages of the types of registration
Type of registration Advantages Disadvantages

Registration at
• Does not create movements of
parts of the population
• Does not create concentrations
of people which could
• Results in a clear count of the
number of homes and
• Requires an enormous amount of
• Difficult to physically verify the
number of people per family
because the members go about
their regular business

Registration at a
common site

• Very quick to carry out
• Physical presence of the whole

• Difficult to clearly control the
limits of the registered zone
because of the mobility of the
• Creates movements and
concentrations of people which
could degenerate

In both cases, to avoid cheating and to ensure the reliability of the information gathered, it is important to realize
the registration rapidly—ideally in one day—and if necessary simultaneously in the different sites because people
may go to more than one site in order to be registered several times. Even in the case of direct registration, the
involvement of beneficiary committees or community representatives should be encouraged at different levels:
- In order to define the conditions of registration, taking advantage of their knowledge of the context and of
the population
- To inform the beneficiaries and the whole population of the conditions and the criteria which will be used
- To summon the beneficiaries to the site
- To help channel and control the crowds during registration

Depending on the context and the criteria used, more active participation could be useful to verify that the people
do respond to the predefined criteria: for example, for a criterion of ‘displacement,’ a committee could validate the
status of the displaced person or the resident of a family present in his village. Registration is an integral part of the
program; it requires human and material resources, preparation and time. It also has a price that must be anticipated
and integrated into the operating budget.

III.1 Preparing registration at the common site

• Organization:
Ideally, a work group composed of the beneficiary representatives and of the operation’s authorities and partners, if
they exist, should be created so as to organize the entire registration operation and to plan the different phases. In
certain cases, involving the community or its representatives would not be ideal when there is risk of discrimination
(religious, ethnic, political) or when the chances of fraud are significant.
• The information campaign
The beneficiaries should be informed of the registration conditions and goals so that they may receive the necessary
instructions, helping the registration process run smoothly. (For example, they may need to know that they should
be present at a certain location at a certain time, with an identity card, or that the head of family must be present
with or without the other family members.) In the case of targeting, the criteria must be explained so as to prevent
frustration, jealousy, and trouble that the targeting might cause during the operation. The information campaign can
be relayed by the local representatives, the media (printed or radio, postings), or announcements over a
Action Contre la Faim Food Aid and Alternatives to Food Aid
Finally, it is necessary to inform the local authorities (if they are not already involved in the operation) and the
security forces about the registration and its conditions.
• Setting up the logistics
The following materials must be supplied for the registration:
- Registration/register forms (see the example in Appendix 19)
- Cards
- Various practical materials (tables, chairs, ACF stamps, writing materials, megaphones)
Some methods may also require the following items (see Section III.3 below):
- Bracelets
- Food coupons (or tokens)
- Semi-permanent ink markers or gentian violet and paintbrushes

As much for issues of security as for efficiency, crowd channeling and control requires setting up lightweight
infrastructures such as aisles or areas sectioned off by posts and ropes, indicated by signs, etc. It is important to
ensure the security of the materials used: registration cards and forms, bracelets and food coupons, should be kept
under the permanent control of Action Contre la Faim to prevent their fraudulent acquisition and use.

III.2 Registration in two steps

The two methods presented are used mostly in situations of large-scale emergencies, where numerous, socially
destructured populations must receive emergency assistance. The logic is to realize the registration in two steps:
first to realize an exhaustive and rapid identification of the beneficiaries, and second, to proceed with filling out the
registration forms and handing out the cards.
• Distribution of bracelets
Census centers are set up. The people are summoned, and a verification is made to determine whether they may be
beneficiaries of the program, in the same way as with direct registration. A team then attaches a plastic bracelet to
their wrists. (One person can place about 1000 bracelets per day.) These bracelets should be neither too loose nor
too tight. It should be impossible to take them off and put them back on again. The head of family should come
with his or her whole family so that each person may have a bracelet put on. It is a good idea to choose a
‘reference’ arm. (Whether right or left, the choice should be consistent.) Once the entire population has gone
through this process, the total number of distributed bracelets will indicate the number of individuals who have
been pre-registered.

All the beneficiaries should then appear at the time and place indicated in the instructions given to proceed in the
final registration, fill out the forms, and receive the card. At this moment, each bracelet should be cut off by a
registration team member and kept in a special receptacle reserved for this purpose. The head of the family should
stay on to respond to the questions of the registration agent. Once the form has been filled out, the card is given to
the head of the family. The number of the registration card must be written on the registration form.

• Distribution of food coupons (or tokens)
As an alternative to the preceding method, the distribution of coupons or tokens is usually faster. It works as in the
preceding case with setting up the census centers. A team of two people should:
- Apply a mark on the people’s skin (with either a marker or water-diluted gentian violet, leaving a mark
which will disappear after a few days)
- Hand out the coupon
This team should be able to receive up to 2000 people per day.
The mark with Gentian violet or the semi-permanent ink marker is a way of preventing people from coming back
through again because they are physically (but temporarily) ‘marked.’ Of course, it is necessary to ensure that this
marking is understood and accepted by the population. It is also necessary to ensure that it cannot be wiped off
(area of the body where it would be difficult to remove it) and that the mark can be later verified for each person
appearing for registration. The ink used should not be hazardous to the health (irritation). It is not recommended to
use permanent markers.

The distributed coupons should be difficult to duplicate and numbered to prevent fraud. It is recommended to use
cardstock paper of different colors for each registration site and/or the type of population (women, men, children).
Later, the head of the family should appear with all the coupons of his or her family members. The coupons should
be collected and placed in a receptacle reserved for that purpose. The head of the household should respond to the
Action Contre la Faim Food Aid and Alternatives to Food Aid
questions of the registration agent. Once the form has been filled out, a registration card will be attributed to the
head of the family. The number of the registration card should be written on the registration form.

The use of the bracelet and the Gentian violet may be seen as going against human dignity and could thus be
considered a shocking practice. However, in emergency situations it is sometimes the only way to handle
registration efficiently, allowing the planned assistance to be provided effectively.

IV Ensuring the quality of the registration

Quality of the registration means ensuring that:
• The registered beneficiaries correspond to the defined criteria
• All the people responding to the criteria have been registered with minimal errors of inclusion and
• The information entered in the lists is accurate

IV.1 Registration problems and errors

Errors and cheating are unfortunately inevitable and can originate at three different levels:
• The beneficiaries or their representatives:
- Multiple registrations (in different sites, under different names...)
- Fictional registration
- Writing or data entry errors
- Number of members of the family is exaggerated
- Erroneous information given to be able to correspond to criteria
- Reselling or falsification of the cards
- Fee-based registration
• The representatives of the beneficiaries, local authorities
- Corruption
- Favoritism and/or discrimination
- Sale of cards
• The personnel
- Fictional registration
- Sale of cards
- Corruption
- Writing or data entry errors
- Fee-based registration

These problems can be prevented by setting up the most appropriate system for the intervention context, which
goes back to the preceding research and the understanding it provides. A poor definition of the registration (or
targeting) criteria may also cause problems when they prevent proper identification of the beneficiaries or when
they are poorly understood or poorly accepted by our personnel or the population.

It is worth noting that the source of such problems is also often internal, especially linked to our organization or our
personnel (see Chapter 8). Refer to Chapter 9, Section I, for the verification methods for the registration lists.

IV.2 Actions to take in the case of inaccurate or fraudulent registration

• Acquire a good understanding of the problem: has pressure been placed on the people in charge of
registration? By whom, and how? Are the problems general or linked only to one site or team in particular?
Have the system and its procedures been fully understood and followed?
• Review of the system: what are the possibilities of fraud or misappropriation in the current system (for
example, creation of fake cards)? Could a better method be used?
• Training or increasing awareness of the people involved: administration, committees, or Action Contre la
Faim personnel
Action Contre la Faim Food Aid and Alternatives to Food Aid
• Place pressure on the beneficiaries or their representatives: a simple but firm dialogue should be taken up
with the beneficiaries. Those who cheat compromise the well being of everyone. Place responsibility on the
heads of communities. Where applicable, ask the establishment for new lists, delay or stop distribution, or
threaten to do so.
• Exclude the lists of people who tried to commit fraud and make the action public to the population
Generally speaking, it is necessary to show significant strictness when dealing with problems regarding
registration, in order to prevent loss of control of the situation and to maintain the attention of each actor on the
importance of an equitable distribution. In the case of mobile populations, or when numerous cases of absences are
identified during the verification of the lists at people’s homes, it may not always be possible to have a good quality
list prior to distribution. So it is instead during distribution that the presence and absences of the beneficiaries must
be rigorously monitored. This monitoring of attendance during distribution may also be used to update the lists: a
certain fixed number of consecutive absences, for example, can result in removal from the registration list.

IV.3 Updating the lists

Depending on the context, we may be working with either a stable or mobile population, the latter being frequent in
cases of population displacement:
- People usually do not all arrive at the same time but rather in successive groups or waves over a period of
several days or weeks
- The mobile populations may only be in transit towards another destination when we meet them, and they
may leave shortly thereafter
- The displaced persons may wish to return to their places of origin if the reasons for their displacement are
lessened or have disappeared completely
- The families may divide up, such as the men going back from time to time to their places of origin to take
care of the fields and the family remaining in the displaced location

These phenomena create difficulties for maintaining accurate registration of the people, which would be much
easier in the case of a stabilized population. Such a population could be organized in a closed area (camps), with
well-managed reception for the new arrivals. In an open environment, updating registration often requires starting
the registration exercise over entirely. Monitoring and context analysis in the displacement zone as in the zone of
origin should help detect the possible movements and thus highlight the updating actions to be implemented: Is the
population, or are certain segments of the population, returning to their places of origin? Is that return definitive?
Or, by contrast, is the population in a process of long-term reinstallation in its relocation environment? What is the
evolution of the initial causes of displacement? This type of question should play a role in our displacement
analysis and permit us to maintain good quality lists while defining the future steps of our programs.

The conditions of updating the lists must therefore be defined according to the situation:
• Establish a permanent registration system: the people arriving in the zone should come register as
displaced/beneficiary people at the office we have set up (ideally in a zone leading to the entrance to the
• Regularly repeat the registration operations allowing complete updating of the lists.
• Remove people from the lists who have been absent x consecutive times from the distribution.
Example 13: Updating registration lists
Indonesia, Maluku Archipelago, 2000
Action Contre la Faim wass in charge of distributing foodstuffs and hygiene products to people displaced by the
conflict. The initial selection criteria targeted the entire displaced population (IDP). Following their displacement,
upon their arrival, the displaced people were registered with the community and camp leaders, under the
supervision of Action Contre la Faim. These community and camp leaders provided the beneficiaries with official
displaced persons cards.
Some people continued to live indefinitely in the displacement camp, whereas others eventually left the camp to
return to their zones of origin or set up more permanent homes elsewhere. Most of the IDPs lived with a resident
within the residential population, in an urban environment.
The lists were regularly updated under the control of Action Contre la Faim in order to exclude the people who left
the site and to include the people who recently arrived. The original eligibility criteria of IDP status evoked serious
problems later because it was too vague and difficult to implement on a large scale, especially because most of the
displaced persons were integrated within the residential population, in an urban environment. Furthermore,
Action Contre la Faim Food Aid and Alternatives to Food Aid
movements of families or small groups of people were frequent and difficult to take into account. Thus, the
registration of new arrivals is relatively easy when dealing with a camp situation, but more difficult in the city.
Contrary to the camps, the community leaders can, in these cases, not know the population that they are supposed
to be representing. When new people arrive, their integration into the program and the updating of the lists and
their verification are very laborious activities and are impossible to carry out effectively.

IV.4 Registration lists and cards

Establishing lists and cards for the beneficiaries should be decided from the beginning of the program so as to be
appropriate for the given distribution and monitoring system.

IV.4.1 Collected information
The following, minimum amount of information should be collected during registration:
Surname of the head of the family
First name of the head of the family
Number of people in the home

In a broader scope, the following additional information could be useful:
Registration number
Number of identity card or passport
Arrival date, place of origin, nationality
Names, sexes, and ages of the other family members
Admission criteria for targeted distribution

IV.4.2 Beneficiary lists
The use of nominative lists of individuals or heads of households is indispensable, regardless of the distribution
method chosen. The lists can have two important uses:
• Distribution:
This list presents the person’s name and the number of beneficiaries in the household as well as all the information
necessary for the distribution or verification of the identity of the person during distribution. This list is used during
distribution for calling up the beneficiaries and verifying their identify and their eligibility. It is also used to give
proof of the distribution itself. For this purpose, there is a line where the beneficiary may place his or her signature
to acknowledge reception of the food.
• Research / analysis:
This broader-scope nominative information list presents all the collected information, which may be used during
distribution but may also serve as a basis for research about the beneficiaries (creating a typology of the population,
collection of demographic data, etc.).

The different lists obtained should be compiled in a database, and then depending on the organization method of
the distribution, specific lists per distribution site or type of beneficiary will be created:
• List based on the geographic unity
For example, if we distribute to several villages, we can use a list created by each village leader; if we distribute to
a displacement camp, we can have one single list for the camp or several lists based on a geographic division of the
• List based on individual criteria
For example, place of origin, affiliation category (displaced—resident), etc.
The beneficiaries may be divided into several categories if several lists are used, which facilitates the verification
process and management.

IV.4.3 Beneficiary cards
The beneficiary cards are complementary to the lists. The objective of of such cards is to provide people with proof
of their registration as beneficiaries of the assistance program. This card can also be used to keep track of the
distributions already carried out, by stamping or punching the card at each distribution. An example of a
Action Contre la Faim Food Aid and Alternatives to Food Aid
distribution card for the beneficiaries is presented in Appendix 20. The use of the beneficiary cards is not always
useful or opportune. Indeed, the cards may be counterfeited, sold, lost, or stolen. Additionally, in a certain number
of situations, the cards may be superfluous: for example, whenever only one or two occasional distributions are
carried out, or whenever other cards (such as UNHCR refugee cards) or pre-existing documents (passports, identity
cards) may be used.

V Summary
• The quality of the registration determines the efficacy of the distribution.
• Involving local structures should be encouraged so as to facilitate the eligible populations’ access to
registration and to simplify the work of Action Contre la Faim.
• Registration is accompanied by a generalized awareness campaign to ensure the respect of the criteria and
the rules.
• Verification and monitoring of the registration lists is an ongoing activity, before, during, and after
Action Contre la Faim Food Aid and Alternatives to Food Aid


A distribution system entails the conditions by which the program’s beneficiaries will physically receive the food
or cash. The choice of the system is a determining element in the success of the intervention. It should be
researched beginning with the initial assessment but may be reconsidered if necessary during the course of the
program. In any case, the distribution system selected should result in maximum cover of the targeted (eligible)
For presentation reasons, we address here the system of distribution and the registration conditions separately. But
in practice, these two sections of the program are inseparable and should be considered simultaneously.

I Choosing a food distribution program

Two principle systems are possible:
• Indirect distribution through a local relay center: the foodstuffs are given to a representative or local relay
center (social institution) that will redistribute the items to the beneficiaries.
• Direct distribution to the beneficiaries: the foodstuffs are distributed directly to the beneficiaries,
individually, or by household.

As we have already seen, using a local relay center is to be encouraged whenever the social structures are in place
and sufficiently reliable. It may also be the only possible solution when there is neither the time nor the means to
register the beneficiaries or when access to the beneficiaries is difficult for physical or security reasons. Especially
for the distributions of cooked rations in canteens, it is recommended to use local distribution centers that can
potentially take over the activities themselves at the end of the program.

Direct distribution is used rather in the situations of social destructuring or lack of reliability or equity in the social
structures. Direct distribution is in fact usually carried out through the heads of households, who collect the
foodstuffs for the entire household. In many culture, the women take care of the food in the households, and it is
recommended to distribute directly to them when that is feasible. (This is not always culturally acceptable.)

The comparative table below presents the advantages and disadvantages of each system, making it easier to make
the most appropriate choice.
Table 19: Advantages and disadvantages of distribution systems
System Advantages Disadvantages

• Fast and efficient when the
local infrastructures are sufficient
• Reinforces local capacities
• Capacities of institutions are limited in
crisis contexts
• Expensive if the local infrastructures
must be reinforced (restored)
• Risk of political manipulation of the
• More complex exit strategy

• Respects the social and cultural
values of the populations
• Facilitates communication with
the populations in the early stages of
emergency situations or in the
context of dispersed populations
• Fast and inexpensive
• Lightens the workload for
population registration
• Knowledge of social structures and
power games required
• Functional only in the small
communities which have not experienced
internal tension
• Risk of abuse if the social structures are
in crisis or replaced by an authoritative
• Difficult to monitor and control

• Minimizes the risks created by
abusive power games and the risks of
political manipulation
• Favors the comprehension and
• Availability of (volunteer) members
may be insufficient
• Appropriate only in stabilizing
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Through the
creation of
consideration of the local society
• Allows real community
participation and especially the
involvement of women
• Shares the responsibility of
how well the program is run and of
conflict resolution
• Inexpensive
• The committee should be elected if it is
to be truly representative of the communities
• Resentment of the traditional or
government leaders who are not involved in
the process
• Often difficult to harmonize the
committee functions

Directly to
• Effective for large and socially
destructured populations
• At least initial control over the
number of beneficiaries
• Minimizes the manipulation
and misappropriation risks
• Favors the equity of distributed
• Easy to monitor and check
• Expensive (human resources, time,
• Poor involvement of the beneficiaries in
the process
• Requires a significant volume of work
and takes up a great part of the operational

II System of cash distribution

The particularity, and one of the advantages, of cash distribution is that it requires little logistical support
in terms of supply, storage, and transportation. The cost, the location of the sites, and the frequency of the
distribution are no longer significant constraints. However, the misappropriation and security risks to the
beneficiaries as well as to the teams are increased due to the heightened attractiveness of the cash
compared to foodstuffs. The choice of the distribution system should thus in priority minimize these two

The first step is to identify the existence of a banking system, its functionality (transfers, deposits, credit, etc.) and
the population’s access to its services because, when possible, it is obviously the best way to ensure safe cash
payments directly to each beneficiary identified on the bank account. In practice, it is rare that such a system exists
in the intervention zones: most often the bank systems are unofficial and are limited to credit and exchange
However, the possibility of using traditional systems (such as the hawala in Somalia and the Moslem
countries in general) should not be overlooked. These are effective systems of cash transfer in the
intervention zones without having to transport the cash from the capital, thus eliminating the risks related
to cash convoys. Thus, in order to reduce these distribution risks, it is recommended that the chosen
system have:
• Direct access to beneficiaries:
Distribution to each beneficiary (head of household) individually makes the process long and highly visible. It is
better, whenever possible, to find a way to either carry out partial distributions by groups of people (depending on
their places of living) or identify reliable representatives, with the help of the beneficiaries, who will relay the
distribution. This is easily applicable in cash for work programs with the help of the team leaders accompanied by
several workers who act as witnesses to the received sums as satisfying the due payment. Good communication and
awareness help with the transparency and acceptability of this system.
• Frequent distributions:
To reduce the attractivity, meaning the amount of cash distributed, it is recommended to distribute the cash every
ten to fifteen days at the most to prevent having to distribute large amounts which would put the beneficiaries in
danger of predation (looting).
• Distribution days and rotating payment managers:
Again, so as to prevent the routine, the distribution system should allow flexibility of the distribution dates: if, for
example, it has been agreed that the workers will be paid their salaries at ten-day intervals, the pre-established
agreement should clearly state that the payments will be made between the 5
and 15
Similarly, the distribution manager can delegate the transfer of the cash as often as possible to other team members
who may be going to the intervention zones, so as to not be identified as the sole cash carrier for the project.
Action Contre la Faim Food Aid and Alternatives to Food Aid

III Site selection and number of distribution points

The distribution points are the places where the beneficiaries will go to receive their foodstuffs.

III.1 Site selection
• Accessibility
- Access to the merchandise: the distribution point should be accessible by road or boat. The vehicles should
be able to freely move around and unload, regardless of the weather conditions. In cases of extreme
emergency, the use of air transport should be considered (helicopters, airplanes).
- Access of the beneficiaries to the site: the distribution points should be accessible to the beneficiaries. For
example, check points, unsafe roads, or a conflict between the population at the distribution site and the
beneficiaries coming from another location could dissuade the beneficiaries from coming to the selected site.
Discriminatory politics reinforce this phenomenon.
- Distance: physical weakness may be a limiting factor when the distance the beneficiaries must travel is too
great. It is also important to keep in mind that the time required for the beneficiaries to come to the site, wait
in line, and receive their food prevents them from leading other activities during that time.
- Accessibility and traveling distance may therefore dissuade the beneficiaries from coming to take assistance.
They may also be taxed when going through check points, or they may resell the merchandise because it is
too heavy to carry over such a great distance, or to help finance the transportation back to the home.
• Capacity
- The distribution points should be able to contain the merchandise (including sometimes several days’ worth
of stock and even semi-permanent stock for the canteens), the distribution circuit (see Chapter 7,
‘Distribution Circuit), and the beneficiaries themselves. Extra space should be planned knowing that the
number of persons present at the distribution point will probably be significantly higher than the number of
beneficiaries expected.
- The ideal distribution point should be able to offer the beneficiaries access to water and toilets. This
condition is a necessity when setting up a canteen.
- Shelter from the sun (shading) and/or from rain is essential for the beneficiaries as well as for the personnel
and the distribution circuit. A drainage system should be dug to evacuate the rainwater where necessary.
• Security
- The site should be such that regrouping and channeling the crowds is possible, even if this means setting up
fences or ropes to adequately section off the different stations (waiting areas, verification areas, distribution
circuit, exit, toilets, etc.)
- It should be located sufficiently far away from points of population concentration such as the markets,
stadiums, religious centers, etc.
- It should be located sufficiently far away from unstable zones (borders, front lines) to minimize the risk of

III.2 Defining the number of distribution points

Depending on the context and the geographic dispersion of the beneficiaries, it is often necessary to set up several
distribution points. Multiplying the number of points results in greater access to assistance for a dispersed
population. It also means preventing population concentrations, often a factor for confusion and even safety
considerations. However, this usually requires significantly more human and logistical resources and could reduce
our capacity for supervision. It is therefore necessary to balance out the number of points according to the pros and
cons for Action Contre la Faim and for the beneficiaries.
Action Contre la Faim Food Aid and Alternatives to Food Aid
Table 20: Advantages and disadvantages concerning the number of distribution points
Advantages Disadvantages

• Fewer personnel necessary
• More presence and supervision
• Fewer infrastructures necessary
(buildings, roads, and distribution
• Less transportation
• Reduced costs

• Greater distance for collecting food
• Reduced access for the weaker
• Great concentrations of people and
rioting risks
• Intervention less visible to the

• Lowered risk of rioting
• Improved access for the population,
especially the most vulnerable
• Distribution centers easier to manage
• Facilitated information and contact
with the populations
• Prevents conflicts in cases of
opposition among different ethnic,
religious, or political groups

• Need for more qualified staff
members (supervision)
• More complex management and
monitoring of the program
• Need for more transportation and
storage structures (distribution

In a context of dispersed homes with low population density per village but accessible by land, a mobile
distribution point should be considered. This consists of simply driving the vehicle loaded with the distributions to
each selected village. Due to the small size of each village served, a smaller supervisory team traveling with the
vehicle is sufficient to monitor the distribution. This system can also work as a complement to another system that
may not reach all the beneficiaries.

IV Awareness

Prior to any activity, the local authorities (government or rebel) should be clearly informed of the objectives and
the conditions of the intervention. A pre-established agreement should be required to guarantee the respect of the
intervention principles. As for the registration, an advance awareness campaign is necessary in order to be able to
transmit information, which makes the program run smoothly and lets the population and the beneficiaries know
what assistance they will receive and when.
• Objectives of the information
- Prevent problems or tension during distribution
- Facilitate running of the distribution
- Prevent misappropriation or discrimination by the local relay centers or the personnel during distribution by the
pressure that may be placed on them by the beneficiaries.
• Contents of the information to be transmitted
- Presentation of Action Contre la Faim and the program, plus any partners that may also be involved
- Explanation of the objectives of the program and the distribution conditions
- Transmission of the necessary instructions so that the program runs smoothly: place and date of the summons, the
people (heads of households) who must be present, the identity papers to present, what containers or transportation
methods to provide
- Contents of the food basket that the beneficiaries should receive
- Quality of the food basket (fortified in micronutrients, halal for the Moslem populations)
- Reminder of the targeting criteria

The risk of rioting depends on the number of people present at the same place at the same time: the number of distribution points is not sufficient in itself to
reduce this risk. A calendar and well-planned summons times at the distribution points help prevent having too great a concentration of people.
Action Contre la Faim Food Aid and Alternatives to Food Aid
This information may be given to the local relay centers which can then spread the information and
explain it within their communities but other means are also necessary: media campaigns (newspapers
and radios), postings (written in the local language and accompanied by illustrations so that the
information is available to everyone), and/or announcements over a loud-speaker. It is necessary to verify
the understanding of the messages received.

V Adjust the conditions in the case of absent beneficiaries

If the beneficiaries are not present the day of distribution, certain information must be verified:
• Was the information or the summons for distribution correctly transmitted and received?
The local relay center that should have given this information is not reliable or not representative of the
population that we wish to reach.
The information vectors used are not appropriate.
• Are the beneficiaries still there?
The people have moved: displaced persons have returned home definitively or temporarily, migrations.
The people have died.
• Was the selected distribution day a good choice?
A market or other event occurs the same day.
The security or transportation conditions on this day would not permit the people to go all the way to the
distribution point.
• Have the lists been correctly drawn up?
The information on the lists is no longer accurate.
• Has the program been well defined?
The quality of the foodstuffs is not appropriate for the beneficiaries.
The quantity provided is insufficient compared to the lost day of work required for the people who must come
on site to receive their assistance.
Another assistance program is being carried out at the same time in another location.
Distribution is taking place at a time of increased activity for the concerned population (plowing, sowing, etc.).
The site is too far away from the beneficiaries.
Example 14: Investigation into the absence of beneficiaries
Sakhalin Island, Russia - 2001
Nearly 50,000 beneficiaries of Russian social institutions should have received an aid of approximately
50 kg of food. The administration provided the lists of the people registered in the different social centers
concerned by the program. Action Contre la Faim received the lists from the center managers and verified
them by eliminating the redundant registrations and by confirming the people’s presence through home
visits. Once the lists were validated, Action Contre la Faim provided support to the distribution system
that was implemented by the administrative personnel. The social centers received the food, stored it, and
distributed it over several weeks, during the monthly visit of the beneficiaries to the center. The support
provided consisted of setting up tools (distribution tools and stock management) and personnel training
for the use of such tools. ACF monitors were present from time to time at the different distribution sites
during the two months of the operation. They ensured that the established procedures were correctly
followed, that the stock was correctly managed and maintained, and that finally the food was distributed
to the correct people. At the end of the distribution period, the social centers provided ACF with
distribution reports, stock reports, and signed lists of beneficiaries.
Operating within the heart of an old and complex social system, ACF in this case should take into account this
system, to understand it in detail so as to be able to effectively integrate into that system. It became apparent at the
end of the program that sending the lists to Action Contre la Faim for verification was extremely laborious and
finally found to be inefficient. Instead, support provided directly to the centers for updating the lists would have
been more effective.

