On Monday the 11th of October, we started our three-week course on Humanitarian Shelter and Settlement in Emergency – offered in partnership with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC). The course explores how international agencies respond to displacement crises due to natural disasters or conflict.  This course draws upon a team of experienced lecturers on the field, that will work with us in the upcoming three weeks. They are all specialists in the humanitarian sector with extensive experience in the field working with the most relevant global organizations.

The course was introduced by Marta Peña and will be followed by David Sanderson this first week. Our students will attend David’s class on Good Practice in Urban Humanitarian Response. The course reviews good practices in humanitarian agencies’ relief and recovery operations in response to crises occurring in towns and cities, primarily in low- and middle-income countries. Situations include disasters triggered by natural hazards, conflict, displacement and urban violence.

Aerial imagery, taken during a joint mission between soldiers with the Nepalese army and the Joint Task Force 505 delivering aid and relief supplies, shows areas affected by an earthquake in the Sindhuli District, Nepal, May 10, during OPERATION SAHAYOGI HAAT. The Nepalese Government requested the U.S. Government’s assistance after a 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck the country, the 25th of April. The U.S. government ordered JTF 505 to provide unique capabilities to assist Nepal. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by MCIPAC Combat Camera Staff Sgt. Jeffrey D. Anderson/Released)

In the first and second weeks, students will delve into urban integration and urban shelter programmes for post-disaster scenarios. Firstly, the students will be introduced to the critical factors for successful WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) programs and their context-specific application in emergencies led this year by Veronica Sanchez. Our last addition to the program will lead the closure of the second week of the course: we are honoured to have Brett Moore. He is Chief of Shelter and Settlements at the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). From his broad experience, he will inform our students about procedures and strategies taken by UNHCR in post-disaster scenarios. 

During the last week, Gonzalo Sánchez-Terán and Verónica Sánchez Carrera will guide a four-session seminar-style course exploring how international agencies and humanitarian workers respond to displacement crisis through the design, construction, improvement and management of refugee and IDP camps and Ebola centres. An overview of how camp management is covered in post-relief contexts and infectious disease architecture for emergencies, offering our students a deeper understanding of the complexity of these “permanently temporary” environments. 

Throughout the three weeks, students will complete in-class practical exercises in order to apply knowledge and test the theoretical body of work with case studies. These include case study analysis, problem-solving exercises, and using emergency medical facilities design criteria. The course outcomes will allow the students to deepen their assessment and evaluation skills, the plan of action,  logistics, and settlement options, including architectural design and low-tech technologies applied to shelter. Finally, they will acquire a critical review of people-centred approaches to urban design for humanitarian response.

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