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Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Humanitarian Response


4.1. Food security - Food transfers

The aim of food transfers is to ensure that people have safe access to food of adequate quality and quantity, and have the means to prepare and consume it safely.

General (free) distributions of food are introduced when assessed to be necessary, targeted to those who need the food most, and discontinued when beneficiaries have recovered the ability to produce or access their food through other means. Beneficiaries may require a transition to other forms of assistance, such as conditional transfers or livelihood responses. Supplementary feeding may be needed in addition to any general ration for individuals at risk (e.g. children aged 6–59 months and pregnant or breastfeeding women).This may be blanket or targeted depending on the context (see Management of acute malnutrition and micronutrient deficiencies standard 1 ).

For both general food distributions and supplementary feeding, take-home rations are provided wherever possible. On-site feeding is undertaken only when people do not have the means to cook for themselves (immediately after a disaster or during population movements), where insecurity would put recipients of take-home rations at risk or for emergency school feeding (though take-home rations may be distributed though schools).

Supply chain management (SCM) must be particularly robust and accountable – lives can be immediately at stake and food transfers are often a major proportion of disaster response. Delivery and distribution systems should be monitored at all stages, including at community level, and transparency though effective communication can play a key role. Periodic evaluations should disseminate findings and be discussed with stakeholders, including the affected population and local institutions.