In the News

Serving Refugee Communities with Tech, Energy Access, Entrepreneurship: Mastercard and USAID’s Collective Approach

Next Billion   |   June 19, 2019   |   By: Katrina Pielli and Sasha Kapadia

USAID and Mastercard discuss how they established the Smart Communities Coalition (SCC) last year to bring together public and private organizations to focus on energy access, connectivity and digital tools; all inadequately addressed by the humanitarian system but in today’s economy are as essential as food and shelter to people in need.

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Shining a light on sustainable power: how clean energy is helping to improve camps for displaced people

United Nations   |   June 14, 2019

Humanitarian agencies can focus on smart technology in refugee camps and other ways to create safe access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy services for all displaced people. With the costs of renewable energy installations continuing to fall, more and more humanitarian centres will be powered by clean power sources, and reduce their reliance on fossil fuels.

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Massive Deforestation By Refugees in Uganda Sparks Clashes with Local People

The Guardian   |   February 18, 2019   |   By: Samuel Okiror

The cutting down of millions of trees has sparked angry clashes in parts of Uganda between local people and refugees who have been fleeing conflict in neighboring South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

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What Energy Deprivation Really Means In Refugee Camps

The Beam   |   February 16, 2019   |   By: Glada Lahn, Mattia Vianello

There are few places in the world where energy poverty is more rife than in refugee camps. About 80% of those who live in camps have absolutely minimal access to energy for cooking and heating, and about 90% have no access to electricity. Displaced families can use renewable energy to create revenues, and start the journey to reclaim their lives. Women and girls are safer when they have access to a cleaner energy source for lighting and cooking.

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Beyond Charcoal: How One Company Helps Rwandan Families Save their Health and the Environment, One Cookstove at a Time

World Bank   |   January 8, 2019

Inyenyeri, an innovative Rwandan company lead by an unlikely entrepreneur, Eric Reynolds, and supported by the World Bank’s Carbon Initiative for Development (Ci-Dev) pairs super fuel-efficient gasification stoves with sustainable biomass fuel pellets to bring clean cooking to refugees in Rwanda

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EPP Selected As a Humanitarian Grand Challenge Innovative Seed Project

Energy Peace Partners   |   September 26, 2018

Energy Peace Partners has been selected among a small group of innovative seed projects for the Creating Hope in Conflict: A Humanitarian Grand Challenge.

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USAID Administrator Green Announces Finalists for the Humanitarian Grand Challenge

Grand Challenges Canada   |   September 25, 2018

Twenty-three intended finalists have been anncouned for the Humanitarian Grand Challenge sponsored by USAID, DfID, and Grand Challenges Canada. Five of the finalists address energy access in their intended projects.

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17 Business Models to Build Refugee Resilience

Business Fights Poverty   |   September 24, 2018   |   By: Jessica Davis Pluess

Business Fights Poverty has launched "Resilience through Refugee-Inclusive Business," a taxonomy of 17 practical business models and a series of in-depth briefs on what it will take to mobilize more business and scale solutions that help refugees thrive, not just survive. This includes a model addressing safe and sustainable energy. The humanitarian sector has tended to apply a traditional humanitarian approach to energy access, providing solutions for free directly to refugees. While this model might be appropriate during the early phases of an emergency response, it is unsustainable and can undermine local markets.

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Telecoms Operators Dial in to Refugee Markets

Financial Times   |   September 24, 2018   |   By: Nic Fildes

Mobile companies have long been called on to provide critical connectivity in crisis situations by building temporary networks offering free texts and calls to displaced people. Now the humanitarian sector has started to work with telecoms businesses to build permanent networks by convincing companies of the vast economic opportunities this offers.

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South Sudan's First Solar Training

Energy Peace Partners   |   September 22, 2018

South Sudan had its first ever solar training in the city of Juba from September 17 - 22, 2018. The training was organized by Energy Peace Partners and the Renewable Energy Council of South Sudan (RECOSS). The training was also supported by Kube Energy, NORAD and two trainers from the Strathmore Energy Research Centre.

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SOLARKIOSK Inaugurates 5 Solar Powered Mini-clinics at Rohingya Refugee Communities in Bangladesh

Solar Kiosk   |   September 20, 2018

SOLARKIOSK, along with 8minutenergy/Abundant Future Organization and HOPE Foundation, inaugurated five solar powered mini-clinics at the Rohingya refugee communities in Bangladesh.

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UN Flags Serious Impacts of Rohingya Crisis on Bangladesh Environment   |   September 18, 2018

The UN Development Programme has highlighted the serious toll that the Rohingya crisis has taken on the environment, as over 1.1 million Myanmar nationals have taken shelter in Cox’s Bazaar.

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A Mother's Impossible Choice: Risk Rape to Feed Your Family, or Starve

CNN   |   August 3, 2018   |   By: Denise Hruby

A powerful story on the risks women in Sudanese refugee camps face while collecting firewood to cook food for their families.

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Video: Kakuma Refugee Camp Benefits From Renewable Sources of Energy

KTN News Kenya   |   July 24, 2018

Energy poverty and access to renewable energy are persistent issues in humanitarian settings. In Kakuma refugee camp, many refugees have no source of lighting at night and are forced to rely on firewood. The Moving Energy Initiative seeks to alleviate the issue of energy poverty through private-sector engagement and market oriented activities. Through these efforts, they hope to improve the lives of refugees and host communities and reduce reliance on hand-outs.

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Tapping Sustainable Energy in Somalia

Sustainable Energy for All   |   May 18, 2018   |   By: Peyton Fleming

Providing sustainable energy for displaced populations and in humanitarian settings was another focus of the Sustainable Energy for All Forum in Lisbon. Among the countries that got major attention was Somalia, which has been ravaged by civil war for two decades. After the Forum ended, three-dozen government officials, NGOs and clean energy businesses met for a half-day in Lisbon to discuss how to make renewable energy a bigger reality in Somalia. “It may seem like a stretch, but it’s not,” said Michael Keating, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Somalia.

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Video: IKEA CEO Per Higgins Discusses Energy for Refugees at SEforAll Forum

Connect4Climate   |   May 2, 2018

On Day 1 of the 2018 Sustainable Energy for All Forum in Lisbon, Portugal, IKEA CEO Per Higgins discusses IKEA's partnership with UNHCR to bring renewable energy to refugee camps.

