According to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)
“Non Food items (NFIs) are items other than food used in humanitarian contexts, when
providing assistance to those affected by natural disasters or war.” 1 Non-food items can include
everything from sanitary/hygienic items, household supplies, clothing, cleaning equipment,
shelter materials and more. They are essential items for daily life but due to the nature of the
various types of NFIs, the need varies from household to household within the context of the
Since every crisis is unique, providing NFI assistance requires need assessments to be
conducted in order to determine what people need the most. Bahar’s field representatives
work in communities and camps to conduct the need assessments by going from household to
household and asking pertinent questions to identify what people lack. The information from
the assessments provides qualifiable and quantifiable data to provide the most efficient and
accurate humanitarian assistance to the people that need it the most.
In the midst of crisis situations that force people to leave nearly all their belongings
behind, the paramount concern for providing assistance cannot be over-emphasized. Coupled
with other ongoing needs, NFI assistance is only one part of the big picture but the role that it
serves is vital to ensure that people can continue to meet the needs for themselves and their
With a commitment to serving people affected by the Syria crisis, Bahar’s programs in
Turkey and Syria are designed to provide humanitarian assistance to the most vulnerable
people in the communities and camps. Bahar works with partners to provide various types of
NFI kits, including new arrival kits, to correspond with the need of the influx of people within a
particular location. Through the strategic assessments, the needs are identified and programs
are implemented to provide humanitarian assistance to the affected households.
Some of Bahar’s NFI programs include: hygiene kits, plastic sheet (shelter assistance)
distribution, adult winter clothing, NFI kits, cash vouchers and new arrival kits. The programs
have and continue to evolve based on the need of the beneficiaries to not only provide one
time assistance but ongoing assistance in the form of equipping people with the tools that they
need to improve their livelihood.
While they serve an important role, especially in the context of internally displaced
persons (IDPs) and people fleeing in and out of Syria, the types of NFIs can present many
different challenges in effectively providing the needs of the affected people. In order to combat
this issue, Bahar conducts need assessments in order to understand what is the main overall
need of newly arriving IDPs to camps or host communities. The assessments serve as a way of
providing real tangible data to humanitarian partners that assist Bahar in providing the NFIs to
the affected population. This process ensures that the people are getting NFIs that they really
need and that the partners can be confident that the NFIs they supply are being efficiently
utilized and distributed.
Even in the midst of the same crisis situation, households of newly arriving IDPs still
have differing NFI needs. Since they were forced to leave their homes and their belongings
behind, the critical need is best addressed upon arrival or as soon after as possible. For example
the NFIs needed in the camp will inevitably differ compared to the NFIs needed in the host
communities. Also a household comprised of mostly women, will differ on their needs
compared to another one comprised of mostly children under five. With all of the different
factors to take into consideration, providing proper NFI kits to households is essential.
Bahar Organisation has played a constant active role in distributing non-food items (NFIs) to
residents and IDPs since the beginning of the conflict. Their programs continue to reach the
most vulnerable people through conducting assessments to identify the most urgent NFI need
on households in host communities and camps.