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Contribute your expertise to the Sphere Handbook!

The Interactive Handbook is a digital platform that provides online access to the Sphere Handbook and other sets of humanitarian standards in multiple languages.
Since January 2020, the Interactive Handbook is truly interactive: it now allows you to contribute to it through your own user comments and to view additional content.

Sphere will check user-submitted content for its relevance and validity and, if accepted, make it visible to other users of the Interactive Handbook. All submitted content is stored and will be available to inform the next edition.After logging-in, users of the Interactive Handbook can now comment on content, and support or challenge it with evidence.

 

Why is Sphere offering this functionality?

The Sphere Handbook’s authority within the humanitarian field is built on its methodology:
“The standards are informed by available evidence and humanitarian experience. They present best practice based on broad consensus.” (2018 Sphere Handbook, page 6)

One of Sphere’s major contributions to the humanitarian sector is to bring the collective wisdom of thousands of humanitarian actors into each new edition of the handbook. During the latest revision in 2017-2018, over 2,000 people submitted over 4,500 comments during two rounds of public consultations, and 60 in-person revision consultation events brought together hundreds of experts to discuss key themes.

But the world does not stand still between handbook revisions! While the core content (i.e. the printed book) will not change between revisions, Sphere is committed to keeping the discussion ongoing at all times, and we now have the technology to bring this to a new level.

How does Sphere decide what to make public?

Following a screening process to determine its eligibility, the quality of each submitted comment and document is assessed by experts against the following five criteria:

  • Document design and clarity
  • Rigour of the methodology
  • Quality of the information
  • Credibility of the findings
  • Contextualisation & generalisation of the document content

For comments that represent an individual opinion or a personal experience, the assessment process may be lighter, but any arguments should be well supported, and comments must add value to other users of the Interactive Handbook for them to be made visible.

 

What kind of content is Sphere expecting?

We welcome the following kinds of submissions:

  • A comment supported by evidence or by a newly published resource which challenges or supports handbook content. We may leave the hyperlink in the user comments panel next to the segment of text to which it relates, and/or add the document to the appropriate (online only) Further reading section(s).
  • Examples of good practice, for example a success story relevant to a particular standard or key action.
  • Typos or translation errors. The Interactive Handbook is a great place to raise these with us, and we’ll take action to resolve them as soon as practicable.

Of course, what we expect and what you decide to contribute may not be the same thing, and that’s fine! If you have something to share with us, or with other users of the handbook, then please use the Interactive Handbook to do so. We’ll adapt depending on how you decide to use it.

 

How do I get started?

First of all, ACCESS THE INTERACTIVE HANDBOOK. 
(As of January 2020, user comments are being accepted on the English Sphere Handbook only.)

 

While using the English Sphere Handbook, click this icon to create a user account.

Once authenticated, use the icon to show/hide the user comments panel.
To submit a new comment, click (bottom-right of screen), or simply highlight (or double-click on mobile devices) the section of text you wish to comment on.

 


By inviting content between revisions in this manner, we are embarking on a new adventure, and we invite you to come with us. The approach and the technology will evolve over the coming months, and we welcome your thoughts and ideas as to our direction of travel.

To contact us directly, please write to info@spherestandards.org.