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Tomorrow is the anniversary of the 2003 bombing of the UN headquarters in Iraq, which killed more than 20 people, including UN envoy Sergio Vieira de Mello, and injured many more. The United Nations has designated tomorrow as World Humanitarian Day, to recognise those caught up in humanitarian catastrophes and those who work to support them.
In this audio interview, we talk to Johan Karlsson, head of business development at Better Shelter. This Swedish social enterprise designs safe and robust shelters for refugees across the world. Karlsson says such products are an important evolution in emergency shelter, bringing dignity and safety to refugees in some of the world’s most insecure places. At the centre of the project is the idea of democratic design. Technical testing, pilot and field trials, and feedback workshops bring refugees into the design process, ensuring their practical, social and cultural concerns are heard and integrated in the shelters’ design.
The shelters are now being used in Ethiopia, Iraq and Nepal. And they can be more than homes: through use as buildings such as health clinics, women’s centres, and children’s play spaces, they can meet the many needs of those displaced from their homes.
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