|Counting and Identification of Beneficiary Populations in Emergency Operations (ODI, 1997, 110 p.)|
The above chapters, it is hoped, encourage the reader to ask a number of key questions before embarking on what can be an expensive exercise which may not attain the hoped for objectives, but which more worryingly may also prove damaging to relations between beneficiary and assistance programme staff, and in some cases lead to violence and death.
What degree of accuracy is necessary in quantitative population estimation during emergencies? What degree of accuracy is feasible in quantitative population estimation during emergencies given the prevailing conditions? What price is necessary, and who pays the price, to achieve a particular degree of statistical accuracy? Crucially, will registration provide sufficiently accurate quantitative information in emergencies, compared to alternative and potentially less disruptive, and less costly, methods? Most importantly, will the information made available through registration be used to improve the situation of the population in need, or will it in fact restrict, hamper, or even exclude them?
While increasingly accurate identification of emergency operation beneficiary populations is an important and necessary ongoing activity in emergencies, registration is rarely the ideal method to achieve it. A combination of the methods outlined in the following two chapters should be used first. Finally, if registration is set as a precondition for access to assistance, then a continuous and comprehensive registration system must be put in place before that precondition is set.