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BGR joins movement for disaster response standards

NASHVILLE (BP) — Baptist Global Response has been accepted as an associate member of Sphere, a movement to uphold high standards in humanitarian work during disaster responses.

With its inclusion in Sphere, BGR “joins other international organizations in affirming the need for knowing what to do in a time of crisis to meet the survival needs of people,” said Pat Melancon, BGR director of disaster response and training.

Sphere membership is “a huge validation to the many years of hard work and proven track record of BGR and our disaster response approaches,” BGR CEO Jeff Palmer said. “This makes us better in our disaster response, our ability to train, equip and lead others in disaster events, and even more credible to countries and governments we work with during a disaster.”

BGR began training as a Sphere organization in 2016. Now, as an associate member, BGR will be a part of implement Sphere policies on improving the quality and accountability of humanitarian aid. Associate members, though not in Sphere’s governance, otherwise are fully involved in the movement.

Sphere was founded in 1997 in Geneva, Switzerland, by non-governmental organizations such as the Red Cross and Red Crescent under the conviction that people affected by disasters or conflict have the right to receive protection and assistance that ensures both quality of life and dignity.

Sphere members created a set of minimum standards for humanitarian response in four areas: water supply, sanitation and hygiene; food security and nutrition; shelter and settlement; and health.

Its extensive handbook, updated in 2018 in print and online from a 2011 edition, has been published in English, Arabic, Spanish and French. Translations are underway in Chinese, Japanese and Urdu (spoken in Pakistan and India). According to Sphere’s website, the handbook has been read online in 145 countries, making it the most widely recognized compilation of humanitarian standards for national and international NGOs, volunteers, UN agencies, governments, donors, the private sector and others.

BGR is a Southern Baptist international relief and development organization founded in 2006 that works with the International Mission Board to respond to disasters and chronic issues such as poverty and hunger around the world. Although not an official entity of the SBC, BGR works to enhance the IMB purpose of demonstrating and making known the love of Jesus to people in need. On the average each year, BGR implements 350 to 400 projects worldwide in about 65 different countries, ministering to 1.3 million people and helps provide things such as clean water, medical/health care services, food, job skills training and agriculture inputs.

For more information on Sphere and its humanitarian standards, go to www.spherestandards.org. For more information about BGR, visit www.gobgr.org.

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  • BGR & BP Staff