In region Global and in group Global Shelter Cluster



Thematic Session 2: Shelter and Health


Over the past year, the Shelter and Settlements sector has made some progress in better understanding the connections between Shelter and Health, including MHPSS. This session explored some of these connections and discussed plans to develop them further into operational guidance, ideally with cross-cluster collaboration amongst the Shelter and Settlements, Health and WASH clusters. For this to happen, the formation of an inter-cluster technical working group focused on shelter and health, including WASH and MHPSS, were suggested to more effectively meet the needs of people affected by humanitarian crises. In a rapidly changing global environment and in the light of the COVID-19 pandemic, a focus on the connections between living conditions and health is ever more important. The presentation used during the meeting is available at this link. 

The panelists shared their experience, thoughts and observations on the topic, Shelter and Health, from their particular perspective.  A full recording of the session is available here: 


Sue Webb (Center for Development and Emergency Practice, Oxford Brookes University) will present the first section, an update on the ongoing research on the connections between Shelter and Health. This will include a case study from colleagues at Catholic Relief Services Malawi, a recent post-flood response which integrates Shelter, WASH and Health components. Next, MHPSS colleagues (Carmen Valle from the MHPSS Reference Group and Rebecca Horn) will join Sue to summarise the key messages arising from the Shelter and Mental Health learning event hosted by CARE UK and CENDEP in May 2021.

Ela Serdaroglu (GSC co-coordinator) will then facilitate a panel discussion with Shelter, Health, WASH and MHPSS representatives, discussing how adequate shelter also facilitates the achievement of many other human rights, such as health, water and sanitation and others. The panelists will be invited to take up to a maximum of 5 minutes to explain their perspective on the connections between shelter and settlement, physical and mental health, highlight key considerations and suggest opportunities for practical collaboration. After that, further questions will be posed by the facilitator to each panelist. In answering the questions, the panelists will be encouraged to interact with each other in a broader discussion. If time allows, panelists will address questions/comments posed by the wider audience.

Speakers’ and Panelists’ bios [in order of appearance]:

Mrs Susannah (Sue) Webb is a researcher at the Centre for Development and Emergency Practice (CENDEP), Oxford Brookes University. She is currently working on the GCRF funded project ‘Self-recovery from Humanitarian Crisis’. Her background is in Geography and she also holds Masters in Social Anthropology of Development (SOAS) and Development and Emergency Practice (Oxford Brookes).

Dr Carmen Valle-Trabadelo, from the IFRC Reference Centre for Psychosocial Support, is the co-chair of the IASC Reference Group on Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in Emergency Settings. Carmen is a psychologist and mental health specialist who has worked for NGOs and UN agencies providing technical support and advice in 15 countries across Africa, Asia and Latin America, with a strong focus on Human Rights, Systems Strengthening, and Psychological Interventions.

Dr Rebecca Horn is an independent psychosocial specialist with more than 15 years’ experience in the humanitarian field, including in psychosocial programming, capacity building and conducting qualitative and quantitative research. She is also a Senior Research Fellow in the Institute for Global Health and Development (Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh). She has contributed to improved policy and practice in the psychosocial and gender-based violence fields, particularly in conflict and post-conflict settings.

Ms. Monica Ramos, the Global Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Cluster Coordinator, UNICEF is a dedicated and multifaceted professional with over 18 years’ international experience in roles ranging from country-level program manager, global level strategic advisor and a donor providing specialized expertise in the water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) sector across Africa, Asia and Latin America working with ACF, Oxfam, CARE, Save the Children, UNICEF, ECHO and USAID/BHA.. She holds a BSc. in Mechanical Engineering and a Masters in Water and Wastewater Engineering.

Ms. Linda Doull joined WHO as Global Health Cluster Coordinator, in September 2014.  She has over 25 years of experience in the international health and humanitarian sector, having worked with Medical Aid for Palestinians and Medecins Sans Frontiers as Emergency Health Coordinator in crises including Angola, Rwanda, Burundi, DR Congo, Palestinian Territories, Sri Lanka, Somalia, Kenya and the Former Yugoslavia. Linda subsequently joined the former UK NGO Merlin as Health Advisor in 1997 and was their Director of Health and Policy from 2001 until 2014.  She was a core member of the Global Health Cluster from its inception in 2005 and Co-Chaired the Inter Agency Standing Committee Sub-Working Group on the Cluster Approach with OCHA from 2010-2013, to guide the implementation of the IASC Transformative Agenda.   Linda is Registered General Nurse and holder of Masters’ in Public Health from the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine.


Cecilia Schmölzer is an independent consultant, currently working on the GCRF-funded Self-recovery research project in collaboration with CARE International UK and CENDEP.  Trained as a carpenter and with Masters in Architecture and Human Settlements she has been involved in post disaster shelter and reconstruction work since the Indian Ocean Tsunami. She has worked as construction delegate for German Red Cross in Sri Lanka and as project coordinator for UNOPS in Haiti, before taking the position of coordinator of the IFRC Shelter Research Unit in 2012. From 2016 to 2020 years she then worked with the Global Shelter Cluster as Focal Point for Technical Coordination on behalf of IFRC (International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies). She has been deployed in first assessment and/or shelter cluster coordination roles in Philippines, Madagascar, Haiti, Bangladesh, Nigeria, Indonesia and Mozambique and supported GSC working groups, trainings as well as  workshops in various  countries.

Peter Ventevogel, M.D., Ph.D., is a psychiatrist and a medical anthropologist. Since 2013 he is the Senior Mental Health and Psychosocial Support Officer with UNHCR in Geneva. In this role he is responsible for technical guidance and support to the country operations of UNHCR worldwide. Major goals of his work are: (1) to integrate mental health into routine primary health care facilities for refugees, (2) to introduce scalable psychological interventions into humanitarian operations and (3) to strengthen supportive systems within refugee communities. He was thematic co-lead for MHPSS in the revision of the Sphere Handbook 2018.

Ela Serdaroglu is the Shelter Lead at IFRC and one of the two Global Shelter Cluster Coordinators. She was the co-author of the Shelter and Settlements Chapter of the Sphere 2018 Revision.



All times are Geneva summer time (CEST). 14h00 CEST is 22h00 Melbourne, 13h00 London, 08h00 Washington All sessions will use the same Teams link, they will be recorded and made publicly available (except Networking sessions). Register to receive the link.


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