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This content is taken from the Coventry University's online course, Disaster Interventions and the Need for Evaluation, Accountability and Learning. Join the course to learn more.


The Sphere Project was created in 1997 to improve the quality of humanitarian response and to increase accountability of the non-governmental organisations involved.

The Sphere Handbook, last updated in 2018 for its fourth edition, is considered to be the foundation guidance for humanitarian action. It defines the ethical and legal context in the form of the Humanitarian Charter and Protection Principles, and gives practical guidance for appropriate humanitarian response. It also sets technical specifications that provide minimum expected standards that reflect current practice in:

  • Water supply, sanitation and hygiene promotion (WASH)
  • Food security and nutrition
  • Shelter and settlement
  • Health

All elements of Sphere are now underpinned by the Core Humanitarian Standard. Watch the video above which provides an overview of Sphere and its purpose.

Your task

Read the following sections on pages 6-10 of the Sphere Handbook:

  • The Minimum Standards promote a consistent approach
  • Using the standards in context
  • The standards apply throughout the programme cycle

Reflecting on what you have learned about the role and purpose of and systems for monitoring, evaluation, accountability and quality, how does the approach proposed by Sphere align?

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This video is from the free online course:

Disaster Interventions and the Need for Evaluation, Accountability and Learning

Coventry University