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EIC Horizon Prize on High Tech for Humanitarian Aid - Jordan

European Commission   |   April 18, 2018

DG RTD and DG ECHO organized a second roundtable on High Tech for Humanitarian Aid on 18 April 2018 in Amman, Jordan. This roundtable allowed Jordan stakeholders to learn more about the innovation Prize and identify local / regional humanitarian challenges that could be addressed through the frugal application of advanced technologies. The event permitted as well to enlarge the community building between humanitarian actors and technology developers in the context of the Prize.

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Energy for Displaced People - A Global Plan of Action

Energypedia   |   March 26, 2018

While achieving SDG 7 relies on countries’ policies, plans and programmes, and will be led by countries for their citizens, displaced people are not an explicit part of these plans and tend to be neglected. Often, they live in isolated areas or informal settlements along-side communities who are sometimes left-behind in development planning and less likely to be a priority. Therefore, the participants called on all stakeholders for collective efforts to support achieving SDG 7 for displaced people. The foundations of these efforts will be the Global Plan of Action for Sustainable Energy Solutions in Situations of Displacement (GPA), which will be launched during the High-Level Political Forum in July 2018 (HLPF).

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Does Uganda's Refugee Policy Enable Sustainable Energy Production and Consumption?

Moving Energy Initiative   |   March 19, 2018   |   By: James Haselip

Unlike most host countries, where refugees are placed in camps, Uganda gives refugees a high degree of freedom to move around and access primary education, healthcare and other basic social services. However, the rapid influx of refugees has had an inevitable impact on local economies, as well as the environment, including an increased demand for timber to construct houses and energy for cooking and heating. Since more than 90 per cent of refugees and local households in rural Uganda rely mostly on firewood for cooking and heating, there is concern over how this influx is having an impact on the local environment.

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Energy and Migration - Where Do We Go from Here?

SNV   |   February 23, 2018   |   By: Jan Söhlemann

Refugee camps have been established in many corners of the developing world and the term “Refugee Crisis” has buzzed across the media in recent years. However, refugees are not the crisis, they are a result of crisis situation. Also, the discussion misses one essential point: Globally, the largest portion of refugees are hosted and accommodated in developing countries, which themselves are structurally poor, struggling with resource scarcity and low incomes.

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Community Kitchen: A Place for Sharing for Rohingya Women

Dhaka Tribune   |   February 19, 2018   |   By: Tarek Mahmud

ix community kitchens were set up by Gana Unnayan Kendra (GUK) with the financial assistance of international NGO Christian Aid at the Jamtoli Rohingya refugee camp. The community kitchen, initiated on a pilot basis in Cox’s Bazar’s Ukhiya two months ago to keep the dense makeshift huts out of fire hazards, is becoming popular amongst Rohingya women as a common place for sharing with each other.

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Efforts Growing to Provide Displaced Populations with Renewable Energy

Sustainable Energy for All   |   February 15, 2018   |   By: Peyton Fleming

As the number of refugees and displaced people grows around the world, the lack of electricity and clean cooking fuels at refugee camps and displaced people’s ability to access the same is sparking increased concern among host countries, humanitarian agencies and development organizations.

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Moving Energy Initiative: Tackling Refugee Energy Poverty

The Nerve   |   February 13, 2018

Energy poverty is a persistent problem in the lives of refugees. Isolated from national grid and lacking reliable access to renewable power, the search for alternative energy is a struggle refugees often grapple with. But, Moving Energy Initiative (MEI)’s pioneering approach involving private sector players, and market-oriented activities seek to alleviate this challenge, while improving refugee lives and host communities.

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Energy Playing a Bridging Role in the Humanitarian-Development Divide

Nigerian Alliance for Clean Cookstoves   |   February 1, 2018

The Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) in collaboration with COOPI and SET4Food Initiative organized a full day seminar on the role energy can play in bridging the humanitarian-development divide. The seminar was held at the FAO Headquarters in Rome, Italy on January 18, 2018. The seminar highlighted the implications of ignoring energy in linkages between humanitarian and development support and how providing access to energy for displaced populations can bridge the humanitarian-development divide.

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[Kenya] Govt Roots for Ethanol Stove in Bid to Reduce Carbon Emissions

Daily Nation   |   January 31, 2018   |   By: Faith Nyamai

The Kenyan Ministry of Environment has pledged to support the use of ethanol stoves in both rural and urban areas in what is expected to play a major role in the reduction of carbon emissions in the country. The programme, which seeks to promote a safe environment, will see refugees benefit from a subsidy of 12,000 eco-friendly ethanol stoves that will be sold at the Kakuma refugee camp at Sh1,995 down from Sh4,000 per stove.

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Refugees Ready to Go Green and Become Innovation Hubs

Reuters   |   January 30, 2018   |   By: Zoe Tabary

Millions of refugees worldwide struggle to access energy for cooking, lighting and communication and often pay high costs for fuels like firewood, which are bad for their health. Yet two-thirds would consider paying for clean cookstoves and more than one-third for solar household products. Humanitarians should work with the private sector to provide more sustainable energy to displaced people.

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Refugee Settlements To Be Transformed Into Digital Communities For Long-Term Economic Growth

Mastercard   |   January 24, 2018

Mastercard and USAID announced the launch of a public-private coalition that will bring together technology, solutions, and experience from multiple sectors to transform refugee settlements into digitally-connected communities. This commitment delivers on a vision laid out in research conducted last year by Mastercard to better understand the critical needs of the over seven million refugees living in camps or settlements today.

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USAID Administrator Green Announces Launch of Smart Communities Coalition

USAID   |   January 24, 2018

USAID Administrator Mark Green and Mastercard Executive Vice President of Public-Private Partnerships Tara Nathan co-chaired the launch of the Smart Communities Coalition (SCC) today at the World Economic Forum in Davos. SCC will address technology challenges that refugees and host communities face, and increase their Internet connectivity, digital-payment capabilities, and energy access within refugee settlements. SCC will improve camp-management and service delivery, and help empower refugees to provide for themselves and their families.

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Sustainable Energy Can Improve the Lives of Some of the World’s Most Vulnerable Inhabitants

The National   |   January 18, 2018   |   By: Toby Harward

Global forced displacement is a critical challenge of our era. At a time when war, violence and persecution has compelled a record 65 million people to flee their homes, other emerging drivers of displacement, including environmental degradation, food insecurity and climate change threaten to overwhelm already stretched humanitarian response mechanisms. Sustainable energy can improve the lives of some of the world’s most vulnerable inhabitants. It can save billions of dollars in aid by efficiently delivering clean water, healthcare, education and basic living needs.

