We have a strong vision of a humanitarian world where standards are not only based on experience and evidence, but also built upon a common framework and language, thus allowing professionals trained in one set of standards to move seamlessly to working with others. And we are about to take a step further towards this vision — with your help.
The Sphere Project currently has companionship agreements with four humanitarian standards initiatives that are complementary to the Sphere standards and sectors: education in emergencies (INEE), child protection (CMPS), livestock management (LEGS) and economic recovery (MERS).
These agreements have helped us collectively harmonise and consolidate humanitarian standards by agreeing on a common structure and language, exchanging on training and learning and developing advocacy approaches on the use of standards in practice.
But we know we can do more to affect the quality and accountability of humanitarian response.
Each of these companionship arrangements is bilateral, which means that they remain somewhat narrow in scope; we have seen that this can limit our collective ability to address key challenges in practice and to take our joint contribution in support of field work to scale.
We are now gearing up to constitute a global humanitarian standards partnership which would be more than the sum of its parts, maximise a collective voice and create a forum for new standards as they are developed, based on evidence and experience.
We believe that this partnership of standards-setting initiatives has the potential to bring about improvements in the quality and accountability of humanitarian response in a variety of ways — which are spelled out in the survey for your consideration.
If you find humanitarian standards helpful in your work, you will surely benefit from a yet more coherent approach to developing standards, indicators, guidance and training tools. At a time when standards are becoming an ever more important part of professionalisation in an increasing number of areas of humanitarian work, a tested-and-proven concept can go a long way towards greater usability and impact.
Your participation in the survey will enable us to gauge the level of interest in such a partnership and to better understand how users of humanitarian standards perceive its potential added value. The survey results will inform decisions to be made by Sphere and its companion standards on how to move forward.
Please respond to the survey — it should take less than 10 minutes of your time.