UNHCR orders 10.000 Better Shelters that were jointly developed with IKEA Foundation

Better Shelter: IKEA’s refugee housing solution

Published in Aid & Refugee Challenge by

Better Shelter, IKEA Foundation’s flat pack solution for a new, safer and more durable shelter for refugee families, is to be taken into production. After tests in the field and improvements made in collaboration with 40 refugee families, UNHCR decided to order 10.000 of the easy to assemble temporary shelters. The news was announced yesterday in Dubai.

For several years, the IKEA Foundation, UNHCR and a group of Swedish designers have worked together to develop a new kind of temporary shelter that will provide refugees with safety, dignity and a better place to call home. The prototype has been tested and improved by 40 refugee families in Iraq and Ethiopia.

The Better Shelter is a temporary shelter designed with special attention to transport volume, weight, price, safety as well as health and comfort. It can be assembled on site in 4 to 8 hours without additional tools and equipment, and is fitted with a solar panel and lamp to provide light during the dark hours. The expected lifespan of the shelter is three years. UNHCR expects to start delivering the shelters to refugee families in the summer.

One shelter comes in two flat boxes, 48 of which fit into a 40’ HQ container. The Better Shelter can be disassembled and reused. The shelter offers 17,5 square meters of space with full standing height.

“Better Shelter will ship 10,000 units to UNHCR in 2015 for use by UNHCR operations globally – and that is just the beginning. We will continue to develop the Better Shelter and also provide other solutions to benefit the many displaced people. Innovation is our strongest driving force,” said Johan Karlsson, Head of Business Development, at Better Shelter.

Assembly of Better Shelter prototype, Hilawyen Refugee camp, Dollo Ado, Ethiopia, July 2013 (photo R. Cox)

Assembly of Better Shelter prototype, Hilawyen Refugee camp, Dollo Ado, Ethiopia, July 2013 (photo R. Cox)

Hussein with daughters and grand daughter, Kawergosk Refugee Camp, Erbil, Iraq March 2015  (photo: Better Shelter)

Hussein with daughters and grand daughter, Kawergosk Refugee Camp, Erbil, Iraq March 2015 (photo: Better Shelter)

Interior of a Better Shelter prototype in Kawergosk Refugee Camp, Erbil, Iraq (photo: Better Shelter)

Interior of a Better Shelter prototype in Kawergosk Refugee Camp, Erbil, Iraq (photo: Better Shelter)

Sign up for our newsletter