Action Contre la Faim Food Aid and Alternatives to Food Aid
VI Summary
• Distribution conditions consist of establishing the best compromise for the most accessibility to the
distribution sites for the beneficiaries according to the time and resource constraints so as to offer quality
service at each site.
• Cash distribution allows for much more flexible conditions because there are fewer resource constraints.
However, the attractivity of the cash requires less transparency to prevent having a routine system that
would be more vulnerable to the risks of theft and/or looting.
• Awareness is indispensable and makes the distribution process run more smoothly.

Action Contre la Faim Food Aid and Alternatives to Food Aid

A distribution circuit must be set up, allowing the beneficiaries to enter through in order to receive assistance.
Regardless of the distribution system chosen, the different steps of this circuit will be the same: waiting outside the
distribution point, calling at the entrance station, identity/eligibility verification and signatures, collecting the food
basket, and verification at the exit.

I Stations prior to actual distribution of the foodstuffs

I.1 The waiting area

It is necessary to set up a primary waiting area outside the actual circuit itself. The beneficiary lists as well as any
information considered useful in making the operation run smoothly (such as explanations of the criteria used and
information on the food baskets provided) will be posted so as to provide that information to the public.

The people will go through a primary screening process, in which their possession of a registration card will be
verified, before moving on to a second waiting area where they may wait their turn to receive aid. This area should
be large and spacious enough so that the people will not be too concentrated. The crowds must be carefully
channeled, but the infrastructures must be watched (fences, dry stone half-walls, stakes, etc), as they could become
dangerous weapons in the event of crowd movements or riots.

It should not be forgotten that the beneficiaries are often people who have suffered serious trauma or who are in
very precarious situations. Assistance is sometimes a question of survival for these people and their families.
Impatience, worry over whether they will really receive aid (will there be enough for everyone?) could thus cause
anxiety and pressure. One or several workers should stay constantly in these areas to communicate with the
population, the beneficiaries and their representatives, in order to provide information or instructions about how the
operation will run. This information, which should also be posted or announced over loudspeakers, should be clear
and understandable concerning how the operation works and what the distribution will contain.

Also, this waiting period, while the targeted population is regrouped, is an opportune moment to organize
awareness presentations: this takes advantage of the beneficiaries’ waiting time in useful way, especially on the
themes of nutrition education (micronutrients, what different kinds of food provide which nutrients and how much,
cooking recipes, menu ideas, etc.). Operationally speaking, this helps lighten the organization work by grouping the
activities into time and space. If necessary, it is also a good opportunity to carry out a campaign for detecting acute
malnutrition by measuring and weighing people, especially the children.

I.2 Calling

The beneficiaries are called into the distribution circuit. Depending on the defined distribution system, there are
different possibilities for carrying out this operation. In any case, good communication is necessary between the
teams at the calling station and at the distribution station to regulate the flow and call a number of people consistent
with the capacity to serve them (optimization of the flow).

It is sometimes useful to break the call down into several steps: for example, a first call may be made to regroup the
beneficiaries according to a predetermined category (for example, town of origin or current place of residence or
size of family), and then, once this primary screening has taken place, specific names may be called out, following
the lists created for each category.

I.3 Verifying identity and acquiring signatures

After the beneficiaries have been called, their identities must be verified and/or their presence on the lists must be
checked with the predefined ‘proof’ of registration (registration cards or identity papers). It is at this same place
that the proof of reception of the aid is given by the beneficiaries, through his or her signature on the register (with
fingerprints if the person cannot write) and the mark (punch, stamp) on the registration card or identity paper. The
signature is crucial for confirming that the aid was actually received.

Action Contre la Faim Food Aid and Alternatives to Food Aid
The way that the lists have been created influences the speed and efficiency of this phase: grouped by places of
origin, alphabetical order, size of family, number of the beneficiary, etc. The beneficiaries may be asked to read the
number corresponding to their names on the list posted outside in order to find them more easily on the list when
they come to the verification station. It is at this moment that the validity of the registration may be verified. (See
Chapter 9, Section I.)

II Actual distribution of the foodstuffs

This station is to be organized according to the number of articles to be distributed and their packaging. Three
systems are possible: packet (kit) distribution, product distribution by weight (scoop), and grouped distribution.

II.1 Repackaged packet (kit) distribution

The packaging of the foodstuffs is of major importance in the organization and duration of the distribution: a pre-
packaged individual food basket will be delivered much faster and more easily than several articles which must be
given one after the other.

II.2 Product distribution by weight or scoop

This type of distribution is often implemented where there are time issues (no time to repackage) or cost issues
(repackaging is expensive in labor and material).

Compartments are set up and filled with the various loose foodstuffs. The distributors measure out the rations from
these compartments and give them to the beneficiaries. The quantities are measured by using scoops, which have
been calibrated for that particular food to represent the weight of the determined ration. (One completely filled
scoop corresponds to the desired weight.) The distributors fill the scoop and pour the food into the container
provided by the beneficiary.

It is necessary to ensure that the beneficiaries can take the foodstuffs home in the proper conditions, hence the need
to inform them in advance of the necessity of bringing their own containers. Even so, the team should plan to have
a reserve stock of sacks (or reuse the sacks which have been emptied during the course of the operation) to prevent
causing a traffic jam. The team should also ensure a quality distribution chain. This quality extends to several
different levels:
• Precision of the rations given
The distributors should be properly trained and supervised to be sure that the given amount is neither greater nor
smaller than the defined ration (scoop not completely filled or overfilled). The scoops should correspond exactly to
the intended weight. Generally, a bucket or plastic bowl is cut so that the completely filled volume corresponds
exactly to the desired weight.
• Hygiene
The holding containers, the scoops, and the distributors themselves should reflect the best hygiene conditions
because they are in direct contact with the food.
• Good flow and speed of the chain
Considering the multiple manipulation of foodstuffs, the system must flow well, without traffic jams, whether at
the level of supplying and filling the holding containers or that of the ability of the beneficiaries to receive the
foodstuffs into their own containers. Whenever the quantities are too heavy or too great to carry, a system for
evacuating the food baskets (accompanied by the beneficiary) with a wheelbarrow should be set up.
• Monitoring the food baskets at the exit (Food Basket Monitoring: FBM)
This system requires monitoring the actual weight for each type of food: the quantitative monitoring process is
detailed in Chapter 9, Section II.

II.3 Grouped distribution

The principle of grouping is distributing a common food basket to several households at the same time without
having to ‘break’ the original packaging of the foodstuffs. Later, the grouped households share the food basket
fairly among themselves. The goal is to simplify the sharing method by grouping same-size families who can
divide up the food basket into equal quantities. The great advantage of this is being able to distribute food baskets
Action Contre la Faim Food Aid and Alternatives to Food Aid
as quickly as with the kit system (the original packaging of the foodstuffs is kept) without the disadvantages of the
supplemental preparation time and costs.

Awareness is crucial to ensure the proper understanding and desired participation of the beneficiaries. Before and
during distribution, in addition to the rules and information already mentioned (see Chapter 6, Section IV),
awareness should ensure that each beneficiary has knowledge about:
- The quantity to receive per type of food (depending on the size of the family)
- The sharing method for the group food basket

Organization of the beneficiaries at the distribution sites should be well prepared. With their registration cards, the
households should be gathered according to their size in the waiting area and then called by small groups in order
to collect their common food basket. The food basket will have already been prepared to be brought outside of the
distribution site by the group of households, where the group’s members will finish dividing up the food basket.
ACFIN team members will be present to advise and facilitate this distribution without being held responsible for it.

The determination of the number of individual rations to be grouped depends essentially on the packaging of each
food; this ration is then called a ‘group food basket’ and will be prepared identically for each group of families of
the same size. A few adjustments will be necessary, by taking out or adding one or two individual rations by weight
for certain sizes of family. The methodology is given through the following simple example:
Example 15: Calculation for grouped distribution
Depending on the defined ration, first the number of rations contained in each package of foodstuffs is determined:
Foodstuff Ration/pers/month Packaging (sack,
bottle, etc.)
Number of rations per package
Wheat flour 12 Kg 30 Kg 30 / 12 = 2,5 rations per sack
Oil 1.5 Kg 5 Kg 5 / 1.5 = 3.3 rations per bottle
Lentils 4 Kg 20 Kg 20 / 4 = 5 rations per sack

Then, through trial and error, the smallest common number of rations is determined per package unit for each
Nb rations in 1
Nb rations in 2
Nb rations in 3
Nb rations in 4
Nb rations in 5
Nb rations in 6

Flour 2.5 5 7.5 10 12.5 15
Oil 3.3 6.6 9.9 13.2 16.5 19.8
Lentils 5 10 15 20 25 30

We determine that 10 is the common number of individual rations for a whole number of each package of
foodstuffs. Now the group food basket must be determined, which will thus be a multiple of 10 and which will
allow us to define the size of the groups according to the family sizes which hypothetically varies between 1 and
10. For each family size, the group should finally contain a total number of individuals, which is a multiple of 10.
By trial and error, we note that a group food basket of 30 individual rations would easily serve a group of families
by size (1 to 10) as the table below indicates:
Size of household 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Number of
households per
30 15 10 8 6 5 4 4 1 1
Group food basket
= 30 individual
1 1 1 1
-2 rations

1 1
+2 rations
-2 rations
-1 ration
It is still necessary to take out or add one or two individual rations by weight (scoop) for certain sizes of household
(4, 7, 8, and 9). With these adjustments, it becomes possible to distribute to the beneficiaries in groups of 30.

To increase distribution speed, which is in the interest of the system, it is always possible to organize even larger
groups. Through experience, with the above example, it is feasible to have a group food basket of 60 individual
rations. The distribution would be carried out twice as fast. The disadvantage is that the larger the groups, the more
complicated the sharing becomes. The best compromise must be found, considering that the constitution of too
small a group ends up being a complex kind of distribution to organize and would not be any faster than a weight-
based system.
Action Contre la Faim Food Aid and Alternatives to Food Aid

At the exit of the distribution point, the team in charge of facilitating the sharing process can carry out FBM (see
Chapter 9, Section I) to verify the weight of each foodstuff allocated to each household after dividing up the food
baskets. However, this may not be possible whenever the groups prefer to transport the common food basket to the
village and divide it up at home.

II.4 Distribution by village

This system consists of serving the entire population of a village with one food basket that will be shared among all
the heads of families within this village. The food basket is thus prepared in advance for each village according to
the number of registered beneficiaries. The total number of packages for each foodstuff is calculated and placed in
a pile, and then an adjustment for greater or smaller quantities is made by weight (scoop) to obtain the most
accurate ration. It is the same idea as for the group food baskets, except that each group food basket is specifically
calculated for each village (and its number of individuals).
This system yields:
- Rapid distribution of the foodstuffs,
- Respect of the social structure of the village, which is involved and held responsible in the distribution
process. Cooperation among the aid recipients who ensure transportation of the food basket from the
distribution point to the village.
- Mobilization of some of the heads of families, allowing the others to continue their regular activities
However, the social structure should obviously be functional and the size of the village (number of families) should
be reasonable so that the sharing process may be quickly, efficiently, and transparently (visible to all the family
leaders) performed. Experience has shown that villages with up to 100 families may be served in this way.

The risk of unfair sharing is however, significant (see Table 19), and the application of the following measures to
reduce such risks are imperative:
- Inform the entire population about the quantities and quality of the foodstuffs, per person and per family,
they are about to receive;
- Ensure that the village food basket is collected by several (between 5 and 10) heads of families, who will
witness the total quantities received for the village;
- Validate the system with the population itself (rapid investigation with randomly-selected households), with
post-distribution monitoring to specifically evaluate how fair and reliable the system has been.

III Examples of distribution circuits

The two examples presented in Figures 5 and 6 follow the same organization principles. The multiple circuit is in
fact made up of four simple circuits. It is a way to have an even greater number of people pass through the same
site and is thus valid when rapid distribution is indicated and the beneficiary population is great. It is only possible
if the beneficiaries may enter a given circuit for a given list because obviously the lists cannot be divided among
several control stations.

For the group food basket system, the circuit is the same except that it should include a design for the preparation
of group food baskets in advance and a system (wheelbarrows, porters) to evacuate the food baskets from the site or
to a space set up specifically for the sharing process of the food baskets among the families. However, space can
often be a limiting factor because it is generally recommended to have on average the size of about half a football

A well-organized, simple distribution system based on weight can serve up to 500 people per day, which represents
up to 2500 beneficiaries when the food baskets are distributed to heads of families (with an average of five people
per family). If the food baskets are pre-packaged in kits, the process is twice as fast, and at least 1000 people may
be served in one day. For group food baskets, depending on the size of the group food basket, 2000 to 3000 people
may be served in the distribution chain. In practice, each situation is different, and the number of beneficiaries that
can go through the circuit in a given amount of time depends on several factors:
• The organization and flow of the circuit:
Action Contre la Faim Food Aid and Alternatives to Food Aid
Traffic jams at the stations slow down the flow and should be prevented. Encouraging rapid distribution is not
always desirable and could cause disadvantages, especially compacting the crowd and putting pressure on the
population and the personnel.
• The personnel involved:
The organization, number, motivation, and skills of the personnel are determining factors in how well the
distribution will be carried out. For each distribution station, there should be two distributors per foodstuff plus two
porters in charge of helping the beneficiaries evacuate the larger food baskets.
• The presence and flow of beneficiaries:
A continuous flow of beneficiaries at the entrance of the circuit is important to prevent inactive time inside the
circuit. The information given to the beneficiaries (appointment time) as well as the information provided about the
way the distribution will be carried out should prevent dead time.
• The type of verification system at the circuit entrance:
The speed at which the beneficiaries enter the circuit will vary depending on the way the verification system is
managed (looking up a name on the list, etc.).
(See Appendix 21 for a list of material and equipment necessary for setting up a distribution site.)

Action Contre la Faim Food Aid and Alternatives to Food Aid
Figure 5: Example of a simple circuit

Foodstuff 3

Storage area

Site exit
and FBM
Site entrance
ID check
Lists and
Foodstuff 1
stuff 2

Figure 6: Example of a multiple circuit

Storage area

foodstuffs foodstuffs
foodstuffs foodstuffs
{ Call ±--> Path of the beneficiary
¸ ID check and signature ¤ FBM
…… Security Perimeter
mmm mmm
mmm mmm

IV Canteen circuit

The principles and methodology presented in the preceding sections are also valid for the canteen program.
However, the particularity of this type of distribution requires supplemental activities.

IV.1 Stations and organization particular to the canteen

The organization of a canteen site should be rigorously designed to ensure the regularity of the mealtime.
Depending on the room available to receive the beneficiaries, two services may be planned at the same site.
The identification of the beneficiaries should reveal whether the beneficiaries should participate in the first or
second service; for example, according to the color of their registration cards.
• Education
By definition, the site receives beneficiaries every day and for a large part of the day. It is therefore
recommended that educational activities be carried out which could help take up a good part of the time
spent at the site. This offers an excellent opportunity to lead awareness campaigns on the subjects of
nutrition (micronutrients, the supply of nutrients in various foodstuffs, cooking recipes, menu planning, food
conservation, etc) and/or hygiene whenever this responds to a demand and a need of the beneficiaries.
Cooking demonstrations may also be presented, using the various foodstuffs distributed: this kind of
education is actually essential when the meals include new products, such as condiments concentrated in
The educational activities should also target the children through play (puppets, clowns, games).
• Hygiene
The canteen should provide exemplary hygiene service (consistent with the messages given in the awareness
campaign). There should be personnel specifically designated to overseeing the inherent hygiene activities,
ensuring that the site is neat and clean, that the dishes and cooking materials are well washed, and that the
beneficiaries have washed their hands.
• Rest rooms
Rest room facilities should be set up on site to ensure access and availability to a water point for hand
washing and collecting drinking water during the meal. The installation of toilets should also be planned.
• The kitchen
By definition, the canteen should be equipped with a kitchen that ‘transforms’ the ration between the food
stock and the collection point. The organization of meal preparation should be rigorously planned to ensure
good distribution flow without having the meals served either too hot or too cold. The preparation method
should be clear and simple to ensure homogeneity of the rations served. It is recommended that a
measurement of each foodstuff and water per pot be determined so as to give a fixed number of hot meals.
(See the example of preparation in Appendix 11.)
When there are many sites relatively close in location, so as to not require too great a transportation capacity
(in an urban context, for example), it may be a good idea to establish one central kitchen that will prepare the
meals for all the sites. This centralization may facilitate site management and reduce operational costs.
• Distribution
The food is distributed by weight (scoop) and should take the volume of water added during preparation into
account to respect the composition and the quantities of each foodstuff initially determined. If necessary, one
scoop could be provided for each type of meal: ‘child’ and guardian. In order to monitor the flow of
foodstuffs, each pot should contain a fixed number of rations and should obviously be empty before being
replaced by another pot.
When distribution is finished, as the leftovers cannot be stored, they are distributed in priority to the
indigents who are not eligible for the program (in cases where the program targets only children under 5
years old, for example) who often remain along the outskirts of the site. The leftovers should be quantified,
and the number of rations served ‘outside the beneficiaries’ of the program should also be presented in the
monitoring / distribution report and not be treated as a loss.
• The dining hall
Ideally the dining hall will permit the beneficiaries to consume their distributed meals at the site. This
guarantees the results in terms of the prevention of malnutrition of the targeted populations by minimizing
the risk of sharing the ration within the household. In this case, the consumption is monitored and followed
by the monitors/educators present in the dining hall. They will also lead interviews with the beneficiaries to
obtain their opinions about the distribution process and the quality of the meals.


Because of a lack of space, it is often difficult to be able to set up a dining hall that can receive all the
beneficiaries every day. The first alternative is to organize several distribution services in the same day.
Otherwise, it is acceptable to let the beneficiaries take the meals home to consume them there. In the latter
case, FBM should be carried out (see Chapter 9, Section II) at the canteen exit.

Compared to a classic distribution site, the team mobilized to keep a canteen is larger (between 15 and 30
people depending on the size of the site and the establishment of a dining hall) and includes educators,
cooks, and hygienists. Because of the daily movement of food, the purchaser’s job is vitally important for the
quantitative monitoring of foodstuffs. (See Appendix 22 for an example of the organization (composition of
a team, job descriptions) of daily service and the way that service is carried out.)

IV.2 Distribution circuit

Ideally a canteen should permit the beneficiaries to consume the meal on site, as presented, for example, in
Figure 8 below, with the presence of a dining hall. Depending on the intervention strategy and the
operational constraints, this possibility may not be offered to the beneficiaries. (See Appendix 23 for an
example of cooking materials kit that would serve approximately 1250 hot meals per day prepared in 50-liter

IV.3 Fuel

In theory, any kind of fuel may be used depending on the availability in the intervention zone (wood,
charcoal, gas, electricity) and the local customs. However, given the great consumption of energy necessary
for a canteen program, the most appropriate fuel must be determined which does not induce negative effects
on the local market prices (inflation) and especially does not contribute to the degradation of the
environment, which is often already in danger in the intervention zones. In principle, the use of wood or
charcoal in zones affected by deforestations is to be avoided. In this case, the question of cost should not be a
constraint, and an environmentally friendly energy product should be imported.
Additionally, reservations about the use of gas, for example, due to being little known in certain
intervention zones, may be easily overcome by providing basic information, awareness, and training
on its use. The table below provides a comparison of the advantages and disadvantages of using gas
and charcoal:
Table 21: Advantages and disadvantages of gas versus charcoal
Fuel Advantages Disadvantages

• Immediate heat after lighting
(no preparation time)
• Faster and better controlled
• Cleaner to use for everyone
(transportation, storage,
• Easy storage (to be stored in a
well ventilated area)
• Clean energy (does not
contribute to deforestation)
• Weight of containers
• Reservations of the cooks because of
unfamiliarity with/fear of product
• Requires more detailed maintenance
materials (valves, flexible pipes, etc)
• Difficult to estimate the remaining quantity in
the container and to plan for optimum refills


• Easy to find on the local
• Income generating activity for
the producers
• The people are used to using it

• Difficult to buy in large quantities and causes
inflation on the local markets
• Causes increased supply, risking increased
• Makes the canteens dirtier
• Difficult to store properly
• Difficult and long to light
• Difficult to control/modulate during cooking

Regardless of the energy solution, consumption should be controlled and minimized as much as possible: use
of modern stoves, boiling quantities of water little by little depending on the needs, centralizing meal
preparation, etc.

V Summary
• The distribution circuit should provide rapid service to minimize the collection time for the
beneficiaries and maximize the number of beneficiaries served by the same distribution team.
• The organization of a distribution site implicates one-way traffic of people from the entrance to the
exit. Each station along the way should be organized to prevent traffic jams.
• The distribution method determines the speed of the flow of the beneficiaries in the distribution site:
the faster systems (distribution by group, by village) require increased beneficiary participation in
order to ensure the fairness of the system.
• The distribution site can be seen as an opportunity to gather a large population together, and
awareness campaigns or educational classes may be provided to them.
• The choice of fuel for a canteen should respect the principle of environmental protection.

Figure 7: Example of a canteen circuit, with dining hall


Storage area


Site entrance
Eligibility verification
and signature
Posting of
lists and
2 3


Rest rooms
Drinking water
Hand washing
of the
hot meal
Action Contre la Faim Aide alimentaire et alternatives à l’aide alimentaire

I Flow of a food distribution program

The movement or flow of foodstuffs in a distribution program will depend on the supply chain set up from the
source to the distribution sites. Numerous situations are possible depending on the access constraints, security,
costs, or storage capacity. Secondary warehouses are used relatively frequently but not systematically. Also,
sometimes a partner or supplier supplies directly to the distribution points without passing through an Action
Contre la Faim warehouse. Regardless of the structure of the supply chain, it is necessary to set up an appropriate
management and monitoring system for the foodstuffs. Most often, the following movements must be managed:
- Delivery of the foodstuff order from a supplier or partner to the central warehouse
- Delivery from the central warehouse to secondary warehouses and/or distribution points
- Delivery from secondary warehouses to distribution points
- Distribution of the foodstuffs to the beneficiaries
- Return of undistributed foodstuffs from the distribution points to secondary warehouses or the central

Each of these movements should be planned, implemented, and closely monitored. This is necessary to ensure that
the program works efficiently, meaning that the required foodstuffs are delivered in quantity and quality within the
established deadlines, also in order to ensure the proper management and appropriation of the foodstuffs, to prevent
loss and misappropriation, and if such losses or misappropriations do happen, to accurately identify the degree of
such and their causes.

Monitoring the flow is defined as the information and control system of the movement of merchandise from the
initial supply source to the final distribution to the beneficiaries. This also integrates the follow-up of undistributed
or lost quantities, or those that have been returned to the secondary or central warehouse. Each movement of
merchandise results in a transfer of responsibility, between a warehouse manager and a transporter, then between
the latter and another warehouse manager or a distribution supervisor. The responsibility chain must be clearly
established for each of these movements. A certain number of tools and procedures should be set in place to ensure
the correct transfer of the merchandise. See Figure 8 below.

Figure 8: The different flows of foodstuffs in food distribution

1 2 5

3 4 œ 7

1: Delivery of the foodstuffs to the central warehouse, accompanied by a Delivery Slip, leads to their entry into the central warehouse stock following validation of
the sensory quality control.

2: A Supply Request is submitted by the secondary warehouse to request supplies or to make foodstuffs available at the central warehouse.

3: The foodstuffs are delivered to a secondary warehouse, accompanied by a new Delivery Slip, drawn up at the central warehouse. This leads to the entry of the
foodstuffs into the stock of the secondary warehouse.

4: A Supply Request is submitted from the distribution points to request supplies. The secondary warehouse manager may then send the merchandise to the
distribution point(s).

5: The merchandise is sent to the distribution point, again accompanied by a Delivery Slip. The distribution supervisor should sign the Delivery Slip and fill out the
supply register if necessary (if there are several successive deliveries for a single distribution).

6: Merchandise that was not distributed is returned to the secondary warehouse with a Delivery Slip drawn up at the distribution point. Later, it may be sent to the
central warehouse.

7: Distribution to the beneficiaries, who sign the list drawn up from registration.




Action Contre la Faim Food Aid and Alternatives to Food Aid
II Planning the supply of distribution points

It is necessary to establish a supply plan for the distribution sites in order to prepare for the availability
of foodstuffs at the warehouses and the appropriate transportation means. This planning also helps
properly coordinate the various aspects of distribution.

Running out of stock during distribution could lead to tension in the distribution areas because of
people’s dissatisfaction with not receiving assistance or fearing that they will never receive it.
Therefore all efforts must be made to prevent running into a shortage of stock. Oversupply of
foodstuffs should also be avoided because, aside from the supplemental costs that this may cause,
loading undistributed food back onto the trucks could cause discontent and misunderstandings among
the population (especially when there has been targeting and part of the people present are not

II.1 Determining the food supply needs

This is the calculation of the volumes of foodstuffs to be transported to all the distribution sites
according to the estimated number of beneficiaries and the defined ration.

Example 16: Calculation of the quantities to be delivered to the intervention zones
Let us suppose that Action Contre la Faim establishes a program in three regions of the country with
the numbers of sites and beneficiaries as follows:

Region Number of Sites Total Number of Beneficiaries
Region 1 14 50,000
Region 2 20 40,000
Region 3 8 10,000
Total 42 100,000

A daily ration of 400 grams of wheat is distributed. Distribution is carried out every two weeks. Each
beneficiary should therefore receive 5.6 kg for 14 days.

Calculation of the needs in wheat for Region 1:
50,000 beneficiaries x 0.4 Kg x 14 days = 280 000 kg = 280 tons.
Similar calculations may be made for the other regions. The table below establishes the total for all the
needs for the 14 days:

Region Beneficiaries Total in tons
Region 1 50,000 280
Region 2 40,000 224
Region 3 10,000 56
Total 100,000 560

II.2 Developing a transportation plan

II.2.1 Calculating the program’s needs
A detailed plan should be developed for having the foodstuffs transported from the warehouses to the
distribution points. The plan should take into account the quantity of food to be expedited to each site
and the intended frequency of the deliveries. The climactic conditions should also be taken into
account, according to the regional seasonal calendar (winter, rainy season...), which could delay or
interrupt regular transportation to the sites. Once the bimonthly total of the needs per beneficiary are
known, the needs for each distribution site may be calculated.
Action Contre la Faim Food Aid and Alternatives to Food Aid

Site 1 in the table below has 100 beneficiaries who need 560 kg of wheat every two weeks. The
distribution plan could take on the following form:

Table 22: Distribution plan

Region Planned distribution date Number of
Total needs
Site 1 1
100 560 kg
Site 2 2
125 700 kg
Etc. Etc.

