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Two distribution sistes, one looking chaotic and the other well organised, with waiting lines for vulnerable groups, a disability information desk and other inclusive designs
© AUOR 2015

Distribution of relief items in the immediate disaster response can be inaccessible to women, men, girls and boys with disabilities due to travel distance, queues, difficult terrain and/or lack of information. Cash and/or voucher programmes are increasingly being considered as an alternative to in-kind distribution. 

For inclusive distribution procedures, here comes few tips and directions:

  • Invite persons with disabilities (make sure women and men are represented) when doing consultations in the planning process to design the ration cards system;
  • Needs assessment has to be inclusive of women, men, girls and boys with disabilities, good data collection will ensure more inclusive and effective service provisions;
  • Make available and accessible information and communication about distribution (including ration cards) by using different communication media (radio, print, pictures, etc.).
  • Make sure that the distribution site is safe, accessible and reachable for everyone, including for men and women, girls and boys with disabilities, older people and women or child-headed households; 
  • Avoid craggy or hilly area, choose a flat site as much as possible; a uniform surface with drainage;
  • Access to site should be checked: clear of rubble or other obstacles, well-signed and protected path. The ground should be flattened and compacted as much as possible;
  • Put up accessible signages that indicate the location of the site;
  • Plan for fast-track line for persons with disabilities and others who cannot wait for long hours in queues to make sure they receive assistance;
  • Think of smaller parcel size and more regular distribution;
  • Avoid prolonged waiting position for persons who have difficulties standing and moving, provide for chairs in a shadow area;
  • Make sure that accessible latrines and water are available at the distribution site. The water container needs to be raised off the ground so that the tap is at a convenient height;
  • Eventually, depending on the site, guiding string or rope could be made between the distribution site and the latrines to facilitate orientation for persons who are blind of with visual impairments.
  • Be aware that people with mental health conditions and trauma related symptoms may find large crowds, loud noise and the distribution site distressing. Be mindful that distribution sites/occasions can also be a good time to identify people with a disabilities including those with mental health conditions.
Woman sitting down and pouring a glass of water from a raised water container
© Hazel Jones and Bob Reed. 2005
An old man using a string as guide
© USAID-WASHplus Kenya/Elisha Ratemo