Humanitarian Challenges today

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AN INTRODUCTION TO
SPHERE AND THE
EMERGENCY CONTEXT
SESSION 16
Objectives

By the end of the lesson, the learner should



Have a basic understanding of Sphere
Be able to define the fundamental principles of
the Humanitarian Charter
Distinguish Minimum standards from key
indicators and guidance notes.
Humanitarian Challenges Today



The ever-increasing complexity of disaster
response
An increasing number of disasters
An increasing number of humanitarian actors
that define success in different ways,
depending on who they are accountable to.
What is Sphere Project


The Sphere Project was created in response to
this need for change - as an open and
collaborative initiative to improve the quality
and accountability of disaster response.
It was conceived with the aim of promoting
humanitarian action in an effective and
accountable way.
The Sphere Project can be viewed as a
process that has:




Argued for the universal right of all disasteraffected people to humanitarian assistance
Achieved NGO agreement on core principles
and actions
Collected minimum programming standards
for disasters from past lessons and experience
Achieved consensus on technical standards
and indicators
The Sphere Consultation Process




1997: Initial consultation among 4000 people
2000: Sphere handbook launched.
2004: Revised edition of Sphere handbook
launched
To-date, 80 countries and 400 organizations
have signed up.
Outputs of The Sphere Project

Sphere handbook is the main output. It outlines




The universal right of all disaster affected people to
humanitarian assistance
Minimum programming standards and key indicators for
disasters
NGO agreement on core principles and actions
Quality of and accountability in humanitarian work
The Sphere Handbook Comprises of



The Humanitarian chapter
The Common Standards to all sectors
The Technical Chapters. All these constitute



Minimum Standards
Key Indicators
Guidance notes
Why is the Sphere Handbook Needed


NGO concern with quality and accountability
Historic practice is no longer sufficient i.e.





Increasing complexity of disasters
Numbers of disasters increasing
Changing nature of humanitarian community and
increasing diversity
Increasing number of actors with different measures of
success
Post-Rwanda 1994

Multi-donor evaluation ‘Unnecessary deaths’
The Humanitarian Charter:


Provides some critical reflection on the common
values and principles of the humanitarian community
Contains a commitment to promote the observance
of fundamental humanitarian principles and an
appreciation of the ethical obligations of
humanitarians and their organizations. This reflects



A belief in the principle of humanity
The primacy of the humanitarian imperative
The idea that our actions should be governed by that
imperative
The Humanitarian Charter also

Clarifies roles and responsibilities of various actors
as described in international law: e.g.

Outlines commitment to achieving defined levels
through the minimum standards based on the right to
life with dignity

Acknowledges that the fundamental accountability
of humanitarian actors is to those people we seek to
assist.
The HC Fundamental Principles



Right to life with Dignity - based on the
international Human Rights Law
The distinction between combatants and noncombatants - based on the Geneva
Conventions
The Principle of non-refoulement – based on
the international refugee law
Exercise

A brief review of the ‘The Humanitarian
Charter’… handout
Humanitarian Charter - Conclusion

The humanitarian charter provides the
framework to convert the appreciation of
rights into action – and hence



Minimum standards:
Key indicators
Guidance notes
The Common Standards



This chapter follows the ‘HC’ in the handbook
These are Eight core ‘process and people’ standards
that are relevant to each of the technical chapters that
follow
These standards outline common processes, such as
assessments, response, targeting, monitoring and
evaluation. There are also standards for working
with people, including participation and aid worker
competencies.
Common Standard 1&2


The disaster affected population participated in the
assessment, design, implementation, monitoring &
evaluation of the assistance program
Assessments provide an understanding of the
disaster situation & a clear analysis of threats to life,
dignity, health & livelihoods to determine, in
consultation with the relevant authorities, whether an
external response is required and if so, the nature of
the response.
Common Standard 7&8


No.7. Aid workers possess appropriate
qualifications, attitudes and experience to plan
and implement appropriate effective
programmes
No. 8. Aid workers receive supervision and
support to ensure effective implementation of
humanitarian assistance programme.
Exercise on common Stds.

Review 2 key indicators under common
standard No. 8 i.e. page 41
The Technical Chapters

There is general consensus that the following
4 Sectors are most crucial for the survival of
disaster affected victims




Water supply, sanitation and hygiene promotion
Food security, nutrition and food aid
Shelter, settlement and non-food items
Health services
Technical chapters Cont.

In each technical chapter, tools are provided
in the form of


Minimum Standards and
Key Indicators.
Minimum Stds & Key Indicators


Minimum Standards are universal goals that
represent some of the components of a life
with dignity
Key indicators help agencies measure whether
or not a standard is being met in practical,
observable ways. There are various types of
indicator in the handbook, primarily
qualitative and quantitative.
Indicators



Indicators are tools used to measure: Outputs, outcomes&
impacts of our programs and the processes used
Using measurable indicators to quantify and qualify results is
a key element in determining what has been achieved in a
disaster response operation.
Indicators:




Facilitate program design
Help to establish a clear record of the logic behind a program
Provide a means of measuring quality
Present opportunities for collaborative and transparent projects
Guidance Notes


These are specific points to consider when
applying the standards & indicators in diff.
situations, guidance on tackling practical
difficulties, and advice on priority issues.
They may also include critical issues relating
to the standards or indicators, and describe
dilemmas, controversies or gaps in current
knowledge.
Exercise

Review the handouts on ‘Minimum Stds’ &
Key indicators for Assessment & Analysis of
Food security and Nutrition.
Application of Sphere





As a reference for every stage of the disaster
response project cycle e.g. assessment ques,
benchmarks etc.
As a technical reference tool
The technical rationale – since it avoids bias and
inconsistencies in individual NGO guidelines
Opportunities to improve quality and performance
An advocacy tool – for resources
Objectives of the session

By the end of the lesson, the learner should



Have a basic understanding of Sphere Project (??)
Be able to define the fundamental principles of
the Humanitarian Charter (??)
Distinguish Minimum standards from key
indicators and guidance notes. (??)
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