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Tapping Renewable Energy for Peace in Somalia

Sustainable Energy for All   |   January 10, 2018   |   By: Peyton Fleming

RENEWABLE ENERGY FOR PEACE IN SOMALIA Share Print The energy ecosystem in war-torn Somalia is in dire straits. Diesel generators are the country’s biggest power source. Electricity, which is largely non-existent, is prohibitively expensive. Nearly everyone cooks with firewood, charcoal and even animal dung, which cause harmful indoor air pollution. Charcoal is becoming scarcer: the dirty fuel is a prized export commodity that is helping to prop up the Islamist militant group, Al-Shabaab, in the country’s civil war.

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Palestinian Government Says Gaza Power Supply to be Restored

The Washington Post   |   January 3, 2018   |   By: Associated Press

The Palestinian government in the West Bank says it will restore the supply of electricity to the Gaza Strip after it asked Israel to cut it off last summer.

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From the Network - December 2017

Energy Access Practitioner Network   |   December 13, 2017   |   By: Jem Porcaro

As a growing number of people’s lives are disrupted by political and economic instability and natural disasters, there has been a surge of interest among practitioners in the challenges and opportunities around providing affordable energy services in humanitarian settings. This year’s SAFE workshop was evidence of this interest, attracting 140 participants from 20 countries – including many newcomers — representing humanitarian agencies, national governments, NGOs, academia, finance institutions, and the private sector. We were also fortunate to have four refugee representatives from the Dadaab camp in Kenya, who shared their views on how important energy access is in their lives.

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Energy Supporter Objects – The Variety of Energy Technologies and Uses in Refugee Settings

Practical Action   |   December 5, 2017   |   By: Sarah Rosenberg-Jansen and Anna Okello

For humanitarian decision-makers to be fully aware of how communities’ use and value energy, we argue that it is vital that the total energy life of refugees is taken into consideration. Energy supporter objects form a core part of the realities of refugee lives, and systems of support and humanitarian response need to consider these physical things as well as basic energy access technologies to effectively work with communities. For example, a bicycle may not be considered an energy technology, but many people are reliant on this form of transport to enable them to move batteries to be charged, to transport firewood, and to deliver diesel fuel.

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You Can’t Pour from an Empty Cup: Sustainable Energy for Community Buildings

Moving Energy Initiative   |   December 1, 2017   |   By: Jessica Obeid

With 60% of refugees intermingled with host communities, it can be difficult and even counter-productive to give humanitarian aid to one group and not their neighbour. Jessica Obeid discusses her experience bringing renewable energy to Lebanese communities with large numbers of Syrian refugees, noting that investment in renewable energy for public facilities (schools, community centres, health clinics) could help reduce community pressures, bring tremendous savings in operation costs, and benefits for local air quality.

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Recognizing Rights & Dignity: Green, Affordable Homes in Jordan

Moving Energy Initiative   |   December 1, 2017   |   By: Aya Rabab'ah

Pressures have grown in the last five years as hundreds of thousands of people fleeing war in Syria have taken refuge in Jordan. With support from the Moving Energy Initiative, the Jordan Green Building Council (Jordan GBC) and Habitat for Humanity Jordan have initiated initiate Green Affordable Homes - a project to create green and affordable housing in low-income areas in Jordan. The initiative raises environmental awareness and lowers building operating expenses through efficiency measures, convincing building owners to make the switch to greener properties and training local builders on the implementation of green building techniques and materials. Living in a home with healthy, comfortable, indoor environmental standards and that enables an affordable level of water and energy supplies is a human right for all regardless of income or social status.

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Commission Launches EIC Horizon Prize for Affordable High-Tech for Humanitarian Aid

European Commission   |   November 30, 2017

The European Commission has launched the first of six European Innovation Council (EIC) Horizon Prizes, on Affordable High-Tech for Humanitarian Aid. EIC Horizon Prizes are part of the European Innovation Council pilot run under Horizon 2020, the EU's Research and Innovation Framework Programme. The Prize on Affordable High-Tech for Humanitarian Aid will reward the best, proven, cost-effective, tech-based solutions for Humanitarian Aid. The prize amount of €5 million will be divided equally into five categories: shelter and related assistance; water, hygiene and sanitation; energy; health and medical care; and an "open" category. Technologies include – but are not limited to - nanotechnologies, advanced materials or 3D printing.

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Rohingyas in Fuel Crisis

New Age Bangladesh   |   November 2, 2017   |   By: Mohiuddin Alamgir, Mohammad Nurul Islam

Rohingyas entering Bangladesh to flee ethnic cleansing in their homeland Rakhine State of Myanamr are facing acute shortage of cooking fuel as assistance from aid providers is not near the need which is forcing them to fell trees. Rohingyas and local people said that the international and local aid providers were providing these hapless ethnic minority people from Myanmar with assistances like shelter, food, medication but hardly any cooking fuel.

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Rohingya Camps: Deforestation Takes Back Seat to Humanitarian Concerns

Dhaka Tribune   |   October 29, 2017

The Rohingya are cutting roots of trees, almost burning 50,000kg of firewood for cooking every day. Burning firewood desperately by the Rohingya people of Ukhiya, Teknaf and Naikhangchhari will destroy the ecosystem of the Cox’s Bazar deeply.

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Refugees – and forests – benefit as Kenya's herders torch an invader   |   October 10, 2017   |   By: Anthony Langat

A clever plot is now underway in Turkana County, Kenya, to clear the invading prosopis juliflora plant by turning it into charcoal for an energy-starved refugee camp nearby, while providing jobs for local people.

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LISCOA donates stoves to IDPs

Nigerian Alliance for Clean Cookstoves   |   August 31, 2017

The Ladies International Social Club of Abuja (LISCOA) (formerly known as Abuja International Women’s Club – AIWC) donated energy efficient wood stoves to help reduce various respiratory diseases to women. This intervention will go a long way in protecting the female IDPs from sexual molestation and smoke inhalation.

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Solar Cooking Festival in Kakuma Refugee Camp, Kenya Teaches 500 Children To Solar Cook

Solar Household Energy   |   July 19, 2017

A Solar Cooker Festival for 500 school children was held at Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya, where children learned to assemble solar cooker and to cook successfully with it. The festival showed the beginning of a sustainable solar cooker social enterprise to meet the high demand for solar cookers in Kakuma camp. According to a 2016 study by World Food Program, solar cooking is the second-most preferred method of cooking in Kakuma.