II.2.2 Establishing the Supply Request
The Supply Request (see below, Section III.2) stems from the distribution plan. As its name indicates,
it requests that foodstuffs be made available at a warehouse or delivered to the sites so that distribution
may be carried out. Its frequency and the period that it covers are determined according to the nature
and the frequency of the distributions themselves. When the foodstuffs are stored at a distribution site,
the difference between actual on-site stock and the needs are taken into consideration, and the
difference is requested.

II.2.3 Time for a round-trip journey
Generally, the trucks make round-trips between the distribution sites and the warehouses. The time
necessary for a truck driver to load the food, go to one or several sites, and return to load up for
another trip must be determined. This is called the ‘Time for a Round-trip Journey’ (TRJ). The
following factors must be considered for a TRJ:
- The distance to the distribution site
- The condition of the roads and bridges, especially during rainy or winter seasons
- The speed of the vehicles
- The time necessary to load at the warehouse
- The time necessary to unload at the destination point
(See Appendix 24 for the methodology used to determine the transportation needs (number of
vehicles and duration) for the supply.)

III Basic documents

Responsibility is divided up between the logistics and food security services as described in Figure 4.
The documents presented here concern the entire process of flow management and show the
responsibilities of each service by step (see Table 23 below).
Table 23: Responsibilities of the flow management tools
Steps Documents Responsible Service
Delivery of supplier/donor to the
Delivery Slip
Stock sheet
Verification form
Supplying the secondary
Supply request
Delivery Slip
Stock sheet
Supplying the distribution point Supply request
Delivery Slip
Supply register
Distribution site register
Food Security
Logistics – Food Security
Food Security
Distribution List of beneficiaries Food Security
Action Contre la Faim Food Aid and Alternatives to Food Aid
Returning undistributed products
to the warehouse
Delivery Slip
Distribution site register
Returns register
Food Security – Logistics
Food Security
Reporting (monthly or after each
distribution cycle): See Section

Stock report
Supplies report
Distribution report
Losses report
Reconciliation report
Food Security
Logistics / Food Security

All of these documents are necessary when the distribution circuits are complex (several secondary
warehouses and multiple distribution sites) with, consequently, an ongoing flow over several
distribution cycles. For distribution on an irregular basis, the registers are not necessary.

III.1 At the warehouse level
III.1.1 The quantity and quality control sheet
For all reception of foodstuffs, a quantitative and qualitative control is performed by the supply
manager to ensure the appropriateness of the goods ordered. To check the quantity, the number
counted in each received package should be crosschecked with the numbers once the food has been
placed in piles. This is organized in such a way as to make this counting possible. It is an exercise that
will be repeated as often as necessary during physical inventory controls. To check the quality, refer to
the detailed guide provided in the ‘ACFIN Kit log.’ Basically, the manager in charge of foodstuffs
reception should verify:
- Quality through sensory check (aspect, taste, texture, presence of insects or foreign bodies),
- Expiration dates,
- The quality of the packaging,
- The notification of the origin of the foodstuffs (place of production)

This verification should be carried out on a sample (for each foodstuff) that is determined by the
simple method of square root:
1 to 10 sacks: check each sack
10 to 100 sacks: check 10 sacks at random
more than 100 sacks: check n sacks, n being the closest whole number equal to or greater than the
square root of the total number of sacks. Thus, a first sack will be chosen at random between the first
and the n
sack, then afterwards every n
sack. (See Example 19 for the calculation of actual weight
that uses the same method.) A ‘Control Form,’ presented in Appendix 25, should be used with this

III.1.2 The Stock Sheet
A Stock Sheet is established for each foodstuff. It is used at every site where the merchandise is
stocked: central or secondary warehouse. It is rare that the merchandise remains stocked at the
distribution points, and in such cases keeping the register is sufficient. (See Section III.3.1.)

Any movement of the stock is systematically written down at the same time in the warehouse and the
same day in the case of a distribution site. (Outgoing stock for distribution could thus be accounted at
the end of the day.) The movements should be indicated in weight or in a unit corresponding to the
packaging of the product for other kinds of supplies (carton, tin, sack, bundle, etc). The stock report
will be established based on this Stock Sheet. This document, which is associated with the removal
slips and delivery slips, helps follow the flow history of our different products, to draw up a product

When an inventory check is carried out, the results should be indicated on the Stock Sheet that should
be countersigned by the person performing the inventory check and the purchaser. If the stock balance
differs from the inventory results, a supplemental inventory check is performed and the appropriate
adjustments are made. These adjustments are indicated as incoming or outgoing, and ‘adjustment
Action Contre la Faim Food Aid and Alternatives to Food Aid
following inventory’ is written into the ‘comments’ section. (See Appendix 26 for the Stock Sheet

III.1.3 Supply register and returns register
Although these two registers present information similar to that found in the Stock Sheets and
Delivery Slips, they constitute special flow monitoring, upon sending or receiving, where the
transporter is indicated. They make up complementary tools for flow management and have special
uses because they make it possible to:
• Rapidly enter movements on the same sheet, preventing having to enter the movements on
each Stock Sheet at the very moment of occurrence (in this case the Stock Sheets are updated
at the end of the day with the total quantities sent or received during the day).
• Write up a Supply Report (see Section VII.2), performing the synthesis of the two registers.
(See Appendix 27 for the format of a supply register and Appendix 28 for that of a returns register.)

III.2 Between the warehouse and the distribution site
III.2.1 The Supply Request
A delivery begins with a Supply Request sent by the distribution manager. This document acts as an
Internal Order Form. It is used to request that foodstuffs be made available or delivered. Depending on
the established system, the foodstuffs may be prepared and made available in the warehouse or
delivered to the requested delivery site (secondary warehouse or distribution point).

This permits the Logistics personnel to ensure the preparation and supply of the foodstuffs that will be
distributed, especially permitting them to place orders with another base or partner. It anticipates the
total number of beneficiaries per site, as well as the quantities of foodstuffs to distribute (per
beneficiary and total), and the desired date of availability or delivery. The stated quantities could take
anticipated losses into account, if necessary, by ensuring a supplemental quantity that would act as a
buffer stock in case of loss and is calculated on the basis of a percentage of the total quantity to
deliver. (See Appendix 29 for the Supply Request form.)

III.2.2 The Delivery Slip
The Delivery Slip should systematically be sent out by the place of delivery following any
merchandise movement. The transported or returned products should be correctly detailed in order to
facilitate their accounting. The units are to be indicated according to their packaging. They are counted
in sacks, cartons, tins, individual pieces, etc., and not in kilograms or liters, except in cases of
deliveries of bulk supplies wherein the unit is the volume or weight.

The warehouse manager fills out this document. The transporter countersigns it. From that point on,
the merchandise is under his or her responsibility up to the delivery of the merchandise at the
distribution point where the site manager will in turn countersign. The reference to the Delivery Slip
should be carried out as follows: Warehouse sending the delivery / Program / Year (2 digits), Order
Nb (3 digits).

This form is composed of three parts:
• The original or first sheet is to be kept by the warehouse manager who will fill it out and have
it countersigned by the transporter.
• The second sheet is used in delivery and for the verification of the merchandise that should
correspond to that which is written in the Delivery Slip. It is countersigned by the manager at
the destination who thereby confirms reception of the merchandise and keeps this second
• The third sheet is to be returned to the warehouse manager. It is the confirmation of reception
of the products or of the delivery.

Action Contre la Faim Food Aid and Alternatives to Food Aid
At each of the three delivery steps, it is important to systematically write down any comments on the
form, especially regarding any missing or damaged products. (See Appendix 30 for the Delivery Slip

III.3 At the distribution site level
III.3.1 Distribution site register
The Distribution Site Register is used to synthesize and monitor all the merchandise movements in a
given site. It compiles the information from the Delivery Slips and the beneficiary lists and will serve
as a basis for the establishment of the Distribution Reports. (See Appendix 31 for an example of this
form.) It is to be used as follows:
• The number of beneficiaries served is recorded each evening (which requires permanent
counting during the day when distribution occurs over several days).
• The other movements of the foodstuffs are recorded at the moment that they take place.
• Returns refer to oversupply or damaged merchandise (which are thus not indicated as losses).

This register can be adapted according to the adopted system, especially according to the number of
foodstuffs distributed and their packaging (bulk, kit, etc.).

III.3.2 Beneficiary list
After each day of distribution, the total number of people having received assistance must be counted,
as well as the total number of people absent compared to the list, and the total quantities of each
foodstuff distributed must be calculated from the components of the ration and the number of people
served. When distribution is finished, the total is calculated. The number of people served, the number
of people absent, as well as the total of the quantities distributed should be recorded at the bottom of
the list. The distribution supervisor and, depending on the method of distribution chosen, the
representatives of the beneficiaries or the local relay centers sign at the bottom of the list to validate
these figures.

IV Flow management

The people in charge of receiving food should physically count the quantity delivered, determine its
condition, completely fill out the comments section on the Delivery Slip and sign the slip with the
transporter. These people should fully understand that they are signing the Delivery Slips only for the
quantity of the food received. They will then be responsible for all the food for which they have signed
and thus all losses subsequently perceived.

In each warehouse and at each distribution point, the Delivery Slips, the Stock Sheets, and the
registers should be filled out and accessible at any time for inspection. In certain cases, it may be
necessary to verify the merchandise at the warehouse of a partner, such as the WFP. Careful
monitoring is thus necessary during loading; because it is at this point that the transfer of responsibility

IV.1 Specific procedures at the distribution points

All the flow on the site should be registered on the Distribution Register:
- At the moment of each entry (delivery), as well as for the identification of loss and the return of
merchandise to the central warehouse
- At the end of the day to account for stock sent out for distribution

At the end of each distribution day, the foodstuffs removed for distribution are counted. These figures
are compared to the quantities written as distributed to the beneficiaries on the list. All the documents
used are filed conveniently and should be available at all times onsite so as to facilitate any audits that
may occur.

Action Contre la Faim Food Aid and Alternatives to Food Aid
IV.2 Return of undistributed merchandise to the central warehouse

The returned foodstuffs are again cause for the preparation of a Delivery Slip at the distribution point
and the marking of outgoing stock on the Register. Upon arrival at the central warehouse, they should
be written in negative in the Outgoing column of the Stock Sheets so as to not declare an entry which
had already been previously declared, which could cause errors during later counts. They are also
noted in the Return Register that provides a way to retrace all the returns by site and by transporter. If
the undistributed foodstuffs cannot be returned to the central warehouse, a Stock Report should be
made for the distribution point in question, and thus considered a separate warehouse.

V Itemize the losses

There are usually three types of loss:
- Damaged foodstuffs
- Incomplete packaging
- Poor management, misappropriation, and theft

V.1 Damaged foodstuffs
The three following situations may occur:
• The damage is perceived in the warehouse, during a delivery received from a supplier or
partner. The foodstuffs in question are counted, and they are either refused and returned to the
shipper, or they are kept, in a separate area from the rest of the stock, until later action may be
taken. A formal, written report should be drawn up and transmitted to the Logistics manager,
and the Delivery Slip should reflect that the damage was observed.
• The damage is perceived in the warehouse, during a stock count or when merchandise is
returned from a distribution point. The foodstuffs in question are counted and kept in a
separate area from the rest of the stock, until later action may be taken depending on the
problem (quality control tests, return to the supplier, destruction). A formal written report
should be drawn up and transmitted to the Logistics manager.
• The damaged foodstuffs are identified at a distribution site. They should be returned to the
central warehouse with written information on the Delivery Slip. When the foodstuffs in
question are part of a package containing different foodstuffs, the entire package should be
returned, not only the damaged foodstuffs. If the level of quality is suspicious (unusual odor,
color, aspect, or taste), distribution should be stopped and the problem reported to the
distribution program manager and the Logistics manager who will indicate the steps to take
from there. (See Chapter 3, Section IV.4.)

Note: All damaged foodstuffs are subject to stock management similar to the other foodstuffs, and
should especially be reported and monitored on the Stock Sheets at the warehouse level and the
Register at the distribution site level.

V.2 Incomplete packaging
As we will later see, incomplete sacks are often found during delivery from a supplier or partner. This
problem is generally related to the way that the packing of the sacks was carried out by the supplier or
manufacturer. In these cases, refer to Section V: ‘What weight should be taken into account?’ When
the packets containing several kinds of foodstuffs (kits) are discovered to be incomplete at a
distribution site, follow the same procedure as for the damaged foodstuffs.

V.3 Poor management, theft, and misappropriation
The loss of merchandise due to poor management, theft, or misappropriation is possible during
storage, transport, or distribution. When the losses are identified at the warehouse level, they are
indicated as outgoing on the Stock Sheets with the required explanations, and a formal report is
written up, which gives all the details and explanations of the disappearance. When there are
Action Contre la Faim Food Aid and Alternatives to Food Aid
differences found between the final balance in stock and the inventory verification, the loss is
registered as indicated in II.1, ‘Stock Sheet.’

When the loss occurs during the secondary transport, the missing foodstuffs are indicated on the
Delivery Slip upon arrival. The shipping warehouse manager will not take this type of loss into
account, as it occurred outside the warehouse. (The Stock Sheet indicates the outgoing quantities
written on the Delivery Slip that were sent and not those that were actually received, as indicated on
the copy that the manager receives as confirmation of reception.)

When the loss is identified during the secondary transport, during storage at the distribution site, or
during the distribution itself, the loss is indicated on the Distribution Report, and a formal report is
written up giving all the details and explanations of the disappearance.

The losses are thus reported in a distinct manner either by the distribution team or by the warehouse
manager, depending on the type of loss and the moment when that loss is identified. They may also
appear on the following documents:
- Stock Sheets
- Distribution Site Registers
- Delivery Slips
- Stock Reports
- Distribution Reports

They are also regularly taken into account again on the Loss Reports (see Section IV.4 below), which
recapitulates the losses, categorizing them by foodstuff, type of loss (damage, theft, etc.) and by the lot
in question. The program manager should be informed of all losses in order to be able to take the
appropriate measures.

V.4 The Loss Report
The person recognizing the loss at a given place makes this report. It can thus be drawn up at the
warehouse level as well as any of the distribution points. In situations where several warehouse are
concerned, a synthesis report presents all the losses as a whole. (See Appendix 32 for the format of a
loss report.)

VI What weight should be taken into account?

The packing of foodstuffs received by Action Contre la Faim is too often carried out less than
optimally. Thus, sacks of cereals from a same given lot for 50 kg could all actually weigh a few kilos
more or less than that. This phenomenon is important with regards to the suppliers and partners of
Action Contre la Faim with whom it will be necessary to manage the disagreement if the difference is
significant. However, even if this is done, it is likely that Action Contre la Faim can work with these
foodstuffs at their approximate weights. The management of these sacks from a same lot and
heterogeneous weights should be considered and adapted according to the later use of the foodstuffs.
There are two main possibilities:
When foodstuffs are sent out and distributed with the same packaging as the incoming foodstuffs, and
when the differences are slight, we manage the stock based on the theoretical weight of the sacks, and
we accept the distribution of foodstuffs at a weight that is different from the theoretical weight. In this
case all the inventory verifications, flow monitoring, and reports are calculated in sacks and based on
the theoretical weight: even when we know that a sack of a theoretical weight of 50 kg weighs in fact
only 48 kg, we base our stock management on the weight of 50 kg.

In such a case, the actual weight of the sacks will be estimated in order to be able to document the
management of the disagreement with the provider or partner without taking the estimated actual
Action Contre la Faim Food Aid and Alternatives to Food Aid
weight into account in the flow management. The actual weight estimation method of the sacks is
presented below (see Section VI.2).

However, when distribution is ‘by weight’ or when repackaging is needed, it is then necessary to
implement a specific verification. Indeed, the actual weight of the sacks received in our warehouses
must be estimated in order to have coherent figures between the incoming quantities and the outgoing
quantities during distribution.
Example 17: Estimation of the quantity actually received from the supplier
We had planned to distribute ‘by weight’ 250 tons of cereals initially packaged in sacks of 50 kg.
Weighing revealed that the actual weight of each sack was approximately 48 kg. According to this
actual weight, it was no longer 250 but actually only 240 tons, which were available, and there were
10 tons missing for the distribution. This phenomenon must thus be foreseen before supplying the
distribution so as to be able to plan for the appropriate quantities. In the same way, if we prepare
individual rations of 10 kg, the 250 theoretical tons should permit us to prepare 25,000 rations but
would actually give us only 24,000.

As this foodstuff is initially received and managed according to its theoretical weight, this
phenomenon should be treated like a loss in terms of stock management, and such loss should be taken
into account in written form in order to prevent discrepancies between the figures of different flows.
The estimation of an actual weight is in this case obligatory for the management of foodstuff flow (and
becomes useful for the management of disagreements with the supplier).
Table 24: Counting foodstuffs according to distribution method
Distribution of foodstuffs with the
original packaging
Foodstuff management based on the number
of sacks and their theoretical weight
Distribution of foodstuffs after repackaging
or by weight (scoop)
Estimation of actual weight
and the corresponding loss

VI.1 Repackaging
Repackaging is carried out when the decision is made to distribute food received in bulk quantities
into the form of individual or family packets. A repackaging chain is thus implemented in the storage
zone under the responsibility of the Logistics team.

We have just seen that this operation requires actual weight assessment of the sacks in order to know
the precise quantities of food available and thus the number of individual or family packets that it is
possible to make. It is also necessary to know that repackaging generally causes a certain amount of
inevitable loss. This level varies depending on the method and tools used, the type of foodstuffs, and
the climate (humidity in the air). For example, with flour, a certain amount of the food sticks to the
inside of the original sack; however, for a grain, this would not occur. The grains from the same
foodstuff could also have a volumic mass that is different depending on the degree of humidity. It is
therefore important to test the level of loss caused by repackaging.

Finally, it is important to ensure that the operation is correctly carried out, with appropriate tools and
competent labor to prevent losses that may be related to erroneous or approximated measurements or
negligence on the part of the personnel. It is important to implement a monitoring procedure at the exit
of the repackaging chain, permitting the verification and/or the weight of a sample of the sacks or
packets. This could involve ensuring the presence of different elements of a kit (one box of sugar, one
bottle of oil, one sack of cereal...) and/or weighing the sack. With regards to weighing, a difference of
up to 5% is considered acceptable. Above this percentage, the sack should be repackaged and the
responsible personnel made aware of their error.

In order to identify the losses related to repackaging and those related to poor initial packaging of the
sacks, the repackaging should be performed on an identified lot of foodstuffs for which the actual
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weight will have been estimated in advance. Once the entire lot has been repackaged, a calculation of
the loss should be carried out on the basis of the actual estimated weight.
Example 18: Calculation of losses related to repackaging
Lot of 100 tons of wheat flour, to be repackaged into sacks of 10 kg.
Theoretical weight of lot: 100,000 kg
Estimation of actual weight = 49 kg per sack, or 98,000 kg for the lot.

At the end of the operation, the total number of repackaged 10-kg sacks is 9700.
The loss due to repackaging is thus 1000 kg, or 500 g per sack.
After repackaging, the Stock Sheet should reflect the following information:
Incoming 100 000
Outgoing for distribution 97 000
Loss (supplier) 2 000
Loss (repackaging) 1 000
Balance 0

Finally, great caution should be taken for proper hygiene conditions and cleanliness of the repackaging
zone, the materials used, and the personnel. The use of gloves and proper clothing is highly

VI.2 Estimating the actual weight of the foodstuffs by calculating the average weight
This method of assessing the quantities is based on the methodology of simple sampling according to
the number of products received:
1 to 10 sacks: weigh all the sacks
10 to 100 sacks: weigh 10 randomly chosen sacks
more than 100 sacks: weigh n sacks, n being the closest whole number equal to or greater than the
square root of the total number of sacks, as described in Example 19.

The same form used upon reception of foodstuffs, presented in Appendix 25, should be used for this
Example 19: Calculation of average weight
There are 2000 sacks of rice.
The square root of 2000 = 44.
For every 44 sacks, one sack must be weighed, and that weight should be recorded.
After weighing the 44 sacks, the average weight of one sack must be calculated by adding all the
recorded weights together and then dividing them by 44.

VII Reports
VII.1 The Distribution Report
The distribution reports are prepared at several levels:
1- At the level of each distribution site
2- By distribution zone, combining several sites (necessary when the same secondary warehouse
corresponds to more than one distribution zone)
3- At the level of all the distribution sites covered during the distribution period in question.

The Distribution Report by Site presents the different flows generated by one distribution: reception,
distribution, losses, and returns, as well as the number of beneficiaries anticipated and the number of
people served. This report makes it possible to observe how well the distribution runs, through
analyzing different flows and monitoring the use of the foodstuffs. It is established by each
distribution supervisor based on the Delivery Slips, Registers, Stock Sheets, and Beneficiary Lists.
The Distribution Report then compiles these reports and indicates the quantities of food distributed by
Action Contre la Faim Food Aid and Alternatives to Food Aid
type of foodstuff, the number of beneficiaries served, and any losses incurred, for all the sites during
the given period.

The Distribution Report obviously cannot be established when, in a given site, distribution is in
progress at the moment that the reports are being reconciled and written up. The site would thus be
considered as a warehouse and the Stock Report will specify the quantities in stock at the beginning of
distribution. In this case, this distribution in progress will not be taken into account at all on the
Distribution Report from this period (not to be partially taken into account) but will be taken entirely
into account the following period. (See Appendix 33 for the format of the Distribution Report.)

VII.2 The Supply Report
All the warehouses, whether central or secondary, should provide a Supply Report that gives
information on the deliveries that have occurred for the distribution sites of the program. The
warehouse supervisor prepares this report that recapitulates the outgoing quantities by foodstuff and
by delivery site. Using the Supply register, the Returns Register, and the Stock Sheets, it takes into
account the initial outgoing items and integrates the returns of undistributed foodstuffs, and thus
presents that which has actually gone out for a given site (outgoing items—returned items). This
makes it possible to compare the report with the Distribution Report by Site.

It is important to ensure that the personnel in charge of preparing these reports calculate the outgoing
quantities from the documentation of the warehouse and not from the figures given by the Distribution
Report. (See Appendix 34 for the format of a Supply Report.)

VII.3 The Stock Report
All the warehouses, whether central or secondary, should provide a Stock Report. It constitutes the
dashboard for stock management and presents the following information: starting balance, incoming
quantities, outgoing quantities for distribution (outgoing quantities – undistributed quantities returned
from the sites), the in-warehouse losses, and the final balance. It thus provides a way to observe the
stock level and the different movements of the foodstuffs, including any losses incurred, on one single

The Stock Report is based on the physical inventory verification realized for each warehouse and the
verification of the warehouse documents. When the merchandise is stored in several warehouses, a
global Stock Report, uniting all the warehouses, should be drawn up so as to be able to visualize the
history of the movements and the global situation of the stocks. (See Appendix 35 for the format of
the Stock Report.)

VIII Flow reconciliation and monitoring
VIII.1 Principles
Reconciliation is the operation of counting and verifying which provides a way to retrace the entire
flow of foodstuffs from one distribution and to ensure that these counts are consistent. The objective
of reconciliation is to ensure the proper use and proper management of the foodstuffs as well as to
provide a reliable view of the activities that have been carried out and the status of the resources (stock
levels). The process of reconciliation is pyramidal in that it intervenes at each level of the foodstuff
supply chain, for each movement carried out, to arrive at a synthesis of the movements over the given
period. After each distribution, once the undistributed foodstuffs have been returned to the central
• Each warehouse manager prepares a Supply Report
• Each distribution site supervisor prepares the Distribution Report per site
• The data from the two reports are compared in order to ensure that they are concordant and to
identify any incoherence which may appear

Action Contre la Faim Food Aid and Alternatives to Food Aid
Once this work has been carried out per site, the distribution manager produces the Distribution Report
that will then be compared to the Stock Report produced by the Logistics manager in order to ensure
the coherence of the data. The program manager (or the logistician-administrator) from the base
should then verify and validate both reports. It is then recommended that the Synthesis Report be
drawn up, which will formalize the reconciliation of the information. (See Appendix 36 for the format
of the Synthesis Report.)
No new distributions should begin before these verifications have been carried out and the reports

VIII.2 Distribution cycles, frequency of reports and reconciliation
A distribution cycle is a period limited in time. It is a different notion from the lapse of time needed to
cover all the beneficiaries anticipated: there may be 200,000 beneficiaries who must receive
assistance, but we only have the capacity to actually, in practice, cover the entire need over a two
month period.

It is crucial that the reports as well as their reconciliation be based on this notion of a cycle, usually
being on a monthly basis. In fact, if this is not the case, and it is based on the period necessary to cover
all the beneficiaries, the reconciliation work may need to be stretched over several months, and it is
difficult to find the information and documents related to such a long period.

The different reports should be established for the same period so that they may be compared during
reconciliation. This means that a distribution plan should take the lapses of time necessary for the
reconciliation process into account: in a month of distribution, the last days of the month could be
consecrated to the work of inventory, data reconciliation, and reporting. It is thus necessary to ‘close
off all the accounts’ and to start with a clean and verified slate at each new cycle. If this is not done,
monitoring the flow of merchandise, losses, etc., will prove to be exceedingly difficult.

The report covers the day following the last date of the preceding report.

VIII.3 Maintenance, filing, and archiving the documents
It is imperative to have good maintenance and rigorous filing and archiving habits for the documents
used in food distribution because this provides not only a way to justify the use of the resources
received but also to be able to carry out verifications and audits at any given moment on the
movements which have been realized. Good maintenance of the documents includes implementing
protocols to be used (for example, units to take into account, dates, filing places, etc.). Training all the
personnel involved in the process is thus necessary to ensure that these protocols are correctly applied.

The documents may be differentiated according to their status at a given moment: the ‘active’
documents and the ‘archived’ documents.
• Active documents
These are the documents currently being used in the documentation chain: Stock Sheets, Delivery
Slips, Registers, Beneficiary Lists, as well as the different reports prior to reconciliation. They should
be used for flow monitoring and verification, as well as for data reconciliation. They are kept up to
date and should be available in the offices, warehouses, and distribution points.
• Archived documents
These are the same documents that are no longer used for reconciliation and the reports that have been
completed and validated. They should be carefully filed and archived in case of later verification or
audit. They may also be useful in realizing subsequent studies.

