Moving Energy Initiative Kick-starts Clean Energy Projects for Refugees

July 4, 2017

The article has been re-posted from Chatham House and the Moving Energy Initiative. The original article can be found here.

Refugees in Burkina Faso, Kenya and Jordan will benefit from greater access to affordable, clean energy for domestic use and to power ‘microbusinesses’, following a grant scheme from the Moving Energy Initiative which launches today.

In total, four projects will be implemented over the next 12 months, with all involving training for refugees and local staff to use and maintain the clean energy technologies. They aim to deliver tangible reductions in CO2 emissions whilst increasing access to vital services, saving costs and providing livelihood opportunities for local communities and refugees. The projects are also expected to fuel entrepreneurship, opening up the potential for setting up businesses, small shops and restaurants which can expand beyond this initial grant.

Find out more about one of these projects by watching the video:


In Burkina Faso, HELP (and EDIS)  will work to improve refugees’ access to electricity for domestic use and for income-generating activities carried out by individual traders such as barbers, seamstresses and cooks in Goudoubo camp. In addition, the project will:

  • Replace two diesel-based generators used to pump water with solar-powered technologies
  • Create a vegetable production area using solar-powered irrigation systems, and
  • Set up an energy service centre in the camp’s market connected to the national electricity supplier.

In Jordan, Millennium Energy Industries  will provide solar solutions to Al Mafraq’s public hospital which serves both refugees and local communities. The project will:

  • Set up a solar thermal system in the hospital’s main building
  • Renovate the existing hot water infrastructure using cleaner technologies, and
  • Install an electric PV system  for a clinic building.

In Kenya, Kube Energy  will install solar systems in two primary health care clinics run by the International Rescue Committee (IRC) in Kakuma camp. The project will:

  • Enable IRC to reduce fossil fuel consumption by approximately 54,000 litres annually and these savings will be reinvested in other healthcare services
  • Train local hospital staff to install and maintain the solar system, and
  • Look for ways to connect local business to the main power grid.  

In addition, Crown Agents will build a solar powered ICT and learning hub for the displaced community living in Kakuma Camp which will also be open to the local community. The hub will:

  • Run training workshops on entrepreneurship, trading and ICT.
  • Provide additional commercial services for local entrepreneurs, such as a cybercafé, solar home system membership plan and mobile phone charging point.  
  • Aim to be become a sale point for pay-as-you-go solar home systems for local residents.



The projects aim to spur a ‘demonstration effect’, encouraging others in the humanitarian sector to shift towards sustainable energy and increasing energy access in displacement contexts.

Project partners were chosen through an open and competitive process kicked off in February 2017 in Burkina Faso, Kenya and Jordan. Bidders were asked to demonstrate their ability to provide solutions that reduce fossil fuel consumption and increase access to energy in camps. The successful projects were chosen on the basis of the applicants’ ability to innovate in a humanitarian setting, as well as their track record and their approach to sustainability.

A Chatham House report found that sustainable market based solutions to energy access in camps can create employment and income-generating activities. It can also reduce host-refugee tensions and dependency on short-term humanitarian aid.

Keep updated on the progress of these projects as they develop by following us on Twitter @CH_EERD.

Find out more about the Moving Energy Initiative through visiting our website