Sphere training improves disaster management capacity in Kyrgyzstan

07 February 2012 | Sphere Project

Sphere workshop in Kyrgyzstan

See the Kyrgyzstan Sphere workshops photo gallery

Coordination between the government, the UN and national and international organizations working in the field of disaster preparedness and response in Kyrgyzstan was considerably strengthened in 2011 by a series of Sphere orientation and training activities there.

The Sphere workshops were part of inter-agency efforts to enhance cooperation and coordination for disaster-preparedness and response in the Central Asian Republic; a major achievement was a Kyrgyz translation of the Sphere Handbook and its subsequent dissemination.

Introducing Sphere principles and standards to various humanitarian stakeholders and integrating them into their capacity-building initiatives is crucial in a country susceptible to recurrent natural disasters and economically and socially vulnerable.

The Sphere training activities were part of efforts led by the United Nations and the European Commission to enhance disaster-preparedness and response in the country.

A first workshop on Humanitarian Principles & Minimum Standards of Humanitarian Response was organized in Bishkek on 4 May 2011. Designed for the Kyrgyzstan Inter-Agency Disaster Response Coordination Unit (DRCU) and their government counterparts, the workshop sought to strengthen understanding of the relevance of humanitarian principles and minimum standards of humanitarian response. It also focused on government and international emergency response coordination structures and resource mobilization mechanisms.

Held in the framework of the Sixth Disaster Preparedness Programme of the European Commission's Humanitarian Aid Department (DIPECHO), the workshop increased understanding of the relevance of Sphere standards and government-UN coordination processes in Kyrgyzstan.

Disaster-preparedness and response training activities continued in August with needs assessment and Sphere workshops in Bishkek and Osh for DRCU and its Rapid Emergency Assessment and Coordination Teams (REACT). The two workshops built upon participants' existing knowledge, enabling them to relate the issues to their day-to-day work.

These workshops were followed by field simulation exercises in both cities, and a Training of Trainers workshop in Bishkek. The simulation exercises tested the readiness of REACT and the Ministry of Emergency Situations staff to manage a response to a hypothetical major earthquake. The Training of Trainers workshop sought to establish a core team of trainers, with relevant skills in planning, designing and supporting training functions within DRCU and REACT.

Another, November 2011, orientation workshop on the Sphere Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Humanitarian Response was organized by the UN Joint Project "Enhancing Coordination for Disaster Preparedness and Response in the Kyrgyz Republic (2010-2012)". The workshop was aimed at focal points of DRCU member agencies including NGOs and their counterpart government departments.

The Kyrgyz edition of the Sphere Handbook, printed and distributed to select participants for training and educational purposes through the aegis of the Kyrgyzstan DRCU, was welcomed by all training participants from UN agencies, the Ministry of Emergency Situations and international NGOs. An electronic version is available on the Sphere website.

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