The Sphere Handbook is a voluntary code and a self-regulatory tool for quality and accountability, and the Sphere Project does not operate any compliance mechanism.
The Handbook does not offer practical guidance on how to provide certain services (the key actions suggest activities to reach a standard without specifying how to do that). Rather, it explains what needs to be in place in order to ensure a life with dignity for the affected population.
The Sphere Project or ‘Sphere’, initiated in 1997 by a group of humanitarian non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, with the aim was to improve the quality of their actions during disaster response and to be held accountable for them.
Sphere is based on two core beliefs:
- First, that those affected by disaster or conflict have a right to life with dignity and, therefore, a right to assistance;
- Second, that all possible steps should be taken to alleviate human suffering arising out of disaster or conflict.
Striving to support these two core beliefs, the Sphere Project framed a Humanitarian Charter and identified a set of minimum standards in key lifesaving sectors which are now reflected in the Handbook’s four technical chapters: water supply, sanitation and hygiene promotion; food security and nutrition; shelter, settlement and non-food items; and health action.
The Core Standards are process standards and apply to all technical chapters.
How to use the standards:
- The Core Standards and minimum standards follow a specific format. They begin with a general and universal statement – the minimum standard – followed by a series of key actions, key indicators and guidance notes.
- All the chapters are interconnected. Frequently, standards described in one sector need to be addressed in conjunction with standards described in others.
See also: http://www.spherehandbook.org/
You might be interested in these resources:
- Code of Conduct for the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and NGOs in Disaster Relief
- Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF)