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Sphere Project

The Sphere Project is an initiative to define and uphold the standards by which the global community responds to the plight of people affected by disasters, principally through a set of guidelines that are set out in the Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Disaster Response (commonly referred to as the Sphere Handbook).

The Sphere Handbook puts the right of disaster-affected populations to life with dignity, and to protection and assistance at the centre of humanitarian action. It promotes the active participation of affected populations as well as of local and national authorities, and is used to negotiate humanitarian space and resources with authorities in disaster-preparedness work.

The minimum standards cover four primary life-saving areas of humanitarian aid: water supply, sanitation and hygiene promotion; food security and nutrition; shelter, settlement and non-food items; and health action.

The guidelines outlined in the Sphere Handbook have been widely adopted across the humanitarian sector. The Handbook is regularly revised as more information and experience around effective practice is gained. The third and lastest 2011 edition goes beyond the  use of minimum standards are recognised as insufficient on their own. The standards are combined with a "philosophy of action that listened and responded to the opinions of people affected by disasters" to try and create a framework that is responsive, qualitative and accountable.

For more information or to obtain the standards please see - The Sphere Project Website or keep up to date with Sphere on Facebook or Twitter

Sphere Updates

New tools for assessing humanitarian needs

The humanitarian needs assessment community is currently piloting two new assessment tools. Sphere 4 assessments is a short guide to help staff identify and implement sections of the Sphere Handbook most relevant to assessment. Sphere 4 assessments is a short guide to help staff identify and implement sections of the Sphere Handbook most relevant to assessment. The Good Enough Guide to Humanitarian Needs Assessment provides a comprehensive framework for needs assessment, accompanied by a set of practical tools. Find more information here

New companion standards to the Sphere Handbook

There are a number of companions that have been developed alongside the Sphere Project’s Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Humanitarian Response.

The Livestock Emergency Guidelines and Standards (LEGS)

The Minimum Economic Recovery Standards (MERS)

The  Minimum Standards for Child Protection in Humanitarian Action (CPMS)

The Minimum Standards for Education: Preparedness, Response, Recovery (INEE)

Training tools for the Sphere Handbook 2011 edition

An online e-learning course has been developed by the Sphere Project. The course is free and no academic qualificaitons are needed. Each person may take the course at her or his own pace.