People First. Agency, support and empowerment to support self-recovery (Chapter 4, The State of Humanitarian Shelter and Settlements 2018)

 The Global Shelter Cluster’s “The State of Humanitarian Shelter and Settlements 2018. Beyond the Better Shed: Prioritizing People” was produced with the support of United States Agency for International Development Office of US Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID/OFDA), the Australian Red Cross, the Swedish Red Cross and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. This report is the first one ever produced on The State of Humanitarian Shelter and Settlements. This report tells the story of the humanitarian shelter and settlements sector. Although meeting people’s needs for shelter and settlement has always been part and parcel of humanitarian work, only quite recently has it been formalized as a stand-alone sector, owing this recognition to the establishment of the ‘cluster approach’ in 2005. Following almost every disaster and crisis, shelter is regarded as a critical, life-saving need alongside, for instance, health and protection. But the problems, scope, practice and benefits of providing humanitarian shelter and settlement assistance are still, for those outside the sector, not well understood. This lack of understanding results in poorly integrated responses at best, and at worst in a significant gap in meeting an essential need of affected people, denying them a decent, healthy and suitable place to live. Chapter 4 of this report (People First. Agency, support and empowerment to support self-recovery), discusses why supporting self-recovery is so important. With a focus on naturally triggered disasters, based on experiences in recent interventions as well as research with disaster-affected families and communities, we make some further practical suggestions about what agencies can do to support self-recovery at different stages of the response cycle.For further information, visit