Issue 9 - Article 10

SPHERE Project: A progress report

November 1, 1997
Laura Gibbons, RRN Coordinator, based on information from Susan Purdin, SPHERE Project Manager

The SPHERE Project (an initiative of the Steering Committee for Humanitarian Response (SCHR) and Interaction) was launched in July this year.

A fuller report on the background to the project and objectives was carried in RRN Newsletter 6 (Walker, 1996). Here we offer a brief progress report and contact details of the five sector managers and Project Coordinator, Susan Purdin.

To recap, the project involves European and US NGOs and the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, donor governments, and UN agencies in developing a set of standards in five core areas of humanitarian assistance as set out in the box (see right). The standards are intended to improve the quality of assistance provided in emergencies, and the accountability of agencies to their beneficiaries, their membership and their donors. A unique aspect of the project is its commitment to derive these standards from a ‘charter of humanitarian rights – drawn from existing international law – relevant to all with a legitimate claim to assistance in disaster situations’.

The sector managers met in Washington during the last week of October 1997, since when the nutrition section has held a working group meeting in London, the water and site teams met together in Geneva and health and food security people have connected with peer groups in several different fora.

Other recent project activities have included the first draft of the humanitarian charter, based on international humanitarian law and human rights conventions, which was reviewed at the project management committee. The charter reaffirms the commitment of NGOs working in humanitarian relief to deliver goods and services in support of life with dignity. It is hoped that a draft of the Charter will be posted on the website by the end of November.

SPHERE Project: sectors and managers

All five sector managers are working at building networks and formulating agreed interagency standards in their areas of expertise.

– Project Coordinator – Susan Purdin; Email address:
– Water supply and sanitationJohn Adams, seconded to the SPHERE project from Oxfam; Email address:
– Food security – Harlan Hale, seconded by CARE-US based in Atlanta; Email address:
– Health services – Joachim Kreysler, IFRC; Email address:
– Nutrition – Lola Nathanail, SCF-UK; Email address:
– Clothing, shelter and site management – Philip Wijmans, LWF field director in Cambodia; Email address:


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