Our Work


InterAction’s Shelter and Settlements Working Group is a platform aimed at improving the effectiveness and quality of humanitarian shelter and settlement programs worldwide. InterAction members and other participants in the group share best practices and help shape international policies on shelter and settlement issues. The working group brings together donors and stakeholders while also working with existing global shelter actors, regional networks and field practitioners.

The need to focus on shelter and settlement has grown in recent years with major natural and man-made disasters along with its urban challenges. The January 2010 earthquake in Haiti is an example, where over 200,000 people were killed and over one million people lost their homes. The 2010 Pakistan floods affected 20 million people and over 11 million people lost their homes. 

While a permanent housing solution often takes years, the humanitarian shelter and settlements assistance reduces suffering, improves the protection of vulnerable individuals and communities, and contributes to early social and economic recovery of the affected population.  While emergency shelter assistance meets the immediate and basic needs, transitional shelter and settlement assistance meets the intermediate needs until a permanent solution is ready, which can take between 3 to 5 years.

InterAction and the working group participants collaborate and contribute to improve the capacity of organizations to provide shelter and settlement services in humanitarian emergencies and emerge as a stronger voice in the global shelter and settlements dialogue.

Featured Resource

USAID/OFDA Shelter And Settlements Training Course

This course introduces the basics of humanitarian community shelter and settlements (S&S) activities, including some history and trends related to the sector, best practices in assessments and programming strategy, basic shelter responses, the relationship between shelter and its context (settlements), and how to promote the recovery of affected settlements. This training course is based on many years of USAID/OFDA and humanitarian organization experience in S&S activities, so discussions and case studies are based on real-life situations.  Discussions are non-technical and geared towards how to develop strategies and options to appropriately deliver humanitarian shelter and settlements assistance. Additionally, the course provides an opportunity for participants to understand the relationship of S&S activities, disaster risk reduction, sectoral activities, and larger trends such as urbanization.