Protecting and Empowering Displaced Women Through Safe Access to Fuel and Energy (CSW60 Parallel Event)

March 17, 2016   |   New York City, USA

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4:30 pm EST
Salvation Army, Downstairs room
221 East 52nd Street (between 2nd and 3rd Ave), New York, NY 10017

**This event is free and open to the public. No registration is necessary**

Please join the Safe Access to Fuel and Energy (SAFE) Humanitarian Working Group, Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves, International Lifeline Fund, and the Women’s Refugee Commission as we host a discussion on the needs and challenges of access to fuel and energy in humanitarian settings, the disproportionate impact it has on women and girls, and how fuel and energy programs can be used to increase the safety and wellbeing of displaced women and girls.

 A lack of access to energy is the norm in humanitarian contexts, creating difficult and dangerous realities for displaced women and girls who are largely responsible for cooking and household energy needs. They often have no choice but to risk being raped, beaten, or killed as they collect firewood up to 20 kilometers away to cook a simple meal, heat and light their homes, and/or sell to earn a meager income. Time and again, GBV incident reports in humanitarian settings cite firewood collection as a major risk to the safety and security of displaced women and girls. While the vast majority of food distributed by humanitarian organizations must be cooked in order to be eaten, cooking fuel is rarely provided. Moreover, and time burden associated with firewood collection and accessing energy resources detracts from women’s ability to participate in other more productive activities.

Yet while progress has been made, more can still be done within the protection, gender and gender-based violence (GBV) communities to prioritize safe access to fuel and energy as an essential element of GBV prevention in humanitarian settings. Contrary to popular belief, safe access to cooking fuel and other energy resources is not only an energy, environmental, or food security concern – it is quite literally a matter of life and death for displaced women around the world.

If we can reduce reliance on firewood, women and girls may not have to spend so many hours a day collecting it.  This means that girls will have more time to go to school and women will have more time to participate in safer, more sustainable livelihoods. But, in order to achieve sustainable development, communities need the capacity, tools, and resources to shift away from the harmful and risky practices they are forced to undertake.

This panel event will highlight the direct linkages that women’s protection and sustainable development have with safe access to fuel and energy in humanitarian settings. Experts from partner agencies belonging to the SAFE Humanitarian Working Group will share evidence and information around the risks and challenges faced by displaced women and girls, as well as best practices and recommendations for the way forward.

Keynote Speaker:
Baroness Sandip Verma, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State
UK Department for International Development
Moderated by:
Radha Muthiah, Chief Executive Officer
Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves
Megan Gerrard, Senior Program Officer, Gender-based Violence Prevention
Women’s Refugee Commission
Corinne Hart, Director of Gender and Humanitarian Programs
Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves
Vahid Jahangiri, Deputy Director
International Lifeline Fund
Gina Pattugalan, External Relations Officer,
UN World Food Programme 


 About the SAFE Humanitarian Working Group

The Safe Access to Fuel and Energy (SAFE) Humanitarian Working Group is a consortium of partners working together to ensure that crisis-affected populations are able to satisfy their fuel and energy needs for cooking, heating, lighting, and powering in a safe and sustainable manner, without fear or risk to their health, well-being, and personal security. The mission of the SAFE Humanitarian Working Group is to facilitate a more predictable, coordinated, timely, and effective response to the fuel and energy needs of crisis-affected populations.

About The Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves

The Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves (Alliance) is a public-private partnership hosted by the United Nations Foundation to save lives, improve livelihoods, empower women, and protect the environment by creating a thriving global market for clean and efficient household cooking solutions.

About International Lifeline Fund 

International Lifeline Fund (Lifeline) is an innovative humanitarian development organization dedicated to empowering disadvantaged individuals by providing them with the tools they need to lift themselves out of poverty and improve the quality of their own lives.

About Women’s Refugee Commission

Women’s Refugee Commission (WRC) works to improve the lives and protect the rights of women, children and youth displaced by conflict and crisis. WRC researches their needs, identifies solutions and advocates for programs and policies to strengthen their resilience and drive change in humanitarian practice.

About UN World Food Programme

The UN World Food Programme (WFP) is the world's largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide. On average, WFP reaches more than 80 million people with food assistance in 75 countries each year.

For questions about the event, please email Megan Gerrard ( or Vahid Jahangiri (

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