IOM in Shelter

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) has played a major role in humanitarian shelter operations for many decades. IOM’s unique position as an intergovernmental organization allows it to work at scale in both natural disasters and conflict/complex contexts. IOM works in both operations and coordination, and plays a strong role working with partners in support of national authorities. IOM’s overall objectives are (1) to focus on quality and scale of operations, (2) to be people-centred and context driven, (3) to continue supporting interagency shelter coordination, (4) to support sectoral learning and identification of best practices, and (3) to maintain a longer term view. For more on IOMs approach to shelter see the emergency manual (

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Over the course of 2016, IOM’s Shelter and Non-Food Item (NFI) programmes reached over 5.22 million crisis-affected individuals – nearly 1 million households – in 52 countries, meaning that it provided assistance to 40 per cent of the 13.1 million people that the global shelter cluster reported assisting in 2016. About 935,000 households were assisted with core NFIs and 34,400 households benefited from cash-based interventions (CBIs). A further 76,800 families were provided with or supported to build shelters. Also, 27,000 shelters were repaired and nearly 39,000 individuals received shelter trainings.

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IOM continues to maintain a strong role in support of the Global Shelter Cluster and operational shelter coordination. At country level, IOM has a shelter coordination role in 26 countries – ranging from national leadership in shelter cluster coordination to subnational coordination or technical and information management (IM) support roles. Globally, IOM is a key player in the Strategic Advisory Group within the Global Shelter Cluster, and co-leads the Shelter Projects ( and the GBV in Shelter Programming ( Working Groups. It was also the interim co-lead of the Cash Working Group in 2016.

The role of Shelter in IOM

During the 101st session of the IOM Council, IOM's 149 Member States adopted the Migration Crisis Operational Framework (MCOF), a framework which highlights Shelter and NFI response as a core component of this framework.

IOM Shelter responses are defined following assessments of the needs of affected populations. As a result, following crises, IOM implements a variety of different shelter and NFI programmes that cover all response phases in both conflicts and natural disaster affected countries. There is a diverse range of operations and forms of support that take place. Shelter programmes are not limited to construction and distribution. Shelter Activities in 2016 included:

  • Stockpiling and preparedness
  • NFI supply chain and logistics
  • Shelter construction, repair and winterization
  • Shelter recovery support and training
  • Rental support
  • Site planning support and upgrade
  • Distribution of NFIs and shelter kits
  • Shelter coordination
  • Preparedness and Disaster Risk Reduction

To learn more about IOM shelter and NFI activities, as well as other areas of humanitarian assistance, please visit the Operations section of IOM’s Emergency Operations Manual.

*Click here to access the latest IOM Shelter Update.