IX Flow of a cash distribution program

Managing the flow when the program consists of distributing cash is based on the same idea as for the
foodstuff distribution (see figure 10). In this case, the ‘warehouse’ is a safe at an administrator level at
Action Contre la Faim Food Aid and Alternatives to Food Aid
the mission capital or a logistician/administrator at the base level. The cash requests are made on the
basis of expense forecasts, generally on a monthly basis. Delivery occurs following the transfer
request (equivalent to a Supply Request for foodstuffs) and accompanied by a Transfer Slip
(equivalent to a Delivery Slip) sent by the administrator and which is to be signed by the cash
distribution manager. This updates his or her cashbook that keeps records of incoming and outgoing
cash (equivalent to the Distribution Register).

A Transfer Request should stipulate the total amount of cash and the number of individual bills for
each amount ($1, $5, $10, for example) so as to be able to prepare exact payments (equivalent to
rations) for each beneficiary, or each group of beneficiaries, depending on the distribution system
being used. The payment should be made rapidly (for security reasons) and permit the beneficiary to
use the cash immediately.

The cash is distributed in exchange for the beneficiary’s signature on the distribution list. This list with
the signatures of all the beneficiaries will act as the receipt for the cash expense and should be returned
to the administrator. At the end of each distribution cycle, a report will be drawn up to synthesize the
following information:
- Location of activities
- Activity period
- Number of people
- Amount provided

X Summary
• Flow management comes from Logistics for all flow between the supplier and the warehouses,
for all storage in the warehouses and the movements between the warehouses and the
distribution sites. Food Security fully participates in this flow management for all the
incoming and outgoing movements at the distribution site, including beneficiary distribution.
The entire responsibility chain should be understood by everyone involved to ensure the
efficiency of the flow management.
• Flow management should be considered a monitoring and evaluation tool for a distribution
program; it provides information for reporting to the partners, sponsors, and beneficiaries.
• Flow management for cash distribution follows a similar style of organization to that of the
foodstuffs distribution. Supply is not ensured by the Logistics service but by the

Action Contre la Faim Food Aid and Alternatives to Food Aid

Monitoring is the systematic, ongoing collection of information that may be used and analyzed to
monitor the activities and measure the expected results of the distribution program. The goal is to
identify and resolve any implementation problems and to observe the progression of the program
according to the initial plans. Registration list monitoring, food basket monitoring (FBM), and post-
distribution monitoring (PDM) are all monitoring tools that are integrated into the activities of the

The evaluation is the periodic study of the pertinence, efficacy, efficiency, impact, economic and
financial viability, and the perpetuity of the program with regard to the established objectives. The
goal is to compare the actual realization of the program compared to the objectives initially established
and to use the experience of the program to improve the development of future interventions. The
PDM is also a tool that contributes to the evaluation of the program.

I Verifying the registration list and the targeting criteria

The quality and the reliability of the registration process should be verified in order to minimize the
risks of inclusion and exclusion: this is generally referred to as list verification. The strategy is also to
clearly place pressure on each participating party so that they will assume their responsibilities for the
collective interest. Prior awareness efforts should clearly explain these rules. Different verification
methods may be used before, during, and after distribution.

I.1 Before distribution
I.1.1 Home visits
During this phase of the program, the method consists of going to the registered beneficiaries’ homes
in order to verify the accuracy of the information provided during registration, especially the presence
of the family and its members in the home. In a displacement camp, the verification should ideally be
held at dawn in order to be sure that everyone is present.

When a certain population has been targeted, the non-beneficiary population should also be considered
in order to ensure that no eligible people have been excluded from registration (due to poor
information, discrimination, or absence). These people will be chosen randomly in a homogenous
manner in the targeted zone in order to obtain a sample of similar size to that chosen for the
beneficiary population (see below).

Verification of the beneficiary population is done using the registration list. This of course requires
having the addresses of the beneficiaries, so this should be anticipated and acquired during the
registration process. In most cases, it is difficult to carry out an exhaustive verification thus a random
survey of a sample of the list is usually made. Having a statistical value of this sampling is not the idea
but rather a good indication of the level of reliability of the verified list.
• How many visits?
The number of visits to be held should be defined according to a nominative list. This number should
be as large as possible and is generally limited by our capacity to hold the visits: how dispersed the
homes are, time available, number of personnel that may be engaged, security conditions.
Additionally, when the populations may be led to relocate within a certain period of time, list
verification is futile if not carried out within a relatively short lapse of time. A monitor could hold
about twenty visits a day under optimum conditions. Thus, a percentage, such as 5%, or a number
large enough to obtain the required information, will be arbitrarily set to represent the number of
visits. The level of verification may be modified from one list to another depending on the degree of
pre-existing certainty (or suspicion).
• Which registrations should be verified?
It is important to not carry out surveys on a selected part of the list (for example, the first 50
registrations) but to do it over the entire list. To do this, a survey frequency T should be established,
Action Contre la Faim Food Aid and Alternatives to Food Aid
and registration will be verified once for every T registrations. To obtain T, the total number of
registrations N should be divided by the number of surveys n to carry out, and 1 or 2 should be added
or subtracted.

T= (N/n) +/-1, or +/-2

For example, in a list of 2000 names, if we want to visit 5% of the families, or 100 families,
verification will be carried out on every 20
name on the list.
• What information should be verified?
The type of information to be verified depends on what has been collected during registration. The
presence of the people indicated at the given address, at the very least, should be verified. The
monitors should thus be equipped with the list to verify or some sort of presentation of the previously
gathered information. When targeting criteria has been established, this should be verified (such as
family composition). The condition of the home often provides a way to verify the level of
vulnerability declared (presence of valuable objects, a stock of goods, livestock, etc.).
• Data entry and processing
After each verification, the results of the visit should be reported on a form that indicates the
registration number and the verification results. For each list, a results summary report should be made
on all the verification visits.

I.1.2 Use of information systems
A computerized database may be used in order to see if certain families are registered several times
and to process the lists in order to run statistical analyses. It is also useful for listing all the families
having certain similarities, and with that information, sending out teams for verification visits.

I.1.3 Data cross-check
The number of beneficiaries resulting from registration may be compared to the parallel estimation of
the number of beneficiaries (see Chapter 2 Section I). If there is a significant difference, it may be
necessary to reconsider our methods or place some kind of pressure on our personnel, the
beneficiaries, or the representatives of the beneficiaries so that the corrections may be provided. It can
also be worthwhile to statistically verify that the information available on the beneficiary population
that was gathered during registration corresponds to the other available data, such as the demographic
data on the average size of a family unit, or the existing data gathered by other actors in the
intervention zone.

I.2 During distribution
I.2.1 Direct interviews with beneficiaries at the distribution sites
During distribution, it is possible to make random checks with the heads of families in order to verify
the information that they had provided during registration. It would seem hard to believe that a person
could forget the number of children he or she has, or their names, but this is what happens sometimes
when a card has been sold, for example. Questioning the family members separately is another way to
confirm the information given by the head of the family and to verify that the children have not been
‘borrowed’ for the occasion.
Caution should nonetheless be taken to not rely entirely on this method of verification, which could
cause the distribution to slow down and could cause problems when frauds are revealed. Therefore,
this should only be used in emergency situations when the verification cannot be done in advance, and
the beneficiaries should be made aware that there will be such monitoring.

I.2.2 Participation of the beneficiary committees or representatives
For displacement criteria, for example, the head of the village could validate a person’s status as
displaced or resident of a family living in the village during distribution. The accuracy of the
information entered on the lists based on the information given by registered people could also be
verified with the beneficiary committees. Experience shows that this method has the distinct advantage
of more easily resolving problems with frauds.

Action Contre la Faim Food Aid and Alternatives to Food Aid
I.3 After distribution
I.3.1 Post Distribution Monitoring (PDM)
Information collected during PDM can provide elements for the evaluation of the quality of the
registration (see Section III).

I.3.2 Combine the different methods
Random surveys through onsite interviews can be used to update registration problems. Thus, the
decision may be made to go door-to-door or to decide to have a committee of beneficiary
representatives come to validate the beneficiary criteria. The Action Contre la Faim personnel, the
committees of displaced persons, and the community representatives generally know and understand
the existing dynamics within the population better than the expatriate volunteers. It is crucial to listen
to them and to favor their involvement in order to benefit from their knowledge and advice.
Example 20: Registration list verification
Ingushetia, North Caucasus, 2000
To escape Russian violence, a part of the Chechnyan population sought refuge in the small republic of
Ingushetia since 1999. The authorities set up camps, but these structures were not sufficient to receive
all the refugees, and many of them had no other choice than to set up spontaneous camps (abandoned
factory, old sovkhoze, etc.). Action Contre la Faim decided to distribute a ration of food and hygiene
products to approximately 30,000 refugees living in forty or fifty spontaneous camps. The existing
Ingouchian administration registered all Chechnyan refugees upon their arrival. Each camp had a
‘chief’ who was either elected by the refugees or appointed by the administration. ACF easily obtained
the lists of the beneficiaries through the administration or the camps leaders. Also, each refugee was
equipped with an identity card that proved his or her status as a refugee and on which was noted that
the person had received food distribution.
Monitoring teams verified the validity of the established lists through random surveys. 5 to 10% of the
registered names on the lists were verified in this manner by home visits. Lists which revealed more
than 10% of errors (people not living at the address provided, inaccurate number of beneficiaries in a
home, etc.) were returned to the administrative manager who would then be asked to produce new,
corrected lists.
Once the lists had been validated, they were returned to the camp leaders. Distribution was planned
with the leaders. The day before distribution, Action Contre la Faim delivered the necessary quantities
of rations for the number of beneficiaries present in the camp. The camp leader supervised the
distribution that was carried out by the refugees themselves. With the help of the refugees, the camp
leader took on the responsibility of unloading the trucks and of guarding and managing the stock
during the night and throughout distribution (signature of a acceptance slip). The presence of a
monitor during distribution ensured that the distribution ran well and that the procedures established
with the camp leaders were followed. At the end of distribution, the signed lists were returned to ACF.
A follow-up monitoring was organized directly with a sampling of the beneficiaries.

II Food Basket Monitoring (‘FBM’)
The beneficiaries’ food baskets should be checked at the exit of the distribution point. Food Basket
Monitoring (FBM) has three goals:
- Verify the quantities and quality of the articles received by the beneficiaries and detect errors of
rations by weight (scoop), any embezzlement by the team members, and any discrimination
towards a population group.
- Expose any dysfunctional aspects of the distribution system (traffic flow, beneficiaries’
understanding of the conditions, etc.)
- Allow rapid adjustment of the distribution process to correct detected errors and dysfunctions

Depending on the choice of distribution, whether by weight or in pre-packaged packets, the type of
monitoring will vary. When ACFIN or their supplier packages the distributed foodstuffs in advance, a
primary verification of the quality and the quantity of the foodstuffs will be carried out at the primary
warehouse level. At the exit of the distribution chain, the received foodstuffs only need to be verified
Action Contre la Faim Food Aid and Alternatives to Food Aid
as corresponding to the indications written on the registration card, by counting the number of
received packets. When distribution is by weight, by group, or as a cooked meal, it is also necessary to
weigh the ration to ensure that the people in charge of distribution have correctly performed their
tasks—in other words, to be sure that they properly measured and distributed the ration. In this second
case, strict methodology must be implemented.

II.1 Principles of the method

A sampling of the food baskets must be weighed at the exit of the distribution chain so as to evaluate
the quantities of foodstuffs actually distributed and any difference between that and the theoretical
ration. This verification is done over a full distribution day in a given site and on a given distribution
chain. At sites having multiple entrances, there will be as many FBM as there are exits. A correct
ration is a ration whose weight is within 5% of the theoretical value. Beyond this limit, (value
between 95% and 105% of the theoretical value), the rations are considered outside the norms.

II.2 Human and material resources

The following resources per distribution point are necessary:
Table 25: Human and material resources for FBM for each distribution circuit
Team composition Material per team
• 2 people to audit and weigh
• 1 person to handle* operations of the
• 1 50-kg Salter scale
• 1 10-kg Salter scale
• 1 set of scales having a 10-g precision (electronic)
• beam and fulcrum for hanging the scales
• weighing pans and sacks
• stakes and ropes, to channel the beneficiaries
• results sheets
• calculator, pencils, erasers
• (recipient) sacks to replace those which have been
damaged during the process

* generally one person per distribution site

II.3 Measuring the weight of the food baskets

The FBM team should carefully respect the pre-established protocol and strictly report the weight
indicated on the scales as well as any errors incurred while gathering the results. The intervention
should be rapidly carried out to prevent traffic jams at the chain’s exit.
• Sampling
A sample of 40 weight checks
, or 40 beneficiaries
is ideal for each distribution chain, regardless of
the total number of beneficiaries served that day. The beneficiaries are selected according to a
systematic, random survey, but also applying a variable survey interval:
• The survey interval
This is estimated by dividing the total number of anticipated beneficiaries by 40 and adding or
subtracting 1 or 2. The survey interval should, in fact, be variable to prevent the distributors from
detecting which rations are going to be weighed.

40 weight checks is the sufficient and necessary sample size for obtaining the statistical properties of the Normal Law. In theory, 30
weight checks would be sufficient, but to be sure to guarantee the quality of this verification exercise, Action Contre la Faim requires 40
weight checks.
If the food baskets are ‘family size’ and distributed to the head of the family, the 40 family food baskets will be checked with the 40 heads
of family.
Action Contre la Faim Food Aid and Alternatives to Food Aid
Example: for 300 beneficiaries served at a site, every 6
, 7
, or 8
beneficiary must pass through the
weigh point (300 / 40 = 7.5 +/- 1 or 2). The 1
weight check will be selected among the first through
fifth beneficiary.

When the total number of beneficiaries on the site in question is inferior to 40, weight verification is
carried out systematically for all beneficiaries.

• Information to be collected
For each check, report the weight of the foodstuffs on the form, in kg, for each type of food, the
number of beneficiaries (number of people written on the card), and the time of the verification. After
distribution, the team manager signs the form.
• Data processing
Data entry and computer processing are done using EXCEL software. Once the database has been
created, the following variables may be obtained through the analyses:
Quantity of each foodstuff received, per individual, in kg/person: Px
= x
/ d
is the weight of the foodstuff x received by the beneficiary i
is the number of people indicated on the beneficiary card i
It is important to distinguish the average weight of each foodstuff distributed. Depending on the
context, some of these present a non-negligible economic interest. Biases may appear for each type of
Average quantity received per person for each foodstuff: Px = ( ∑ ∑∑ ∑ Px
)/ 40
is the quantity per person of the foodstuff x received by the beneficiary i
40 is the size of the sample (the number of weight checks)
From these values, we can also calculate the actual nutritional value of the distributed food basket
(with the NutCalc software or directly with Excel when the energy needs table is programmed in it).
The average is a parameter of the position of the values. The farther it is from the theoretical quantity
to be served, the poorer the distribution.
After this, the average difference of quantity received from one beneficiary to another must be
evaluated using the standard deviation of 40 weight checks.
standard deviation: σ σσ σ
= √ √√ √( ∑ ∑∑ ∑(Px
- Px)
/ 40 )
Px is the average quantity of the foodstuff x received by the beneficiaries
The standard deviation is a parameter of dispersion of the values around the average. It makes it
possible to evaluate how the values are distributed around that average. The greater the standard
deviation, the poorer the distribution.

Average conformity test:
This provides a way to compare the average of a sample with the theoretical value in order to know
whether the two are significantly close or not. The theoretical value must be studied to see if it belongs
to an interval equal to: Px +/- 1,96 * σ σσ σ
/ √ √√ √(40)
1,96= Ž (0,975) is the value of the standard Normal statistics law corresponding to the
probability of 100—(5% / 2);
5% is the fixed risk rate to obtain a confidence interval of 95%.
If the theoretical average falls within this interval, this means that the measured average is equivalent
to this theoretical average with a 5% risk. In this case, the distribution is considered to have been good
quality. The results should be analyzed and reported as soon as possible (within a few days) so that our
teams may be informed of any modifications to be made. (See Appendix 37 for an example of the
EXCEL calculation of FBM indicators.)

III Post distribution monitoring (‘PDM’)
Monitoring and evaluation of a food distribution program are carried out from three angles:
Action Contre la Faim Food Aid and Alternatives to Food Aid
- The distribution must be evaluated: this means that the assistance must be reviewed to determine if it
was correctly distributed, in the planned quantity and quality, to the eligible beneficiaries (verification
of inclusions).
- Simultaneously, the pertinence of the technical and strategic choices made to respond to the needs
must be evaluated, based on the hypotheses established during the preliminary assessment. These
hypotheses should be either validated or invalidated by evaluating how the program, as it was defined
and implemented, responded to the fixed objectives.
- Finally, the impact of the program on the local population and environment should be evaluated. The
positive and negative effects must be appreciated, whether or not they were planned in the program.
It may be considered that the first level constitutes the ongoing monitoring during the program, and
the combination all three levels constitutes the monitoring and evaluation after distribution.

III.1 Principles of the method

During the development of a distribution project, the quantitative and qualitative objectives were
defined on the bases of the work hypotheses and the knowledge of the context and the population
available at that moment (see Chapter 2). Thus, depending on the problematics identified and the
strategy developed, the goal is to determine the impact of the injection of cash or foodstuffs on the
buying power, the food situation, the coping mechanisms, and the level of decapitalization of the
households. For the distribution for work programs, the impact of the restoration projects on the
conditions of access and development of the concerned villages must also be evaluated.

The data and initial hypotheses provide a reference point for the evaluations to be led throughout the
program. They set up a certain number of indicators (such as those formalized in the logical
framework, see Appendix 5), whose evolution in time must be monitored to measure the program’s
progress with regard to the expected results and fixed objectives. The indicators likely to be monitored
during the program are presented in Section IV. (Refer also to Table 4.) The final goal is not a
statistical analysis of the data but rather an analysis of the situation, encountered in its geographic,
economic, social, political, and temporal diversity.

III.2 Monitoring tools
Three principle tools are used:
- semi-structured interviews
- questionnaires
- market follow-up
For more information about these tools, see the book, Food Security Assessments and Surveillance.

III.2.1 Semi-structured interviews
The information obtained through the interviews helps reveal trends, thus the information should not
be collected with the goal of carrying out statistical data processing. The trends revealed at a global
level, as well as the hypotheses or the questions resulting from interviews, will be further detailed or
confirmed by the questionnaires on the household level.

The semi-structured interviews are led about fifteen days after distribution, either in focus group
discussions or individually with the authorities and the key informants representing the community.
The interviews also provide a way to present the subject of our visit to the local authorities or the local
relay centers.
Their semi-structured style comes from the fact that they are guided by a pre-established list of
subjects. In this way, it is possible to address very general themes, such as the food situation or more
specifically, the functioning of the markets or agricultural production. Depending on the subjects, the
composition of the group will be different. (See the methodological suggestions in Appendix 38 and
an example of an interview following cash for work distribution in Appendix 39.)
• Choice of key informants
A key informant is a resource person whom it is useful to consult because he or she has enough
knowledge of a given group or population or is able to practically describe the subject of the study (for
Action Contre la Faim Food Aid and Alternatives to Food Aid
example, the way the local market functions). The key informants may be found at any level (village,
district, region), depending on the information desired. They may be government employees, teachers,
representatives of village organizations (farming unions, women’s groups, etc.), merchants, traditional
leaders, NGO personnel, etc.
• Strata
So as to obtain an accurate image of the situation of the population, taking the diversity of the different
groups into account, the interviews are organized on the basis of existing strata, if there are any:
geographic and economic (urban/rural), social, political (refugees, displaced persons, residents), etc.

Because of the management of the group interviews and the possible biases in the presence of
influential people during an interview, it recommended to lead individual interviews prior to the group

III.2.2 Questionnaires
The questionnaires are addressed to a sample of the beneficiary households selected so as to be
of the beneficiary population. The choice is not random over the whole beneficiary
population but, as for the interviews, takes the previously identified strata into account. Within each
strata, random sampling is practiced, generally on 5 to 10% of the population studied. This proportion
is indicative and should be realistic in terms of the capacities and time available.

The goal is not to have statistically representative values but rather a good representation of the study
that can confirm the trends. The size of the sample depends mainly on the quantity of information to
be gathered and the degree of heterogeneity of the population (to represent very heterogeneous
situations, a large sample is necessary. By contrast, if the population is relatively homogenous, a
smaller sample will be sufficient.) Finally, it should also be equally coherent with our material and
human resource capacities and the available time limits. It is necessary to test the questionnaire before
using it in practice in order to:
- Estimate the time necessary to complete the exercises of information collection and analysis,
- Ensure that all the collected information is necessary and usable,
- Ensure that the questions will be understood by the populations and the investigators,
- Detect any biases.
For a simple, systematic survey (without taking strata into consideration), using a numbered
beneficiary list:
- Calculate the survey interval: size of the diversified population for the sample size
- Choose the first beneficiary at random
- The following beneficiaries will be selected by adding the value of the survey interval to the
first number selected (when we get to the end of the list, we start again from the beginning)

III.2.3 Market follow-up
The monitoring sheets are drawn up throughout the program. They provide the indicators to be
measured in time: price, quantity, quality, packaging of the foodstuffs, origin, etc. This follow-up
serves not only to monitor and evaluate the food aid program, but it is also an essential tool for
following the evolution of the intervention context through the prism of food markets. See the book,
Food Security Assessments and Surveillance, for more information concerning the methodology and
use of market surveys.

IV Information to collect
IV.1 At the community scale (or that of its representatives)
In relationship with the aspects initially assessed (see Chapter 2), surveillance indicators will be
monitored during and after the distribution in the following domains:

It is not a question of a statistically valid methodology but rather confirming or invalidating trends and hypotheses following a qualitative
Action Contre la Faim Food Aid and Alternatives to Food Aid
- Food markets: evolution of prices, quality, and quantity of the foodstuffs,
- Job market: evolution of the minimum wage rates, evolution of the types of jobs,
- Commercial exchanges: behavior of the merchants, seasonality of the flow, barriers to
commercial flow,
- Behavior of the population: displacement, migration, stabilization
- Political and social contexts, security conditions and the effects of food aid on these,
- Displacement of the population: number of displaced persons, number of camps, amplitude of
the movements,
- Nutritional status of the population, provided by nutritional surveys

IV.2 At the beneficiary family scale (questionnaire)
• Profile of the beneficiaries:
Name, address, size of family, ethnic group, clans, religions, urban/rural, resident/displaced/refugee,
nomad/sedentary.... or any other element which may participate in the selection process such as the
‘active working force/size of family’ ratio, the type of work, the area of land owned, the size of the
livestock herds, etc.
• Evaluation of the distribution:
This is the monitoring and evaluation of the different distribution activities. The PDM here
complements the FBM, or even replaces it when the operational constraints make the latter impossible.
The following elements must be measured:
- Quality of the registration and perception of the selection criteria
- Verification of the eligibility of the questioned beneficiaries
- Conformity of the received food basket to the planned food basket
- Quality of the food basket
- Existing taxation mechanisms during or after distribution
- The equity and the efficacy of the distribution process
- Appropriateness of the distribution system: distance, frequency, distribution method
- Problems and costs of transportation of the food basket
• Use of the food basket and household food economy

Two kinds of information are required here:
- How the food basket is used: the part of the ration that is consumed, stored, sold, or
exchanged, and for what. This assumes an exhaustive listing of all the possible uses of the
food. The ‘proportional piling’ tool provides a way to illustrate the respective proportions of
the food used for each of the different categories. It is illustrated with a pie chart.
- The number of meals taken the day before, as well as the foodstuffs consumed and their origin
for each meal. The ’24-hour recall’ gives an idea of the family’s consumption the day before
the interview. It should be precise if the distributed foodstuffs make up part of the menus.
The idea is to define the proportion of the distributed food basket that was consumed. The
contribution of the ration in the family budget (if it has been sold) must then be evaluated, and the uses
of the gained resources (food, rent, school fees, etc) must be identified. The lists of the different
exterior sources of food provide a way to address the question of the family’s resources. A good way
to address the question of possible revenue sources is to list all the existing income generating
activities and to try to evaluate the respective values of each (proportional piling). (See the examples
of a PDM questionnaire presented in Appendix 40 for a general food distribution program and
Appendix 41 for a canteen program.)
• Use of cash and household food economy
The approach is very similar to that described above for the food baskets, but it is generally less easy
for the beneficiary families to describe the use of cash coming from a specific source (distribution for
work). It is thus recommended to complement the investigation by questioning the households about
the evolution of their buying power, how much they spent/spend before/after distribution and what
kinds of expenses were/are made, in order to determine if the basic needs are covered, if there is a
productive use of the cash (investment) or if ‘non-essential’ products are being purchased. (See the
example of the PDM questionnaire presented in Appendix 42 for cash for work distribution program.)

Action Contre la Faim Food Aid and Alternatives to Food Aid
V Role of nutritional surveys

Depending on the fixed objectives for food distribution and the expected results, it may be pertinent to
follow the evolution of the anthropometrics indicators to measure the impact of the program. The
nutritional surveys led by the nutritional service will thus provide a way to follow the nutritional status
of the beneficiary populations. Led at different moments for the same population, the surveys help
estimate the evolution of the nutritional status of the populations but do not explain the causes of the
malnutrition (which is not only due to the lack of food). The results may, however, provide good
indications of the quality and impact of the realized distributions. For more information about the
nutritional surveys, refer to the book by Action Contre la Faim entitled, Malnutrition in Crisis

VI Summary
• The monitoring and evaluation of a program is an ongoing process; it is integrated into the
activities and carried out most often by special teams.
• The information collected should be limited to the minimum necessary to keep it rapidly
• Through the analysis of the monitoring results, the program may be adjusted so as to be made
more pertinent with regard to:
- The targeting criteria
- The composition and the quantity of the ration
- The system and the method of distribution
- The progression towards the desired results
- The progression towards the fixed objectives
• The program monitoring considers the evolution of the context and through these analyses,
the objectives of the program may be readjusted.

Action Contre la Faim Food Aid and Alternatives to Food Aid

I What is a food aid program?
A food aid program consists of channeling and distributing foodstuffs to people affected by a crisis
with the goal of saving lives or preventing the degradation of their means of livelihood. The major
problem that such a program responds to is the lack of availability of foodstuffs following a crisis that
the population has suffered. The program is a process that begins with the identification of food needs
of the affected population. Then the most appropriate way to respond to these needs must be
determined, according to the political, social, economic, security, and geographic contexts.
Implementation consists of the physical distribution of the foodstuffs. It is systematically verified and
monitored throughout the intervention period to verify the progress of the desired results that finally
lead to reaching the fixed objective. Over the longer term, the food production support programs
(agricultural rehabilitation) respond to the same problematics.

