Better Shelter provides innovative, practical and durable temporary housing for the millions of displaced people who lose their homes due to conflicts and natural disasters.

Many people affected by conflicts and natural disasters seek refuge in humanitarian camps for access to shelter, food and clean water. Providing adequate shelter in these camps was usually achieved by setting up tents. The Better Shelter consists of lightweight polymer panels, which are laminated with thermal insulation, and then clipped onto a lightweight steel frame. The shelters are more durable and better insulated than traditional refugee tents.

We will continue to develop the Better Shelter and also provide other solutions to benefit the many displaced people. Innovation is our strongest driving force.
Johan Karlsson – Interim Managing Director and Co-founder, Better Shelter

Windows and lockable doors give refugees the feeling of occupying a normal home. Solar panels on the roof provide enough electricity to charge lamps and cellphones. The shelter comes flat-packed, which lowers shipping costs, and can be built on-site without tools in four hours. In 2015, Better Shelter delivered more than 10,000 units for humanitarian operations worldwide.

Why you should care

According to the UNHCR, conflict and persecution alone are forcing an average of 34,000 people a day to leave their homes and seek protection elsewhere. There are over 65 million forcibly displaced people worldwide. The majority of these refugees are hosted in developing countries with limited infrastructure. This creates a massive need for quickly deployable temporary housing – needs which the Better Shelter addresses with a small environmental footprint.

How the Global Goals are addressed

Affordable and Clean Energy
Requiring only four hours of sunlight to charge, the solar panels on the roof shelters generate enough electricity to power lamps and phones for a family.

Reduced Inequalities
Better Shelter provides 17.5 m2 of safe, healthy and durable space, creating livable homes for vulnerable refugee families who have limited resources and options.

Sustainable Cities and Communities
The design can be mass-produced, transported easily and quickly assembled to provide safe and dignified housing in humanitarian camps, which often become very large and established.

Responsible Consumption and Production
The design of this solution is modular, so it can be dismantled, moved and reassembled. Unlike tents, which are often discarded if damaged, components on Better Shelter units can be replaced individually.

Partnerships for the Goals
The partnership between Better Shelter, UNHCR and the IKEA Foundation used commercial insights and strategic financing to develop a technological solution to a global challenge.

About Better Shelter

Better Shelter is a social enterprise that develops and provides innovative housing solutions for persons displaced by armed conflicts and natural disasters.

About Ikea Foundation

The IKEA Foundation tries to create substantial and lasting change by funding holistic, long-term programs in some of the world’s poorest communities that address children’s fundamental needs: home, health, education and a sustainable family income, while helping communities fight and cope with climate change.


UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is a global organization dedicated to saving lives, protecting rights and building a better future for refugees, forcibly displaced communities and stateless people.

Purchase product

Better Shelter
Ikea Foundation

Global Goals addressed

Deployed in: Ethiopia, Iraq, Syrian Arab Republic
Developed in: Sweden
Stage: Full implementation