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Building a Sustainable Network: Sphere in Ukraine and Eastern Europe

Sphere’s crisis response Programme for Ukraine and Eastern Europe ran from July 2022 to June 2023. An important objective of the programme was to build a network to sustain Sphere’s presence in the region. This was a great success, with five organisations joining Sphere’s focal point network resulting from outreach activities:

Caritas Moldova joined Sphere’s focal point network in December 2022.

The Society Development Institute (SDI) and the Asociácia samaritánov Slovenskej republiky (AS-SR) jointly became Sphere’s focal point for the Slovak Republic in March 2023.

Save the Children Poland Country Office and the Humanitarian Leadership Academy Eastern Europe Regional Centre (hosted by Save Poland) was appointed Sphere’s focal point for Poland during the first half of 2023.

Charitable Foundation Твоя опора (which is pronounced “Tvoya Opora” and means “Your Support”) became Sphere’s focal point for Ukraine in June 2023.

World Vision Romania joined Sphere’s focal point network in September 2023.

Managed by Sphere’s Regional Coordinators for Ukraine and Eastern Europe, Daria Pistriak and Victoria Konunchuk, the programme delivered an impressive set of outputs in just twelve months:

  • Sphere Handbook translations in Ukrainian, Polish, Romanian and Slovak;
  • A new 90-minute self-paced online course, How to Use the Sphere Handbook, now available in Ukrainian, English and Spanish on Sphere’s learning platform;
  • Eighteen in-person and online Sphere workshops involving over 400 participants in five countries;
  • Five new focal points (as above); and
  • 2,650 newly translated printed Sphere Handbooks delivered to partners in five countries.

As an early indicator of sustainability, Save the Children Poland hosted a 5-day Training of Trainers workshop in Warsaw in June 2023 with the support of FIHM (Sphere’s focal point in Portugal and Brazil) and the Sphere head office. Participants included representatives of local NGOs, as well as Sphere’s five new Eastern-European focal points, who came together for the first time to learn how to facilitate Sphere training and share best practices.

The widespread knowledge, integration, and application of minimum standards in humanitarian policy and practice strengthens the capacity of people affected by crisis to survive and recover with dignity. Communities of trainers supported by focal points are key to the continued dissemination of humanitarian standards at national level.

Visit Sphere’s Programme for Ukraine and Eastern Europe page for more resources, news and information about events related to the programme. (Читайте цю статтю українською тут.)

Sphere is grateful to the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC)[1] for funding this programme and for their continuing support to Save the Children and the Humanitarian Leadership Academy for further ongoing Sphere activities; and to our other donors during the programme period without whom the programme would not have been possible: German Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs; U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration (PRM); U.S. Agency for International Development, Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance (BHA); Aktion Deutschland Hilft; Sphere full and individual members and Humanitarian Standards Partnership partners.

[1] The DEC grant was funded by a consortium of Emergency Appeals Alliance (EAA) members comprising DEC, Aktion Deutschland Hilft, Swiss Solidarity and Japan Platform, led by DEC.