Applying humanitarian standards to fight COVID-19

There are tools from the humanitarian sector that can directly support your COVID-19 response. The sector has been gathering important knowledge and evidence around the response to disease outbreaks, including the Ebola outbreak in West Africa in 2014.

One of the most comprehensive tools is the Sphere Handbook. Sphere and the Humanitarian Standards Partnership (HSP) contain standards and guidance which define the minimum response all crisis-affected people have the right to expect. They establish what needs to be in place for affected populations to survive and recover with dignity. Sphere standards are directly relevant for a public health emergency such as the COVID-19 pandemic, with the Health and Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Promotion chapters being the most important ones.

Our partner standards are equally important, including the Core Humanitarian Standard and the following standards which are part of the HSP: Cash Assistance, Inclusion of older people and people with disabilities, Education in Emergencies, Child Protection and Markets and Economic Recovery.

More importantly, beyond technical advice, the standards provide guidance on the rights of people, information sharing and community engagement.

How do you do this in a dignified and safe way for affected communities? The technical guidance on the following pages shows you how. It includes links to relevant sections of the various humanitarian standards.