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One Electrician's Work Makes a Big Difference at a Hospital for Refugees

National Geographic   |   July 14, 2017   |   By: Christina Nunez

The world faces a record number of displaced people without access to their needs. Cleaner and more efficient energy sources could possibly provide the solution to the problem. Bryan Garcia, an electrician and member of Doctors Without Borders, helps a surgical hospital in Amman for refugees by upgrading the hospital’s cooling and ventilation systems, applying window films, and installing LEDs. The patients recovering from war injuries can now recuperate in a more comfortable setting with enhanced light and room temperature.

Read Full Article Reaches $1 Billion Milestone in Crowd-Funding Loans Disbursed Globally

Business Wire   |   June 26, 2017   |   By: Sunshine Sachs is the world’s first and largest crowdfunding platform for social good. Kiva provides financial support to low-income borrowers and addresses critical social issues, particularly the refugee crisis, climate change, and gender inequality. Kiva has disbursed loans to 19,082 borrowers in green and clean energy spaces and to 4,544 refugee borrowers.

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Solar energy powers clean water, business opportunities for refugees

Thomas Reuters Foundation   |   June 23, 2017   |   By: Kizito Makoye

With rising use of renewable energy, refugee communities in Africa and the Middle East are increasingly embracing solar power to help build their economic resilience, reduce deforestation and prevent violence against women and girls. From Dadaab in Kenya, to Darfur in western Sudan and Azraq in Jordan, solar power is being deployed to provide affordable and sustainable energy solutions for tens of thousands of displaced people.

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Smart solar solutions: improving energy access and empowering refugee communities in Kenya

Medium   |   June 20, 2017   |   By: Kate Hargreaves

This #WorldRefugeeDay, we reflect on the potential of solar power to transform opportunity for displaced communities in Kakuma refugee camp, Kenya

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Does providing energy access improve the lives of women and girls? Sort of.

Oxfam   |   June 6, 2017   |   By: Rebecca Rewald

Women are recognized to be more prone to the burdens of energy poverty because they are responsible for tasks such as cooking, small-scale agriculture, and income-generating activities. Lessening the burdens of women and girls in energy poor communities takes much more than simply giving them access to improved energy sources. The design of energy access projects should consider cultural and gender barriers that prohibit women full relief from energy poverty.

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Jordan’s Azraq Refugee Camp Becomes First to Run Entirely on Solar Energy

Independant   |   May 18, 2017   |   By: Chloe Farand

About 20,000 Syrian refugees living in the desert camp of Azraq will be able to use electricity generated by a solar plant. The new $9.6m (£7.49m) two-megawatt solar plant was built by the Ikea Foundation’s Brighter Lives for Refugees campaign and is expected to save $1.5m (£1.15m) a year, which the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees will be able to use to improve sanitation, shelters and organise activities around the camp.

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This Refugee Camp Is The First In The World To Be Powered Entirely By Solar Energy

Huffington Post   |   May 17, 2017   |   By: Willa Frej

A group of about 20,000 Syrian refugees living outdoors have access to electricity as of Wednesday thanks to a newly constructed solar plant in the Azraq refugee camp in Jordan. It’s the first and only fully solar-powered refugee camp in the world.

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Exploring private sector engagement in meeting refugees’ energy needs

The Standard Reporter   |   May 5, 2017

Engagement of the private sector has been highlighted as one of the key strategies in promoting renewable energy access among displaced populations. The recommendation was made during an expert workshop organised by the Moving Energy Initiative on 27 April in Nairobi.

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A Bright Idea - WaSH, Lighting, & GBV

Humanitarian Innovation Fund   |   April 28, 2017   |   By: Kerry Ann Akers, Oxfam

Oxfam and partners WEDC at Loughborough University are undertaking research on GBV and lighting around WASH facilities in camps. The research aims to establish how best to decrease the perceived risk of GBV around WASH facilities through the introduction of lighting.

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National Geographic Highlights Cooking in a Displaced Camp in CAR

Instagram   |   April 19, 2017

A video from National Geographic shows what breakfast looks like in a displaced camp in Central African Republic, complete with three stone fires and smoke. By late 2015 there were 430,000 internally displaced and about 480,000 refugees outside the country.

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Tech Is Dominating Efforts To Educate Syrian Refugees

NPR   |   April 18, 2017   |   By: Anya Kamanetz

Historically, in conflict zones, education has taken a backseat to immediate needs like food, shelter and medical care. But more recently, there has been a movement in the international aid community to provide better "education in emergencies." Many private companies and nonprofits are stepping up to do just this, but their efforts are not always well-balanced or well-coordinated, a new report claims. In many settings with Syrian refugee children, there is electricity one hour a day at best, so keeping devices charged can be a problem.

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A $4 meal for a taste of home

World Vision   |   April 4, 2017

For Mayssa, a Syrian mother displaced by conflict, the $4 dollars she rations for each meal is enough to give her three children a little taste of home.

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Rural Patients Reaping Health Benefits of Clean Energy in Afghanistan

Thomas Reuters Foundation   |   April 3, 2017   |   By: Peter Stevenson, Joe Rafalowicz

In early 2015, Bost University, a privately-run training facility for medical staff in Helmand, Afghanistan, tried a new approach to electricity: rooftop solar panels. Bost partnered with Mercy Corps, an international NGO with funding from Britain’s Department for International Development (DFID), to trial a new business model for energy in Afghanistan: a lease-to-buy arrangement for 240 solar panels with a battery pack and a diesel generator for back-up.

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Private Sector Power for Refugee Camps Could Light Up Rural Communities

Reuters Africa   |   March 14, 2017   |   By: Kieran Guilbert

Attracting private sector investment to provide clean energy in refugee camps would not only end their reliance on dangerous fuels and create job opportunities, but could also help local communities get on the grid, energy experts said on Tuesday.

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'Switched on' Uganda Welcomes Refugees – but at an Environmental Cost

The Gaurdian   |   March 2, 2017   |   By: Cathy Watson

Uganda is a showcase for refugee policy. The country has a no camp policy and has settlements instead – swathes of land availed to refugees. Refugees can move freely, work and own a business. However, There is also a clear and present danger of profound environmental damage to a district already poor, losing soil, entirely dependent on wood to cook and build, and reliant on economic activities that degrade natural resources.

