This glossary includes some key terms used on the Sphere Handbook 2011 edition. Download the PDF version (70Kb).
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The word is used, firstly, in relation to the proportion of the
population that can use a service or facility. Unrestricted access
means that there are no practical, financial, physical,
security-related, structural, institutional or cultural barriers to
accessing services or facilities.
“Access” can refer to the
general population (universal access), or to equitable access of
people with specific needs.
It may also be used to refer to the ability of aid agencies to gain secure access to populations in need.
There is no one sector-wide definition of accountability. The Sphere Project understands accountability as the responsible use by humanitarian agencies of the resources at their disposal. To achieve this, agencies need to
• explain how their programmes conform with best practice and commonly agreed commitments (for example, evidence-based standards accepted across the sector) by sharing results and reasons for action and non-action in a particular context in a transparent way.
• involve stakeholders in their work. With regard to affected populations, this means tak ing into account their needs, concerns and capacities at all stages of humanitarian response, respecting their right to be heard and to be involved in decisions affecting their lives, and providing them with the means to challenge agencies' decisions.
(See also Quality.)
Children are people between 0 and 18 years of age. This category includes infants (up to 1 year old) and most adolescents (10-19 years).It overlaps with that of youth (15-24 years).
Adolescents are people between the ages of 10 and 19.
Youths are people between 15 and 24 years. The end of adolescence and the beginning of adulthood vary in different societies. In emergency situations, adolescents have needs that are different from those of younger children and adults.
Adults are people from 25 to 60 years.
Elderly people are people over 60 years.