With feeling and know-how: quality assurance for emergency aid
Bonn, 18 August 2011. On the occasion of the Day of Humanitarian Aid, Manuela Rossbach, manager of Aktion Deutschland Hilft (ADH), emphasises the relevance of qualified expertise for humanitarian aid. “Not only good will counts in the case of disaster, but much more a professional and sensitive approach exercised by the helpers,” explains Ms Rossbach. “To alleviate human suffering following disaster, reliable qualifications are required when offering humanitarian aid.”
To run a refugee camp, such as the one current in Dadaab in Kenya, mutual standards of quality among the relief organisations are essential. These minimum standards, so-called “sphere standards”, have been summarised in a handbook that has now been published in its third edition for the first time in German. The handbook entitled “The Sphere Project – Humanitarian Charta on Minimum Standards for Humanitarian Aid” has been published by the so-called Sphere Project, a union of international humanitarian, non-governmental organisations, the International Red Cross and the Red Crescent.
“The Sphere Standards, the guidelines to which all professional relief organisations work, replaces an unfortunately still lacking international legal commitment to aid in the case of disaster,” Manuela Rossbach explains. “The widespread use of the “Sphere Handbook”, which has been translated into 40 languages, is based on ever-newly proved records. The current, new edition, with its basic additions in respect of ever-further developing disaster relief, is to ensure that its use is fostered further. I feel that that this is another important pillar for the growing profession of disaster helpers, the quality of which the helpers wish and should improve in this field.”
The core of the handbook is the four pillars of emergency aid as a basis for survival: water and hygiene, assurance of foodstuff and nutrition, emergency accommodation and health care.
Examples of minimum standards in humanitarian aid!
Drinking water per person/day 2.5 to 3 litres
Average kcal per person/day 2,100 kcal
Floor space per person 3.5 square metres
District hospital Medical care for 250,000 people
Doctor 1 doctor for 50,000 people
The recently completed translation of the Sphere Handbook into German was coordi-nated by Aktion Deutschland Hilft in cooperation with Ruhr University in Bochum and financially supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 650 experts from about 300 non-governmental organisations from more than 20 countries contributed to the re-vision of the standard work. In 2010 alone, 300 further-education and training courses took place in 71 countries, in which the Sphere principles and minimum standards were mediated to 7,700 humanitarian aid helpers. The handbook can be obtained through the campaign office in Bonn.