Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Humanitarian Response

In response to widespread campus closure globally due to the COVID-19 pandemic and as part of the knowledge transfer endeavour of the Collaborating Centre for Oxford University and CUHK for Disaster and Medical Humanitarian Response (CCOUC), a free video-based Chinese online course “Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Humanitarian Response: The Application of Sphere Standards” is now open for registration until 31 July 2021 at Xuetangx (学堂在线) platform. Upon registration, students are allowed to study the course at a safe location and at their own pace in a duration of 12 weeks. The course will be very useful for students and practitioners to explore the Geneva-based international Sphere organisation and its globally recognized minimum standards for humanitarian response.

Asia has always been the region most affected by disasters in the world, including China. According to the United Nations Disaster Reduction Agency, China was one of the countries with the most disasters between 2005 and 2014. In 2014 alone, a total of 40 major natural disasters occurred in China, and the affected population was close to 65 million, accounting for 46.1% of the global number of people affected. Through this course, students can learn how to apply the Sphere standards in different humanitarian relief work and prepare for different levels and types of disasters in China in the future. As the first Sphere Focal Point for China, CCOUC has developed this course as the world's first of its kind to introduce the Sphere standards in Simplified Chinese and Mandarin. Not only highly recognized but also rich in content and easily comprehensible, this course can greatly help foster the understanding of Sphere standard-guided humanitarian practice and improve the level of disaster and humanitarian relief in China.

Organized in five lessons, this course systematically explains the main contents and practice of the Sphere standards. Lesson 1 is the introduction of the Sphere organisation. It includes the origin, core beliefs, humanitarian charter, protection principles and core humanitarian standards of the organisation. Lessons 2 to 5 are technical chapters, which focus on the four technical chapters in the latest 2018 Sphere handbook, including water supply, sanitation and hygiene promotion; food security and nutrition; shelter and resettlement; and health.

Established in 2013, Xuetangx is a leading online learning platform in Chinese language led by Tsinghua University, Beijing Normal University, Peking University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). It has the largest number of online courses and users in China and hosts courses from leading universities in China, including The Chinese University of Hong Kong, as well as MIT, Stanford University and University of California, Berkeley.

Please visit this link ( to find out more about the course and enroll today! 

For enquiry, please email