Be Prepared!

As we have mentioned earlier, Books for Change, the publishing house based in Bangalore, bring out low cost editions of very useful books in addition to their own publications.

A remarkable international initiative aimed at improving the effectiveness and accountability of humanitarian assistance is summarized in the Sphere Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Disaster Response handbook. This new edition has been thoroughly revised and updated, taking into account recent developments in humanitarian practice, together with feedback from practitioners in the field, research institutes and cross-cutting experts in protection, gender, children, older people, disabled people, HIV/AIDS and the environment. The revised handbook is the product of an extensive collaborative effort that reflects the collective will and shared experience of the humanitarian community, and its determination to improve on current knowledge in humanitarian assistance programmes.

The cornerstone of this book is the Humanitarian Charter, which is based on the principles and provisions of international humanitarian, human rights and refugee law, and on
the principles of the Red Cross and NGO Code of Conduct. It describes the core principles that govern humanitarian action and asserts the right of populations to protection and assistance. The Minimum Standards are organised into an initial chapter that details process standards for the planning and implementation of programmes, together with four technical chapters covering water, sanitation and hygiene promotion; food security, nutrition and food aid; shelter, settlement and non-food items; and health services.

Other books that they have brought out recently include Rocks & Hard Places by Roger Moody, on the role of multinationals in a sector that has always been at the core of resource exploitation- the global mining enterprise.

Sex at Margins looks at myths: that selling sex is completely different from any other kind of work; that migrants who sell sex are passive victims; and that the multitude of people out to save them are without self-interest. Laura Agustín makes a passionate case against these stereotypes, arguing that the label 'trafficked' does not accurately describe migrants' lives and that the 'rescue industry' disempowers them.

Water supply is one of the major challenges faced in both urban and rural India. Various dimensions – social, technical, economic, institutional, environmental, legal and political – of the problem have been addressed in the book Elixir for Life by K V Raju.