Refugee Camps Get the IKEA Treatment

by Ryan Hauck | July 9, 2013 3:31 pm

IKEA intends its latest product to change the life of millions of refugees as it plans to start distributing its flat-pack tents to camps worldwide, NPR reports[1].

The flat-packs include all the materials needed for assembly, including the lightweight plastic siding, equipped with solar panels and fabric shades which help regulate the tents’ temperatures. Currently, most refugee camps use canvas tents which, unlike their IKEA counterparts, provide little protection against the elements.

In addition to better insulation, the IKEA tents offer better privacy, longer durability, and higher ceilings than the canvas variety, but at considerable expense. One Ikea tent costs more than $7,500, compared to $500 for a canvas tent, though Ikea hopes to bring the cost down to $6,500 in mass production. The IKEA Foundation, which represents the company’s philanthropic interests and helped develop the tents alongside the U.N.’s UNHCR Innovation, has already spent $4.5 million on the project.

The U.N. will begin testing the new tents later this month at a refugee camp in the Dollo Ado region of Ethiopia.

Endnotes:
  1. NPR reports: http://www.northcountrypublicradio.org/news/npr/196356373/new-kind-of-ikea-hack-flat-packs-head-to-refugee-camps

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