Lesson Learnt from Lombok: Distribution of the Humanitarian Assistance

The distribution of assistance during the emergency response can be a challenge for humanitarian workers. Not only is there a lack of relief supplies, even a lot of supplies can be an obstacle if it is not properly distributed. What if the relief supplies cannot meet the needs of all people?


The first thing to do is of course to make an agreement based on the type of needs and designation. Right after the earthquake hits Lombok some time ago, YEU together with Plan International Indonesia agreed to distribute shelter kits consisting of 2 tarps, 4 blankets, 2 mats and 2 ropes. These shelter kits are prioritized for families with vulnerable groups such as toddlers, the elderly, people with disabilities, and female head of households.


In the process of distribution, YEU and Plan International Indonesia involved the Village Government and each sub-village head. Their input and recommendations are very important to make it easier to determine the priorities of the families who need the most. To support humanitarian accountability, the Village Government allowed YEU and Plan International Indonesia to independently validate data, hold space for direct feedback from the community on the process of selecting recipients and distribution targets, and conduct post-distribution monitoring. It is at this feedback session that community can clarify if they feel the distribution is unfair. This happened when YEU distributed relief aid in Sambik Elen 1 Sub-village in Bayan Village, there were residents who—based on the criteria—felt they should receive the aid but their names were not listed, and vice versa. At that time the aid distribution had stopped because of protests from several community members. Responding to this, the Village Secretary drew an inappropriate contribution and gave it to the rightful persons.


Based on our experiences, lesson learnt in distributing aid including:

1. Beneficiary data should be posted the day before. On the other hand, the village government also needs to announce the names of the beneficiaries, one of which through the mosque speaker.
2. There must be strong leadership when distributing aid for a large number of people.
3. Socialization of criteria for beneficiaries must be clearly conveyed to the community
4. Community involvement is important such as in distributing aid, maintaining security, and so on.
5. The distribution of aid should not be done in a hurry.