Gender, Diversity and Inclusion Community of Practice



16 days 2023

The Global Shelter Cluster is committed to advocate, build capacity and improve coordination for humanitarian Shelter and Settlements responses that put people in the centre. Having access to safe and dignified shelter is a high-priority need - and human right - for everyone, but the humanitarian community acknowledges that some population groups face a higher risk of “being left behind”, and face increased risk of exclusion, marginalisation and denial of access to equal rights. Through this Community of Practice, coming early in 2024, the Global Shelter Cluster wants to ensure that the Shelter and Settlements community continues its pathway to put “people first”, irrespective of their gender, age, personal characteristics, ethnicity, religious beliefs, citizenships, sexual orientation, physical appearance, colour and racialized identity, social background or disability, along with the various intersections between these.

The Global Shelter Cluster’s Gender, Diversity and Inclusion Community of Practice will serve as a hub for Shelter and Settlements practitioners to exchange, share lessons and access tools and guidance on a range of crosscutting issues that impact the quality and inclusiveness of shelter and settlements programming. It builds upon a number of initiatives and the efforts of GSC Working Groups such as the “Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities in Shelter Programming Working Group”, the “GBV in Shelter Programming Working Group”,  as well as other activities of the wider Global Shelter Cluster community and its partners, with the intention to contribute to a more systematic approach to inclusive practice. The Community of Practice will cover a number of different workstreams including the below:


In addition to specific agency work, guidance and tools, the gender stream of the CoP will continue work based on the findings of the “Wider Impact of Shelter” , which has a specific gender section; but also other thematic Shelter and Settlements priorities such as Housing Land and Property Rights (module four of the online course, focusing specifically on Women’s Access to property) or resources that have “Protection” as a wider topic. builds upon the existing guidance on the GSC website, including “Guidance on mainstreaming gender and diversity in shelter programmes” as well as tipsheets and guidance on “GBV Risk Mitigation Mainstreaming in Shelter chapters of the HRPs”, among many others. 


By 2050, there will be two billion older people – more than one-fifth of the global population will be over 60 years. This means that humanitarian actors need to take the specific capacities, abilities and needs of older people more and more into account in planning and programming humanitarian responses, especially as older people are disproportionately affected by disasters for many reasons. The Interagency Standing Committee has developed a tool for project design and monitoring (GAM; Gender with Age Marker), but a lot needs to and can be done for improving Shelter and Settlements Responses.

In addition to considering older people, it needs to be acknowledged that many countries where Shelter Clusters are active, more than half of the population is below the age of 25, while this age group is rarely considered to be included in decision-making processes – while those decisions will have a major impact on their future. Building upon the Compact for Young People in Humanitarian Aid, currently signed by 53 international organizations, this stream of the CoP can help to develop guidance that increase “dignity and hope” for young people in humanitarian crisis.

Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities:

Persons with disabilities are estimated to represent 15% of the world’s population, a figure that is likely much higher in humanitarian settings. To assist and guide shelter practitioners to be more disability inclusive in their programming, the original All Under One Roof: Disability Inclusive Shelter and Settlements in emergencies guideline was published in 2015. Since this time a number of additional important guidelines, standards and commitments around disability inclusion in Humanitarian Action have been developed, in particular the IASC Guidelines on the Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities in Humanitarian Action. Since 2018, the Global Shelter Cluster, through its Working Group on “Inclusion of people with disabilities in Shelter programming”, has updated the  – “All under One Roof guidance materials, transforming them into a completely online tool, with specific downloadable components. The Working Group is currently finalising a number of additional accompanying materials such as training packages and an All Under One Roof ‘short guide’ to continue to provide useful and relevant tools to assist practitioners in their work These additional outputs will be finalised in the first half of 2024 and the Working Group will then transition into the Disability Inclusion stream of the Gender, Diversity and Inclusion Community of Practice.

As persons with disabilities include “persons who have long-term sensory, physical, psychosocial, intellectual or other impairments that, in interaction with various barriers, prevent them from participating in, or having access to, humanitarian programmes, services or protection”, the workstream will necessarily include all of these factors. A recent focus from the Global Shelter Cluster is on the connection between shelter and mental health, as it is widely acknowledged that the access to safe and dignified Shelter and Settlements and adequate living conditions have a strong impact on people’s mental health.

More information about the CoP and additional workstreams will be confirmed in 2024.



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