Contribute to improving performance, quality, transperency and accountability in the humanitarian response of NGOs and RCRC Movement in Bangladesh.

About Us

Sphere Bangladesh Community, working since 2011

Brief history of the Sphere project

The Sphere Project was launched in 1997 to develop a set of minimum standards in core areas of humanitarian assistance and to improve the quality and accountability of humanitarian service and system. Although the genesis of Sphere Project was triggered by the 1994 genocides in Rwanda yet during that period there was an increase in the number of humanitarian crises to which agencies had to respond and their performance was tested. In the absence of any standards humanitarian agencies found themselves many times in the midst of moral dilemma. One response, in the early part of 1997, to moral ambiguity was to codify rules for action. As a result, the Code of Conduct for the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and NGOs in Disaster Relief (RC/NGO Code) was introduced which promoted the concept of the humanitarian imperative and expands the principle of humanity to include the right to receive and to give humanitarian assistance. It also states the obligation of the international community to provide humanitarian assistance wherever it is needed. In the latter half of 1997 a multi donor Joint Evaluation was conducted which recommended some form of self-managed regulation of NGOs to monitor compliance. Humanitarian agencies took the initiative to talk to each other and establish minimum standards for humanitarian response. This led to the Sphere Project. The aim of the project is to improve the quality of assistance provided to people affected by disasters, and to enhance the accountability of the humanitarian system in disaster response (www.sphereproject.org/). One of the major results of the project has been the publication of the handbook, Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Disaster Response in 2000. The handbook has undergone development revisions in the last decade. It underwent two major revisions and the recent handbook was revised and launched in 2011. The Sphere Project is not a membership organisation. Governed by a Board composed of representatives of global networks of humanitarian agencies, the Sphere Project today is a vibrant community of humanitarian response practitioners. Most of the NGOs and Red Cross/Red Crescent (RCRC) Movement in Bangladesh are signatory to the Sphere project. The Humanitarian Organizations, Red Cross Red Crescent Movement and Networks working in Bangladesh are actively engaged to promoting Sphere standards in humanitarian response. Since inception of the Sphere project in Bangladesh some activities have been conducted that includes training of organization staff, training of trainers, dissemination of Sphere standards through translation of Handbook and publication of IEC materials in local language.

Background of Sphere Community Bangladesh (SCB) inception

Post Sphere focal point forum meeting in Bangkok, key humanitarian actors have been planning Sphere related initiatives in Bangladesh. Consistent to the Sphere global priorities, Bangladesh has made some good progress in terms of creating a common platform within humanitarian organizations, Red Cross Red Crescent Movement and networks to take forward some actions including translation of revised Sphere Handbook in Bangla as a ready reference for humanitarian response and action. The common platform realises the disadvantages of noncompliance in maintaining minimum standards in terms of relief package and code of conduct in humanitarian response. Organizations, that are active in the implementation of Sphere in Bangladesh, need to be mobilized/ encouraged to be part of the Sphere community in Bangladesh for greater learning and sharing of resources and knowledge. However, all the involved organisations feel the need of working more closely to fulfil the Sphere's global priorities. Hence, it has been agreed by all in an inter-agency meeting that SCB needs to be formed which will work under an agreed ToR. Though there is a precedence of some good practices to respect standards during emergency response operation, this is not consistent due to common tendency of maximizing geographic spread and lack of post response coordination between responding agencies. Hence the minimum standard maintenance becomes adhoc. As per the agreement and discussions , this common platform intends to form a SPHERE community in Bangladesh along with focal point at organizational level.

Structure:

There will be a governance team to steer, progress and review the SCB activities.

Governance team:

The general meeting of the SCB will determine the actual size of the governance team but it should not be more than 10. At most eight members will come from organizations/agencies and two independent individual humanitarian workers/networks nominated/recommended in the SCB meeting will take part in the governance team. Nomination should be vetted by the organization which the individual member is representing. The SCB secretariat host will be the chair in the governance team. The governance team is meant to provide advisory support and technical input for the SCB secretariat in carrying out its activities. Governance team will be entrusted to form other teams when and where required. It will be reformed every six months through provision of new nominated agencies/networks. The nature of membership in governance team is open to all humanitarian agencies and individuals. The term of the governance team will be six months. After expiry of the term SCB members will form the new governance team with interested members who have the technical expertise.