3. Shelter & self-recovery

After a crisis, families are always the first responders. Communities will often work together to clear debris and begin reconstruction or repair of their homes and community buildings using their own resources and techniques that they already know. This is termed “self-recovery”.

CARE seeks to support shelter self-recovery through providing cost-effective technical, material and / or financial assistance or other activities that allow shelter reconstruction such as livelihoods or market support. CARE is a leading proponent of support to self-recovery and the shelter team at CARE UK can provide assistance to country offices if a self-recovery approach is considered appropriate

Shelter self-recovery programmes will all be different depending on the context. However, all self-recovery programmes must respect people’s choice and priorities. For example, households must remain responsible for making key decisions such as shelter design, materials used for construction and work to their own timeframe. Some considerations of self-recovery are:

  • The approach involves more enabling and less direct construction.
  • Each family will exercise choice in how, when and where they rebuild their homes.
  • Technical assistance, including key building messages and community accompaniment are key to promote improved safer and healthier construction.
  • Sector integration and a holistic approach adds value – especially WaSH and livelihoods.
  • The entire community should be considered, and not just a targeted selection of beneficiaries. Additional support may be required for vulnerable households.
  • A gender sensitive approach should always be employed, with attention to the empowerment of women and girls.

Practical guidance for self-recovery programmes is currently being developed. Please contact the CARE Technical Shelter Team for support with developing self-recovery proposals.