Sphere community increasingly active around the world
From Bolivia to the Philippines and from Vietnam to Nepal, humanitarian practitioners and organisations are developing new activities and strategies to further disseminate Sphere principles and standards.
In Bolivia, the national Sphere Group has just been reactivated. In addition to a range of training and promotional activities, they also carry out advocacy work. Notably, they are striving to incorporate Sphere standards into the Risk and emergencies management law of the Cochabamba department, which is currently under revision.
The Faculty of Agricultural and Livestock Sciences of the Universidad Mayor de San Simón is now offering a first Certificate in Minimum Standards in Humanitarian Response and Early Recovery, focused on Sphere and other humanitarian standards. In addition, the Catholic University of La Paz has included Sphere standards in its Certificate in Risk Management.
Sphere Bolivia has appointed a National Coordination Committee integrated by Save the Children (national focal point), the Risk Management Professionals Association (focal point in La Paz), and the Agro-bioenergetic Assistance to Farmers Program (focal point in Cochabamba). A more detailed account of activities developed by Sphere Bolivia may be read in Spanish here.
The Alliance of Sphere Advocates in the Philippines (ASAP) has gathered 13 national and international humanitarian agencies. The Alliance provides a coordination and support platform to help humanitarian actors improve the implementation of Sphere standards through sharing their experiences.
One of ASAP's goals is to expand Sphere training to a wider audience. With that purpose in mind, the national Sphere focal point Lutheran World Relief (LWR), which acts as ASAP convenor, has conducted a revision of training modules, translating and adapting them for local audiences, including NGOs, government officials and the private sector.
Besides developing a quality and accountability strategy focused on mainstreaming Sphere principles and standards among the country's humanitarian actors, LWR is involved with Sphere audits in humanitarian responses across the country. A more detailed account of activities developed by LWR may be read here.
In Vietnam, the Sphere Working Group coordinated by Oxfam and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) translated the Sphere Handbook 2011 edition into Vietnamese and published 3,000 copies of it. Plans to produce an additional 1,000 copies are underway.
The Group is partnering with the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, which is the national focal body for disaster-preparedness and response, as well as with the national Red Cross society and the national Women's Union in order to develop an enhanced humanitarian response initiative.
Eleven humanitarian actors, coordinated by the country's Disaster-Preparedness Network (DPNet-Nepal), have recently created Sphere Nepal, a forum of Sphere focal points. DPNet-Nepal, which involves national and international NGOs as well as governmental and UN agencies, has facilitated the translation and dissemination of the Sphere Handbook 2011 edition in Nepali and Sphere trainings across the country.
Sphere Nepal seeks to offer support in capacity building and awareness rising amongst humanitarian actors to ensure humanitarian response meets standards of quality and accountability. It works through advocacy programs to institutionalize Sphere principles and standards.