II What is meant by ‘alternatives’ to food aid?
An alternative to food aid is a different kind of response due to the fact that the major problem
encountered by the affected population is not a lack of availability but a lack of access to foodstuffs.
This means that the food is or could be presented in sufficient quantities for everyone in the crisis
zone, but the vulnerable population can no longer access that food due to insufficient buying power.
The causes of this lack of buying power should be identified. If it is due to excessively high prices of
foodstuffs on the market, the injection of foodstuffs will respond more appropriately to the problem
than the injection of cash that would cause even greater inflation. If the lack of buying power is due to
a loss of revenues, and under the condition that the markets function freely (no exchange barriers, the
markets are integrated, the markets are competitive, the merchants want and are able to increase
supply, then an intervention which provides a way to increase the buying power of the populations in
need is indicated. The program consists of cash distribution, food coupons, or price subsidization to
increase access to foodstuffs. Over the long term, income generating activities can respond to the same
The alternatives to food aid are the result of an acknowledgement of the negative effects on the local
economics when the foodstuffs are distributed when they are or could be available locally. By
contrast, injecting cash in a situation of poor availability would only increase the cause of the problem
with its inflationist effect.
The situations encountered in the field are rarely so cleanly divided between lack of availability or
lack of access: the problematics can be mixed together depending on the seasonal variations
(agricultural calendar, seasonal migration, climate, etc.) and the assessment of the food situation
should always be updated to permit the use of combination food aid/food aid alternatives programs
where necessary (see the example in Appendix 6).

III A food aid program: is it Logistics or Food Security?
It’s both! The distribution program does not come down to just one single activity of the physical
distribution of foodstuffs to beneficiary populations. The entire process requires specific skills from
the Food Security department that has constructed its expertise over the years in this type of program.
The role of the Logistics department is the same as for any other program, to understand and
determine the management and the security, supplies and transportation. Given the significant volumes
that a food distribution program generates, the Logistics support is crucial. This is why the Logistics
plan for the food aid programs is integrated from the initial assessment phase to verify the feasibility
and ensure the reactivity of the intervention. Throughout the process of the program, Logistics and
Food Security interact so that the source (purchase, donation of foodstuffs) and the supply chain
(storage, repackaging, delivery) lead to the realization of the distribution activities and respond to the
fixed objective.

Action Contre la Faim Food Aid and Alternatives to Food Aid
IV When should a food aid program start, and when should it stop?
A food aid program should be started as soon as acute malnutrition develops as a result of a lack of
food (unavailable or inaccessible) or whenever there is a risk of it developing because of the certain
degradation of the means of livelihood of the households. Clearly, it is better to prevent than to cure,
and food aid should be that tool which permits the prevention of these nutritional crises. The difficulty
is thus in objectively establishing the seriousness of this risk. Contrary to a nutrition program which
treats recognized cases identifiable by their anthropometrics criteria (weight/height relationship), the
food aid program should evaluate the needs based on criteria that is rather qualitative such as the
capacity of households to cope with the crisis. The goal is thus to anticipate the evolution of this
capacity according to the anticipated consequences of seasonal variations, from a natural disaster, a
violent conflict, or a politic of discrimination. When the chances of a return to the initial means of
livelihood are in jeopardy due to a lack of food availability or access, food aid or an alternative to food
aid should be started. We rely on the identification of indicators, such as the number and the
composition of meals, income levels, the sale of productive assets, the market price levels. In theory,
the program should stop whenever these indicators show that the return to the initial state has been
restored or at least that the resources/needs balance for the households is stable as a result of an
economic boost following the end of a conflict, the return to a normal agricultural production level,
etc. In practice, distribution should remain short term to prevent the development of adverse effects.
Beyond the specific situations of food support defined in time, such as during a hunger gap, the
intervention strategy could advocate complementary support that aims to restore the autonomy of the
households though agricultural rehabilitation programs and/or income generating activities. It is upon
reaching this condition that the food aid should stop.

V How can we be sure that the food aid reaches the most vulnerable?
The entire process of the food aid program described through this book has but one single goal: to
offer quality aid to the needy populations. It is thus all the principles, methodologies, and monitoring
and assessment tools that help minimize the adverse effects of food aid and maximize the cover of
food needs.
In the first place, the program is based on a needs assessment that takes into account the reality of each
context and each population group. Ideally, involving the local populations and making them
responsible helps reinforce the pertinence of the intervention.
The targeting and registration techniques aim to select the most vulnerable population by minimizing
the risks of exclusion and inclusion. The composition of the food basket (or the determination of the
salary rate), the way the food is distributed (dry, mixed, cooked), how often the rations are distributed,
the location and the organization of the distribution sites are all means by which the aid may reach the
targeted people. The flow of foodstuffs between the suppliers (or donors and ACFIN) and between the
warehouses and the distribution points, are governed by quality and quantity control procedures. The
reports that tally up and synthesize the information from the different participants give the status of the
activities’ progress with regard to the desired results. Finally, after each distribution cycle, monitoring
carried out directly among the program’s beneficiaries helps grasp their perception of the program, the
reality of the aid obtained, and its use.
Action Contre la Faim Food Aid and Alternatives to Food Aid


Example 1: Planning depends on the objective........................................................................................... 20
Example 2: Free distribution to children under 5 years old ....................................................................... 22
Example 3: Canteen programmes ............................................................................................................... 24
Example 4: Seed protection programme ..................................................................................................... 25
Example 5: Food for work programme ....................................................................................................... 27
Example 6: Cash for work programme ....................................................................................................... 29
Example 7: Food coupon distribution programme...................................................................................... 31
Example 8: Subsidized sales programme.................................................................................................... 33
Example 9: Criteria for distribution targeting............................................................................................. 37
Example 10: Geographic targeting for general distribution........................................................................ 37
Example 11: Individual targeting of children less than 5 years old ............................................................ 38
Example 12: Distribution of a vitamin-C-enriched food basket ................................................................. 43
Example 13: Updating registration lists ...................................................................................................... 68
Example 14: Investigation into the absence of beneficiaries ...................................................................... 75
Example 15: Calculation for grouped distribution...................................................................................... 79
Example 16: Calculation of the quantities to be delivered to the intervention zones ................................. 90
Example 17: Estimation of the quantity actually received from the supplier ............................................. 97
Example 18: Calculation of losses related to repackaging.......................................................................... 98
Example 19: Calculation of average weight................................................................................................ 98
Example 20: Registration list verification................................................................................................. 104

Action Contre la Faim Food Aid and Alternatives to Food Aid


Figure 1: Causal chart of malnutrition ....................................................................................................... 12
Figure 2: Role distribution between the logistics and food security services ............................................. 50
Figure 3: Example of a supply chain for food distribution ......................................................................... 53
Figure 4: General organisation chart for distribution programmes............................................................. 59
Figure 5: Example of a simple circuit ......................................................................................................... 82
Figure 6: Example of a multiple circuit ...................................................................................................... 83
Figure 7: Example of a canteen circuit, with dining hall ............................................................................ 87
Figure 8: The different flows of foodstuffs in food distribution................................................................. 89


Table 1: Type of aid to be provided according to the food problematic....................................................... 8
Table 2: Type of aid according to the conditions on the food markets....................................................... 14
Table 3: Indicators to determine the pertinence of a programme................................................................ 17
Table 4: Examples of distribution programme monitoring indicators ........................................................ 21
Table 5: Advantages and disadvantages of free distribution....................................................................... 23
Table 6: Advantages and disadvantages of canteens .................................................................................. 25
Table 7: Advantages and disadvantages of seed protection........................................................................ 26
Table 8: Advantages and disadvantages of the distribution of food for work programme......................... 28
Table 9: Advantages and disadvantages of a distribution programme of cash for work ............................ 30
Table 10: Advantages and disadvantages of food coupons......................................................................... 32
Table 11: Advantages and disadvantages of subsidised selling.................................................................. 34
Table 12: Key questions for the choice of programme type ....................................................................... 34
Table 13: Advantages and disadvantages of different products rich in micronutrients .............................. 42
Table 14: Example of complete food baskets ............................................................................................. 45
Table 15: Example of food baskets for children under 5 years old............................................................. 45
Table 16: Advantages and disadvantages of the different types of food baskets........................................ 46
Table 17: Advantages and disadvantages of the time periods covered by the food baskets....................... 48
Table 18: Advantages and disadvantages of the types of registration ........................................................ 65
Table 19: Advantages and disadvantages of distribution systems .............................................................. 71
Table 20: Advantages and disadvantages concerning the number of distribution points ........................... 74
Table 21: Advantages and disadvantages of gas versus carbon.................................................................. 85
Table 22: Distribution plan ......................................................................................................................... 91
Table 23: Responsibilities of the flow management tools .......................................................................... 91
Table 24: Counting foodstuffs according to distribution method ............................................................... 97
Table 25: Human and material resources for FBM at a distribution circuit.............................................. 105

Action Contre la Faim Food Aid and Alternatives to Food Aid

Appendix 1: Abbreviations .................................................................................................... 116
Appendix 2: Glossary............................................................................................................. 117
Appendix 3: Estimating the number of people in a population.............................................. 119
Appendix 4: Examples of tools for rapid assessments........................................................... 121
Appendix 5: Standard logistics framework for a distribution program.................................. 123
Appendix 6: Combination strategy of food and cash distribution.......................................... 125
Appendix 7: Example of vulnerability factors in food security............................................. 127
Appendix 8: Example of the determination of payments in food according to tasks ............ 129
Appendix 9: Villagers’ contract for a food for work distribution program............................ 130
Appendix 10: Minimum requirements of micronutrients in a food basket ............................ 131
Appendix 11: Example of porridge preparation..................................................................... 132
Appendix 12: Examples of an action plan ............................................................................. 134
Appendix 13: Verification list for the feasibility of the supply chain.................................... 135
Appendix 14: Example of the preparation of pre-mixed rations for children under 5........... 136
Appendix 15: Possible alterations of the quality depending on the type of foodstuffs.......... 138
Appendix 16: Examples of organisation with the local committees and their responsibilities
........................................................................................................................................ 142
Appendix 17: Example of a partnership agreement with a local committee ......................... 144
Appendix 18: Job descriptions of all positions possible during a distribution program........ 146
Appendix 19: Example of a registration form........................................................................ 154
Appendix 20: Example of a distribution card for beneficiaries ............................................. 155
Appendix 21: Material and equipment for distribution sites.................................................. 157
Appendix 22: Example of canteen site organisation.............................................................. 158
Appendix 23: Example of canteen kit for 1250 beneficiaries (preparation in 50-litre pots.). 160
Appendix 24: Determination of the transportation needs for the supply ............................... 161
Appendix 25: Control Form .................................................................................................. 162
Appendix 26: Stock Sheet Form............................................................................................ 164
Appendix 27: Supply Register ............................................................................................... 165
Appendix 28: Returns Register ............................................................................................. 166
Appendix 29: ......................................................................................................................... 167
Appendix 30: Distribution Site Register ............................................................................... 169
Appendix31: ........................................................................................................................... 171
Appendix32: DistributionReport............................................................................................ 172
Appendix33: Supply Report................................................................................................... 175
Appendix34: Synthesis report (Reconciliation) ..................................................................... 176
Appendix35: Calculation of statistical indicators of FBM (Food Basket Monitoring).......... 178
Appendix36: Guide for collective interviews ........................................................................ 180
Appendix37: Discussion group guidebook for a cash for work program.............................. 182
Appendix38: Example of PDM questionnaire for general distribution ................................. 184
Appendix39: Example of PDM questionnaire for a canteen program................................... 186
Appendix40: Example of PDM questionnaire for a cash for work distribution program...... 189
Action Contre la Faim Food Aid and Alternatives to Food Aid
Appendix 1: Abbreviations

ACFIN Action Contre la Faim International

CSB Corn Soya Blend
FA Food Aid
FAO Food and Agriculture Organization
FBM Food Basket Monitoring
HCR High Commissioner for Refugees (United Nations)
ICRC International Committee of the Red Cross
IDP Internally Displaced Persons
LFA Logical Framework Analysis
WHO World Health Organization (United Nations)
NGO Non-Government Organization
WFP World Food Program (United Nations)
PDM Post Distribution Monitoring
TRJ Time for Round-trip Journey
UNICEF United Nations Children’s Fund
Action Contre la Faim Food Aid and Alternatives to Food Aid
Appendix 2: Glossary

Alternatives to food aid: making foodstuffs and primary necessity items (health, hygiene, water,
clothes, etc.) available and accessible by increasing the buying power for a certain population in order
to prevent the underlying or direct causes of malnutrition.

Buying power: level of incomes allowing a household to make purchases on the market; the sale of
assets increases the buying power but is a short-term strategy with no future prospects.

Causal analysis: in a causal analysis, one starts from the identification of a problem and then
proceeds to identify the causes of the problem, the causes of the causes and so on. The result is a
“problem tree”, in which the logical sequence of causes and effects is presented. To each cause, a
solution or objective is assigned. This method is used to define intervention strategies (it can be used
for a log-frame analysis, for example).

Competitive markets: markets where the prices are freely set depending on the supply and the
demand, without distortion due to the existence of a monopoly or speculation.

Coping strategies: practices that the households fall back upon in order to minimize the risks
threatening their survival in the more or less long term. These strategies allow households to maintain
their diet, preserve their capital and the necessary resources to ensure their livelihood and that of future

Database: a table that manages various data concerning a variable or an entity.

Distribution chain: the continuous chain from the entrance of a distribution circuit, to the foodstuffs
distribution station, to the exit. A distribution circuit may have several distribution chains.

Evaluation: periodic investigations of a project (at the halfway point and after its termination).
Pertinence, efficiency, efficacy, and perpetuality of the project are evaluated, according to the desired

Exit strategy/phasing out: strategies outlining the steps to gradually end a project or close a mission.
It can involve stopping the activities completely or handing over to another agency (other NGO, local
authorities, international organization, etc.).

Food aid: making foodstuffs available and accessible to a certain population, in terms of quantity and
quality, to prevent malnutrition.

Food needs: lack of food in quantity and quality between the current diet and the minimum required
in nutritional terms for proper development of the human body.

Food security: Food security is ensured when all people, at all times, have access economically,
socially, and physically to sufficient, safe, and nutritious food that satisfies their nutritional needs and
their dietary preferences, allowing them to lead active and healthy lives. Food security of the
households corresponds to the application of this concept on the family level, with the center of
attention focusing on the individuals making up the household (FAO, 1996).

Impact evaluation: a study which measures the realization of the quantitative and qualitative fixed
objectives and which determines the positive and negative effects of the activities.

Income Generating Activities: any type of activity that enables a person or a household to generate
income. Income generating activities are important in terms of creating sustainability and improving
accessibility to basic food and non-food products.
Action Contre la Faim Food Aid and Alternatives to Food Aid

Indicator: a measurement that shows the changes or the results of an observed activity (Euronaid,

Integrated markets: markets that are connected to one another in physical terms (roads) or in terms
of information; price evolution in one market affects the others.

Log Frame Analysis (LFA): the logical framework analysis is a tool for program planning. It
presents, in a matrix form, the relation between the program’s overall objective, the specific
objectives, the expected results, and the activities. For each of these, the following must be specified:
objectively verifiable indicators, sources of verification, and assumptions or external factors. The
inputs (costs and resources) are also included. The LFA serves as a basis for the proposal.

Monitoring: monitoring is a continuous process of data collection and analysis, which should take
place as the project is being implemented. It is based on indicators that are collected regularly. The
actual progress is compared to the planned outcomes and activities, in order to identify necessary
program changes.

Preliminary assessment (base line study): the initial study that analyses the situation and identifies
the needs of the population, this involves understanding the global context, identifying the different
possible alternatives and judging their respective pertinence. This initial assessment serves as a
benchmark to determine the evolution of the situation.

Proportional piling: method that provides a way to explain and show proportions in a simple manner.
For example, we may ask how many of 10 pebbles represent the part of the food basket that was
consumed, and how many of those pebbles represent the part that was put in storage or the part that
was resold. The number of pebbles given to each part gives the respective proportions of those parts.

Scooping: use of a scoop to measure exact quantities of foodstuffs that are distributed loose from
bulk, without packaging, at the distribution site.

SPHERE project: project which aims to determine the minimum standards for any humanitarian
intervention (qualitative and quantitative).

Verification: periodic or systematic action of information discovery to verify the conformity of an
activity with the established conditions.

Action Contre la Faim Food Aid and Alternatives to Food Aid
Appendix 3: Estimating the number of people in a population

Grid method

Method that is useful in situations of displacement camps, not valid in an open environment.

• Determine the contours of the place where the population resides

• Calculate the surface area.
- max L = 1.5 km
- min L = 1 Km
- max l = 1 km
- min l = 0.8 Km
- avg L = (1.5+1) / 2 = 1.25
- avg L = ( 1 + 0.8) / 2 = 0.9
- Total surface area= 1.25 x 0.9= 1.125 Km² = 1.125.000 m²

It is also possible to determine the surface area of the camp by superposing a map of the camp on a
grid made up of 100-metre squares. The number of squares must then be added up to obtain the total
surface area.

• Determine the dimensions of a section.
Divide the total surface area by 30.

1.125.000 / 30 = 37,500 m²

• Select three sections of equivalent size at 37,500 m².
One section could have the following dimensions: 150 m x 250 m = 37,500 m²
The borders of each section must be physically marked off.

• Count the number of households and the number of people living there.
Count the number of homes occupied by one family in the section. Keep in mind that some huts or
tents may not be inhabited. For example, you may find:
40 homes in the first section and 380 people.
35 homes in the second section and 250 people.
50 homes in the third section and 450 people.

Action Contre la Faim Food Aid and Alternatives to Food Aid
• Determine the total number of homes and the total number of people
The average number of homes in the three sections is:
40 + 35 + 50 = 125 / 3 = 41.6 homes.

The average number of people in the three sections is:
380 + 250 + 450 = 1080 / 3 = 360 people.

The total number of homes in the camp is thus: 41.6 x 30 = 1248 homes
The average number of people living in one home is: 360 / 41.6 = 8.65
The total number of people living in the camp is approximately:
8.65 x 1248 = 10.795 people.

Estimation by aerial view.
This option, more rarely used, follows the following steps:
• Locate the camp’s coordinates on a map.
• Fly over the camp, taking aerial photos.
• Simultaneously carry out population sampling on the ground.
• Develop the film.
• Piece together the various photos to create a global image.
• Interpret the photos in comparison with the sampling carried out on the ground.

Action Contre la Faim Food Aid and Alternatives to Food Aid
Appendix 4: Examples of tools for rapid assessments

A. Logistics
1. Accessibility and condition of roads
a) What types of vehicles come and go in the zone?
taxis _____ public transportation _____ commercial/private truck _____
b) If there are trucks, what size/capacity are they?
c) Origin of the vehicles: Capital Other Closest provincial center
d) Road(s) taken(s):

2. Frequency of journeys in the zone
a) How often do (especially commercial) vehicles pass through the zone?
b) How has that frequency changed in the past month?
significantly decreased decreased stable increased significantly increased

3. Transport of foodstuffs and distribution in the zone
a) Vehicles available in the zone and capable of transporting foodstuffs: yes no
b) Type: ______________________ c) Number: __________ d) Size/capacity: __________

4. Fuel
a) Fuel available: diesel gasoline none
b) Availability of fuel over the past month has:
significantly decreased decreased stabilized increased significantly increased
5. Non-road transportation
a) Airport: tar dirt usable safe
Types of planes that may be used:
b) Port: capacity / equipment:_________________
Types of boats that could be used:

6. Storage of foodstuffs
a) Availability of warehouses to store foodstuffs: yes no
b) Type of structure: _____________________
c) Rented?
d) Owner?
e) Capacity: _____________________
f) Condition: good adequate inadequate
g) If inadequate, what repairs need to be made? ________________________________________
h) Security of structures/foodstuffs: good fair poor not secure

B. Food security and needs
1. Resources/availability of food
a) General availability of foodstuffs in city: good fair poor very poor
b) In neighboring zones: good fair poor very poor
c) Availability in the past year: increased decreased remained stable

2. Targeting:
a) People to target in food aid: ____________________________________
b) What are the potential risks of targeting within the same village?
c) Who would benefit from importing food aid into the zone?
Action Contre la Faim Food Aid and Alternatives to Food Aid
d) What types of foodstuffs would be most appropriate in terms of security and storage for the
e) How long should the distribution cycle last?

3. Observations:
a) What are the general implications in terms of security if food aid is imported into the zone?
b) What is the general context of humanitarian work in the zone?
c) Have there been recent hostilities in the zone? Give the dates and describe the nature and amplitude
of these recent hostilities.

C. General
1. Non-food needs
a) What are the immediate needs of the affected populations? (estimate the degree of the need on a
scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being most urgent)
food _____ cooking utensils_____
shelter _____ medical _____
water/sanitation _____ blankets, clothing_____ other_____

2. Local capacities
a) Are there current structures/systems in place which could be used for: registration
b) If yes, which ones?

Type (check type) Name Contact person and address
International NGO
Local NGO
Religious Org.

d) What other services/assistance can they provide?
e) What equipment is already on site?
f) What means of communication are there?
Telephone ______ Radio (name / frequency) ________ Other__________

D. Comments, notes, observations:

Action Contre la Faim Food Aid and Alternatives to Food Aid
Appendix 5: Standard logical framework for a distribution program

XX =Elements to be mentioned only when the data is available, collected, and analyzed.

Intervention Objectively Verifiable Indicators

Sources of Verification Risks and Hypotheses


- Prevent the deterioration of the
nutritional status of the targeted
Do not write anything in this box

objective of
the project

For the programs responding to
problems of food availability:
- Increase the food consumption
of the targeted population

For the programs responding to
problems of accessibility:
- Improve the household food
economy among the targeted

- X distribution cycles
- X beneficiaries have received X
food baskets or cash
- Use of the distributed products by
the beneficiaries

For the programs responding to
problems of food availability
- Cover the household food needs
through distributed aid

- ACF reports
- Reports from
- Post-Distribution
- Questionnaires and
results of

- The security situation does not
destabilize the living conditions of the

- The humanitarian situation—including
assistance by other actors—remains
stable throughout the period.

- Minimum access to medical care is


- The targeted population receives
the food and/or cash
- The food needs evaluated for the
targeted population are covered
during the period of the

Depending on the context,
additional results may also be
achieved, such as:
- Opportunities for mechanisms to
cope with the crisis are
increased / reinforced /
- X beneficiaries registered on the
registration lists
- X food baskets or cash have been
- X tons of food or X Euros ($) have
been distributed
- X% of beneficiaries have the
entire determined ration
- X% (min 90%) of the beneficiaries
have a nutritionally adequate diet
- ACF report
- Registration lists
- Distribution lists
- Delivery Slips
- PDM/FBM (Post-
Basket Monitoring)
- Reports from

- The population has the possibility and
the capacity to prepare the received
food, to spend the cash received.

Action Contre la Faim Food Aid and Alternatives to Food Aid
- Decapitalisation of households /
production tools / livestock is
- Prevention of increased debt or
mortgaged land
- Reduced emigration of the
working force during the
production period.
- Prevention of increased tensions


- Identification/definition of an
appropriate distribution system
- Training the team members
- Informing the targeted (and non-
targeted) populations
- Identification, registration, and
verification of the beneficiaries
- Supply and delivery of products
to be distributed
- Implementation of distribution
- Supervision and Monitoring
Means (resources)

- Food baskets and/or cash
- If canteens, kitchen equipment
- Transportation
- Personnel
- Vehicles
- Distribution materials
- Warehouses
- Quality control

Refer to the financial
documents attached to
the intervention proposal
- No major constraints (security,
- The population accepts the monitoring
- The collaboration with the other
actors/partners involved is effective
- Regular supervision by the expatriates
is possible
- No major flooding or climatic
constraints during the program.

- The conditions of access and security
permit the intervention of humanitarian
- The agreement reached with the local
authorities for the project is valid and
Before submitting any project proposal,
prior agreement with the local authorities
must be reached!

Action Contre la Faim Food Aid and Alternatives to Food Aid
Appendix 6: Combination strategy of food and cash distribution
Distribution of cash and foodstuffs may be two complementary alternatives. A well-coordinated combination can contribute to the stabilization of the price of
foodstuffs. The desired result is relieving the food deficit of the most vulnerable populations targeted by the program without deteriorating the non-
beneficiaries’ access to food, especially the local small farmers.

distribution cash
and foodstuffs
Price of
Post harvest period
Price of
Post harvest period
Price of
Post harvest period
Price of
Post harvest period
Impact of inflation
Impact of deflation
Impact of price
Action Contre la Faim Food Aid and Alternatives to Food Aid

Action Contre la Faim Food Aid and Alternatives to Food Aid
Appendix 7: Example of food security vulnerability indicators

Example taken from the Indonesian mission in North Moluku: context of return following
intercommunity conflicts.

1. Access to food:
• Access to land: land ownership, amount of land, kind of crops produced (rice zones
less vulnerable than manioc zones—the people are richer), livestock (cattle > goats
> fowl)
• Access to the sea: tools used (small motor boat > fishing net > rowboat > fishing
line > hook)
2. Access to incomes:
• Type of activities/incomes practiced in the village and the percentage of people
exercising that activity: merchant > carpenter, driver > farmer, fisherman, farm
• Commercial farming: type of trees, number of trees, % of people. In terms of
incomes: cloves > cashews > cacao > coconut, but the latter is very easy to produce
as opposed to the others (example: 1 clove tree = 3 coconut trees in terms of
• Evolution of the prices and especially the course of commercial crops
• Fishermen: % of people practicing this activity for incomes
• Small industries: manufacturing coconut oil>manufacturing sugar
• Factories
3. Commerce
• Presence of markets: number, location (distance)
• Price of the primary necessity products (compared to the city of Ternate,
administrative center)
• Number of shops
• Proximity of the administrative center or district capital
4. Demography
• IDPs: number (% of the local population), date of arrival, % of IDPs with families
• Returned: number (% of the local population), date of arrival, % if IDPs with
• IDPs more vulnerable than the returned people who have access to land, to
commercial farming, and to solidarity with their families
5. Level of destruction
• Amount of destruction (infrastructures)
• Commercial crops (% of destruction)
6. Communication channels
• Kind and number of communication channels: road > sea
• Selling possibility (commercial crops especially): easy, difficult, impossible
• Isolated zone or not
• Freedom of movement depending on security
7. Humanitarian assistance
• What, for whom, when?
Action Contre la Faim Food Aid and Alternatives to Food Aid
Appendix 8: Example of the determination of payments in food according to tasks

Projects Activities of the workers Unit of Theoretical ration per unit of work
work Rice Fish Oil Salt
Village pond 1st meter Excavation m3 3 kg 0.255 kg 0.216 l 0.03 kg
2nd meter Excavation m3 4 kg 0.340 kg 0.288 l 0.04 kg
3rd meter Excavation m3 5 kg 0.425 kg 0.360 l 0.05 kg
Compaction, conversion (1) m3 2 kg 0.170 kg 0.144 l 0.02 kg
Dyke and Road Excavation m3 3 kg 0.255 kg 0.216 l 0.03 kg
Compaction, stabilizing (2) m3 2 kg 0.170 kg 0.144 l 0.02 kg
Community buildings Construction m2 15 kg 1.275 kg 1.08 l 0.15 kg
Excavation m3 3 kg 0.255 kg 0.216 l 0.03 kg
Repair Days/work 4 kg 0.340 kg 0.288 l 0.04 kg
Clearing (3) A (easy) Clearing, cleaning hectare 150 kg 12.75 kg 10.8 l 1.5 kg
B (average) Clearing, cleaning hectare 200 kg 17 kg 14.4 l 2 kg
C (difficult) Clearing, cleaning hectare 250 kg 21.25 kg 18 l 2.5 kg

Non-specialized workers (4) Porter, lumberjack,... Days/work 4 kg 0.340 kg 0.288 l 0.04 kg
Specialized workers (4) Carpenter, Mason, Cart Rental,... Days/work 6 kg 0.510 kg 0.432 l 0.06kg

(1): Conversion Refers to planting grass (fodder-type) to stabilize the excavated land
and the land around it, as well as setting up protection of the water point (fence)
(2): Stabilizing
Refers to planting grass (fodder-type) in order to stabilize the
excavated land and the land around it

(3): Clearing Refers to the removal of plants (grasses, bushes, trees)

present at the worksite. When the clearing is finished, the
ground should be free of vegetation.
(4): Working time A half-day’s work will be paid in a half day’s ration.