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How to Evaluate Solar-Powered Humanitarian Supplies

The Level Market   |   February 28, 2017

During a disaster, and in rural parts of the world where a crisis is ongoing, energy isn’t something that’s a guarantee. And that’s exactly why solar power is such an essential part of humanitarian aid.

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GSMA Launches First Annual Report on Humanitarian Connectivity

Mobile World Live   |   February 28, 2017

The GSMA unveiled its first Humanitarian Connectivity Charter report, which highlights efforts made by mobile network operator (MNO) signatories to support disaster preparedness and response activities around the world during 2016. "Mobile has played an important role in how the global community responds to crises, facilitating advancements in early warning systems, reuniting loved ones, and connecting affected populations to information and assistance,” said Mats Granryd, Director General, GSMA.

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SEFA Commits Close to US $1 million to Energy Access in The Gambia

African Development Bank News   |   February 27, 2017

The African Development Bank (AfDB)-managed Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa (SEFA) approved a US $995,000-grant to the Republic of The Gambia to implement a programme to facilitate private investments in Green Mini-Grids (GMG) through the creation of an enabling policy, institutional and regulatory framework, as well as direct support to project development and financing. The Gambia appears on the World Bank's 2017 index of Fragile Situations.

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A Guide to Choosing the Right Cookstove for Your Humanitarian Project

The Level Market   |   February 20, 2017

Selecting the right cookstove for your humanitarian project or disaster relief is never easy. There’s a fine line between choosing the right equipment for the environment (and all the challenges it provides) while also delivering a product that the recipients will actually use. When evaluating cookstoves, pay attention to these seven core differentiators: durability, safety and smoke exposure, portability and design, fuel type and efficiency, production quality, repair and maintenance, and training and support.

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Phones Are Now Indispensable for Refugees

The Economist   |   February 11, 2017

Technology has made migrating to Europe easier. Over time, it will also make migration easier to manage

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IKEA Foundation and UNHCR Put Better Shelters to the Test in the Diffa region

UNHCR Niger   |   February 9, 2017

In the region of Diffa, UNHCR have been providing emergency shelter assistance to vulnerable refugees and displaced persons since the first refugees crossed the border fleeing Boko Haram violence in Northern Nigeria in 2013. In 2016 alone, over 65,000 people in the Diffa region benefitted from UNHCR emergency shelters. A solar panel on the roof provides four hours of light, and allows mobile phone charging via a USB port. In remote areas like Diffa, access to electricity is a radical change.

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Du soleil pour de l’eau dans la ZAR d’Intikane (Sun for water in the Intikane ZAR)

UNHCR Niger   |   January 4, 2017

Grâce à l’appui du Bureau de la coopération Suisse au Niger, l’UNHCR, l’ONG allemande ASB, le bureau d’étude nigérien Consultations Plus et la DRHA de Tahoua ont tenté ensemble le pari : celui d’installer le système de pompage d’eau hybride le plus important du Niger. (Thanks to the support of the Swiss Cooperation Office in Niger, the UNHCR, the German NGO ASB, the Nigerian consultancy Consultations Plus and the DRHA de Tahoua have jointly tried to install the Pumping of the most important hybrid water in Niger.)

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USAID Announces $4 Million for African Off-Grid Energy

Sustainable City Network   |   December 6, 2016

At the 22nd session of the UN Climate conference, Power Africa Coordinator Andrew M. Herscowitz announced $4 million in new investments to eight companies that are revolutionizing household solar power across Africa through the Scaling Off-Grid Energy: Grand Challenge for Development. The Enterprise Awards are expected to create up to 120,000 additional connections in off-grid communities.

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Uganda: Government Asks Firms to Invest in Areas With Refugees

AllAfrica   |   November 30, 2016   |   By: Martin Luther Oketch

Private companies involved in production and distribution of energy appliances have been asked to start opening up factories/outlets in refugee settlements in Uganda, to supply the increasing energy needs which have led to the problem of deforestation in these areas.

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Winter Is Coming for Tens of Thousands of Refugees in Greece

Time   |   November 14, 2016   |   By: Aryn Baker / Thessaloniki

Greece is struggling to cope with the more than 50,000 migrants who, after fleeing the Middle East, are now awaiting relocation elsewhere on the continent. These problems have been exacerbated by a recent cold snap, which brought temperatures across Greece to near freezing. Whilst around 15,000 of the most vulnerable refugees have been moved to heated pre-fab housing containers, hotels and apartments, 38,000 are still living in camps that are poorly prepared for the cold and snow of the coming winter

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Photos: Kitchens Around the World

Mercy Corps   |   November 9, 2016   |   By: Alyssa Cogen

This photo essay by SAFE member organization Mercy Corps illustrates the enduring importance of food, and what it’s like to cook and eat in different parts of the world. The article includes some crisis-scenarios such as post-earthquake Nepal, and helps to demonstrate the importance of cooking stoves and fuel.

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EIB Launches €15 Billion Refugee Investment Initiative and Approves €6.6bn New Lending

EU Reporter   |   October 13, 2016

In direct response to a request from European leaders for the EIB to increase engagement in support of private sector development and investment to improve social and economic infrastructure in regions most impacted by the refugee crisis, the European Investment Bank (EIB) backed the immediate start of a new initiative intended to support €15 billion of new investment in the Western Balkans and southern Mediterranean. This includes his includes support for small scale renewable energy projects.

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From Fear To Opportunity: Changing The Narrative Of The Global Refugee Crisis Through Sustainable Business

Huffington Post   |   October 13, 2016   |   By: Alejandro Litovsky

Energy is just one area where financing from governments can enable and support private investments into sustainable sectors. We must fast track the collaboration of governments and businesses to turn the pressures of forced displacement into opportunities for sustainable development. Only then we can crucially move the refugee discourse from one of negativity and fear, to one of hope and opportunity.

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Girls spend 40% more time on chores than boys, UN report finds

BBC News   |   October 7, 2016

Girls spend 40% more time performing unpaid household chores than boys, according to a new report from the UN children's agency. Tasks such as gathering water or firewood can also put young girls at increased risk of sexual violence, the report says.

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Mini-grids in Nepal: Designing Smart and Durable Solar-Powered Systems for Communities.

UNHCR Innovation   |   August 23, 2016

Through a constant dialogue between UNHCR, EWB USA and refugee and host community groups, UNHCR's Innovation unit designed a pilot for a mini-grid solar system to power street lights in Nepal. Contrary to other grid-based systems, the mini-grid would keep on working even if some of the streetlights went down. Eventually, the surplus electricity generated could be sold to nearby households who would wish to be connected to the grid.

