(c) International Lifeline Fund, Dadaab
© International Lifeline Fund, Dadaab

SAFE Humanitarian Workshop & Humanitarian Energy Conference

  |   Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Dates: TBD, Mid-to-late July, 2019
Location: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

On behalf of the SAFE Working Group, the Clean Cooking Alliance and the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) will host two events to convene the broad community of actors engaged in providing energy solutions to crisis-affected people. The 2019 SAFE Workshop and newly-formed Humanitarian Energy Conference will take place over four consecutive days in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in mid-to-late July. Specific dates are to be determined and will be shared in a few weeks.

Both events are a critical opportunity for humanitarian and non-humanitarian stakeholders to learn, exchange knowledge, share best practices, and identify opportunities for collaboration towards improving and expanding energy access for crisis-affected people. Registration will open in April. In the meantime, please address any questions to info@safefuelandenergy.org. 


Energy access is a critical and under-served need among the 135 million people in need of humanitarian assistance today. Cookstoves and safe and accessible fuel are needed to be able to eat, ensure optimal health, and reduce exposure to protection risks while gathering fuel. Heating is needed to keep warm in cold climates. Light is needed for protection and safety, as well as productive uses such as work and study. Power is needed to charge mobile phones that enable communications and allow for contact with lost family members. Simply put, energy access impacts food security, nutrition, health, protection, shelter, telecommunications, and other key aid sectors. (Read more)

Despite this, an estimated 80% of forcibly displaced people living in camps have minimal access to energy for cooking and heating, and 90% have no access to access to electricity. Data on energy access among urban displaced people and informal settlements is largely unavailable. Energy access is often left out of humanitarian strategies and budgets, leading to a critical gap in well-trained staff who can provide programmatic and technical support to energy projects in crisis settings. 

Since 2014, the Clean Cooking Alliance and other SAFE Working Group members have hosted annual SAFE Workshops to train field practitioners on how incorporate effective energy strategies and programming into their work with displaced people, as well as increase their expertise on available energy technologies and alternative fuels. Each event was also a critical opportunity for the broad community stakeholders engaged in humanitarian energy initiatives exchange knowledge, network, and develop best practices. (Read about the last SAFE Workshop here.)

In recognition of the fact that this community of practitioners has grown and diversified rapidly in the past few years, the SAFE Working Group has opted to split the 2019 event into two parts with distinct objectives: a traditional SAFE Workshop, focused on training and capacity building for new practitioners, and a Humanitarian Energy Conference for knowledge exchange, networking, and strategic discussions.


The SAFE Workshop is a small training event designed to strengthen the knowledge and capacity of actors who provide (or are interested to provide) fuel and energy solutions to crisis-affected people. Recognizing that basic training is still an acute need in this sector, among both humanitarian and non-humanitarian practitioners, this year’s SAFE Workshop will be limited to individuals who are new to the topic and/or who have never attended a SAFE workshop before. The workshop will:

  • Introduce the concept of safe access to fuel and energy (SAFE) and why it is needed in humanitarian settings;
  • Discuss how energy impacts other aid sectors, including health, protection, food security, and others;
  • Highlight key features of working in humanitarian settings, including an overview of core principles, standards, and how humanitarian situations differ from normal market or development contexts;
  • Discuss key challenges in providing energy access to crisis affected people;
  • Teach best practices and principles for deciding when, whether, and how to intervene with an energy solution.
  • Direct participants to public tools and resources where they can find additional information.

The Humanitarian Energy Conference is a new, large event that aims to capture and expand on the networking and knowledge-sharing components of previous SAFE Workshops. Its name is a recognition of the fact that the humanitarian energy community has rapidly grown in the past few years, encompassing not only humanitarian agencies and host governments, but also private businesses, research institutions, donors, investors, and others. As in past SAFE Workshops, the Humanitarian Energy Conference will be critical opportunity for this diverse community of actors to:  

  • Learn about the overall state of the humanitarian energy sector, from the top down. This will include an overview of global initiatives and frameworks that currently focus on this issue, as well as their counterparts at the national and local levels.
  • Exchange knowledge on successes and failures – what approaches have worked in bringing energy to crisis-affected populations and which remain challenging.
  • Discuss common topics of interest, such as market-based solutions, working with the private sector, innovative financing options, national policies on displaced people, developing agency-wide energy strategies, and more. Take our survey by March 13th to help formulate the 2019 agenda!
  • Identify opportunities for coordination and collaboration through networking and peer learning.
  • Access public tools and resources where they can find additional information.

Download Concept Note