Action Contre la Faim Food Aid and Alternatives to Food Aid
Appendix 9: Villagers’ contract for a food for work distribution program

Contract nb: ____ / ____ / - - date

Province: _______________________

District: ________________________ Commune: ______________

Village: ________________________

Project: _________________________________________________________

Dimensions: _______________________________________________________

Project Manager: __________________ Title: ______________

Number of working days (duration): ____________________________

Start date: ____ / ____ / ____

Expected completion date: ____ / ____ / ____

Total number of workers: ____________________________

Volume of work to be performed:
Excavation (in m3):
Compaction (in m3):
Clearing (in hectares):

Total ration:
Rice in kg:__________________
Oil in liters: _______________
Fish (in boxes):___________
Salt in kg:__________________

Distribution dates (approximate): First: ____ / ____ / ____
Second:____ / ____ / ____
Third: ____ / ____ / ____

Description of project:

Village leader ACF Representative
__________________ _________________
Signature: Signature:

Action Contre la Faim Food Aid and Alternatives to Food Aid
Appendix 10: Minimum requirements of micronutrients in a food basket
(SPHERE – 2004).

Nutrient Median needs for a population
Vitamin A 1.666 UI (or 0.5mg equivalent to retinol)
Thiamine (B1) 0.9mg (or 0.4mg for 1.000 calories)
Riboflavin (B2) 1.4mg (or 0.6mg for 1.000 calories)
Niacin (B3) 12.0mg (or 6.6mg for 1.000 calories)
Vitamin C 28.0 mg
Vitamin D 3.2 – 3.8 µg calciferol
Iron 22 mg (poor bio availability, from 5 to 9 %)
Iodine 150 µg

Minerals Unit
Preferred density of
Lowest threshold
The values given are for 100 kcal
POTASSIUM (K) mg 190 74
SODIUM (Na) mg 60 26
MAGNESIUM (Mg) mg 30 10
CALCIUM (Ca) mg 84 28
PHOSPHORE (P) mg 70 21
ZINC (Zn) mg 0.9 0.4
COPPER (Cu) µg 95 28
SELENIUM (Se) µg 3.6 1.85
MANGANESE (Mn) µmol 0.3
CHROME (Cr) nmol 2
MOLYBDENE(Mo) nmol 5
FLUORINE (Fl) µmol <1

Adapted from: WHO (1997, project) and WFP/HCR (December 1997).

Action Contre la Faim Food Aid and Alternatives to Food Aid
Appendix 11: Example of porridge preparation
This method calls for preparing the porridge in a 50-liter pot, to make approximately 44 rations.

Composition of the ration:

The daily ration per person was defined as follows:
- CSB (or Unimix): 200 g
- Oil: 45 g
- Sugar: 30 g
Each ration requires 700 ml of water to prepare it as porridge.

Its caloric supply is 1200 Kcal; after cooking, each beneficiary should receive 750g of porridge.


- Ensure bodily hygiene and the cleanliness of the cooking materials.
- Boil approximately 15 liters of water (for 20 minutes if the water is not good quality).
- During this time, in a large, separate bowl, gradually mix 8.8 kg of flour (CSB or UNIMIX) with 2
liters of oil and about 15 liters of water until it creates a smooth, even batter.
- When the water is boiling, add the batter.
- Mix well.
- Allow it to cook for approximately 40 minutes.
- Add 1.5 kg of sugar before removing from heat.

Preparation time: 50 to 60 minutes.

Action Contre la Faim Food Aid and Alternatives to Food Aid
Appendix 12: Example of an action plan
• Classic Distribution, Chechnya 2000

LM = list monitoring
D = Distribution
PDM = Post Distribution Monitoring
Institution = Distribution in institutions
Month May
Activity 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15
Institution Meeting
Activity 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31
LM C + DB Shatoi
Month June
Activity 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15
D C + DB
Activity 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31

Month July
Activity 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15
Activity 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31
Training Senior + Monitor
Training Senior + Monitor
Training Senior + Monitor
Training & survey rehab I1
Itum Kale
Itum Kale + Sharoi
Itum Kale
Itum kale
Training & Survey rehab I2 Distrib I2
Chisky + Dachu Borzoi
Distrib I1 PM I1
Distrib I2
PM I1 Distrib I1
Training new RoD + macon
Distrib I1
Chisky + Dachu Borzoi Shatoi
Chisky + Dachu Borzoi
Action Contre la Faim Food Aid and Alternatives to Food Aid
Appendix 13: Verification list for determining supply chain feasibility

6 –TARGETED POPULATION (type and number of beneficiaries)
7 –INTERVENTION ZONE (Country, Region, Villages/cities)
8 –ACCESSIBILITY (in time)
12 –DEFINITION OF THE ORIGIN AND AVAILABILITY (Local / Regional / International)
(Period of validity)
15 –IMPORT LICENSE AND TAX EXEMPTION (period of validity)
Identification inspection agencies
Identification of insurance agencies
18 –STORAGE CAPACITY (consistent with the total volume of products)
19 –HANDLING CAPACITY (Loading/Unloading)
20 –MARKET SURVEYS (price/supplier/transporter/insurance)
21 –BUDGET (Estimation)
22 –GLOBAL OPERATIONS PLANNING (consistent with activities)

Action Contre la Faim Food Aid and Alternatives to Food Aid
Appendix 14: Example of the preparation of pre-mixed rations for children under 5

Distribution program in South Darfur – Sudan, 2004

Definition and duration of the ration provided
For children less than 5 years old, the ration is composed of CSB, oil, and sugar: the ingredients are
mixed together and will be ready to be cooked into porridge. The amount of each ingredient is based
on the WFP standards for the Supplemental Nutrition Projects (see the table below). As a ready mix,
the ration has a shelf life of 17 to 20 days, after which time it turns rancid. Consequently, the ration is
prepared for a duration of 15 days.
The total number of expected beneficiaries is about 13,000, or as many 15-day rations to prepare.

Daily ration
Ration for 2 weeks
projection (tons)
CSB 0.25 3.75 48.75
Oil 0.025 0.375 4.875
Sugar 0.02 0.3 3.9
total 0.295 4.425 57.725

Preparing the rations
Preparing 13,000 rations takes 4 days, with delivery to the distribution sites the following day.
The ready mix requires approximately 120 daily workers – to measure out, load, mix, and package
up the rations.
The work is organized with 18 mixing tables: 2 people per table mix two sacks of CSB (50 kg) at the
same time, with the corresponding quantities of oil and sugar (measured out) to respect the
composition of the initial ration, respectively 5 and 4 kg.
The tasks are separated as much as possible to optimize the production chain:
o 3 people carry the sacks of sugar and the containers of oil into the measuring tent.
o 3 people carry the pails with the exact quantities of oil and sugar (for 1 table) from the
tent to the mixing tables.
o 10 people carry the sacks of CSB from the warehouse to the mixing tables.
4 people prepare the exact quantities of oil and sugar for the tables. These quantities are
measured out (scooped): 2 scoops of sugar, or a total of 4 kg, and 1 scoop of oil at 5 kg.
36 people mix the foodstuffs on the tables covered with a plastic sheet. There are two
people per table who mix 50 kg of CSB with 5 kg of oil and 4 kg of sugar. When the
operation is finished (the mixture being homogenous), they raise their hands to call the
people in charge of removing the plastic with the mixture so as to be able to start a new
operation on another plastic sheet.
Removal of ration mixes from the tables:
12 people are in charge of taking the mixed foodstuffs from the tables to the people who
are then in charge of measuring out the individual rations. These 12 people are also in
charge of bringing new plastic sheets to the tables.
Measuring out the rations:
28 people measure out the mix for an individual ration that is then packaged.
Action Contre la Faim Food Aid and Alternatives to Food Aid
15 people are then in charge of closing the individual ration sacks with an elastic band.
Removal of individual rations:
9 people are then in charge of filling large sacks with 5 individual rations which are then
taken to the warehouse on pallets where they will await delivery to the distribution site.

Note: even though the tasks may be rather tedious, it is possible to have women work at the mixing,
measuring, and repackaging stations. Recruitment should thus reflect a choice of having as many
women as men and only one member per family to maximize the benefit.

Action Contre la Faim Food Aid and Alternatives to Food Aid
Appendix 15: Possible alterations of the quality depending on the type of foodstuffs

Alteration Alteration agent Analyses Decision Prevention
Grains and other foreign
- Broken grains=mechanical alteration
- Visual examination
(- Detection sieve)
If concentration of foreign materials is
too great = refusal or reimbursement of
product if purchased; sort if possible if
Presence or suspected
presence of insects
(discolored or damaged
Insect infestation, heightened risks of
contamination (by release of heat and temperature
- Visual examination
- Internal temperature
If insects are present, apply a pesticide
treatment as quickly as possible (determine
if the product is still usable depending on
the degree of infestation)
If the internal temperature is high, see
line 6.
Heated grains = internal
temperature too high
- Increased temperature at the warehouse
- Presence of insects (released heat)
- Poor fluidity properties of the grain (interstitial
volume of air between the grains)
- Very poor thermal conductivity (poor evaluation
of the released heat), direct relationship to the
water concentration
- Internal temperature of product
– Concentration in water
- Concentration in Group B
Microbiological contamination
(grain decomposition,
mildew, production of toxins,
inhibitions, and decreased
- Elevated temperature of product, associated
with increased water concentration
- Concentration in water
- Concentration in Group B
If [water] > specifications, but the
microbio analysis is satisfactory = possible
to dry the products to decrease humidity
and limit risks of microbiological
If [aflatoxins] > 20ppb = do not distribute
- REGULAR verification of
the relative temperature
and humidity of the
- Verification upon
examination packaging +
product (absence of
insects, foreign bodies,
broken or germinated
Water concentration,
concentration in Group B
- ROUTINE Verification:
Visual examination = sacks in
good condition, absence of
insects, mildew, germinated
Elevated enzymatic activity (due to optimal
temperature + HR conditions)

- Visual examination
- Water concentration analysis
- Measure alpha-amylase levels
- Microbiology analysis
- Analysis of aflatoxins
concentrations (B1, B1 + B2 + G1
+ G2 combination, and
ochratoxin A)
Possible to dry the product to reduce
humidity (thereby inhibiting germination).
If [germinated grains] > specifications
refuse the product, if purchased

Non-enzymatic tanning
Oxidation of the grains (limited by relative humidity
< 20%), risks of loss of nutritional quality
- Analysis of water concentration - monitor the temperature

Action Contre la Faim Food Aid and Alternatives to Food Aid

Alteration Alteration agent Analyses Decision Prevention
(Internal) temperature too
- Temperature at warehouse too
- Presence of living insects
- Internal temperature of product
- Water concentration
- Microbiology analysis
- Concentration in aflatoxins
If [water] > specifications, and
microbiology analysis is acceptable =
consider the possibility of drying the product
(spread out if possible)
If microbio flora > specifications, if [B
aflatoxins] > 20ppb = isolate and destroy
Massing, clumping
Humidity too high + possible
microbiological development + risk
of mildew and aflatoxins
Presence of mildew +
possible production of
Humidity too high
Vomiting, TIA symptoms
(especially in the therapeutic
Presence of pathogenic bacteria
responsible for TIA
- Water concentration analysis
- Microbiology analysis
- Analysis of concentration in
aflatoxins (B1, B1 + B2 + G1 + G2
combination, and ochratoxin A)

If microbiology analysis unsatisfactory
If [aflatoxins] > 20 ppb:
= product unfit for human consumption,
isolate and destroy product
Proportions of ingredients not
Fraud (must be detected at
- Microscopic examination
If proportions have not been respected =
refuse product if purchased
If donated = estimate the difference in the
nutritional level
Discoloring, insects,
contamination (traces and
damage caused by insects)
Presence of insects, which could
induce microbiological
- Visual examination
- Internal temperature
If insects are present (determine according
to degree of infestation) = It may be possible
to treat the product with a pesticide so as to
use the product later. Otherwise, the product
is deemed unusable; it should be isolated
and destroyed.
If the internal temperature is too high,
see line 4
Oxidation of the oil (rancid
Contact with the air, spoiling of the
oil = organoleptic degradation –
(reaction favored by increased
- Sensory analysis
- Peroxide index
- Microbiology analysis
If peroxide index is elevated
+ rancid taste is pronounced
= isolate product and do not distribute it
- REGULAR verification of the
relative temperature and humidity at
the warehouse (including any air
- Verification upon RECEPTION:
Visual examination + Microscopic
examination + water concentration +
microbiology analysis + concentration
in Group B aflatoxins
- Verification DURING STORAGE:
Visual examination = good condition
of packaging (prevents
contamination, infestation by insects,
etc.) and of product

Action Contre la Faim Food Aid and Alternatives to Food Aid


Alteration Suspected alteration agent(s) Analyses Decision Prevention
Recycled oil (frying
oil, deodorized)
Voluntary fraud on the part of the
- Concentration in polymers
If polymer concentration > 0.5%,
refuse product upon reception
High water
- Fraud
- Presence of water in the container
prior to packaging
- Water concentration
If water concentration >
specifications, refuse the product at
Mixed oil (vegetable
plus mineral)
Voluntary fraud on the part of the
- Concentration in insaponifiable
matter -
Concentration in impurities
If concentration in insaponifiable
matter > spec., If concentration in
impurities > 2-4%, refuse product
Aflatoxins in the
peanut oil
Insufficient refining - Acid index
If acid index >specifications:
demand an analysis of the
concentration in aflatoxins
Gossypol in the
cotton oil
Insufficient refining
- Acid index
- Halphen Reaction, if possible
If gossypol is present in the oil,
refuse product
Oxidation of the oil
(rancid taste)
Spoiling, oxidation of the oil
(production of free radicals) favored
by increased temperatures + catalytic
effect of copper and copper alloys (+
lesser effect of iron)
- Sensory analysis
- Peroxide index
(+ Carbonyl index if the reaction
appears very advanced)
If PI > 20-30mEq O2 & rancid taste
Oil considered unfit for human
consumption (depending on local
customs = appreciation for rancid
taste in certain countries?)
Ageing of oil
(extremely rare)
Hydrolysis of fatty acids (favored by
the presence of water, by increased
temperature + certain
microorganisms favoring the reaction)
- Analysis of acid index
- Analysis of water concentration
- Microbiology analysis
If acid index > specifications
Do not distribute product
- Regular verification of the
temperature at the warehouse
(+ clean and dry reservoirs)
- Verification upon RECEPTION:
= peroxide index for all oils
= whenever the origin is in doubt (or
local oil): acid index, water
concentration, polymer
concentration, concentration in
insaponifiable matter & impurities.

- Regular verification DURING
Visual examination = good condition
of packaging (minimum air/oil
contact, absence of leaks, etc.)

Action Contre la Faim Food Aid and Alternatives to Food Aid


Alteration Suspected alteration agent(s) Analyses Decision Prevention
- Impact during transport
- Visual examination
(ensuring that there are no
If the container is damaged and
leaks, refer to line 6—Leak

- Microbiological contamination
(insufficient sterilization or recooling
- Abrupt temperature change = water
condensation on the container, and
Spots of the
product (on other
containers or on
the label)
- (Micro) Leak, risk of microbiological
Abnormal smell
(putrid, sour,
butyric), change of
- Microbiological contamination
* proteolytic action of certain bacteria =
putrid odor
- Stability test (on 6
samples) verifying
whether the thermal
treatment has been
properly applied
If contamination by
pathogenic bacteria
(Clostridium perfringens, Cl.
Botulinum, Staph. Aureus,
Bacillus aureus) do not distribute
the product
If contamination by harmful,
non-pathogenic bacteria (Cl.
putrefaciens, Cl.
thermosaccharolyticum, Bacillus
stearothermophilus) of + than
25% of the lot, destruction of
the lot
- Regular verification of the relative
temperature and humidity of the
warehouse (prevent corrosion /
condensation of metal containers)
- Verification UPON RECEPTION:
Visual examination of the containers,
stability tests
- Verification DURING STORAGE:
virtual inspection of stocks, of the
condition of the containers

Action Contre la Faim Food Aid and Alternatives to Food Aid
Appendix 16: Examples of organization with the local committees and their responsibilities

Subsidized sales program, Kanem –Chad, 2001

Sales committee

- Canton leader
- Central village leader
- Sultan representative
- Imams
- ACF registration agent
- Is a path of
communication between
ACF and the villagers’
- Facilitates the preparation
of the sale (making
warehouses available free
of charge)
- Participates in informing
the population and making
them aware
- Verifies that the sales
committee properly takes
on its responsibilities
- Represents villagers
during the sale
- Vouches for the villagers
present on the day of sale
- Completes the beneficiary

Villagers’ committee

- Village leader
- Representatives of
women/women’s groups
- Representatives of young
people / of other groups in
the village
Committee regulations:
Presented below
Committee regulations:
Presented below

Conditions of sale
- The beneficiaries agree to
buy the cereal in their own
names and not for a third
party (merchants, etc.).


Families with three or more
Cereals are sold to women
The following are excluded
from the sale:
Government workers and
Action Contre la Faim Food Aid and Alternatives to Food Aid


We, the undersigned: _____________________________
Representing the village: ___________________________

Article 1:
We agree to respect the conditions of sale defined by Action Contre la Faim and work to inform the
village population of these conditions. In particular, we will take caution to prevent third parties from
using the name of people in our village to buy the cereals. We depend on the sales committee of our
sales center.
The cereals are sold to women only. The households considered for the sale are the households where
there are at least three children.
Article 2:
Households that may not benefit from the sale fall into the following categories: government workers,
Article 3:
We refuse any benefit, direct or indirect, which we may gain from this sale. We act as representatives
of our village and will receive no payment from Action Contre la Faim.
Article 4:
Action Contre la Faim reserves the right to stop the sale if the villagers’ committee does not respect
these agreements.

Signed and approved on (date)_____________________, in (village) __________


We, the undersigned: _____________________________
Representing the sales center: __________________

Article 1:
We agree to respect the conditions of sale defined by Action Contre la Faim.
Article 2:
We will inform the villagers’ committees of the conditions of sale, explain to them the way the
operation will run, and transmit information provided by Action Contre la Faim.
Article 3:
We agree to verify that the selection of the beneficiaries by the villagers’ committee is correct. In case
of doubt, we will inform Action Contre la Faim of the problems. The day of the sale, we will confirm
the identity of the people making up the villagers’ committee of each village.
Article 4:
We will facilitate the installation of the Action Contre la Faim sales center in our village, and will
agree to provide Action Contre la Faim with a secure warehouse, free of charge, where the food may
be stored in satisfactory hygiene and security conditions.
Article 5:
We act as representatives of our region and will receive no payment from Action Contre la Faim. The
sale will be stopped if the committee does not respect its agreements.

Signed and approved on (date)_____________________, in (village) __________

Action Contre la Faim Food Aid and Alternatives to Food Aid
Appendix 17: Example of a partnership agreement with a local committee

Cooperation Agreement


the association, Action Contre la Faim, represented by the ACF mission leader,
hereafter referred to as ACF,
the Anba Pwent canteen management committee


ARTICLE 1: Subject of the agreement:

This agreement applies to the implementation of the project of a free canteen in the Anba Pwent / Low
Equality district. This project has been designed to react to a crisis by providing food assistance to the
most vulnerable children between the ages of 6 months and 5 years old in the district. It has also been
designed to reinforce local capacities to ensure and reinforce food security in the households of the
district. The terms of this agreement as well as the conditions of the implementation process are the
result of discussions between the district organizations and ACF/CECI.

ARTICLE 2: Duration of the agreement

The end of the canteen project is set for 31 July 2004. This agreement is valid for the duration of the
project, except for cases defined in Article 9 below.

ARTICLE 3: Establishment of a management committee

The partner organizations of the project in the district have jointly decided with ACF to establish a
management committee specific to the implementation of canteen projects. This committee is
composed of three people and will represent the partner organizations for the implementation of the
canteen project in the Anba Pwent / Low Equality district.

ARTICLE 4: Responsibilities of the management committee

In close collaboration with the partner organizations that it represents, the management committee
agrees to:
- Provide the premises and sites necessary for the implementation of the project, as well as
the material and human resources necessary to install the canteens on the sites;
- Oversee the security of all the goods (premises, food stocks, utensils and various
materials, vehicles) and people (beneficiaries, canteen personnel, ACF personnel, etc.)
involved in the implementation of the project;
- Participate in the project preparation phase (counting the beneficiaries, preparation
meetings, etc.);
- Participate in the recruitment and management of the canteen personnel;
- Participate in informing the population about the project; and
- Participate in managing the flow and the waiting area during distribution.

ARTICLE 5: Responsibilities of ACF

Within the scope of this cooperation, ACF agrees to:
Action Contre la Faim Food Aid and Alternatives to Food Aid
- Facilitate the establishment of a management committee representing the different partner
organizations of the project in the district;
- Oversee the security of the premises provided for the project;
- Provide the necessary material, financial, and human resources for the proper functioning
of the canteen; and
- Support the management committee in the implementation of the project by providing
technical expertise.

ARTICLE 6: Identification of the premises and distribution sites

Within the scope of the implementation of the project and during the duration of that project, the
management committee, in agreement with the partner organizations, will provide:
- A storage area located at number 10, Anténor Firmin Road; and
- A plot of land located next to the storage area, number 10, Anténor Firmin Road, which
will serve as the preparation and distribution site.

ARTICLE 7: Conditions of financial management

Within the scope of the implementation of the project, the funds to be used to pay the wages of the
canteen personnel will be jointly managed by the management committee and ACF. The management
committee will carry out the payment of wages, under the supervision of ACF. The conditions of this
financial management will be specified in a separate document associated with this agreement.

ARTICLE 8: Project materials

The material resources that ACF provides for the project will continue to be the property of ACF
throughout the duration of the project. They are exclusively reserved for the functioning of the project
and may not in any case be the subject of personal use.

ARTICLE 9: Termination / Suspension

ACF/CECI reserves the right to suspend or terminate the current agreement should any of the
following occur:
- Aggravation of the security situation in the zone or the country;
- Suspension or termination of the food deliveries for the project for security or financial
- General fraud at the canteen entrance or serious abuse of the functioning of the canteens
threatening the capacity to respond to the real needs of the children of the district;
- Improper management of funds, materials, and other means provided for the
implementation of the project; or
- Conflict within the management committee or within the district that hampers the
implementation of the project.

ARTICLE 10: Dispute resolution

The two parties agree to amiably resolve any disputes that may occur during the application of the
current agreement.

Created in good faith in Gonaives, on (date):

For ACF For the management committee
Signature Signature

Action Contre la Faim Food Aid and Alternatives to Food Aid
Appendix 18: Job descriptions of positions possible during a distribution program

List of the job descriptions presented below:
- Food Security / Aid Coordinator
- Food Security / Aid Assistant Coordinator
- Distribution Program Officer
- Assistant Distribution Program Officer
- Distribution Project Supervisor
- Distribution Team Supervisor
- Monitoring Team Supervisor
- Stock Manager-Distributor
- Investigator
- Translator
- Data Entry Operator
- Monitor
- Registration Agent
- Cook
- Hygienist

Coordinate the food security programs and develop the food security
Reports to: Head of mission and Food
Security Supervisor at Headquarters
Supervises program officers
Degree / Level of Education: Engineer in agronomy or socio-economics or Eco of Development, etc.
Required skills: Prior humanitarian experience – In-depth knowledge of food security – Good person-to-person
and writing skills – Software skills – Team management experience

Objective 1: Oversee the evolution of food security:
- Collect and analyze food security information.
- Understand the impact of the living conditions of the population.
- Write reports for publication.

Objective 2: Contribute to the definition of the program strategy:
- Assess the needs of the population.
- Propose intervention strategies.
- Ensure the write-up of donor proposals and technical reports.
- Participate in the transversal approach of interventions.

Objective 3: Supervise the programs:
- Define the intervention zones.
- Validate the methodologies for implementing projects.
- Analyze and synthesize the activity reports.

Objective 4: Manage the food security team:
- Collaborate in team recruitment and training.
- Perform evaluations of the food security officers.
- Reinforce the supervisory capacities of program officers.
- Ensure the team’s internal communication system.

Action Contre la Faim Food Aid and Alternatives to Food Aid

Provide technical support to the project personnel, organize evaluations, and
monitor the food security situation.
Supervise the programs and lead the teams in the absence of the program
Reports to: Program
Degree / Level of Education: Engineer
Required skills: Humanitarian experience in food security – Good capacity for analysis -- Good communication
Training skills – Software knowledge (Excel) – Abilities in French or English (depending on the intervention
Objective 1: Technical support of food security programs:
- Assist in the proper running of the programs by providing technical support and evaluation through site
- Participate in the analysis and validation of activity reports.
- Contribute to the write-up of the donor proposals and reports.
Objective 2: Supervise data collection and processing:
- Ensure harmonization and updating of the data entry and surveillance indicators on the bases.
- Ensure ongoing evaluation of the monitoring methods and propose ways to improve them.
Objective 3: Coordinate personnel training:
- Identify the training needs.
- Organize and provide training, evaluate the impact.
Objective 4: Monitor the food security situation and participate in the orientation of the projects:
- Organize food security investigations and evaluations.
- Actively participate in internal and external coordination meetings.
- Participate in the identification of the structural and cyclical constraints in order to take them into account in
future programs.
- Propose new directions for the programs.

