Common standards


There are eight common standards in the Sphere handbook. These are ‘process and people’ standards (p.25) and are relevant to each of the technical sectors.

The standards relate to:

  • participation
  • initial assessment
  • response
  • targeting
  • monitoring
  • evaluation
  • aid worker competencies and responsibilities
  • supervision, management and support of personnel

Have a look at these common standards and think how these could be relevant and useful to this case study. Make a note of your thoughts here:

Question 1: Participation

The disaster-affected population should be involved in which aspects of a disaster response? Tick as many as you think.

Now click on ‘Answer’ to see whether you were right.



All of them.

Common standard 1: participation

The disaster-affected population actively participates in the assessment, design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of the assistance programme.

Common standard 1: participation (p.28)

Question 2: Targeting

In the film clip at the beginning of this case study, do you think the standard on targeting was met?

Common standard 4: targeting

Humanitarian assistance or services are provided equitably and impartially, based on the vulnerability and needs of individuals or groups affected by disaster.

Common standard 4: targeting (p.35)


We only know what we see and hear in this film. There are examples of vulnerable groups being neglected. The elderly women were complaining that they did not get enough food: the elderly are often a vulnerable group forgotten in emergency responses. There is mention that the Dalits (untouchables in the Indian caste system) have been left out.

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One guidance note for this standard reminds us that the ‘purpose of targeting is to meet the needs of the most vulnerable, while providing aid efficiently and in a way that minimises dependency’.