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Briquette-Making Project: Addressing Sexual and Gender-based Violence by Developing a Community-based Approach to Clean Energy.

UNHCR Innovation   |   August 22, 2016

In 2014, UNHCR’s Protection Unit, the Energy and Environment Unit and UNHCR Innovation launched a crowd-sourcing project around SGBV. Through the collaborative online platform UNHCR Ideas, they asked UNHCR staff and partner organizations to submit innovative ideas to empower and protect women and girls using clean energy or livelihoods programming. The winning idea would be implemented as part of Safe from the Start, a U.S.-sponsored initiative funding UNHCR programs addressing SGBV.

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14,000 Energy Saving Stoves for Refugees

allAfrica   |   August 22, 2016   |   By: Emmanuel Ntirenganya

A total of 14,000 energy efficient cooking stoves, able to save 80 per cent of firewood, will be distributed to refugee camps in Rwanda. The project is funded by Rwanda Environment and Climate Change Fund (FONERWA).

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Liter of Light: Harnessing the Skills of Refugees to Meet Their Energy Needs

UNHCR Innovation   |   August 15, 2016

UNHCR’s Energy Lab set out to look for alternative lighting solutions for refugees in Dollo Ado, Ethiopia. Commercially available lighting solutions are often too expensive to be installed throughout a refugee camp, and the solar lanterns already distributed to households could not be repaired inside Dollo Ado. By producing the lights inside the camp, large numbers of them could be made for a fraction of the cost while also providing a livelihood option for refugees.

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Syria Conflict: UN Says Water and Power Cuts Threaten Two Million

BBC   |   August 9, 2016

Children in the Syrian city of Aleppo are at "grave risk" of disease unless water supplies are immediately repaired, the UN children's agency says. The United Nations says an immediate pause in fighting is needed to allow the water and electricity networks to be fixed.

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IDPs Providing Solutions to Climate Change in Adamawa

Nigerian Alliance for Clean Cookstoves   |   August 1, 2016

The Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Malkohi Camp Adamawa are providing a sustainable solution to combat climate change in the State. Rather than staying redundant and waiting for handouts from the Government and other humanitarian societies, these IDPs are putting their pottery skills to use. The project, co-sponsored by the Australian Aid and the International Centre for Energy, Environment and Development(ICEED), helps these potters produce and sell stoves to their host communities and also use in the camp. This provides a source of income for themselves, benefits their community by reducing the rate at which trees are cut down for firewood and helps combat climate change.

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People Should Not Be Dying for Energy Access

Oxfam America   |   July 27, 2016   |   By: Sasanka Thilakasiri

The links between energy access and peace and security are well documented. Energy access, with its critical links to development, is essential for stability and prosperity. The volatility of some energy sources, especially fossil fuels, and its resulting scarcity has even been the cause for war. Now add to that, how most fragile states have extremely low energy access levels (Afghanistan’s for example at around 40 percent), and this problem will only get worse.

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New Tool for Managing Fuel Needs

Morning AgClips   |   July 26, 2016   |   By: FAO

A FAO-UNHCR handbook offers a new tool for helping displaced people access fuel for cooking food while reducing environmental damage and conflicts with local communities. The new technical handbook, “Assessing woodfuel supply and demand in displacement settings” contains a methodology that humanitarian workers and camp managers can use when tackling such issues.

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Africa: Environmentalists Deeply Concerned With Firewood Consumption in Refugee Camps

All Africa   |   July 3, 2016   |   By: Emmanuel Ntirenganya

Environmental activists have expressed concern over reliance on firewood for cooking or heating in refugee camps. The issue, they contended, poses risk to both the environment and people's health.

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Syrian Refugees in Greece 'Put Their Tent on Airbnb', Promising Scorpions, Dehydration and 'Broken Promises'

The Telegraph   |   June 23, 2016   |   By: Nick Squires

A group of Syrians has advertised the tent they are living in on Airbnb, in an ironic dig against the miserable conditions they are experiencing in a camp in Greece. The article describes the posting with references to the terrible conditions that Syrian refugees experience in Greece, including wood-fire cooking.

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The Level Market: World's First 'Amazon for Aid' Opens for Business

PR Newswire   |   June 20, 2016

With lives at stake following disasters and crisis situations, the critical process of aid purchasing receives a boost with the opening of the first online marketplace for humanitarian products. The once difficult nature of finding, pricing, locating and purchasing life-saving products such as tents, solar lights and chargers, food, water filters and more, is now made easy on The Level Market (TLM), an e-commerce platform for the aid universe.

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The Moving Energy Initiative Enters Second Phase

GVEP International   |   June 20, 2016

Phase 2 of the Moving Energy Initiative (MEI), an international partnership working to change the way energy is delivered for refugees, will see the design and implementation of a series of new approaches to providing energy access – with innovations relating to technologies, institutional arrangements and modes of private sector engagement.

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Solar Phone Charging Stations Help Refugees Stay In Touch With Family

Huffington Post   |   June 15, 2016   |   By: Karolina Tagaris

For refugees and migrants stuck in Greece, a smartphone is a lifeline — as long as its battery lasts. But access to electricity can be hard to find in overcrowded camps, nor is it always free in cafes where young and old crowd together over a socket, waiting anxiously to phone home.

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Good and Not So Good News from the World Humanitarian Summit

Practical Action   |   June 13, 2016   |   By: Sarah Lester

Sarah Lester from Practical Action describes the positive and less positive outcomes from the World Humanitarian Summit in May. On the positive side, she cites the side event by the Alliance and the Moving Energy Initiative as a success.

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Trials and Triumphs of the Nigerian Insurgency: Youth for Safe Energy Initiative

India Youth Fund   |   June 9, 2016   |   By: Happy Amos

The Nigerian Government is making arrangements and encouraging a little over 3 million internally displaced people to return home. However, there is practically no home to go to since most of the communities have been destroyed. The IDPs are faced with many problems, such as overcrowding in the camps with incidents of poor hygiene and health issues. Most of the camps are poorly lit, and IDPs lack employment and access to energy and fuel.

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Women in Displacement Sites in Nigeria’s Borno State Face High Risk of Abuse

UN News Centre   |   June 9, 2016

New assessments of the protection risks faced by the affected people living in Nigeria’s restive north-eastern Borno state have concluded that women face a high risk of abuse in displacement sites. OCHA also said that reports of women being attacked and raped while collecting firewood are increasing, and in the newly accessible areas where Boko Haram still have a marked presence, there have been reports of women being killed and/or abducted.