Define and supervise the implementation of food
distribution projects
Reports to: Food security coordinator
Supervises: Assistant program officer – Project
Degree / Level of Education: associate’s degree (two years post high-school) and professional experience
Required skills: Writing and diplomacy skills – Analytical and synthesis skills – organization and team
management – logistics knowledge (storage, transportation, quality control) – software knowledge – experience
in problematics related to humanitarian crises
Objective 1: Develop the comprehension of food security in the intervention zone
- Analyze food security and the living conditions of the populations.
- Collect and analyze information.
- Identify the needs of the most vulnerable populations.
- Recommend responses to implement to cover the identified needs.
- Actively participate in the development of the food security strategy.
- Contribute to the development of food distribution proposals.
- Ensure the liaison with the food security actors and share the analytical results.
Objective 2: Establish appropriate food distribution activities
- Organize, plan, and supervise the implementation of the identified activities and internal coordination.
- Define the conditions of the implementation (definition of the ration, identification and registration of the
beneficiaries, distribution, monitoring, etc.).
- Analyze the pertinence and the appropriateness of the intervention with regards to the evolution of the
context and the needs (adverse effects, nutritional qualities, cultural habits, etc.).
- Finalize the internal and external (partnership) activity reports in coordination with the logistics service.
Objective 3: Manage the team
- Recruit and train the team.
- Plan and coordinate the team activities.
- Identify the training needs and report them.
- Evaluate the team members.

Action Contre la Faim Food Aid and Alternatives to Food Aid

Provide support for the definition and monitoring of the basic projects.
Ensure supervision of the projects and team leadership in absence of the
program director.
Reports to: Program officer
Degree / Level of Education: associate’s degree (two years post high-school) and professional experience
Required skills: Familiarity with problematics related to humanitarian crises – Good analytical skills - Good
communication – Training skills – Software knowledge – Abilities in English or French (depending on the
intervention country)

Objective 1: Monitor and lead data collection and processing:
- Ensure harmonization and updating of the data entry and surveillance indicators on the base.
- Ensure ongoing evaluation of the monitoring methods of the projects and propose ways to improve them.
- Participate in the analysis and the write-up of activity reports and evaluations.
Objective 2: Support the personnel:
- Participate in recruitment.
- Report the training needs.
- Help implement the training sessions at the basic level.
- Explain and ensure the application of the methodologies.
Objective 3: Support internal and external coordination:
- Ensure internal communication between the food security teams.
- Actively participate in internal and external coordination meetings.
- Propose new directions for the projects.

Lead the implementation of distribution activities
Reports to: Program Officer
Supervises: Team supervisor
Degree / Level of Education: high school diploma and professional experience
Required skills: Analytical and synthesis skills, team management, good people skills, knowledge in logistics,
good understanding of project implementation, software knowledge (Word, Excel)

Objective 1: Implementation of distribution activities
- Ensure the implementation of activities as defined by the program director in coordination with the
logistics service.
- Plan the activities according to the planned project path.
- Evaluate and update the needs (HR, finances, logistics) of the project.
- Apply the project monitoring tools.
- Identify and prevent problems or constraints.
- Regularly report the project’s progress.
- Propose solutions or improvements to make the project run more efficiently.
- Coordinate the activities and inform the local partners on site.
Objective 2: Participate in the analysis and the reorientation of the project.
- Participate in food security service meetings.
- Analyze and capitalize on the experiences to share the lessons learned.
- Propose new directions for the project.
Objective 3: Manage the project team
- Train the team.
- Recruit and inform the day workers.
- Organize the teamwork.
- Optimize the distribution of tasks according to the potential of the team members.

Action Contre la Faim Food Aid and Alternatives to Food Aid

Organize and supervise food distribution
Reports to: project supervisor
Supervises: Purchaser—distributors and
Monitors—Registration agents and day
Degree / Level of Education: CAP level or professional experience
Required skills: Team management and activity planning – good organizational skills – math knowledge – good
people skills and a sense of authority

Objective 1: Prepare the beneficiary lists:
- Inform the local partners and make them aware of the lists.
- Inform the beneficiaries of the registration process.
- Update the data.
- Prepare the lists and the cards.
Objective 2: Prepare and supervise distribution:
- Calculate the necessary quantities and prepare the order.
- Plan the transportation and storage at the distribution points.
- Collect the information concerning the security in the zone.
- Organize and supervise the running of the distribution.
- Intervene in cases of dispute.
- Write up a distribution report.
- Suggest possible improvements.
Objective 3: Manage the distribution team:
- Develop the teamwork schedule.
- Train and supervise the team members.
- Provide technical support to the team.

Organize and supervise assessments and monitoring in the intervention
Reports to: Project Supervisor
Supervises: Investigators/Monitors
Degree / Level of Education: CAP level or professional experience
Required skills: Team management and activity planning – Analytical skills – good organizational skills - good
report writing skills – good familiarity with the intervention zone

Objective 1: Organize the assessments and activity monitoring:
- Participate in the development of appropriate questionnaires.
- Apply the methodologies defined for the assessments and monitoring.
- Develop a schedule for the assessments and monitoring activities.
- Organize the necessary logistics (transportation, lodging, meals, etc.).
- Regularly verify the progress of the activities.
- Verify the quality of the questionnaires and correct errors.
- Write up activity reports.
- Suggest possible improvements.
Objective 2: Represent the organization with the partners:
- Present the project and ensure the relationship with the different local partners.
- Ensure a good relationship between the team and the targeted population.
Objective 3: Manage the team:
- Develop the team’s work schedule.
- Train and supervise the team.
- Provide technical support to the team.

Action Contre la Faim Food Aid and Alternatives to Food Aid
Organize the storage of food at the distribution point and distribute it to the
selected beneficiaries
Reports to: Distribution team
Degree / Level of Education: CAP level or basic arithmetic knowledge
Required skills: Good ability to work in a team – arithmetic knowledge – organizational skills – attention to

Objective 1: Organize storage at the distribution point
- Evaluate and order the material necessary for storing the food.
- Receive (load/unload) the food and verify the quantity and quality.
- Report the received quantities in the register.
- Ensure that the stock has a sufficient quantity of food for the planned distribution.
- Prepare the necessary quantities for the preparation of rations (dry or cooked).
Objective 2: Distribute the food baskets
- Apply the defined methodology for distributing the food baskets (by weight, grouped, etc.)
- Evaluate and order the material necessary for distributing the food baskets.
- Respect the hygiene regulations.
- Set up an appropriate distribution circuit.
- Verify the eligibility of the beneficiaries.
- Inform the beneficiaries about the use of the food.
- Report the quantities distributed and reconcile those figures with the quantities received.

Collect and analyze the data from the populations
Reports to: Monitoring team
Supervises: 0
Degree / Level of Education: CAP level
Required skills: Communication skills – team spirit – familiarity with the investigation zone – critical mind,
curiosity – autonomy – knowledge of local languages

Objective 1: Perform data collection
- Actively participate in initial training in assessment implementation.
- Apply the defined methodologies (zoning, typology of the families).
- Collect the quantitative and qualitative information from the households.
- Lead semi-structured interviews with discussion groups.
- Crosscheck the information collected with the different sources (families, key informants, groups, visual
observation, etc.).
Objective 2: Participate in data analysis and report writing
- Verify the quality of the data.
- Actively participate in the debriefing sessions with the whole team.
- Report problems and constraints encountered: suggest possible improvements.
- Contribute to the analytical reports and synthesize the results.
Objective 3: Represent the organization with other partners
- Explain the activities and objectives of the project to partners and the populations.
- Represent the organization with the beneficiaries.

Action Contre la Faim Food Aid and Alternatives to Food Aid
Translate documents relative to the project and the communication
Reports to: Program or project
Supervises: 0
Degree / Level of Education:
Required skills: Communication and writing skills – a sense of confidentiality – good general culture – good
familiarity of intervention zone and the local customs – mastery of French or English and the local languages

Objective 1: Perform the translations:
- Accurately translate the documents relative to the project.
- Ensure good understanding of the messages transmitted.
- Relay the received messages exactly.
- Recommend adequate wording according to local customs.
- Notify of the inherent changes in meaning from one language to another.

Objective 2: Represent the organization with the partners
- Explain the activities and objectives of the project to the partners and populations.
- Represent the organization with the partners and beneficiaries.

Enter the food security data and prepare their analysis
Reports to: Program or project
supervisor (depending on
organizational chart)
Degree / Level of Education: professional experience in information systems
Required skills: Mastery of spreadsheets (Excel) – ability to understand new software – organizational skills –
professionalism and autonomy – mastery of English and the local languages
Objective 1: Enter the data
- Evaluate the time necessary for processing and consider the effective progress of the data entry.
- Verify the quality of the data to be entered and report any problems.
- Harmonize and enter the questionnaire data into the database.
- Continuously verify the entered data and perform a final verification.
- Formalize a report.
Objective 2: Prepare data analysis
- Develop statistics.
- Sort and crosscheck the data.
- Write up the results.
- Detect missing or redundant data and propose possible improvements.
Objective 3: Archive the data
- File the questionnaires and computerized data.
- Codify the questionnaires.
- Save the entered data regularly.

Action Contre la Faim Food Aid and Alternatives to Food Aid
Collect food security data
Reports to: Team supervisor
Supervises: 0
Degree / Level of Education: CAP level
Required skills: - Good familiarity with the investigation zone – knowledge of local languages

Objective 1: Collect food security data

- Actively participate in initial training, actual monitoring, and debriefing sessions.
- Apply the defined methods.
- Lead interviews with the households (questionnaire).
- Ensure the coherence of the gathered information.
- Report problems and constraints.
- Suggest possible improvements.

Objective 2: Represent the organization with the partners
- Explain the activities and objectives of the project to partners and the populations.
- Represent the organization with the beneficiaries.

Collect / Establish and verify beneficiary lists
Reports to: Team Supervisor
Supervises: 0
Degree / Level of Education: CAP level
Required skills: Communication skills – team spirit – people skills – good familiarity with the zone and the
local customs – knowledge of the local languages

Objective 1: Collect / Establish beneficiary lists:
- Actively participate in the initial training, list preparation, and debriefing sessions.
- Apply the defined methodologies (selection criteria of the beneficiaries).
- Establish beneficiary lists by directly registering the eligible people or by collecting lists from their
representatives (authorities, committees, groups, etc.)
- Ensure the coherence of the gathered information.
- Establish registration cards if necessary.
- Report problems and constraints.
- Suggest possible improvements.
- File and archive the lists.
Objective 2: Verify the beneficiary lists:
- Verify the quality of the lists (respect of selection criteria) according to the defined methodology
(sampling of the targeted population, verification means).
- Report the quality level of the registration lists.
- Finalize the lists.
- Verify the identification of the beneficiaries at the distribution points.
Objective 3: Represent the organization with the partners:
- Explain the activities and objectives of the project to partners and the populations.
- Represent the organization with the beneficiaries.

Action Contre la Faim Food Aid and Alternatives to Food Aid
Responsible for the preparation of rations, according to the
standard protocol recipes.

Reports to: Distribution Team Supervisor
Supervises: 0
Degree / Level of Education: N/A
Required skills: Know how to accurately measure quantities – good hygiene notions – ability to communicate –
good team spirit – good people skills – knowledge of local languages

Objective 1: Verify the products and the stock:
- Verify the quantities of each foodstuff with regard to the defined rations.
- Evaluate the fuel needs and monitor fuel consumption.
- Verify the quality of the food.
- Cook the rations.
- Distribute the cooked ration as defined for the eligible beneficiaries.
- Report the quantities cooked and distributed.
- Report any problems or constraints.
- Suggest possible improvements.

Objective 2: Inform the beneficiaries of the use of the foodstuffs
- Explain the composition of the ration.
- Explain the importance of nutrition to people’s health.
- Provide advice on preparation and menu composition.

Ensure the hygiene in the distribution center (canteen): oversee the
cleanliness of the premises: manage the water, the incineration of
used material and garbage.
Reports to: Distribution team supervisor
Supervises: 0
Degree / Level of Education: N/A
Required skills Communication skills – good team spirit – good people skills – knowledge of local languages

Objective 1: Ensure the cleanliness of the premises and materials:
- Ensure that the premises are cleaned and disinfected.
- Sweep the distribution areas.
- Prevent stagnant water at the distribution points and waiting areas.
- Wash the cooking utensils.
- Incinerate or evacuate the garbage.

Objective 2: Inform the beneficiaries about hygiene
- Ensure that the quantity of water is sufficient for the number of beneficiaries and the center personnel.
- Verify that the hand-washing containers are clean and ready for use.
- Empty soiled water pails regularly.
- Organize a place for hand washing before taking the meals.
- Explain the importance of hygiene with the defined messages.

Action Contre la Faim Food Aid and Alternatives to Food Aid
Appendix 19: Example of a registration form

Camp location: Name of

Place of origin:

Date of registration:

NO Name of Family Given name Age Sex Number of members Date of arrival Activities

Signature of registration agent:
Action Contre la Faim Food Aid and Alternatives to Food Aid
Appendix 20: Example of a distribution card for beneficiaries

6 5 4 3 2 1
Card nb: 7

Name of head of family Location code 10
12 Card nb:
Category/Criteria Location 13
Section 15
16 Number of members
Names of family members Total number: 18
20 Category/Criteria
25 26 27 28 29 30

Action Contre la Faim Food Aid and Alternatives to Food Aid
Appendix 21: Material and equipment for distribution sites
The material and equipment needed for setting up a site will vary according to the site, the availability
and condition of the existing infrastructures, and the defined distribution conditions.

• Setting up the site:
- Stakes
- Hammers
- Nails
- Rope/cord
- Plastic sheeting
- Tent/rubber hall
- Shovels
- Pickaxe
- Construction material
- Lighting
- Water/sanitation equipment

• Installation of site:
- Pallets
- Distribution tubs
- Scoops/measuring cups
- Brooms

• Registration / Verification / Distribution:
- Salter Balance, 10. 25 Kg and/or 100 Kg (depending on the foodstuffs to be
- Tables and chairs
- Writing supplies
- Registers
- Cards
- Food coupons
- Gentian violet / paintbrush
- Ink stamp
- Hole punch
- Megaphone
- Counter

• Logistics:
- Stock sheets and register
- Delivery Slips

Action Contre la Faim Food Aid and Alternatives to Food Aid
Appendix 22: Example of canteen site organization

Canteen program– Bouake – Ivory Coast, 2004.

1 – Task distribution among the canteen employees
Number Staff Tasks
1 Site leaders General supervision and control
Beneficiary and external communication
Dispute resolution
Daily reports and communication with FA log
Verification of stocks
Personnel training
1 purchaser Associate site leader
Stock management
Kitchen monitoring
Verification of food quality (bean sorting)
Receive and unload food and materials
Ticking off lists (distinction men/women, accompanying adult/
Handing over tickets
Seating beneficiaries in the dining halls
Periodic interviews required by FS

6 Line leaders Management of the queues
Checking for dangerous objects
Order of site
Activity leadership
8 Cooks/servers Cleaning beans and rice
Cleaning cooking pots
2 Hygienists cleaning site, rest rooms, office
Washing sinks
Washing dishes and beneficiaries’ hands
Activity leadership
4 Activity leaders Activity leadership/presentations
Line leader

4 Porters Transporting sacks, cooking pots
Assisting the purchaser; opening cans
2 Security guards Opening the gate
Site security
Guiding the lines
Controlling entrance into site

Action Contre la Faim Food Aid and Alternatives to Food Aid
2 – Running the service: examples of Tola and ENI canteens

The difference in setting up sites is also reflected in the temporal organization of the tasks. Whereas an
ENI site may open at 8:30 in the morning, a Tola site may only open at 11:00 a.m., given the lack of
space available to provide a play area for the children.

Tola Site ENI Site
7:30 Verification of stock (physical condition)
8:00 Staff roll call 8:00 Clean courtyard, rest rooms, etc.
Clean site Install benches
Cooking preparation (light fires, wash pots) Wash beans, rice
Weigh the food quantities for the day Transfer pots/food to the kitchen
Transfer food to the kitchen Gather fire wood
Begin cooking 8:30 Open site
Women arrive, tickets are handed over Establishment
Register and hand out tickets
Weigh and transfer food to kitchen
Begin cooking
Verify purchase accounts
Personnel reorganization
11:00 Open site
Qualitative monitoring among benefic.
(regarding personnel and rations)
Register children only (not mothers) 11:30 Meal cooked
Direct the children to the dining halls Transfer pots to service tables
Wash plates and hands
Distribution of surplus meals between
services depending on the tickets distributed
by service point
Activities Install ticking-off tables
12:00 Begin service
12:15 Begin service
12:30 Close site 12:30
Special admission and ticking off for school
children (reserved to 100 tickets)
13:00 End of service
Return pots to kitchen 13:30 End of meal
Clean cooking utensils Return pots to kitchen
Count and file tickets Clean cooking utensils
Put benches away Count and file tickets
Daily report (stock, benef., meals served) Put benches away
Daily report (stock, benef., meals served)
13:30 Personnel meeting 14:00 Personnel meeting
14:00 End 14:30 End
16:00 Weekly meeting in the office 16:00 Weekly meeting in the office

Action Contre la Faim Food Aid and Alternatives to Food Aid
Appendix 23: Example of canteen kit for 1250 beneficiaries (preparation in 50-litre pots.)

Pots 10 Small plastic cups (scoop) 1
Wooden spatulas 8 Water hose, in meters 1
Large skimming ladles 8 Meter of fabric (rag) 1
50-L Containers 4 Ink 1
150-L Container 1 Stamp 1
120-L Container 1 Breezeblocks 40
Floor cloths 3 Axe 1
10-L pails 4 Stakes 15
Small basins 2 Yellow casks 2
Large basins 6 Gourds 2
Wooden pallets 3 Fans 1
115-m sticks 2 Sluice gates 2
Brooms 2 Notebooks 1
Scouring sponges 24 Ink refills 1
Towels 3 Boxes of matches 10
Knives 1 Bottles of bleach 3
Bars of soap 8 Tubs 1
Lighters 4 Iron bars 2
Rulers 2 Plastic sheeting 4
Calculators 1 Mats 5
Wheelbarrows 2 Plastic for the cooking pots 10

Action Contre la Faim Food Aid and Alternatives to Food Aid
Appendix 24: Determination of the transportation needs for the supply

The program requires food deliveries in three regions. The sites are located at various distances from
the central warehouse. Certain distribution sites are located 10 km away (Region 3) whereas others are
at a distance of 200 km (Region 1).

Region 1:
The distance from the warehouse to the distribution sites varies from 140 to 200 km. Because of the
very poor road conditions, trucks cannot travel faster than 12 to 20 km per hour. It takes a half an hour
to load the truck and another half hour to unload the truck at each delivery site. Thus, it takes between
ten and twelve hours to reach the destination and unload at the sites of Region 1. It takes another day
for the truck to return to the warehouse.
The TRJ for Region 1 is therefore two (2) days.

Region 2:
The distance between the sites and the warehouse is 80 to 140 km and the roads are comparatively
better. The trucks can travel an average of 45 km/h. If the loading and unloading time is included, it
takes about 3 to 5 hours to reach the distribution sites.
The TRJ for Region 2 is thus one (1) day.

Region 3:
The distance is relatively short (10-80 km) and because the sites are closer to urban zones, the roads
are in more or less good condition. The trucks can travel at an average of 50 km/h. The sites also tend
to be closer to each other with fewer beneficiaries per site. The time to load and unload is only half of
what it is for the other regions.
The TRJ for Region 3 is only a half a day.

Calculate the number of trips:
Once the TRJ has been calculated, the next step is to determine the number of trips that can be made
over a period of two weeks. In the example, the transporters work every day except Sunday. The
number of working days per delivery cycle is 12 (6 days x 2 weeks).

For each destination, the number of working days must be divided by the TRJ.

In this example, a truck can make the following number of trips during the given period:

Region 1. 12 days of operation ÷ 2 days (TRJ) = 6 trips
Region 2. 12 days of operation ÷ 1 day (TRJ) = 12 trips
Region 3. 12 days of operation ÷ 0.5 days (TRJ) = 24 trips

Evaluation of the required transportation capacity:
If a fleet of trucks having a capacity of 8 t is used, the following number of trucks will be required:

Region 1 = 280 t / (6 trips x 8 t) = < 6 trucks
Region 2 = 224 t /( 12 trips x 8 t) = < 3 trucks
Region 3 = 56 t / (24 trips x 8 t) = < 1 truck

In all, 9 or 10 trucks will be required, depending on how the transportation is organized between
Regions 2 and 3.
Action Contre la Faim Food Aid and Alternatives to Food Aid
Appendix 25: Control Form
Date : Page
1 / 2
Item / Article
Packaging /
Unit /
Number in unit per
package / Nombre
dans l'unité par
Origin /
Total nb of
parcels /
Nombre total
de paquets
Total quantity
in the delivery
/ Quantité
totale de la
1 36 71
2 37 72
3 38 73
4 39 74
5 40 75
6 41 76
7 42 77
8 43 78
9 44 79
10 45 80
11 46 81
12 47 82
13 48 83
14 49 84
15 50 85
16 51 86
17 52 87
18 53 88
19 54 89
20 55 90
21 56 91
22 57 92
23 58 93
24 59 94
25 60 95
26 61 96
27 62 97
28 63 98
29 64 99
30 65 100
31 66 101
32 67 102
33 68 103
34 69 104
35 70 105
If / Si n > 100 Check V²n / Vérifier V²n
number /
Number in unit /
Nombre dans l'unité
Sampling number /
Number in unit / Nombre
dans l'unité
number /
Number in unit /
Nombre dans
If / Si 10 < n < 100 Check 10 / Vérifier 10
Actual quantity
observed upon
delivery / Quantité
constatée à la
Sampling methodology (n = number of parcels) / Méthode
d'échantillonage (n = nombre de paquet)
Date of
control /
Date du
Number of
samples /
Average number in unit per parcel
sampled / Nombre moyen dans
l'unité par paquet
If / Si n < 10 Check all / Tout vérifier
Quantity control / Contrôle quantité
Delivery reference / Ref.
livraison :
Action Contre la Faim Food Aid and Alternatives to Food Aid
Date : Page
2 / 2
Presence of insects or pest-related damage / Présence d'insectes ou dommages causés par des prédateurs
Quantity and quality control result / Résultat du contrôle qualité et quantité
Product aspect / Aspect General aspect of the product (odour, appearance, etc) / Aspect général du produit (odeur,
Packaging / Emballage Quality of the packaging, damage noted / Qualité de l'emballage, dommages constatés
Expiration date / Date de Expiration date (note any differing dates) / Date de péremption (indiquez les différentes dates le
Quality control / Contrôle qualité
Delivery reference / Ref.
Action Contre la Faim Food Aid and Alternatives to Food Aid
Appendix 26: Stock Sheet Form
Lieu / Location: …………………………………………………….
FICHE OF STOCK Stock minimum: ………………………
STOCK SHEET Article / Item: …………………………………………………………………….

Référence produit / Product reference:……………………………………..
Unit / Unit: ………………………………………………………………………
Poids de l'unit (en kg) / Unit weight (in kg): ………………………………
Date de péremption /Expiration date: …………………………………….
Date Ref. BS /RF ref. Entrée / In Sortie / Out Ref. BL /DN Ref. Balance (Poids / Weight) Balance (Unit / Unit)
Remarques /
Balance précédente Previous balance

Action Contre la Faim Food Aid and Alternatives to Food Aid
Appendix 27: Supply Register

From / De
To/ A :
Item 1 Item 2 Item 3 Item 4 Item 5 Item 6 Item 7 Item 8 Item 9 Vehicle
(unit) (unit) (unit) (unit) (unit) (unit) (unit) (unit) (unit) (plate #)
0,00 0,00 0,00 0,00 0,00 0,00 0,00 0,00
(unit) (unit) (unit) (unit) (unit) (unit) (unit) (unit)
Item 1 Item 2 Item 3 Item 4 Item 5 Item 6 Item 7 Item 8
Delivery place /
Lieu de
Supply Register / Registre des Livraisons
Total :
Distribution Number/ Numéro de distribution :
Action Contre la Faim Food Aid and Alternatives to Food Aid
Appendix 28: Returns Register
From / De
To/ A :
Item 1 Item 2 Item 3 Item 4 Item 5 Item 6 Item 7 Item 8 Item 9 Vehicle
(unit) (unit) (unit) (unit) (unit) (unit) (unit) (unit) (unit) (plate #)
0,00 0,00 0,00 0,00 0,00 0,00 0,00 0,00 0,00
(unit) (unit) (unit) (unit) (unit) (unit) (unit) (unit) (unit)
Item 1 Item 2 Item 3 Item 4 Item 5 Item 6 Item 7 Item 8 Item 9
Returns Register / Registre des Retours
Distribution Number/ Numéro de distribution :
site / Lieu
Action Contre la Faim Food Aid and Alternatives to Food Aid
Appendix 29: Supply Request Form

Fr om / De :
T o/ A :
It e m 1 It e m 2 It e m 3 It em 4 It e m 5 It e m 6 It em 7 It e m 8 It e m 9
Ra t i on Ra t io n Ra t io n Rat io n Ra t i on Ra t io n Rat io n Ra t i on Ra t io n
( u nit) ( u nit) ( un it) ( u n it ) ( u nit) ( un it) ( u n it ) ( u nit) ( un it)
1 - - - - - - - - -
2 - - - - - - - - -
3 - - - - - - - - -
4 - - - - - - - - -
5 - - - - - - - - -
6 - - - - - - - - -
7 - - - - - - - - -
8 - - - - - - - - -
9 - - - - - - - - -
1 0 - - - - - - - - -
1 1 - - - - - - - - -
1 2 - - - - - - - - -
1 3 - - - - - - - - -
1 4 - - - - - - - - -
1 5 - - - - - - - - -
1 6 - - - - - - - - -
1 7 - - - - - - - - -
1 8 - - - - - - - - -
1 9 - - - - - - - - -
0, 00 0, 00 0, 00 0, 00 0, 00 0, 00 0, 00 0, 00 0, 00
( u nit) ( u nit) ( un it) ( u n it ) ( u nit) ( un it) ( u n it ) ( u nit) ( un it)
It e m 1 It e m 2 It e m 3 It em 4 It e m 5 It e m 6 It em 7 It e m 8 It e m 9
Di s tr i b u ti o n Numb er / Nu mér o de d i s tr i b u ti o n :
Su ppl y Re que st / D em an de d' app rovisi onn em ent
Nombre d e
bé né f . /
Bene f .
Numb er
De live ry p la c e /
L ie u d e
L ivrai so n
Da t e
Action Contre la Faim Food Aid and Alternatives to Food Aid

Appendix 30: Delivery Slip Form


N° Item / Article Product ref. / Ref. produit Qty / Qté Unit / Unit Weight / Poids PR / Ref. BA Ref. RO / Ref. BS Ref.

