Training of Sphere Trainers in Eastern Europe

As the closing of the first cycle of training on Sphere Humanitarian Standards in Eastern Europe, developed through a partnership between Sphere Association Geneva, Save The Children and Humanitarian Leadership Academy – HLA and the Fraternity – International Humanitarian Missions (FIHM), the Sphere Training of Trainers (ToT) took place from June 19 to 23, in the city of Warsaw, Poland, with the participation of humanitarian actors from 5 countries in the region: Poland, Ukraine, Slovakia, Romania and Moldova.

Since the first workshops held in the cities of Warsaw and Przemysl (on the border with Ukraine), a total of 46 people from different humanitarian and social organizations that work in the context of the humanitarian response in Ukraine and neighboring countries have participated, due to the existing conflict in the country, being part of the Sphere program for that region, which culminated in the training of official trainers in Warsaw.

To learn more about the Sphere program in Eastern Europe, visit.

ToT in Warsaw was facilitated by the Ukrainian Dina Volynets, an official Sphere consultant and trainer with more than fifteen years of experience in the humanitarian field in Ukraine and the region. For Dina, at the moment there are many local organizations interested in Sphere, as it is not just a tool or a practical manual, but in addition, a form of common language among humanitarian organizations, without being something imposed by the international community. Rather, the years of experience and lessons learned from many of these organizations make this become an opportunity for Ukrainians themselves to be more effective and make fewer mistakes in the response currently given in the country.

The Fraternity – Humanitarian Missions (FIHM) had the participation of humanitarian actors Gabriel Godoy Cyrilo and Ricardo Treno as co-facilitators of the ToT. In addition to collaborating directly with the training organization, both have become official trainers on the global Sphere platform. In addition, the Fraternity – Humanitarian Missions (FIHM) was responsible for the communication part of the event, producing a mini-documentary with the experience of some of the participants, which can be viewed at the end of the article.

Ricardo Treno explains that, ever since the Fraternity – Humanitarian Missions (FIHM) had contact with the Humanitarian Standards contained in the Sphere Handbook, the organization started to work on their practical implementation in humanitarian missions and, at the same time, through training. Ricardo also emphasizes the importance of Sphere training in the Eastern European region, where participants will be able to take the acquired knowledge and disseminate it among other colleagues, improving the quality of the humanitarian responses where they operate, mainly derived from the war in Ukraine and its consequences in the region.

For Gabriel, the ToT is the culmination of a process that has been developed since the beginning of the year between Sphere Association Geneva, Save the Children – HLA and FIHM, being one of the main trainings carried out in the region, as part of the Sphere Program for Ukraine and Eastern Europe, increasing the participants’ awareness and their capacities as trainers and disseminators of humanitarian standards in that region.

In addition to the review of concepts and contents, contained mainly in the technical chapters of the Sphere Handbook, the training of trainers focused, above all, on relevant topics for the preparation of participants as future trainers, such as principles of adult learning, online methodologies and face-to-face training, ongoing and emergency training, the importance of assessment and how to give and receive feedback, and other practical learning tools such as the Sphere Activity Cards. The participants also carried out preparations for sessions, scenarios and content presentations that were evaluated by the facilitators.

Amanda Moraes, Network and Membership Manager Sphere Geneva, shared that participating in ToT was a unique experience for her, as she worked directly with 71 Sphere focal points around the world, with the opportunity to meet some of them personally. In addition to the practical knowledge acquired, she shared the importance of learning and joint construction generated by ToT, especially in the current context of the region, enabling humanitarian actors to be more prepared, engaged and confident to deal with the response where they are currently, following the basis of everything, which is the guarantee of human dignity.

As a final reflection, Dina mentioned the importance of the program in the region, providing at the same time an improvement in the quality of services provided to the affected populations and understanding, on the part of local humanitarian actors, about one of the most important principles of protection, which is to do no harm, as many voluntary organizations that are engaged in the response are often willing but unprepared. She thus emphasized the importance of forming this network of Sphere trainers in the region, working with humanitarian field workers who are dealing directly with the affected people.

The perspective is that the group of trainers trained through ToT will continue to meet virtually to continue exchanging experiences and strengthening the local network of Sphere trainers, in addition to jointly studying the continuity of actions in Ukraine, Poland and other countries in that region. Watch the videos of the Workshops and ToT held in Poland, produced by the Fraternity – International Humanitarian Missions (FIHM) communication team:

Watch the videos of the Workshops and ToT held in Poland, produced by the communication team at Fraternidade – Missões Humanitárias Internacionais (FMHI):

I Sphere Workshop in Warsaw – February 13 – 15, 2023

II Sphere Workshop in Przemyśl – May 23 – 25, 2023

ToT Sphere – Warsaw – June 19 – 23, 2023