Cover Image
close this bookCommodity Distribution, A Practical Guide for Field Staff (United Nations High Commission for Refugee, 1997, 77 p.)
close this folderVI. SPECIAL ISSUES
View the document6.1 Common questions
View the document6.2 How much to distribute when numbers are not agreed?
View the document6.3 When you do not have enough to go around
View the document6.4 Trading rations
View the document6.6 Payment in kind
View the document6.7 Retroactive distribution
View the document6.8 Sacks and other empty containers

6.2 How much to distribute when numbers are not agreed?

It is assumed that you have a good estimate of the population based upon sound estimating techniques. However in the absence of formal registration, it may be difficult to convince everyone, particularly the refugees, that your estimation is realistic. You may well have to organise distribution in this situation of uncertainty.

One way to proceed is as follows

a. It is assumed that you have an estimate of the overall population size. If not it will be necessary to make one.12

b. Calculate the refugee leaders estimate of the total population by taking each individual leader's estimate of the group which they represent and add them all together. Try to reach a consensus with the leaders on the population figures.

c. The total supply of commodities will be based on your overall population estimate.

d. Assume that each group leader will exaggerate the size of their group by the same proportion. Therefore you distribute commodities in the proportion between your total population estimate and the leaders estimate.

e. Example:

Your estimate of the total population = 80,000
Leaders estimate of total population = 100,000


Quantity of commodities to be given to any group:

(Leaders estimate of size of that group) × (Ration scale) × (No. of Days) × 80%

12 See Registration, a practical guide for Field staff, UNHCR, Geneva, 1994 pages 4-31.