Sphere focal points strategy revamped

19 February 2013 | Sphere Project

Photo: Jairoagua

The Sphere Project office is upgrading its focal points strategy as part of its continued effort to foster the global network of promoters of Sphere principles and standards.

The Sphere Project is not a membership organization. In that context, one of its unique strengths is the broad variety of actors who, on their own initiative, have taken ownership of Sphere. As a result, a vast, active and diverse network of Sphere promoters and advocates - Sphere focal points - has developed both within individual humanitarian agencies and at country level.

The Sphere Project office intends to empower this network both through increased engagement and the provision of adequate tools and resources.

In its revamped focal points strategy, one of the first steps is the creation of a dedicated section on the Sphere website, including a focal points database. Collections of best practice as well as advocacy and promotion toolboxes developed by the Sphere Project office with the active support of the Sphere community are among other new resources envisaged.

The role of Sphere country focal points - including regional partners and thematic resource persons - is to promote the institutionalisation of Sphere principles and standards at various levels so as to improve the quality and accountability of humanitarian assistance to people affected by disaster or conflict.

In reviewing its overall focal points approach, the Sphere Project office acknowledges that achieving a "critical mass" of Sphere-competent humanitarian workers - a goal set by the Sphere Strategy 2015 - depends heavily on the contribution of focal points, regional partners and resource persons.

According to the focal points strategy, it is expected that, in the long term, at least 80 percent of focal points will be actively engaged with humanitarian stakeholders in their regions. As a consequence, over two-thirds of agencies in those regions will thus be implementing the Sphere Handbook in their work.

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