Cover Image
close this bookCommodity Distribution, A Practical Guide for Field Staff (United Nations High Commission for Refugee, 1997, 77 p.)
close this folderI. Overview
View the document1.1 Definition of distribution
View the document1.3 Food and non-food items
View the document1.4 Programme planning questions

1.3 Food and non-food items

Integration of Food and Non-food distribution systems

Where possible, there should be an integrated distribution system for Food and Non-Food Items (NFI).

The systems described in these guidelines apply equally to NFI as well as food commodities; special arrangements may be needed for some NFI commodities under some circumstances, but these should be designed into a common system rather than require a parallel system.

The layout of the physical distribution system and the documents used for control and reporting should be similar for food and NFI distribution.

Non-Food Items

Non-food items can be classified into two main groups:

1. Routine consumables

e.g. soap, firewood, fuel, sanitary supplies, health supplies, condoms, education supplies.

2. Non-consumables, longer life items

e.g. mattresses, blankets, plastic sheeting, tents, building materials, kitchen sets, jerrycans, sleeping mats, farming tools.

There are three types of NFI distribution:

1. Initial

new arrivals, first time distribution.

2. Routine replacement

consumables and non-consumables, following routine wear and tear.

3. Special circumstances

following disasters, (storm, fire etc), to vulnerable groups, upon repatriation or departure.

Frequency of NFI replacement

The frequency of NFI distribution will depend on each situation. As it is likely to be irregular, specific advance information to the beneficiaries is essential. There are no universal standards for the replacement of NFI and each situation must be judged on its own merits.