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Uganda Green Energy Program Also Keeps Refugee Women Safe from Assault

The Seattle Globalist   |   June 2, 2016   |   By: Global Press News Service

Small, low–cost houses roofed with iron sheets dot a vast stretch of low-lying land in western Uganda. This is Kyaka II refugee settlement, home to tens of thousands of people from Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan, Rwanda, Burundi and other countries. Life is difficult here, especially for women and girls who face consistent threat of sexual assault. And the lack of a basic necessity — cooking fuel — is at the root of that threat. But a new green energy program could keep girls and women safe and improve overall quality of life.

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#EnergyMatters: Women At Risk

African Clean Energy   |   May 27, 2016   |   By: Christina Van Norden

At the end of 2014, UNHCR stated that there were 59.5 million forcibly displaced people due to war, conflict and disaster.1 One of the key issues many of the people are facing on a daily basis is access to energy resources and proper cooking products. Throughout many refugee camps, the task of collecting firewood and cooking falls on women. Having little access to clean and sustainable solutions, they spend as much as 5 hours each day gathering firewood for cooking. Women are by far the most affected by the negative consequences from firewood collection and health hazards of open fire cooking.

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How Can We Afford Not to Provide Power When Countries are Fragile?

World Bank   |   May 27, 2016   |   By: Charles Feinstein

Modern energy is a cornerstone of sustaining and empowering people, as much as it is for economic growth. World Bank Director for Energy & Extractives Charles Feinstein emphasizes that children in any country have the right to learn to read and write without being put in danger through kerosene lighting at night. It is precisely this new generation in fragile states, he says, that we cannot afford to lose if we do not want countries to become failed states.

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#EnergyMatters: Why Refugees Deserve Better

African Clean Energy   |   May 23, 2016   |   By: Christina Van Norden

At the end of 2014, the number of displaced people reached an unprecedented 59.5 million, a near 40 million increase in the span of one decade, primarily due to conflict and war. As the number of displaced individuals steadily increases, there is a decline of provisions for basic human needs. Many of these provisions are being met inadequately and inefficiently through ad hoc alternative resources which are usually unreliable and have high potential for causing damage to health and the environment. Energy access is one crucial provision which demonstrates this issue. Access to clean cooking, lighting, heating, and clean water is essential and one that has huge potential.

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Syrian Woman Explains Why Refugees Need Smartphones

Independant   |   May 12, 2016   |   By: Will Worley

For many refugees, the smartphone is the most precious possession they own. It can provide a link to an old life or help make sense of a new one. But some have criticised the widespread use of smartphones among refugees, ignoring the very practical uses the devices have.

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World Humanitarian Summit without SAFE agenda

Punch   |   May 12, 2016   |   By: Greg Odogwu

Author Greg Odogwu states that UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has missed a vital point in his humanitarian crusade by not including the Safe Access to Fuel and Energy question in the upcoming World Humanitarian Summit agenda.

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Join the #EnergyMatters Campaign

Clean Energy Solutions Center   |   May 3, 2016

The Safe Access to Fuel and Energy (SAFE) Humanitarian Working Group aims to raise awareness about energy access before and during the World Humanitarian Summit through several channels, and encourages you to add your voice to the thousands of others advocating for important issues in humanitarian response. Help spread the word that Energy Matters for the nearly 60 million displaced women, men, boys and girls living in humanitarian settings around the world.

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Architects for Society designs Low-cost Hexagonal Shelters for Refugees

Dezeen   |   April 14, 2016

Architects for Society has developed a prototype for a rapidly deployable dwelling that could house victims of catastrophic events. The plans include rainwater harvesting systems, underground water storage tanks and rooftop solar panels that can power lighting and small electronics. The proposal stems from the organisation's recent work with Chalmers University in Gutenberg, Sweden, for which it helped develop a rapidly deployable shelter prototype for Syrian refugees living in Jordan's Zaatari camp.

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$5.5mn QRCS Relief Projects Bring Succour to Iraqi, Syrian refugees

Gulf Times   |   April 14, 2016

Qatar Red Crescent Society (QRCS) and Unicef have worked together to provide drinking water, toilets and hygiene campaigns both within and outside camps in Erbil and Sulaymaniyah in order to cover the families settled at schools, mosques and public parks. QRCS had linked an agreement with Unicef to buy and install 500 solar water heaters to serve the 10,000-odd population of the Dar Shukran refugee camp, as well as covering the camp’s school, clinic and administrative units.

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Energy Firm Banking on Innovative System to Provide Power

BDlive   |   April 1, 2016   |   By: Bekezela Phakathi

A Cape Town-based alternative energy firm, Build Africa, is banking on its innovative power supply system to provide uninterrupted power supply to residential homes, small businesses and refugee camps. Build Africa recently supplied the system to a Syrian refugee camp in Greece in partnership with Movement on the Ground, an NGO. Mr Oates, who recently returned from Greece, said through the system the firm hopes to assist the Greek government to reduce the approximately €2m a year they spend on servicing the refugee camps.

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New Emergency Kits for Quicker Relief Organisation Response

Medical Xpress   |   March 30, 2016

Developed through the EU-funded SPEEDKITS project, these cost-effective, modular and easy-to-use kits will enable humanitarian workers to provide swift and effective aid. Larger kits for immediate use beyond critical first aid, such as sustainable energy generation and mobile recycling units for debris, have also been developed. Successful examples include lightweight but durable and thermally insulated tent materials, novel concepts for energy supply (biogas from sanitation), textiles to line pit latrines and smarter packaging.

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Possible Second Life For Electric Cars' Batteries in Refugee Camps

Recycling Portal   |   March 28, 2016

In refugee camps and at military camps, the power supply is often a huge cost item. Diesel generators consume large volumes of fuel and are environmentally unfriendly. Three students from the University of Applied Sciences in Amsterdam (HvA) have been looking into a potential solution: the use of end-of-life batteries from electric cars as a source of renewable energy.

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EBRD Funds Jordan Trash-to-Power Project that May Help Refugees

Gulf News   |   March 11, 2016

Jordan will get aid to build a waste-to-energy power plant that will help municipal authorities in the capital city of Amman cope with rising volumes of trash and employ some of the 1.4 million Syrians who’ve sought refuge in the country.

