Since 2005, Shelter Centre has worked together with the shelter and settlements community in support of their priorities.
Shelter Centre coordinates with the mandated sectoral bodies, as an active global partner in the following five clusters of the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC): the Camp Coordination and Camp Management Cluster (CCCM); the Global Cluster for Early Recovery Cluster (GCER); the Global Shelter Cluster (GSC); the Protection Cluster; and the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Cluster (WASH).
Shelter Centre include: supporting hundreds of young professionals advance into the humanitarian sector; developing and delivering technical trainings; developing peer-reviewed guidance; promoting collaboration through the biannual global forum Shelter Meeting; and knowledge management via our Humanitarian Library.
Our vision is that all stakeholders collaborate in technical learning within an inclusive community of practice, using consistent approaches, prioritising needs together, informed by collective experiences.
The transitional settlement and reconstruction of populations impacted by conflict and natural disasters involves multi-sectoral inputs from displaced populations, their hosts, governments, civil society, the development and humanitarian communities, donors, academia and the private sector.
Our mission is to support impartially all stakeholders involved in transitional settlement and reconstruction in their work to save lives and reduce suffering, supporting the recovery and resilience of those affected.
Shelter Centre was established in 2005 in Cambridge, UK, before relocating in 2006 to Geneva, Switzerland, hosted initially by IFRC. Shelter Centre built upon the work of the University of Cambridge Shelter Project.
Programme funding by DFID 2006 – 2011 progressed 10 priorities defined with the Shelter Meeting community, which reviewed outputs. Subsequently, services and resources have been developed and maintained with project contributions from ECHO, USAID/OFDA as well as agencies contributing to events, including CARE, HFHI, IASC GSC, ICRC, IFRC, MSF, NRC, UN-Habitat, UNHCR, UNOCHA, USAID/OFDA.
What we do
In pursuing our vision and mission, Shelter Centre is committed to focusing on learning and knowledge management, through achieving collaboration, consensus and capacity in the humanitarian sector, in partnership with governments, UN bodies, civil society, academia and affected populations.
Shelter Centre supports collaboration by facilitating a number of different humanitarian events.
- Shelter Meeting: a global technical forum focused on concerns and emerging trends of the humanitarian sector
- Thematic events: held in addition to Shelter Meetings to provide opportunities to discuss specific issues raised by the community
- Humanitarian Meeting: an inter-sectorial technical practitioner event
Shelter Centre supports consensus by supporting the sector in openly sharing knowledge, as well as through the inclusive development of technical guidance.
- Humanitarian Library: an online resource supporting knowledge management within the sector
- Peer-reviewed guidance: developing policy and technical guidance alongside other humanitarian agencies
Shelter Centre supports capacity within the sector, working with humanitarian agencies, governments, universities and young professionals.
- Trainings: developing technical trainings with other agencies for humanitarians worldwide
- Project Assistants: supporting young professionals through career transfer into the humanitarian sector
Shelter Centre produces annual reports, including summaries of activities and finances, which are downloadable below. The accounts of Shelter Centre are supervised monthly by an independent chartered accountant.
To ensure what we do meets our mission, Shelter Centre ensures that the standards expected of Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO) are met and is accountable to the affected populations and to the community of practice it serves through the governance structures presented below.
Shelter Centre follows the Red Cross Code of Conduct and is a global partner of five Inter-Agency Standing Committee Clusters: the Camp Coordination and Camp Management Cluster (CCCM); Global Cluster for Early Recovery Cluster (GCER); Global Shelter Cluster (GSC); Protection Cluster; and the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Cluster (WASH).
Shelter Centre governance
Shelter Centre is an international NGO registered as a non-profit Association in Geneva, Switzerland, organised according to the present Statutes and in conformity with the provisions of Article 60 and those following of the Swiss Civil Code relating to non-profit associations.
Shelter Centre’s board members are:
- Pete Sweetnam, President
- John Howard, Treasurer
- Jérôme Michon, Secretary
Shelter Meeting governance
The Shelter Meeting, as a Shelter Centre activity, is accountable ultimately to the Board.
Themes, topics and dates for each Shelter Meeting are proposed by participants, hosts and donors, supported by newsletters to the broader community of practice requesting comment and inputs.
Comments on presentations and peer reviews are elicited through feedback sheets and live online polls of videoconference participants, then circulated directly to each presenter.
Common prioritisation and collective decisions agreed are reflected in reports for events or specific publications, which participants are invited to comment upon.
IASC clusters are invited to present updates at each Meeting. Shelter Centre liaises regularly with clusters and related national sectoral events, such as the UK Shelter Forum and InterAction Shelter and Settlements Working Group, to agree complementary themes, topics and dates, so that conversations may be informed across events through each stakeholder group.
The opportunity for a regular Shelter Meeting emerged from the peer review of the guidelines: Transitional Settlement: Displaced Populations (Oxfam, 2005). Participants agreed that the continuation of the Meeting should be central to a programme of sector support agreed with DFID 2006 – 2011.
Humanitarian Library governance
The Humanitarian Library, as a Shelter Centre activity, is accountable ultimately to the Board.
Humanitarian users only may login to upload and moderate, using the UNOCHA Humanitarian ID system, used also by the global UN resources, Humanitarian Response and ReliefWeb.
The Humanitarian Library is designed with internal accountability, engaging the community to moderate crowd-sourced content. Humanitarians logged in are also able to ‘thumbs up’, comment and report abuse. Search returns through the Library are ordered, informed by the popularity of each resource, as well as the numbers of ‘thumbs ups’ and comments and the inclusion in the collections or ‘channels’ of users.
The Humanitarian Library was developed with support from USAID, building upon the previous ‘Shelter Library’ also developed by Shelter Centre with support from DFID, as part of its sector support programme 2006 – 2011, agreed between the community of practice and Shelter Centre.
Work with us
Since its foundation, Shelter Centre continues to build capacity within the shelter and settlements sector through involving hundreds of young professionals.
Project Assistants contribute to every aspect of Shelter Centre activities. Examples of work undertaken by previous generations of Project Assistants include the following.
- Facilitating the Shelter Meetings, engaging agencies in the mature community of practice
- Developing the Humanitarian Library, expanding functionality and collating topic areas
- Contributing to technical guidance, through research, analysis and drafting
Previous Project Assistants have gone on to make a significant contribution to global sectoral capacity, working in lead agencies such as: British Red Cross, CARE International, DFID, DRC, ICRC, ICVA, IFRC, Impact Initiatives, IOM, Netherlands Red Cross, NRC, UNDP and UNHCR.
Open positions for Project Assistants are advertised on ReliefWeb. We also accept speculative applications containing a brief description of how you can assist our work, consistent with the three examples of work above.
If you wish to explore working with Shelter Centre, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Shelter Centre will not normally respond to approaches by private sector or academic initiatives seeking to derive profit from their intellectual property. We looking forward to expressions of interest concerning research and development contributing to shared and cumulative learning by all sector stakeholders.
Shelter Centre is contacted regularly to comment publicly upon its work and approach, as well as topics in the news, and to contribute to academic publications and initiatives
Expressions of interest and press enquiries should be directed to email@example.com.
Recent mentions of Shelter Centre in the news are below.