|Emergency Supplementary Feeding Programmes - Good Practice Review 2 (ODI, 1995, 122 p.)|
The objective of this review is to provide a short, accessible overview of what may be considered 'good practice' in designing and implementing emergency supplementary feeding programmes (SFPs). It is aimed primarily at NGO, UN, and donor staff who are not specialists in nutrition and emergency feeding but who may, in the context of some future emergency, be involved in decisions about feeding programmes. The review may also prove useful to those nutritionists who do not have a wide experience of different emergency situations and the complex array of issues which must frequently be considered in determining whether to implement an emergency SFP and how such a programme might be designed.
The review is not intended to be a technical manual. Such manuals exist and are easily obtainable (Annex 1). It will, however, attempt to complement existing manuals/guidelines by examining a variety of different emergency scenarios with a view to defining best practice in these situations. Guidelines must by definition address the general rather than the specific and must, above all, be succinct. Inevitably this means that many situation- and location-specific factors cannot be considered. This is not to say that agency emergency supplementary feeding experience, policy and practice have not evolved to reflect changing emergency scenarios over the past 10-15 years, but rather that there are no currently available reviews which adequately reflect the complexity of situations within which decisions must be taken and which can be used as a complement to existing guidelines, to inform decisions which lead to good practice in different situations. Although there have been some slight modifications to reflect a variety of current emergency scenarios, existing guidelines are primarily focused upon refugee-type situations. This review will therefore consider 'good practice' in relation to a broader variety of scenarios reflecting the range of situations now commonly faced by relief agency personnel and which are not considered to be adequately dealt with by existing guidelines. Seven scenarios are considered in Chapter 6. These are divided into the broad categories of camp, non-camp and urban populations. For each broad category, the potential impact of conflict on the design of, and ability to, implement emergency SFPs is considered.
Refugee Camps: early stages of displacement
Refugee Camps: stabilised populations
Camps for internally displaced populations
Non-camp: rural resident populations
Non-camp: displaced populations
Urban: resident populations
Urban: displaced populations
Additional information is provided in four annexes. Annex 1 indicates the principal guidelines available and key texts for those readers wishing to explore the literature on emergency SFPs. Annexes 2, 3 and 4 provide checklists for use in implementing emergency SFPs.
This review attempts to provide an accessible overview which helps to contextualise much of the information contained in existing technical guidelines. It is hoped that it will increase readers' awareness that there are few hard-and-fast rules about how to design and implement emergency SFPs. Perhaps the most useful rule is that a full prior appraisal should be made of the location-specific and situation-specific factors.
A major difficulty in preparing a review such as this one is identifying what actually constitutes 'good practice' in the field of emergency supplementary feeding. Factors contributing to this difficulty include the following:
· many aspects of the programmes are highly controversial, with opinions shaped as much by professional background and organisational philosophy as by empirical research findings
· some aspects of emergency SFP practice are based upon assumptions which have not been properly tested, yet continue to hold sway
· there is a need for research in a number of important areas to make SFPs more effective, yet emergency situations rarely lend themselves to the conduct of scientific research
· political and institutional factors may override technical considerations and lead to programme designs which are known to be sub-optimal
· few agencies adequately document their experiences in implementing emergency SFPs and even fewer actually publish such information thereby constraining informed debate
· location- and population-specific factors make the interaction between each beneficiary population and the emergency SFP highly variable.