The Sphere Handbook is one of the most widely known and internationally recognized sets of common principles and universal minimum standards for the delivery of quality, accountable humanitarian response. In other words, it sets out what should be done when responding to crises. Because it is not owned by any one organization, the Sphere Handbook enjoys broad acceptance by the humanitarian sector as a whole.

This new course brings the Handbook to life through the use of realistic scenarios, helping the learner to get acquainted with its core messages and to understand how to use it holistically.

The course will be beneficial to anyone involved in humanitarian response: from people new to Sphere principles and standards to experienced humanitarian workers who already work with them but may appreciate tips on how to use them better.

Among the key aspects of humanitarian work explored by the course are: accountability to affected populations, needs assessments, response coordination, impartiality and non-discrimination, keeping populations safe from harm, "building back safer" and looking after oneself as a humanitarian worker.

By completing this course you should be able to:

  • Explain the Sphere philosophy
  • Describe how the minimum standards, key actors, key indicators and guidance notes within the technical chapters reinforce the Humanitarian Charter, Protection Principles and Core Standards
  • Promote the effective use of the Sphere Handbook

This course has been recently updated to incorporate the CHS, which replaces the Core Standards Chapter in the Sphere Handbook. It has also been made mobile-friendly and has been broken down into smaller, manageable chapters. The course was created by Sphere.

There is also a translation of this course available in French, Spanish and Arabic


PHAP Credentialing Program: Understanding the Humanitarian Ecosystem. 

PHAP Credentialing Program logo

This course will help you prepare for the PHAP Credentialing Program certification in Understanding the Humanitarian Ecosystem.

In particular, the course address some aspects of segment 3.4 of the certification assessment outline.

Read more about the PHAP Credentialing Program