11. Targeting

Targeting refers to the mechanisms that relief agencies use to ensure their assistance reaches the people who are in greatest need. A targeting strategy aims to concentrate the available set of resources (for example, food, skills, cash) where aid can have the greatest impact on meeting the needs of the affected men, women, boys & girls. Government and/or aid donors may try to dictate targeting according to their priorities, which may not correspond to the realities of the situation. In such circumstances, humanitarian agencies must advocate for fair targeting based on humanitarian principles and assessment of need.

CARE’s programme strategy and project designs should clearly identify CARE’s target groups. The selection of target groups for CARE’s assistance should be defined on the basis of need, taking care to ensure that CARE’s targeting strategy is consistent with programming principles and our commitment to gender equality in emergencies.

The first step in identifying CARE’s target groups is to identify the geographic focus of CARE’s response strategy. CARE’s strategy must define the geographic focus of CARE’s operations to:

  • coordinate with other agencies to ensure maximum coverage and avoid duplication
  • put in place appropriate operational plans
  • ensure assistance is provided where it is needed most.

When deciding the geographic focus of CARE’s strategy, consider:

Where is the greatest need?

  • What areas have been worst affected?
  • What areas have the greatest identified need?
  • What areas are normally the most vulnerable?

CARE’s capacity: Where can CARE have the greatest impact?

  • Where does CARE already have capacity, including established presence, partners and infrastructure?
  • Where can CARE feasibly launch new operations?
  • Where is there an obligation to the community for CARE to assist?

Coordination: Where is there a lack of assistance?

  • Where are other agencies, including government and local organisations, assessing or responding?
  • What areas are being neglected?

Sometimes in an emergency response, blanket assistance is required at first for the whole disaster-affected population. However, within any population, factors of vulnerability affect the level of need of different groups. Assistance needs to be prioritised to ensure aid reaches those who need it most. The people who are in most need of assistance are usually the most vulnerable groups in the population. These will be CARE’s priority target groups.

CARE’s emergency response strategy must analyse and identify factors of vulnerability in the population, and define broad target groups appropriate to the levels of need, vulnerability and available resources. Assumptions should not be made as to who the most vulnerable are, as every situation is different and must be properly analysed using many different lenses (for example, gender, livelihoods, cultural).

Detailed guidelines on developing a targeting strategy are available at Annex 5.7.

In the development of a targeting strategy, CARE gives special consideration to the needs of globally recognised categories of vulnerable groups, which include women, children, internally displaced persons (IDPs), refugees, people with disabilities, the elderly, people living with HIV/AIDS and ethnic minorities. Section 11.4 has been adapted from the WFP Emergency field operations pocketbook and Sphere. It lists issues that should be considered in planning and managing operations to ensure that the special needs of vulnerable groups are met as best as possible. Note that not all vulnerable groups are included in this section.

Group Actions
Women (in all population groups)

See Chapter on Gender

  • Take account of the new roles that women and girls may have taken on as a result of the crisis, and the particular challenges they face in receiving emergency supplies and meeting the relief supply needs of their families.
  • Take specific measures to combat any discrimination against women.
  • Design all programme activities to ensure women’s full information about entitlements and their full participation in decision-making groups; and to facilitate their equal access to resources, employment, markets and trade.
Children (in all population groups)
  • Take account of children’s special needs. They are entitled to special protection, opportunities and facilities that enable them to develop physically, mentally, morally, spiritually and socially in conditions of freedom and dignity.
  • While providing basic relief supplies to meet children’s physical needs, also support measures that help to assure their social and psychological needs.
Internally displaced persons
  • Recognise and understand the particular situation and needs of IDPs.
  • While providing relief supplies to IDPs to help them re-establish normal, or new, livelihoods and coping mechanisms, also support measures that help to assure them the same rights and freedoms as other persons in their country.
  • Where relevant, work closely with UNHCR to address the needs of refugees and to support activities aimed at building their self-reliance.
The elderly
  • Recognise that isolation is the most significant factor creating vulnerability for older people, as it exacerbates chronic health and mobility problems, and disrupts livelihood strategies, and family and community support structures.
  • Older people can play an important role in emergency responses by drawing on their rich experiences of community coping strategies.
People living with HIV/AIDS

See Chapter on HIV/AIDS

  • People living with HIV/AIDS, their families and their communities deserve special attention during an emergency response, including preserving confidentiality to avoid the possibility of discrimination.
  • Special considerations need to be made in terms of nutrition, water and sanitation.
Ethnic minorities
  • Careful consideration needs to be given to ensure equitable treatment of ethnic minorities.
  • The needs of ethnic minorities may be different from the larger population-for example, different dietary requirements or security issues.
People with disabilities
  • Facilitate an enabling environment with social support networks and make standard facilities as accessible as possible.