Warehouse Manager /
Signature: Date:
Carrier /
Signature: Date:
Consignee /
Signature: Date:
Action Contre la Faim Food Aid and Alternatives to Food Aid

Appendix 31: Distribution Site Register
From / De
To / A
number of benef.
served / Nombre
de bénéf. Servis
Description /
reference /
supplied /
returned /
Quantity lost /
distributed /
Prepared by: / Préparé par: Approved by: Validé par:
Distribution type / Type de distribution :
Period Location / Localisation :
Director / Responsable :
ACF mission :
Action Contre la Faim Food Aid and Alternatives to Food Aid

Action Contre la Faim Food Aid and Alternatives to Food Aid
Appendix32: Loss Report

TOTAL (unit)
TOTAL (unit)
TOTAL (unit)
From / De :
To / A :
ACF mission :
Base :
Action Contre la Faim Food Aid and Alternatives to Food Aid
Appendix 33: Distribution Report
From / De
To / A
Date Programme / Site
Number /
Nombre de
Item 1 (unit) Item 2 (unit) Item 3 (unit) Item 4 (unit) Item 5 (unit) Item 6 (unit)
TOTAL 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Distribution type / Type de distribution :
Period Location / Localisation : ACF mission :
Director / Responsable :
Action Contre la Faim Food Aid and Alternatives to Food Aid
Location / Localisation:
From / De
To / A
Commodity Quantity Explanations
item 1 (unit)
item 2 (unit)
item 3 (unit)
item 4 (unit)
item 5 (unit)
item 6 (unit)
Commodity Quantity
item 1 (unit)
item 2 (unit)
item 3 (unit)
item 4 (unit)
item 5 (unit)
item 6 (unit)
item 1 (unit)
item 6 (unit)
item 2 (unit)
item 3 (unit)
item 4 (unit)
item 5 (unit)
Director / Responsable :
ACF mission :
Distribution type / Type de distribution :
Action Contre la Faim Food Aid and Alternatives to Food Aid
Appendix 34: Supply Report

Supply Report / Rapport d'approvisionnement

Distribution Number/ Numéro de distribution:
PERIOD: From / De:

To/ A:

Item 1 Item 2 Item 3 Item 4 Item 5 Item 6 Item 7 Item 8 Item 9
Delivery place / Lieu de livraison
(unit) (unit) (unit) (unit) (unit) (unit) (unit) (unit) (unit)

Total: 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
(unit) (unit) (unit) (unit) (unit) (unit) (unit) (unit) (unit)
Item 1 Item 2 Item 3 Item 4 Item 5 Item 6 Item 7 Item 8 Item 9

Prepared by: Préparé par: Approved by: Validé par:

Action Contre la Faim Food Aid and Alternatives to Food Aid
Appendix35: Stock Report Form
From / De : To / à :
supplied* /
Losses* /
Total out* /
Total sorties*

Final balance*
/ Balance
Responsible / Responsable :
précédente /
Designation / Description
Product reference /
Référence produit
date / Date
Inventory* /
received* /
Out / Sorties
* Units are to be in kilogrammes for food / Les unités s'expriment en kilogrammes pour les denrées alimentaires
Periodicity / Périodicité : Localisation / Lieu : ACF mission :
Action Contre la Faim Food Aid and Alternatives to Food Aid

Appendix 36: Synthesis report (Reconciliation)

sponsor location period type distrib criteria ration nb ration equivalent nb qty food 1 qty food 2 qty food 3 qty food 4 qty food 5
from to distributed individual rts rice oil beans salt unimix
TEC base 1 12/04/2002 20/04/2002 TDF C1 R1 8960 62720 537600 53760 134400 13440
ECHO base 1 05/04/2002 05/04/2002 TDI C2 R2 565 565 2825
ECHO base 2 20/04/2002 20/04/2002 TDI C2 R2 590 590 2950
WFP base 4 10/04/2002 10/05/2002 FFW R3 2150 90 12900 1075
TOTAL 63965 550500 54835 134400 13440 5775
rice oil beans salt unimix
Initial stock 01/04/2002 100000 5000 5000 5000 4000 R1 rice 60
Flow Incoming 500000 60000 130000 10000 6000 oil 6
Flow Outg/Distr'd 560200 54550 134400 14000 5700 beans 15
Loss 20 500 salt 1,5
Final Stock 25/04/2002 39800 10430 600 1000 3800 R2 unimix 5
R3 rice 6
oil 0,5
Qty outgoing 560200 54550 134400 14000 5700
Qty distributed 550500 54835 134400 13440 5775 C1 farmer
Difference 9700 -285 0 560 -75 land<2Ha
in % 1,73% -0,52% 0,00% 4,00% -1,32% family>5 members
C2 child<5 years
1 - When ration is for 1 family, the equivalent nber of individual = nber of ration x family size; GDF
Here for instance, average family size is 7 GDI
TDF Targeted distribution to families
1 - When FFW ration is one day of work, the equivalent number of individuals represent the total TDI Targeted distribution to individuals
number of workers contracted during the period; here for instance 90 workers have been DLI canteen
contracted between the 10/04 and 10/05 SS subsidised sales
FFW food for work
Synthesis Report / Rapport de Synthèse
type distrib
General distribution to families
Kg/child/2 weeks
General distribution to individuals
Synthesis of Stock Reports
Difference Qty outgoing stock vs Qty Distributed
Action Contre la Faim Food Aid and Alternatives to Food Aid
Appendix 37: Calculation of statistical indicators of FBM (Food Basket Monitoring)

Consider the example of an FBM of 40 weight checks randomly carried out during a distribution composed of two foodstuffs. Each beneficiary should theoretically
receive 1.5 kg of oil and 5 kg of bulgur (whole wheat).

The data collected at the distribution point are reported as shown in the first three columns of the following table:

Nb of the
(from 1 to 40)
Quantity of oil
received by the
beneficiary i (in kg)
Quantity of bulgur
received by the
beneficiary i (in kg)
Number of people
indicated on the
registration card of
beneficiary i
Qty of oil received by each
person (kg/person)
Qty of bulgur received by each
person (kg/person)


d i

oil i =
/ d

bulgur i
= bulgur
/ d

By using the EXCEL ‘Insertion/Function’ command, then choosing the ‘Statistics’ category, we can directly calculate the Average, the standard deviation, and the
confidence interval which we use to verify whether the theoretical value is within a risk of 5%.

Calculation for the foodstuff: Oil
For the Average, from the quantity of oil received per person, we obtain: P
= ( ∑ ∑∑ ∑ P
oil i
)/40 = 1.525

For the Standard Deviation we obtain: 
= √ √√ √( ∑ ∑∑ ∑(P
oil i
- P
/ 40 ) = 0.267

From these results, we can determine the Confidence Interval of a risk of 5% as defined by the following formula:

+/-  (0.975) * σ σσ σ
/ √ √√ √(40) = 1.525 +/- 1.96 * 0.267/ 6,324 = 1. 525 +/- 0.0827

The Confidence Interval is defined between (1.525 – 0.0827) = 1.442 and (1.525 + 0.0827) = 1.607

We can conclude that the theoretical value of 1.5 kg falls within this interval and consequently the distribution of the oil ration is correct.

Action Contre la Faim Food Aid and Alternatives to Food Aid

Calculation for the foodstuff: Bulgur
For the Average, from the quantity of bulgur received per person, we obtain: P
= ( ∑ ∑∑ ∑ P
bulgur i
)/40 = 4,862

For the Standard Deviation we obtain: 
 = √ √√ √( ∑ ∑∑ ∑(P
bulgur i
- P
/ 40 ) = 0.414

From these results, we can determine the Confidence Interval of a risk of 5% as defined by the following formula:
+/-  (0.975) * σ σσ σ
/ √ √√ √(40) = 4,862 +/- 1.96 * 0.414/ 6,324 = 4,862 +/- 0.128

The Confidence Interval is defined between (4,862 - 0.128) = 4,734 and (4,8625 + 0.1284) = 4,990

We can conclude that the theoretical value of 5 kg does not fall within this interval and consequently the distribution of the oil ration is not correct.
It is of interest to note that in this case, by looking at the average, the distribution seems correct because the standard deviation is less than 3%. Even so, the calculation
of the Confidence Interval shows that actually, too many beneficiaries have received much more than 5 kg and that the others have received much less.

Appendix 38: Guide for semi-structured interviews

The semi-structure interviews are a way to acquire knowledge of the context and to fine-tune the
hypotheses concerning the vulnerability of the populations. These interviews are organized discussions
with a group of people (focus groups discussions) and/or individuals alone. The themes discussed are
predetermined; the groups are organized according to the subjects that will be addressed. For example,
subjects on eating habits or the cover of food needs are addressed preferentially to a group of women
(depending on the cultural context). The group of women should be composed of 5 to 7 people
including elderly women and women with young children.

Questions are asked during the interview, which appears informal and unconventional but which
should still be structured and guided. By using a list or guidebook, the team asks open questions on the
predetermined topics. The guidebook is drawn up according to the objectives of the interview and the
intervention context. For example, the guidebook below was developed for a follow-up assessment of
the food distribution with Liberian refugees residing in the Ivory Coast.
Otherwise, new subjects are brought up little by little during the development of the analysis. The
information collected can be in either quantitative or qualitative (hypotheses, suggestions).

A few keys for the semi-structured interviews
* Use the 6 reference points:
- Who? - What? - Why?
- When? - Where? - How?
* Evaluate the responses: is it a... - fact? - opinion? - rumor?
* Further develop the responses:
- Suppose... - But why? ... - Please, elaborate on your point...
- Other points to add? ...

The discussions help rapidly identify the people having an ‘objective’ knowledge of the subjects
addressed or those who are dynamic and involved in the community. These people are qualified as
‘key informants.’ Additional interviews or gaining a deeper understanding of some of the subjects may
be realized through these people. Even so, in certain contexts, the cultural habits or even the political
situation are such that only a few people express themselves during the interviews. In such cases, it is
important, whenever possible, to develop semi-structured interviews with the people individually. See
the book, ‘Food Security Assessments and Surveillance,’ for more information concerning the
methodology and use of interviews.

* Example of an interview guidebook

- Detailed description of the family members (list of members)
- The division of the family: who has left, where, why, when?
- Departure plans for the rest of the family: why, where, when, how, who?

- Access to agricultural land: of what (rice, rice+corn, manioc, vegetables, etc.)
- agriculture/fishing: difficulties encountered, consequences of the displacement on this activity
- commerce: formal, informal, consequences of the displacement on this activity
- contracts: types of contracts, frequency, incomes, difficulties, consequences of the displacement
- children going to school: all? only some of them? Reason for this choice?
- Who is usually in charge of providing for the family’s food needs? Why?
Action Contre la Faim Food Aid and Alternatives to Food Aid
- Who prepares the meals?
- Description of the family’s current diet:
- Existence of a food stock: what, why, and for how long?

- Types and proportions of the principle foodstuffs consumed during the last two or three weeks
- The reasons the diet and preferred meals are changed? By whom?
- Then, review the following according to the family’s consumption:
- Consumption of rice, corn, corn flour, manioc, tubers, sauces, and access to oil, fish (or meat when
applicable), fortified flour (Unimix):
- The typical form of presentation, why do they eat it that way?
- What part of the year, why not the whole year?
- origin (production, market, exchange, donation, intra/inter-family solidarity, etc.) Market? at what

- "MATRIX+PROPORTIONAL PILING" illustrating the organization of the meals: who eats with
whom, what, and how much?
- When food is lacking, who has priority for eating the food? What are the mechanisms
implemented to ensure the family diet: new activities, contracts, sale of wood, charcoal, snails /
sale of assets / credit / hunting, fishing, gathering / children handed over to exterior care...

- Number of cards in the family? number of beneficiaries / quantity of food received?
- Distribution of the use of the ingredients received, illustrated by "PROPORTIONAL PILING"
- Consequence of the two-month delay between distributions 2 and 3?
- Amount earned by the sale of the food basket products / use of this money illustrated by

- Evaluate the part allotted to food with "PROPORTIONAL PILING"
- Price of the main family meals consumed the preceding month (in CFA)
- Price of the preferred meals (if not consumed during the preceding month)

Action Contre la Faim Food Aid and Alternatives to Food Aid
Appendix 39: Focus group discussions guidebook for a cash for work program
Note: the questions should be posed in an open fashion, allowing for further discussion.
- For a classic (general) discussion

The group should be composed of workers and non-workers; it is recommended to also include women
in the group and to represent the different age brackets. A maximum of ten people should participate
in the discussion.

Name of village:________________________________ Date:________________
Name of supervisor:____________________________
Total population of the village: ______________ (households)____________ people
Number of workers in the village:________________ people

General impact of the insertion of cash at the village level

Globally: How have the workers used the received cash? (Let the group talk, and remember the main
points to be further developed; ask them to prioritize the different uses.)
Purchase of assetss: What types of assets have been purchased with the received cash? (This question
also includes the purchase of animals.)
Reconstitution of livestock: Have you noticed an increase in the amount of livestock in the village?
What kinds of animals (sheep, goats, chickens, etc.)? Do you know how much the amount of livestock
has increased?
Debt: Has the cash allowed people to reimburse their debts? What was the nature of these debts? Has
the debt level been generally reduced in the village?
Mortgaged land: How much land had been mortgaged before the restoration program began? Has the
situation changed since cash distribution was carried out? How much land is mortgaged now?
Winter food stocks: Has the cash allowed people to buy food for the winter? What foodstuffs have
they bought and stored? Are the levels of stock sufficient to get through the whole winter?
Social categories: Have you noticed any changes in the vulnerability of the families in the village? Do
you think that the level of vulnerability or the number of vulnerable families has decreased? Is this
related to the program? How has this resulted in these changes of the proportions of the different
degrees of vulnerability?
Tension: Has there been renewed tension in the village since the cash distribution was started? What
kinds of tension? How were they resolved?

Road impact at the village level
Globally: Name 3 aspects that the road has changed in the day-to-day life of the village. What are the
positive prospects that this road may bring in the upcoming year? What disadvantages might the road
cause in the upcoming year? (Here we are trying to know and understand the population’s perception
of the impact; ask them to prioritize the mentioned consequences.)
Duration and cost of transportation: How long did it take to travel to the closest market before the
road was restored? (Have them specify the locations of the markets.) How long does it take now?
Same question for the closest health center and closest school. (Report the information in a table.)
Duration (in hours) Cost in Afghani

Before Now Before Now
Health Center

Means and frequency of transportation: Have the means of transportation (types of vehicles)
changed since the road was restored? How has the frequency changed? (Further develop discussion on
the improvement of access to transportation means.)
Action Contre la Faim Food Aid and Alternatives to Food Aid
Commerce: What kinds of merchants were present (ambulatory, shops, in the street) before the
restoration and in what proportions? What changes in type and proportion have been noted since?

Types of merchants Number of merchants in the village
Before now

Availability of foodstuffs and non-food products: Are there new products on the market since the
road was restored? What are they? Have prices changed? In what proportions? (Ask for examples for
food and non-food products.)
Humanitarian aid: Have you received humanitarian aid since the beginning of the summer? What
kind of aid? Other than ACF, have you been visited by a humanitarian organization in the last two
months? What was the purpose of these visits?

For a thematic discussion:

The group should be composed of merchants, transporters, and money changers present in the village.
Here, it is possible to go further in the explanations than during a general discussion. The group
should not be made up of more than 10 people.

Name of village: ________________________________ Date:________________
Name of supervisor:____________________________
Total population of village: ______________ (households)________ people
Number of workers in the village:________________ people

Globally: What are the principle consequences of the road restoration and cash injection on your
Volume of activity and location: Have you noticed any change in your volume of activity? Have you
developed other businesses in other locations? Are you selling more products? Which ones?
Availability of foodstuffs and non-food products: Do you now have new products in your shops that
you didn’t have before? Which ones? Are the villagers asking for other products? Which ones?
Supply: Have you diversified your supply sources since the road was restored? From where? Do you
have better prices than before? Do you have more choices than before?
Influence on the transportation costs: What has the impact on transportation cost been? Do you pay
less for the products that you are having transported? Are there new merchants in the village? What
are they mainly selling?
Consumption: Are the villagers buying more products? Which ones? How would you explain this?
Are they paying with cash or credit?
Debt: Have the villagers partially reimbursed their debts? Has the volume of debt incurred decreased?

Action Contre la Faim Food Aid and Alternatives to Food Aid

Appendix 40: Example of PDM questionnaire for general distribution

General distribution program, Chechnya, 2001

Date: Village: District:

Name of head of family:

Date of last distribution:

1) How many people live in your home?

2) Composition of your home/household:

Date of
Sex Relationship Vulnerability*
1 Head of family
* vulnerability: Orphan, Single woman, Single mother with a child; Widow/Widower, Handicapped.

3) Have you received the ACF food basket?: 0 YES 0 NO

If yes:
Complete Food
Yes No Good Average Poor
Wheat flour (10 kg)
Oil (2 L)
Canned meat (4 cans)
Sugar (1kg)
Salt (0.5 kg)
Detergent (0.6 kg)
Soap (0.3 Kg)

Comments on the quality and quantity of products provided by ACF:
Action Contre la Faim Food Aid and Alternatives to Food Aid
4) Use of products received from ACF

Sold* Exchanged* Consumed within the
Wheat flour
Canned meat
* In percentages:
If sold or exchanged, explain why:

5) What types of foodstuff and how much do you generally use for your weekly food

Quantity Origin*
*;;; 4 Humanitarian organization; 6.Parents/Friends; 7.Others (define)

6) Do you raise crops? () Yes ()No

ο In a vegetable garden? m2 ο In a field? m2

Products Quantity (Kg) Products Quantity (Kg)

7) Do you have livestock?

Fowl (chicken/duck) Cattle/Beef Ovine (Sheep, goats)

8) How do you ensure the livelihood of your family?
(work, help from parents/friends, pension, sale/exchange of production, etc)


Action Contre la Faim Food Aid and Alternatives to Food Aid
Appendix 41: Example of PDM questionnaire for a canteen program

Canteen program, Bouake – Ivory Coast, 2004

Name of the canteen: …………………….. Date of interview:
Name of investigator: ……………………..

Type of family: Resident Displaced Returned Semi-returned FFW

Resident family only
Profile of home
Do you house displaced persons? …………
If yes, how many? …………
Are they financially dependent? Yes Partially No

Families of displaced persons and semi-returned persons
Profile of home
Sub-prefecture of origin: …………
Do you have family here? Yes No
Your family is housed with:
Family / friends Unoccupied home
Reception site: ……… Receiving family/tutor Other: …………
Month of arrival in Man: ………
Is there a family member who makes round trips (RT) from the receiving village to the village of origin?
Yes, frequent RTs Yes, sometimes Never
If yes, reason for these RTs:
Acquire news Food/Stocks Other, specify: ………
Intention of the family
Return to the village of origin as soon as possible
Remain where they are
Not yet known

For FFW workers only
Age: …………
Sex: Male Female
Handicapped person in the family?: Yes No
Number of dependants: …………

For all the families
Gender of head of family Male Female
Number of people who lived there before the war
Number of people currently living in the family
Number of children currently under 5 years old
District of residence: …………
Do you partake of cooked meals in the ACF canteens? Yes No

Action Contre la Faim Food Aid and Alternatives to Food Aid
If no, why do you not go to the canteens?
because of lack of information
the meals are not satisfactory
the children go to school in the mornings
no need
other (specify): …………
If yes, which one?: Canteen #1 Canteen #2 Canteen #3 Canteen #4
How many family members take meals in the canteens? …………
How many times a week do you go to the canteen?
1 2 3 4 5
What is the quality of the cooked meals? Good Average Poor Unsatisfactory
What must be improved?

Use of the ration:
consumed only by the children
shared among the family members
other (specify): …………

Were you already going to canteens before mid-July?
Yes No Sometimes Had started going, then stopped
If no/ sometimes/ yes before, then stopped, why?
because of lack of information
the meals were not satisfactory
the children were going to school in the mornings
no need
other (specify): …………

Are the children currently enrolled in school? Yes No
Have you benefited from any of the following types of aid/assistance?
Medical Provisions, which ones?: …………..
Alimentary Financial No assistance
Problems the family faces today Let them speak
(rank by order of priority, 1 being the most difficult)
Clean water, health, food, school, housing, pots and pans, clothing, other (specify)
1. 3.
2. 4.

Number of meals per day: ……
Quantity of rice purchased per week: ……… kg Number of meals of rice per week: ……
Protein consumption per week: Less 1 or 2 times More
What are your two principle methods of access to food: (1 being the most significant)
Wild, Farmed, Purchased, Credit, Assistance/aid, Solidarity, Barter, Other: …….
1. ……………………………… 2. ………………………………

Action Contre la Faim Food Aid and Alternatives to Food Aid
Do you farm: Rice Manioc
Plantain Corn No crops
Did you farm before the war? Yes No

Before the war
Two principle sources of incomes (money):
(by order of significance, 1 being the most significant)
Commerce, Market, Profit farming, Salaried employee, Government worker, Informal employment,
1. …………………. → Amount: …… / Frequency: ……………..
2. …………………. → Amount: …… / Frequency: ……………..
(TOTAL PER WEEK: ……………..)
Two principle sources of incomes (money):
(by order of significance, 1 being the most significant)
Commerce, Market, Profit farming, Salaried employee, Government worker, Informal employment,
1. …………………. → Amount: …… / Frequency: ……………..
2. …………………. → Amount: …… / Frequency: ……………..
Number of professional activities before the war: ……
Number of professional activities today: ……

Principle expenses
1. …………………. → Amount: …… / Frequency: ……………..
2. …………………. → Amount: …… / Frequency: ……………..
Type of purchases
Kinds of proteins
Meat or fish Dried proteins Dried skins
Did you buy the same kinds before the war? Yes No
Kinds of soap
Kabacrou Maximousse BF Lux
Did you buy the same kinds before the war? Yes No
Kinds of cubes
Maggi Chinese (secret)
Did you buy the same kinds before the war? Yes No
Kinds of oil
Refined oil (such as Dinor) Overheated red oil shea butter

Action Contre la Faim Food Aid and Alternatives to Food Aid
Appendix 42: Example of PDM questionnaire for a cash for work distribution program

Date: Village: District:

1) Name of head of family:

2) Date of last distribution:

Household typology

3) How many people live in your home?

4) Composition of your home/household

Date of birth Sex Relationship Economic activity*
1 Head of family
*indicate if temporary (=T) or permanent (= P)

Amounts received and household incomes

5) How many family members are registered in the ACF program?

6) How many days were worked per person over the last month?

7) How many days were paid per person over the last month?

8) How much total cash did the household receive over the last month?

9) What proportion (%) does that represent of your total incomes for last month?

Nb of
Number of
days worked
Number of
days paid
Total received
by household
% of total

Household expenses

10) How much did you spend over the past month? What were the expense categories and how much was spent
per category (using the list below)?

11) Have you had any problems buying certain products? (unavailability, too expensive)
to be
recorded in
the table
Action Contre la Faim Food Aid and Alternatives to Food Aid

Expense category Amount* Problem
In $ In % Price Avail Other**
Meat and fish
Milk and dairy products
Other foodstuffs
Hygiene products
Health and education
Construction materials
Tools (productive)
Debt reimbursement
Alcohol, cigarettes, gambling
* depending on the preference of the interviewee = in monetary units or in % of total incomes
** code the type of problem: quality = Q; security = S;

Changes in household incomes and expenses

12) Has your level of incomes changed compared to last month? If yes, by how much?

13) What sources of incomes have changed??
14) If your incomes were higher, how would you spend the additional money?

15) If your incomes were lower, would you reduce your expenses (which ones?) or would you borrow?


16) Have you had any security problems since the distribution? If yes, explain:

17) What do you think of the distribution conditions:
- Selection of workers
- Frequency of distribution
- Place of distribution

Action Contre la Faim Food Aid and Alternatives to Food Aid

ACFIN (1995) : Module Vivres contre travail, capitalisation d’expérience au Cambodge (Food for
work unit, capitalizing on the experience in Cambodia)
ACFIN (1998) : Wet Feeding Final Report, Freetown, Sierra Leone
ACFIN (2001) : Module de distribution alimentaire (Food distribution unit)
ACFIN (2001): An introduction to working in food security – Livret préparation au départ
(Preparation for departure booklet)
ACFIN(2001) : Rapport final de vente subventionnée, Kanem – Tchad, (Subsidized Sales Final
Report—Kanem, Chad) internal document
ACFIN (2003) : Papier de positionnement sur les OGM (OGM position paper)
ACFIN (2003) : Rapport de suivi après distribution de coupon, Birmanie (Coupon program PDM
Report, Burma), internal document
ACFIN (2003): Lessons learnt on cash for work, El whak – Kenya, internal document
ACFIN (2003) : Road impact evaluation Tukzar-Tarkhoj, Afghanistan, internal document
ACFIN (2003) : Rapport d’activités program cantine, Bouaké, Côte d’Ivoire (Canteen program
activity report, Bouake, Ivory Coast), internal document
ACFIN (2004) : Rapport d’activités de la distribution à Kalma, Sud Darfour (Distribution activity
report, South Darfur), internal document
ACFIN (2005) : Rapport d’activité de la distribution générale Nord Darfour (General distribution
activity report, North Darfur), internal document
ACFIN (2005) : Aide alimentaire et Nutrition : 2 approches complémentaires (Food aid and nutrition,
2 complementary approaches), internal document
ACFIN (2005) : Rapport final du program cantines aux Gonaïves, Haïti (Canteen program final
report, Gonaives, Haiti), internal document
ACFIN (2005) : Rapport d’activités de la distribution alimentaire, Aceh, Indonésie (Food distribution
activity report, Aceh, Indonesia), internal document
ACFIN (2005) : Rapport d’activités du program cash contre travail, Aceh, Indonésie (Cash for work
program activity report, Aceh, Indonesia), internal document
ACFIN (2005) : Rapport d’activités du program Cash contre travail, Wajid, Somalie (Cash for work
program activity report, Wajid, Somalia), internal document
ACFIN (2005): Food Product Quality, position paper
Harvey P. (2005): Cash and Vouchers in Emergencies, HPG Discussion Paper, ODI
Care Indonesia (2005): Food For Work Manual
Jaspars S (2000): Solidarity and Soup Kitchen, HPG Report 7, ODI
Mousseau F. (2005): Un blé amer. Aide Alimentaire et Lutte Contre la Faim (Bitter wheat. Food Aid
and the Fight Against Hunter.)
Prudhon C. & Lenormand I. (1999) Analyze de la Situation Alimentaire et Nutritionnelle des
Populations d’un Contexte Donné. (Analysis of the Food and Nutrition Situations of Populations
in a Given Context.) Internal document
Oxfam (2005): Making the Case for Cash
Oxfam (2005): Cash Transfer in Emergencies
Pepiatt D., Mitchell J., Holzmann P., (2001): Cash Transfer in Emergencies: Evaluating Benefits and
Assessing Risks, HPN 35, ODI
Taylor A. & Seaman J. (2004): Targeting Food Aid in Emergencies, ENN, special edition
WFP (2005): Emergency Food Security Assessment Handbook
Young & Jaspers (1995) Nutrition Matters: People, Food and Famine.

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