The Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves, the Women’s Refugee Commission (WRC), and the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) held a training from June 16-20 in Kigali, Rwanda on Safe Access to Fuels and Energy (SAFE) in humanitarian settings. This skills-based training was designed to build the capacity of UN agency, NGO, private sector, and government staff working with refugees, internally displaced people (IDPs), and other humanitarian populations in East Africa, and provided training on how to better recognize, assess, and respond to cooking and energy needs in humanitarian settings. More than 70 participants attended the training from 15 countries including Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Kenya, Ethiopia, Chad, Burkina Faso, and more.
The first two days of the training provided an overview of the importance of energy access in enhancing the protection, health, livelihood, and nutrition of refugees and displaced populations, as well as an introduction to the global SAFE Steering Committee that serves as a coordinating body for SAFE interventions and advocacy. Participants also learned about UNHCR’s global SAFE strategy, which identifies interventions to ensure that cooking and lighting energy needs among their beneficiaries are met around the world. Participants then learned about using tools to implement SAFE projects and how to assess their impact, and information on improved cookstove technology, fuels, standards, and testing. Learnings were applied through a case study exercise, where participants broke into groups to design and present SAFE responses to humanitarian crises.
Presenters included Corinne Hart and Katherine Arnold of the Alliance, Megan Gerrard and Nadia Tabaro of Women’s Refugee Committee, Xavier Castellvi, Kate Milliken of World Food Programme, Dr. Amare Gebre Egziabher and Yoko Kuroiwa of UNHCR, and Vahid Jahangiri of International Lifeline Fund.
The final days of the training included a field visit to Kigeme refugee camp in Nyamagabe district of Rwanda to visit a UNHCR carbon project which is distributing an improved cookstove, with the goal of eventually reaching the entire camp population, as well as a site visit to Gihembe camp to practice baseline and assessment methodologies. UNHCR led a specialized training for UNHCR field staff who will be responsible for designing national strategies in UNHCR’s priority countries in the first phase of its strategy. World Food Programme also held a coordination meeting with their field staff in attendance to share learnings, coordinate efforts, and understand how to scale programs.