1.2 CARE’s shelter principles

These the key principles which underpin CARE’s approach to shelter programming:

  1. The affected population is the first responder and the most important stakeholder. The community, whether affected by natural disaster or forcibly displaced due to climate change or conflict, is always the first on the scene and the first to provide shelter assistance. In major emergencies it is not uncommon for 80%, or more, of the population to rebuild their own homes in a process of self-recovery and it is clear that rebuilding better, safer homes is vital to reducing vulnerability and increasing community resilience.
  2. Shelter responses are always context specific. No two emergencies are ever the same: there are virtually no off-the-shelf solutions. While learning should be shared and lessons can have universal application, it is nevertheless true that each disaster is unique and demands an un-blinkered and unprejudiced approach. The expertise, knowledge and development experience of local partners and COs are essential to the successful outcome of a shelter project.
  3. Shelter programmes should be holistic and integrated. Shelter is more than just walls and a roof. CARE always looks for ways to respond to shelter needs that reflect a broad, holistic approach – and one that doesn’t necessarily imply construction. A good shelter programme will have a positive effect on gender equality, DRR, accountability, health, well-being, livelihoods.  A house and home that is durable and appropriate is a step towards resilience and the reduction of long-term vulnerability.
  4. There is a multitude of options for the delivery of shelter programmes. Shelter programming is not always about tents and construction, nor just about providing household NFIs (stuff). People’s lack of shelter can be addressed by providing shelter directly, but also by providing cash, by supporting incomes and livelihoods, by giving people access to tenure and ownership rights, by providing technical assistance and training, and more.
  5. Good shelter programming will always have a strong focus on women and girls. CARE’s shelter programmes should focus on ensuring dignified protection of people against the elements (wind, rain, cold, heat etc) and other risks (gender-based violence, theft, trauma, exploitation, natural hazards etc) during an emergency and during recovery or stabilisation. CARE’s shelter programmes should be inclusive and meet the needs of all women, girls, men and boys, and also take opportunities to empower women and girls. Women and girls spend a disproportionate amount of time in their homes: a good shelter programme will involve and empower women. Collecting and analysis of disaggregated information is essential to understanding the context for design of shelter programmes. Women and girls should be centre stage in every phase of the process.