|Counting and Identification of Beneficiary Populations in Emergency Operations (ODI, 1997, 110 p.)|
|6. Identifying a beneficiary population: a social, cultural, economic and political profile|
Programme planning, implementation and evaluation should be rooted in an ever deeper, more comprehensive, more detailed and more accurate understanding of the beneficiary population - their needs and resources, backgrounds, cultures and systems, and the conditions in which they now live. Information on who the beneficiaries are, from where they have come, what they do, control and possess (skills, qualities, capacities and physical resources), and what they themselves believe their priority needs and principal resources to be, should constitute the foundation for ongoing programmes or operations.
A particularly important aspect of information collection and analysis is gender - including an analysis of the roles, strengths, needs, and resources of men and women, and the specific risks they run - not only of those to be registered, but also of those conducting the registration. Moreover, the aims of the identification exercise (what information is to be recorded, about whom, and for what purpose, for example, protection) will all have gender implications.
This chapter considers ways of obtaining such qualitative information and concentrates on the need to obtain lists. A list is a fundamental tool needed for the effective and efficient delivery of both material assistance and protection. The need for lists arises immediately when an emergency programme has begun. A list may need to be as comprehensive as the entire beneficiary population, or it may represent a sub-section of that population requiring specific targeted assistance to meet particular needs, e.g. therapeutic feeding. In order to constitute such lists, a degree of qualitative information is needed. The following are examples of areas where planning can be improved by considering qualitative factors:
· demography: what definitions are used for an identification exercise (head of household, bread-winner, household possessions, land and livestock tenancy, parent, family, etc.), and what are the gender implications of these?
· protection: what threats to their safety and security are experienced by whom, why, and how can people be protected from these risks?
· food distribution: which foods (religious concerns?) should be supplied and to whom, and how should they be distributed?
· healthcare: what are the most critical medical needs? Who needs what and to whom will they explain these needs? What were the patterns of healthcare for the people before the event or crisis? What method of healthcare delivery will now best reach the intended target group?
· accommodation and shelter: who should live where? What are the salient protection issues in the siting of accommodation and provision of shelter? For instance water and firewood is collected for the household by whom, and what risks does the location of accommodation in relation to these resources entail)?
· socio-cultural profile: segmentary lineage (clan) systems, or other tribal and ethnic identity codings, typically lead to such groups seeking to reside together. Understanding the tribal dynamics and affiliations and community identities is extremely relevant. Very often outsiders of a dominant identity group will be more vulnerable and at greater risk. This was the case for example of Somalis in Mogadishu who belonged to clans not well represented in that city, and of Ethiopians, who had been taken to Mogadishu as POWs during the Ogaden war. Once in Mogadishu, they could not rely on the mutual support and protection of a kin network. Similarly, many ethnic Slavs left Chechnya and especially Grozny, between 1989 and the outbreak of war in December 1994. Those remaining were mostly the elderly who were financially or physically unable to leave (Hansen and Seely, 1996:7).
Ethnic identity as risk factor in camp situations
In 1993, the Ethiopian Refugee Administration and UNHCR relocated several Somali families belonging to the Marehan lineage from a camp in the southern Ogaden, mostly inhabited by Ogadeni lineage members, to Kebri Bayeh camp 500 kms further north. The Kebri Bayeh camp was made up of Somalis belonging to the Abasqul, Yeberre and Bartire lineage segments, which did not have an antagonistic relationship with the Marehan.
Gender and class
Women in South Kivu, eastern Zaire, experienced exclusion from communication with, representation to and in turn, forms of assistance from the camp authorities. Most communications between refugees and humanitarian agencies for instance tended to be between men and on the occasions when women were consulted, they would tend to be educated women, and therefore mostly from the elite. Women from modest backgrounds would thus be doubly excluded
Programme needs and resources assessment planning should provide answers to these types of questions. Skills and techniques for collecting, analysing, and using information on demographic (especially gender and age), social, political, cultural and economic aspects of the population are then required. Again, different degrees of accuracy are needed and there are different methods of obtaining the information. This chapter is divided roughly into discussion of three broad approaches - community based, or community worker based, rapid appraisal using researchers with appropriate skills and household surveys.