Innovation Fellow Profile:
Yusif Sidik

Photo of Innovation Fellow 2015 Yusif Sidik

Yusif Sidik
Senior Field Assistant
Duty Station: Takoradi, Ghana

I’m addressing the challenge of how we can empower refugee communities to create more durable housing in camps.

In March 2011 Ghana experienced an influx of Ivorian refugees in the country. Emergency tents were erected for all asylum seekers who arrived in the country as a temporary shelter solution. As the situation in Ivory Coast improved a large number of the refugees returned home, however many remained.  While vulnerable and non-vulnerable persons of concern have been provided with more durable transitional housing, some remain in tents within the camps.

I want to find a solution to this challenge because emergency tents provide little protection against theft and harsh weather conditions.

In my work, I’ve seen refugees develop their own solutions to these problems. They adopt solutions and materials used by the surrounding local community to strengthen their emergency tents in the camp. We need to find a sustainable solution for shelter construction in the camp. We especially need to find a solution that enables refugees to build their own shelters with technical assistance.

After crowdsourcing 28 ideas on how to address my challenge from colleagues and refugees, I held an interactive workshop with the refugees in my community. Through the refugee community’s drawings and models I was able to better understand the shelter needs of the community. 

Innovation Fellow Yusif holds a brainstorming workshop with refugees in Ghana.


  • Ante Galic

    Sidik!!! Etisen, miniya? I love this initiative. I think the idea is great for urban African idioms where the idea of a ‘classic’ refugee camp setting is a little outdated. This is an idea which champions progress. Wish you lots of success with this great initiative.


  • Azin Valy

    Hi Sidik,
    Great project.
    I wanted to share another project with you that provides temporary shelter and encourages the building process by the refugees and can be customized to each family size. Our Pallet House project provides a skeleton of a house and allows local materials that are accessible to the refugees of any region to incorporate them in their house. It is also recyclable and relocatable. You can read more about the project at or see this video:

    We are currently looking for local NGOs and a camp site to implement this project. Please let me know if this is something you would be interested in.

    Thank you

More stories