InterWorks conducted an intensive two-day short course on the Sphere approach and its application in disaster assessment and response for the Monterey Institute of International Studies (MIIS) graduate students in March 2008.
The course provided an overview of the Sphere approach as well as the structure and philosophy of the Sphere book. Sessions were dedicated to the Rights-based approach and the key elements of international human rights, humanitarian, and refugee law as they guide the Sphere humanitarian charter. The students were then led through the development of the realization of key rights into measurable reality via an exploration of the standards and indicators. Finally, many of the indicators were illustrated in direct physical ways to ensure that participants could actually visualize the meaning of the indicators.
Using the Salt Island exercise, graduate students played the roles of refugees, administrators, NGOs, Donors and UN agencies all working to meet immediate human needs in an unclear and changing political situation. The participants found the interactive approach to be engaging and useful in illustrating some of the key concerns in organizing international humanitarian assistance in an effective way.