This Master level short course in Humanitarian Shelter Coordination is offered by the  International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in partnership with the Centre for Development and Emergency Practice (CENDEP) at Oxford Brookes University.

This course draws upon IFRC’s and UNHCR’s successful leadership successful leadership of the Shelter Cluster, the interagency mechanism to coordinate humanitarian shelter sector preparedness and response at both global and country level.

This course aims to equip participants with the skills required to coordinate a shelter response in a humanitarian crisis after caused by a natural disasters, a conflict or a combination of both. It will provide participants with an overview of the humanitarian reform process and the transformative agenda, the interagency cluster approach, the role of the Shelter Cluster and the principles and practice of shelter coordination in natural disasters.

At the end of the course, participants will have acquired strategic and practical knowledge of shelter coordination policies, methods, tools and procedures in the humanitarian response system and are prepared to apply these in the context of a humanitarian crisis. 

  • Demonstrate a depth of knowledge of the main foundations, principles, processes, and complexity of humanitarian shelter coordination in natural disasters.
  • Develop an inter-agency shelter response and advocacy strategy, using current humanitarian shelter and settlements standards, principles, and approaches.

  • Effectively participate in shelter coordination teams in response to natural disasters at the country level, utilizing the most current knowledge, tools, and good practices at the forefront of the discipline.

  • Apply leadership and coordination skills effectively and appropriately to a professional standard for different audiences in the field of humanitarian practice.


Tuition Award

In memory of Graham Saunders, former Global Shelter Cluster Coordinator, the IFRC will support one participant by covering the course fee. Those willing to benefit from this opportunity must indicate so in the online application form. The criteria for selection include number of years of experience, cluster experience and languages. Nationals from less developed countries and staff or volunteers from the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement will be prioritized.


This course covers the following topics will be delivered through the online and face-to-face components:

  • The Humanitarian Reform process and the Transformative Agenda
  • The cluster approach and the Shelter Cluster
  • The Global Shelter Cluster methodology for shelter coordination at the country level
  • Fundamentals of shelter response programming and minimum standards
  • Inter-agency disaster response appeal and financing mechanisms
  • Inter-agency coordinated assessments
  • Information Management
  • Inter-agency shelter response and advocacy strategies
  • Leadership and coordination skills
  • Inter-cluster coordination
  • Core cluster functions


The course has two phases:

  1. First phase: Tutored distance learning: This will take place during a period of five weeks (dates differ for each edition of the course*) and participants will study through the online Red Cross Red Crescent e-learning platform. This first phase deals with most of the theoretical basis of the course.
  2. Second phase: A 6-day face-to-face workshop (dates differ for each edition of the course*). The face to face workshop is based on a scenario that simulates the deployment to and coordination of an evolving emergency.

*The upcoming editions of the course will be announced on this page with confirmed dates. Please keep consulting this page and also subscribe to our updates


Who can apply?

Individuals working in the humanitarian and shelter sectors for the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, United Nations agencies or Non-Governmental Organisations, or Governments, particularly agencies or institutions actively involved in the interagency shelter cluster at global or country level. The course is also open to individuals seeking to advance their understanding of and expertise in the field of interagency, humanitarian coordination.

How to apply?

The course is not open for applications at the moment. New editions of the course will be announced on this page, as well as in the Global Update and via announcements on Reliefweb and other platforms such as our Twitter account

Language of instruction

The language of instruction is English


The fees are 1,800 CHF (Swiss Franc) per participant. It does not include any cost related to accommodation for the face-to-face workshop. The fees are due once you have been accepted on the course.

Award received

Certified Masters-level credit rated course by Oxford Brooks University (10 UK masters level credits- CATS, equivalent to 5 European masters level credits- ECTS)

More information

If you have a specific enquiry, please address it to and your query will be forwarded to the most appropriate person.