Recover password

Members can log in to create events, publish stories, share resources and modify their password and newsletter subscription.

E-mail *
First name *
Last name *
Language preference *
Newsletter options *

By clicking below to submit this form, I hereby agree to the Sphere’s Privacy Policy and terms of use.

Africa Humanitarian Standards Network launched

The Africa Humanitarian Standards Network (AHSN) was officially launched in Harare on Africa Day, 25 May 2022, marking 59 years since the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) was established, and 20 years since the OAU was succeeded by the African Union (AU).

The AHSN is a regional initiative established and led by a group of Sphere and other Humanitarian Standards Partnership (HSP) focal points in Africa. The project started in response to requests from Sphere’s network of members, focal points, trainers and practitioners for regional mechanisms to facilitate knowledge exchange and joint projects. The launch of the AHSN is an important milestone for Sphere.

Hussein Madih, climate specialist, guest of honour at the launch event and Country Engagement Manager for the African Risk Capacity (ARC) Group – a specialised agency of the AU established to help African governments improve their capacity to better plan, prepare and respond to crises – shared his thoughts about the importance of the AHSN:

“Climate change is a risk faced by the whole world, particularly in Africa and among socially and economically marginalised groups. It is our collective responsibility to ensure that the lives and livelihoods of these marginalised populations are well protected, so the launch of the AHSN could not have come at a better time. Our work is often challenged by gaps in the availability of good quality data and the lack of adherence to humanitarian standards. This network will go a long way to address some of these challenges as we continue to serve Africa.”

The Sphere office is delighted to support the AHSN, and we look forward to supporting similar initiatives led by our networks in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC), the Middle East and Europe soon.

We asked the four co-chairs of the AHSN to explain what the initiative is and what activities we can expect in the coming months.

Wonder Mufunda, Sphere trainer, focal point representative for the Centre for Humanitarian Analytics (CHA) in Zimbabwe, and AHSN coordinator for Southern Africa:

“There are three key drivers for the AHSN. Firstly, the number of people affected by crisis in Africa is increasing. Secondly, the humanitarian system often responds in sectors, like WASH or Child Protection, but people’s lives are not lived in sectors. Which brings us to the third driver, that different humanitarian standards complement each other. We started the AHSN journey by conceptualising how we could bring humanitarian actors together so they complement each other in their work.

Jonas Habimana, Sphere trainer, focal point representative for Bureau d’Information, Formations, Echanges et Recherche pour le Développement (BIFERD) in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), and AHSN coordinator for Central Africa:

“A key strength of the AHSN is that it brings together expertise and opinions from across Africa, from the Maghreb to the Cape and from Senegal to Somalia. A key part of our work will be to recognise, influence and mobilise the clusters and other coordination mechanisms that already exist in African countries. We will promote humanitarian standards among all stakeholders, notably government actors that have the primary responsibility to protect their populations. We will facilitate exchange of experiences, and we will continue to collaborate with the Sphere secretariat and the other HSP partners.”

Adamou Illiassou, Sphere trainer, focal point for Niger, and AHSN coordinator for West Africa and the Maghreb:

“Our diversity as humanitarian actors and our links with state and non-state actors, grassroots community organisations, elected officials and others, are great assets. But there are challenges to increasing the use of standards among all these groups, notably language barriers. To what extent will we be able to provide standards, share experiences and enable participation in the numerous languages used by community-based organisations across Africa?”

Dr Loise Gichuhi, INEE focal point for Kenya, and AHSN coordinator for East Africa:

“Through my work in the Education sector, I am familiar with the Inter-agency Network for Education in Emergencies [INEE] standards, but I believe that we don’t integrate enough with the spectrum of other standards. I feel fortunate to be part of this group that is going to break down these silos and find homegrown cross-sectoral solutions for confronting our common enemies like conflict and drought.”

The AHSN is a voluntary community of humanitarian standards practitioners in Africa. To get involved, contact Wonder (Zimbabwe), Jonas (DRC), Illiassou (Niger) or Loise (Kenya).

Watch the recording of the launch event here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e_38c59es7c