|Nutrition Guidelines (MSF, 1995, 191 p.)|
The objective of FBM is to regularly check food distributions in order to advocate better quantity and quality of rations if required and provide information regarding the quality of distribution activities. As the issue is highly sensitive, we must be sure of the validity of our information and be careful how we use it to promote the rights of the populations with whom we work.
The method we describe below aims to check if families have received what they are entitled to receive - this does not mean that they will consume all the food (they can sell part of it), or that the food will be fairly distributed among family members.
This method is only applicable if distribution is done to the head of the household at central distribution points, which is not always the case !
1. Choose a point at a <<strategic distance>> from the distribution point, where you post two monitors and one supervisor, with a 50 kgs and a 5 kgs balance. Have two monitors present at the distribution point itself, to select the families.
2. A random systematic sample of 30 families is drawn from all families receiving food at the distribution point. The selected family receives a ticket and is accompanied to the point where the ration will be weighed. (e.g. If 500 families have to attend today, you will measure the ration of every 500/30 = 16th family. It is always better to have 3 or 4 families more than the 30 requested.)
3. Get accurate information on the time elapsed since the last distribution.
4. Determine the number of people in the family.
5. Weigh all food items separately and note their weights on the survey form (see below).
6. Afterwards, calculate the energetic value and the protein content of the <<average>> ration. Use a list of nutritional values for different food commodities as in Annex 5.
7. Report the result as an average general food ration in Kcals/Person/day. Calculate the confidence interval.
C.I. = 1.96 x S/n1/2
where S is the standard deviation of the sample and n is the number of families in the sample.
Incorporate this information with other food distribution information obtained from other sources in a << food basket monitoring report >> (results can be illustrated graphically).
8. Repeat FBM on a regular basis and plot the results on a graph to monitor trends in food distribution.
- Food rations may not be equally distributed throughout the day. Commodities may run out, meaning some families get less towards the end of the day (this should be noted and reported).
- Different population groups may receive different levels of rations. Poorly serviced population segments must be identified and reported.
- The periodicity of distribution may be irregular, making it hard to calculate a daily ration. Different commodities may be distributed on different days. Regularity of distribution is as important as overall quantity, and irregularity is important to be reported.
- The most important bias to exclude is that by doing FBM, you influence the behavior of the distributors (i.e. because they know they are being <<controlled>>, they might give more to the families who will be checked). A way of avoiding this would be to give tickets to be measured to 150 families instead of 30, and at the measuring point you take only one in five families.