7. Site security

Distribution can create security risks, including both the risk of diversion and the potential for violence. These risks must be assessed in advance and the following steps taken to minimise them:

  • Distribution should be made openly in a public place. To maintain a smooth and well-run distribution, the site should be delineated with a perimeter such that people called to receive their items can collect them while the remainder waits their turn outside. The perimeter may be a fence, a wall, a trench or simply a rope on poles as its effect is more psychological than physical.
  • The site should have clearly designed entrances and exists to avoid congestion. Ropes and poles may be used to assist the recipients with queuing to receive their ration.
  • All CARE staff must be aware of, and respond to, gender-based violence or sexual exploitation associated with distribution. The site security must be established with consideration to risks posed to women and vulnerable groups-considering access, lighting, safe travel routes, and open and transparent spaces.
    • Ensuring a transparent process and keeping the population informed on how distributions will be organized, reminding the population who is targeted, and providing them a voice can greatly reduce security risks. Establish a Help Desk and Compliant Mechanism at the distribution site where the population may receive information or explanations concerning the distribution, register a grievance or complaint, or make suggestions.
  • Designate a person to be responsible for security at each site and make him/her known to everyone.
  • Ensure sufficient personnel with megaphones or whistles to supervise orderly movement and distribution. Involve recipient representatives and community leaders as much as possible.
  • If necessary, employ guards (either informal watchmen or actual police) to assist in crowd control activities. Failure to maintain adequate crowd control can be sufficient grounds to stop a distribution and/or suspend future distribution until such time as adequate safeguards are taken.
  • Prepare an evacuation plan for all large sites.
  • Deal quickly, firmly and fairly with any case of disorder or cheating. Move problem cases immediately into a separate area away from onlookers.
  • Organise those waiting into groups according to their communities or other breakdown as per recipient lists.

Minimise waiting periods as much as possible. Consider organising complementary activities or posting information and community service messages to occupy those waiting. Seek to develop programme linkages and opportunities with other sectors and/or agencies working in the same area. Activities may include such things as:

  • posters and other educational material for view by the gathered population
  • pamphlets, literature and other printed material distributed
  • information sessions by community workers pertinent to community issues
  • discussion groups led by subject matter experts on specific topics (e.g. during commodity distributions, promotion of food hygiene such as washing of hands before handling food, avoiding contamination of water, pest control measures, safe methods for food preparation)
  • nutritional survey/monitoring or vaccinations conducted by health workers
  • ongoing monitoring by CARE staff on issues related to programming in the area.