|Emergency Supplementary Feeding Programmes - Good Practice Review 2 (ODI, 1995, 122 p.)|
In most situations dry take-home ration programmes are preferable. Current guidelines and the literature generally identify only two types of situation where on-site feeding may be justified. These are where insecurity prevents dry rations from being taken home safely, and where the beneficiary population has no access to cooking facilities, e.g. recently displaced.
However, in some situations other considerations may also support a role for on-site feeding. The following are a checklist of factors that may need to be considered:
· On-site feeding may ensure greater net supplementation of the target group than a dry take-home ration and may also conserve scarce agency food resources as a smaller ration is allocated than in a dry take-home programme where ration design takes account of sharing (these assumptions are highly controversial however, see Section 4.3)
· MoH guidelines advocate the use of on-site feeding, or the beneficiary population has a recent history/tradition of this type of programme so that the programme can be more rapidly established than a dry take-home programme
· on-site feeding allows more regular and intense contact between agency staff and beneficiaries, thereby allowing better opportunities for community development initiatives and certain types of health-care
· the infrastructure for on-site feeding will already exist in emergency situations where large-scale therapeutic feeding programmes have been established. Furthermore, where therapeutic feeding facilities are being overwhelmed by demand, on-site SFP facilities provide a better opportunity to monitor the severely malnourished closely than dry take-home ration programmes
· on-site feeding programmes may be perceived by agencies and host governments as providing a higher-profile activity than a dry take-home programme for attracting donor resources and for satisfying the public that effective action is being taken.
Where some of these factors are considered applicable so that there may appear to be an argument for implementing an on-site feeding programme, two further steps may be necessary before full programme implementation.
· some form of rapid appraisal whereby carers of potential beneficiaries are consulted about the preferred programme design in order to determine whether their full participation is likely or whether the opportunity cost of participating in an on-site programme is too great
· implementing a two-tier system of dry take-home rations and on-site feeding simultaneously thereby allowing participants to select the most appropriate design for themselves. For purposes of speed the dry ration take-home programme may be established first of all, with on-site feeding introduced gradually. Once both types of programmes are in operation advantages to both beneficiaries and implementing agency can theoretically be maximised, although, in the event that one type of programme is significantly more effective than another in rehabilitating mildly and moderately malnourished individuals, beneficiaries could be encouraged, but not coerced, to switch to the more effective type of programme design.