|Disaster Management Ethics - Trainer's Guide - 1st Edition (Disaster Management Training Programme, 104 p.)|
|TOPIC 2: Providing humanitarian assistance to displaced populations and refugees|
Labeling and counting beneficiaries
Donor accountability often requires the categorization of beneficiary target groups (refugees, displaced persons, returnees, vulnerable, male/female, children, elderly, etc.). Review the ethical issues involved with this action and ask participants to identify ways they can be addressed.
This is full of ethical dilemmas:
· Labeling generalizes needs and may lead to inappropriate assistance and stereotypes.
· It can intrude on privacy and evoke painful memories.
· It may involve expenditure of resources that could have been provided directly to the beneficiaries.
· Providing different assistance programs to neighboring populations with similar needs, but different labels can cause confusion and resentment.
· Labeling needy people in a way that excludes them from needed assistance is clearly unethical and requires imaginative solutions.
· Census and registration systems usually reduce freedom of movement and home, as well as infringe upon personal rights
· When done sufficiently rigorously to control "cheats", some methods often exclude deserving beneficiaries from assistance schedules
· Administrative benefits gained from accurate counting are often lost through damage to relationships with beneficiaries and local host population authorities
· Replacing local systems of distribution and accountability with policed and centrally managed ones can sometimes reduce the fidelity of distribution systems