In our world, forced displacement has grown rapidly over the last decade, increasing on average by 37.000 people a day. The number of displaced people around the world at the end of 2018 stood at 70.8 million. Displacement by conflict in combination with continued environmental challenges posed by climate change has greatly increased the need for shelter interventions. ZOA’s technical capacity to respond is constantly upgraded and funds are used more effectively to provide greater impact for the growing number of those in need of shelter.

What we do

Shelter during relief and recovery phase

Immediately after a disaster, ZOA focuses on shelter in emergency situations when beneficiaries need a roof for protection. Acute shelter needs will be addressed by the provision of temporary shelters in the form of tents, tarpaulins and wooden structures or the upgrading of temporary facilities such as schools, churches, clinics and other community structures.

In the recovery phase, there is often a need for transitional shelter that provides more protection from the elements as well as privacy and safety. The design of these transitional shelters made by ZOA are locally appropriate in terms of materials used and capacity to protect people. Where possible, ZOA also strives to make the design either re-usable or expandable, providing the possibility to turn transitional shelter into permanent housing over time. Apart from providing transitional shelter, ZOA may also aid in renovation or rehabilitation of damaged houses.

Intergrated approach

Shelter is far more than a roof above your head. Adequate space and physical conditions are important, but buildings should not be considered the only dynamic in shelter, nor should building improvements be the only criteria for shelter interventions. Moreover, settlements are more than safe physical spaces containing shelters and should be seen as socially acceptable and socio-economically viable living environments. Shelter and settlements are key components of post-disaster recovery of communities as they provide protection, security and dignity as well as recovering economic well-being and secure livelihoods for the community.

ZOA’s approach in shelter is holistic and based on the following themes;

  • Shelter assistance is beneficiary based focusing on the interest and protection of the people involved. This means that the support is tailored to the needs of women, girls, boys and men and that the affected population is involved in decision-making and implementation.
  • Shelter assistance is supportive based on capacity building and focusing on enabling household self-recovery systems towards more sustainable outcomes and processes. These themes should strengthen accountability to affected populations and maximise opportunities to contribute to a lasting post-emergency recovery.
  • A successful shelter project goes hand in hand with finding solutions for other issues such as water and sanitation, fuel for cooking and heating, household utensils, waste management and settlement planning. At the same time communal facilities such as schools, play areas and health clinics must be available to affected people. In the direct aftermath of a disaster, communal latrines and wash facilities are the preferred option but as soon as possible, Wash infrastructure on household level should be installed.

 ZOA shelter assistance is flexible and adjusted to the context. The type of damage caused by the disaster will be assessed as well as activities required to repair or replace  existing or damaged homes and structures. Additional important factors are social and climatic conditions and the scale of the disaster. Furthermore , it is important to be conflict sensitive in terms of support given so that distribution or construction activities are not increasing the existing conflict or context situation

Building back better, with local materials

The ZOA  assistance in emergencies and recovery-phase ranges  from tents, tools and materials to cash assistance for either the affected people or their host families. Preferably, the construction of  shelters  is made from local available construction materials using traditional building techniques which can be easily improved and repaired by beneficiaries themselves. Furthermore, the are often better adapted to  local climatological conditions and benefits the local economy.

ZOA works in areas and countries which are prone to earthquakes, cyclones and flooding’s. Often houses are poorly built ignoring the local building regulations and situated on hazardous places like hillsides or flood plains. After natural disasters, ZOA works with authorities and communities to identify shelter risks and vulnerabilities with the goal of preparing for a future potential disaster and introduce mitigating measures to minimize the impact.  This Disaster Risk Reduction approach increases the ability of communities to “ build back better” by introducing disaster resistant technologies such as earthquake resistant houses  and improved awareness of the local risks and hazards