KitoOnlus Blog

Humanitarian Standards: Kito Onlus and the Sphere Project

picIn performing its activities, Kito Onlus engages itself into being transparent and accountable for its actions, maintaining and applying Humanitarian standards recognized internationally in practice and among scholars. For this reason, our organization recognizes as a milestone the ‘Sphere Project’.

Sphere describes and collects universal standards of assistance to population hit by Humanitarian crisis, putting them in practice through guidelines and key-actions, in order to ameliorate the quality of the response that NGOs give to Humanitarian disasters and to set a link of accountability to their actions. Instructions filed into the manual are object of discussion as they can turn to be hardly applicable, but general standards presented are without doubts a landmark for operating through good practices in the humanitarian field.

We will report here the standards, described in the Sphere Project book, relevant to the action of Kito Onlus and in particular regarding promotion of Hygiene and Structures building.

HYGIENE

We will consider here the Hygiene promotion standards 1 and 2 as described by the Sphere Project:

  1. “Affected men, women and children of all ages are aware of key public health risks and are mobilised to adopt measures to prevent the deterioration in hygienic conditions and to use and maintain the facilities provided”.
  2. “The disaster-affected population has access to and is involved in identifying and promoting the use of hygiene items to ensure personal hygiene, health, dignity and well-being”.

Primarily, Sphere highlights the importance of putting people in the condition to comprehend risks and responsibilities regarding their own health. Interactive methods are generally incentive because they give to beneficiaries the opportunity to monitor their progresses, to give advice or present misunderstandings overall promoting the communication between local population and humanitarian actors. The book describes then the importance of Fundamental Health Kit and of a shared definition of what ‘fundamental’ means for the local population.

The Hygiene promotion action brought by Kito Onlus sticks with the application of these standards: between 2014 and 2016, Kito Onlus it is been organizing different trainings on Health, Hygiene and Prevention, in San Fernando La Union and in the Camotes Islands, during which, through teaching materials and practical activities, issues regarding infections spreading and the many ways to improve beneficiaries lives have been tackled. Furthermore, Kito distributed Hygiene kits, indispensable to provide minimum hygiene conditions in situations of environmental disasters and local medical personnel has been actively involved throughout the formation courses.

  

Constructions

Another important part of Kito’s action is devoted to building structures to serve the local population in the Philippines. In this sense, the guidelines Shelter and Settlement standards 4 e 5 are the relevant ones.

  1. Local safe building practices, materials, expertise and capacities are used where appropriate, maximising the involvement of the affected population and local livelihood opportunities.
  2. Shelter and settlement solutions and the material sourcing and construction techniques used minimize adverse impact on the local natural environment.

The book remarks the importance of participation of the beneficiaries to the activities relating to the building of structures, in particular through training and traineeship projects involving both men and women. Also, suggesting the use of local materials and labour forces is generally a more sustainable and empowering choice. Furthermore, buildings have to be resilient in front of climatic conditions and environmental risks, safe and respectful of sectoral standards, accessible especially if structures assigned for public services. In order to reach these goals, it is key to take into account risks and vulnerability of the territory considering also long period effects.

Kito Onlus has adopted these guidelines through the organization of trainings parallel to the construction of the Kito Health Centre in San Francisco and in the activities belonging to the Cash for Work project. In fact, the association has recognized the importance of providing local population with technical skills necessary in order to work in the building field, knowledge that must be linked to a particular attention to the specific condition of the territory. We also involved beneficiaries in the development of projects, offering them an opportunity to get through the shock caused by the disaster and providing them with a remuneration, employing them in job activities that had also the function of make beneficiaries internalize the project with a bottom-up approach. The Kito Health Centre built in the Camotes Islands exemplifies a model of use of local materials and sharp attention to sustainability.