March 7, 2011
‘Participants at the first ever training of trainers course in Haiti came from Port-au-Prince, Nippes, Cap Haitien and Jacmel,’ says Ana Urgoiti Aristegui, a Sphere trainer. “The sessions they conducted showed their commitment towards Sphere and lots of Haitian creativity,” she adds.
Two five-day courses involving 24 participants each are taking place near Port-au-Prince at the beginning of March. Trainees are from Haiti’s Civil Protection Department and from national and international humanitarian organizations working in the country.
After the training, they are expected to be able to promote learning activities aimed at the implementation of the Sphere Handbook: Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Humanitarian Response.
‘A big proportion of the staff – national and international – recruited by humanitarian organizations to work in the country after the earthquake that hit Port-au-Prince on 12 January 2010 was new to the humanitarian sector’, says Rosario Iraola, Sphere coordinator in Haiti.
That’s why training them on Sphere standards ‘helps them improve the quality and accountability of their humanitarian action,’ she adds. Since February 2010, when the first Sphere representative was deployed to Haiti, some 570 aid workers have received basic training on Sphere standards and how to apply them.
The Sphere Handbook establishes shared principles and a set of universally acknowledged minimum standards in four life-saving areas of humanitarian response: water and sanitation, food, shelter and healthcare.
The cornerstone of the Handbook is the Humanitarian Charter, which describes core principles that govern humanitarian action, and asserts the right of populations to life with dignity, protection and assistance. The minimum standards are a compilation of best practice in the sector and a practical expression of these core principles.
Iraola acknowledges that ‘implementing Sphere standards in a country like Haiti, where even before the disaster none of them were attained, is a huge challenge’. But she emphasizes that ‘participants at Sphere workshops deeply value them and recommend offering these training opportunities to as many humanitarian actors as possible’.
The current Sphere training of trainers courses are given in French and are running from 28 February to 4 March and from 7 to 11 March. They are hosted and funded by World Vision International. Other funding partners are DanChurchAid and the interchurch organization for development cooperation ICCO.
March 7, 2011