Worldwide: Shelter Solutions Database

Project NAME Programming of the Shelter Solutions Database
FUNDING Founding Members, CRP Tudor
SCOPE  This project aims to provide a tool to the humanitarian shelter community and build up an institutional knowledge in sheltering by providing accessible technical information about the existing variety of shelter solutions. With this tool, shelter delegates in the field will be able to make informed choices for shelter responses after disaster as well as provide useful information to support the Shelter Cluster.
DURATION 10 months, February 2014 to December 2014


Within the Red Cross movement exists a vast experience in emergency and post-emergency-sheltering. However this experience remains mainly with field practitioners. As of now there is no systematic, methodological documentation of existing solutions that have been implemented by the multiple National Red Cross Societies or other actors working in sheltering.  Furthermore there is a clearly identified lack of analysis of shelter solutions identifying “what worked in which context and what didn’t and why”. While there is quite some documentation and discourse on planning and programming processes, the critical part of technical implementation is often left out or lacking details. This lack of knowledge is most painful in emergency situations where time is critical and there is no space to conduct detailed research on construction practices, climatic conditions, availability and suitability of materials and techniques, applicable building codes or guidelines, etc. It happens time and again, that the shelter projects implemented in an emergency are not well adapted to the context, overly expensive or even have technical insufficiencies. All these issues could be avoided if necessary information and recommendations were available in a comprehensible format and were easily accessible.



The Shelter Solutions Database is conceived to deliver:

  •  Online database with search engine/application to allow for systematic search and cross analysis.
  •  Web interface of the database (website) presenting the documented shelters on a world-map with additional information for each context, addressing critical factors to be considered for construction of shelters such as different climates, risk-zones, applicable building codes and guidelines, available materials etc.
  • At least 100 shelter projects mapped using that technical data-sheet.
  •  A downloadable and easy to use technical data-sheet that assembles all critical information of a shelter solution following a clear scientific methodology (and with predefined choices from dropdown menus wherever possible) to allow for comparison, analysis and statistical exploitation of the information.
  •  Build up institutional knowledge in sheltering.
  •  Provide easy accessible technical information about the existing variety of shelter solutions, for analysis
  • Support shelter delegates in the field to make informed choices for shelter responses after disasters as well as provide useful information to support the shelter-cluster.
  • Serve as a base for technical analysis of the documented solutions to identify technical (material and/or constructive) weaknesses as well as best practices. Recommendations for better solutions will be derived through analysis and complementing technical research.
  • Promote transparency towards donors.

Finally the database will help to deliver humanitarian shelter more time and cost efficient, more adapted to the respective context and better linked to recovery and reconstruction.








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