Better Shelter

IKEA and UNHCR signs for 10,000 flat-pack shelters.

Better Shelter

The unique collaboration between IKEA Foundation and UNHCR has resulted in a new, safer, innovative and more durable shelter for refugee families around the world. UNHCR has made an agreement for 10,000 units with the social enterprise Better Shelter. Better Shelter was started by the Housing for All Foundation, a non-profit foundation established by the IKEA Foundation.

With a safe and functional temporary shelter delivered in flat packs, Better Shelter together with UNHCR and the IKEA Foundation wants to bring dignity and safety to the millions of refugees fleeing violence, conflict, persecution and natural disasters. This unique partnership has introduced an innovative approach to designing for refugees and putting their needs at the heart of the development process. In a groundbreaking example of democratic design (form, function, quality, sustainability and an affordable price), the prototype has been tested and improved by 40 refugee families in Iraq and Ethiopia. Their experiences and needs have been at the heart of the development process. Following the field testing the shelter design has been iterated and is now being scaled to production.

The Better Shelter is a temporary shelter designed with special attention to transport volume, weight, price, safety, health and comfort. It can be assembled on site without additional tools and equipment with a solar panel and lamp to provide light during the dark hours. The expected lifespan of the shelter is three years.


  • The IKEA Foundation

    Netherlands | Staff size: 26-50

    IKEA Foundation (Stichting IKEA Foundation) is an independent charitable foundation that oversees IKEA’s global philanthropy. The Foundation resides in the Netherlands and their funds...

  • United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)

    Implementing NGO
    United States | Staff size: 5001-10,000

    The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees was established on December 14, 1950 by the United Nations General Assembly.

    The agency is mandated to lead and...

More Resources

Key Information

  • Start Date 2015