In group Somalia

Sustainable Solutions Working Group


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According to the NRC Shelter Handbook, there are 18 shelter assistance methods that are normally combined to support the affected population, depending upon the nature of the shelter or settlement programme. Most of these are commonly used by many humanitarian organizations. Others, like loans and credits, are generally more often used in more development oriented programmes.

In the Somalia context, there is a strong push stepping away from contractor driven to more owner driven approaches. Many organizations have started to look at the use of local markets and local materials, pushing towards cash and voucher mechanisms.

Nevertheless, we have to be cautious with this shift of thinking and doing. Will providing cash be cost-effective? What are the risks of inflation in the price of building materials? Are there particular environmental concerns (de-forestation)? How will agencies ensure that buildings are safe and disaster-resistant (minimum standards)? Are there enough individuals with the right skills and capacity to build houses if people are given cash (both beneficiaries’ own skills and those of specialist craftsmen and contractors)? How much cash is appropriate?


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