Background: The US Agency for International Development, Office of US Foreign Disaster Assistance
(USAID/OFDA) is the lead US Government (USG) agency for the coordination of USG responses to
international natural disasters, and a leading participant in the global humanitarian community.
USAID/OFDA currently seeks to enhance its leadership efforts, improve its response programming in
the humanitarian shelter and settlements (S&S) sector, increase the awareness of the sector in
North America and expand career options for those interested in S&S sector activities. USAID/OFDA
views S&S sector activities broadly. This includes not only provision of shelter to disaster/crisisaffected
populations, but also the linked activities of settlements planning, natural hazard risk
reduction, natural resource management, climate change adaptation and proximate economic and
political factors (see USAID/OFDA description of humanitarian S&S at:
Fellowship Description: USAID/OFDA seeks to support the thesis or professional report writing
efforts of one Fellow during the Spring of 2014. Fellows will be graduate students currently enrolled
full-time in accredited North American graduate school programs in the following academic
City, Urban, Environmental, or Regional Planning, and
Architecture or Architectural engineering
Ideally, successful candidates would be first-year, Masters-level, graduate students, in the programs
listed above, who are interested in commencing work on a thesis or professional report as a
requirement for graduation. The topic of these graduate student research would be centered
around any of the following topics of interest.
- Managing the transformation of humanitarian shelter to permanent housing
- Linking and incorporating hazard mapping efforts into local-level settlements planning to promote risk reduction
- Post-disaster neighborhood-level planning efforts designed to promote safer, sustainable and resilient shelters and settlements
- Post-disaster emergency urban planning to reconfigure disaster-affected settlements to promote risk reduction, increase shelter opportunities, and accelerate recovery
- Measuring the contribution of humanitarian shelter to the recovery of the disaster-affected households and/or communities.
- Identification and review of assessment tools (including remote sensing) intended to better understand and deal with the urban context, thereby informing efforts to support effectiveand expeditious humanitarian S&S sector activities
- Informal land management and tenure mechanisms that promote risk reduction or ensure occupancy of land and housing for displaced/vulnerable populations
Graduate work on any the above topics could entail travel to Washington, DC, USA or to sites in
other countries. Work could also be performed at the home universities of graduate fellows.
USAID/OFDA also supports InterAction, a consortium of humanitarian and development nongovernmental
organizations (NGOs) based in Washington, DC. USAID/OFDA is collaborating with
InterAction to support these graduate student fellowships. The graduate student
research/professional report advisor will oversee and be responsible for the quality, progress, and
completion of the research and final deliverables. Both USAID/OFDA and the InterAction Shelter and
Settlements Working Group (SSWG) will receive e-copies of approved theses and professional
reports from graduate students, encourage fellows to publish work in peer-review journals and
humanitarian publications, and host an end-of-summer presentation of the research work and
would welcome the opportunity to serve on thesis or professional report committees.
Awards: USAID/OFDA anticipates two awards of up to $15,000 each (made up of $9,000 for stipend
and $6,000 for travel related expenses if necessary) to support graduate research. The award will
support fellowship research for approximately three months and cover basic expenses that might
include travel, lodging and research-related costs (e.g., medical evacuation insurance, visas,
vaccinations, etc.). InterAction will provide basic administrative support for the graduate students.
All research, field work, and final reports must be undertaken as soon as possible and completed by
Award Process: Successful candidates will receive USAID/OFDA support through an existing
agreement with InterAction. Specific workspace assignments in Washington, DC, should they be
needed, will be arranged jointly by USAID/OFDA and InterAction. It is anticipated that graduate
students will spend the bulk of the summer at their home universities or at field sites, rather than in
Washington, DC. The selected candidate should be able to travel to the proposed field sites during
Application Process: Candidates will submit a CV, a two-page statement of proposed work
(including an executive summary), a reference from his/her thesis or professional report advisor,
and a statement from the advisor confirming that the statement of proposed work will directly
support the candidate’s thesis or professional report topic. A review committee representing
USAID/OFDA and the InterAction SSWG will be formed to identify successful candidates for this
fellowship. Applications and supporting documents should be received by Monday 17h February
Please attach the above mentioned documents (preferably in pdf or MS Word) to
firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “SHELTER FELLOWSHIPS_LastName”. Only
shortlisted candidates will be contacted. No phone calls or email inquiries, please.