Sphere e-learning course now available to UN humanitarian staff

24 February 2016 | Sphere Project

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) is offering the Sphere Handbook in Action e-learning course to its over 2,000 staff across the world. The course has been incorporated into the new OCHA learning platform, being launched in February.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs is the part of the United Nations Secretariat responsible for bringing together humanitarian actors to ensure a coherent response to emergencies.

UNOCHAOCHA mobilises and coordinates humanitarian action in partnership with national and international actors. It advocates the rights of people in need and promotes preparedness and prevention. It plays a key role in assessing needs, monitoring progress and mobilising funds and resources to ensure that effective assistance reaches millions of humanitarian beneficiaries in four continents.

To further build the capacity of its staff working in over 30 offices around the world, OCHA has just launched an e-learning platform. The Sphere Handbook in Action e-learning course is part of its initial offer.

The new e-learning platform is open to OCHA staff and partners across the humanitarian system. Partners will typically be engaged in training and community forums being hosted by OCHA with access to the platform by invitation (this may change in future).

OCHA expects the new e-learning platform to reach some 2500-3800 humanitarians over a two-year period. The platform is available in English with French and Spanish materials being made available at a later stage.

The available courses relate to all aspects of humanitarian action including principles and standards, overview of the OCHA mandate, practice areas and coordination structures, the humanitarian program cycle and themes such as community engagement, conflict sensitivity and UN core competencies, among others.

The Sphere Handbook in Action e-learning course aims to increase the understanding and effective use of the Sphere Handbook, Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Humanitarian Response. According to an on-going feedback survey of people who have completed it, the course meets and even exceeds e-learners' expectations.


The Sphere course is currently available on 12 e-learning platforms:

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