Happy New Year.
When looking back on last year, our thoughts are with those who have lost loved ones, jobs and income during the pandemic, and with frontline workers who have been working tirelessly to save lives while risking their own. We want to extend a big thank you to our partners to whom we shipped more than 16,000 Better Shelters during 2020. Many of these were used in response to COVID-19.
Preparing for challenges to come.
During 2020 we launched a long anticipated R&D project – Structure.
In the coming decades, displacement is forecast to accelerate dramatically due to the changing climate. Localization is and will continue to be the central strategy to respond to this challenge. Typically, locally sourced and built shelters are less expensive, they stimulate the local economy and employ familiar building traditions that fit the local climate and norms better than the imported.
However, prefabricated shelter will continue to play a critical role: it is the last safety net in the efforts to shelter displaced communities when there are no other options.
Structure is a different approach to shelter that combines the advantages of prefabricated shelter with locally driven shelter programs. With Structure we aim to increase resilience among displaced communities by providing emergency shelter structures which can be locally upgraded.
Last year we collaborated with leading NGOs to develop and evaluate the Structure approach in four countries.
While continuing to develop and implement the Better Shelter this year, we will launch a fundraising campaign for Structure and scale up the pilot program with partners, affected communities, and supporters to leverage local building practices with a minimum of prefabricated materials.