One way to preserve the integrity of markets is to employ the best-practice standards of targeting humanitarian assistance better. As food aid is a scarce resource, targeting allows for maximum impact by ensuring that proper quantities of food aid reach appropriate beneficiaries at appropriate times, says Maxwell. In addition to providing aid for those who need it, good targeting helps to prevent the unintended consequences of food aid displaced trade or production incentives, or labor market distortions by not providing food aid for those who dont need it. Maxwell discusses various methods of targeting that identify vulnerable populations and involving those populations in both the identification of appropriate interventions, and the targeting of these interventions. Later this year Maxwell and Helen Young, PhD, research director of Nutrition and Livelihoods at FIC and professor at the Friedman School, along with FIC researcher John Burns, will begin new research on involving communities in targeting in complex emergencies.
Maxwell acknowledges that implementing best-practice standards is a difficult process. Improving analysis and tying this analysis to improved program design, implementation and monitoring or evaluation sounds like straightforward, good programming in any kind of humanitarian or developmental intervention but given the myriad of contextual factors, local government restrictions and donor politics, not to mention complex logistical considerations and the relative inflexibility of food as a resource it is often anything but a straightforward exercise to improve prog
Contact: Siobhan Gallagher
Tufts University, Health Sciences