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Measures to Stimulate the Micro-grid Market

Renewable Energy Focus   |   March 10, 2016   |   By: Dr. Thomas Hillig

To overcome commercial problems, solar and wind solutions have been semi-mobilized so that they can be dismantled and rebuilt somewhere else, which opens business opportunities for applications that require electricity during shorter periods such as in construction, for refugee camps, in military applications or in mineral exploration, an early stage in the mining process.

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U.N. Looks to Business to Cut Aid Bill for Refugees in East Africa

Daily Mail   |   March 6, 2016   |   By: Reuters

The United Nations is piloting the new model for private sector-refugee cooperation in Kalobeyei, a 15 square kilometre (5.8 square mile) extension planned for Kakuma, which has become congested since civil war broke out in South Sudan in 2013. "There's an opportunity to really create a sustainable market for renewable energy in these places," said Kate Montgomery, director of global partnerships at solar lighting company D.light, adding that $2.1 billion a year is spent on fuel for displaced people around the world. Companies like Unilever and Safaricom, Kenya's leading mobile phone service provider, are already making a good profit in Kenya's camps.

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The Innovators: Portable Solar Panels that Can Be Unrolled Like A Carpet

The Guardian   |   March 6, 2016   |   By: Shane Hickey

The company Renovagen has developed a portable carpet-like solar system, which stores generated energy in batteries in the steel housing, and is expected to be used for disaster relief where power systems have been knocked out, by armies on the move, and in mining stations located in areas without any power. “The market for off grid energy is huge and growing - 24% of the world is off grid but everyone needs energy these days,” said John Hingley, founder of Renovagen.

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Big Data Improves Response to Humanitarian Crises

Aid & International Development Forum   |   March 3, 2016   |   By: Developing Telecoms

Aid today is not limited to safety, warmth and shelter, food and water. As anyone who works in a refugee camp will know, after these the next most important thing in people's lives is the ability to communicate - which in reality means their mobile phone. Among the very first questions that refugees today ask in any humanitarian crisis, conflict or natural disaster, is where one can charge the phone, what network can to connect to, and what's the wifi password.

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A Joule in the Life of A Refugee   |   February 26, 2016   |   By: Columbia University, Global Collaboratory

Help a group of graduate students from Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) secure the funds they need to conduct field research in three refugee camps in Lebanon, including energy assessments and in-person interviews. The team aims to fill a research gap, and build evidence on the energy needs of Syrian refugees and their host communities in Lebanon. Donations will be accepted until 26 May 2016.

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Women IDPs Become Agents of Their Own Change

Nigeria Cleancooking   |   February 25, 2016

With Support from Australian High Commission’s direct aid program, ICEED is implementing a pilot project among IDPs settled in Malkohi on the outskirts of Yola town in Adamawa State. Recognizing the fact that skills training and entrepreneurship are pathways to empowerment and self-reliance, ICEED intends to train at least 100 women and youth IDPs in the production, distribution of clean cookstoves with at least 1,000 clean cookstoves distributed to households.

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MWC 2016: Mobile Industry Helps Developing World And Refugees With Tech

TechWeek Europe   |   February 24, 2016   |   By: Steve McCaskill

The British government, mobile industry body the GSMA and Vodafone have used Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona to detail charitable initiatives that use mobile technology to improve the lives of people in the developing world and in refugee camps.

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Refugee Influx Pushes Government of Jordan to Invest in Solar

Bloomberg Business   |   February 18, 2016   |   By: Anna Hirtenstein

Jordan plans to build renewable energy to help deal with the 1.4 million people that have spilled over its border from Syria as the war next door shows little sign of abating.

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Turkey Builds ‘First Two-Story Container Refugee Camp’

Hurriyet Daily News   |   February 18, 2016

Turkey has prepared two-story container homes for refugees at a camp in southeastern province of Kilis in anticipation of a fresh influx of people fleeing from a nearby Syrian town, a provincial deputy governor has said. “The new accommodations have been developed using a sustainable and low-cost gravity-fed solar receiver and storage system. Electricity for the new part of the camp will be generated by solar energy,” he added.

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Energy Access in Humanitarian Settings: Critical for Improving the Health, Livelihoods, Safety, and Environment of Crisis-Affected Populations

Environmental Emergencies Centre   |   February 17, 2016

The Joint UNEP/OCHA Environment Unit attended a briefing on “Energy Access in Humanitarian Settings” organized by the IASC Secretariat on 16 February 2016. It was stressed that especially in refugee and IDP camps safe and continuous access to clean energy is of utmost importance providing electricity for livelihoods as well as for lighting and cooking.

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Syrian Families in Lebanon Burning Rubbish for Fuel after Five Years Living as Refugees

International Business Times   |   February 16, 2016   |   By: Callum Paton

When Mouamar, her husband, and their four children left their middle class home in Homs in 2012 for the Lebanese border they imagined they would return home in a few short months. Four years later, and with her husband missing in Syria, Mouamar and her family are burning rubbish in a single heater to warm their dilapidated tent.

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KYOCERA Donates Solar Power Generating Systems to Nepal to Support Earthquake Reconstruction

Business Wire   |   February 15, 2016

Kyocera Corporation of Japan announced that it has donated five portable solar power generating systems through UNDP to support reconstruction efforts in regions of Nepal devastated by the earthquake in April 2015. Kyocera delivered three systems to Gorkha District and two systems to Sindhupalchowk District last week, areas which were severely affected by the earthquake and aftershocks.

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On Lesbos, Much-Needed Reception Center Provides Crucial Services to Refugees

International Rescue Committee   |   January 18, 2016   |   By: Lucy Carrigan

IRC incorporates Waka Waka solar lamps, phone chargers, and heaters into the assistance it gives to refugees arriving at Apanemo transit site on Lesbos, Greece.

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Fire and Oil: The Collateral Environmental Damage of Airstrikes on ISIS Oil Facilities

NewSecurityBeat   |   January 13, 2016   |   By: Wim Zwijnenburg & Annica Waleij

As the United States, Russia, and others step up attacks on the self-proclaimed Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), there is concern over their direct and long-term environmental and public health impacts.

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Why Kenya Can't Ignore Energy Crisis in Refugee Camps

Business Daily   |   January 12, 2016   |   By: Sarah Ooko

The world’s 8.7 million refugees are struggling to find reliable and sustainable energy sources. The burden of the energy challenges is manifest in refugee camps such as Dadaab and Kakuma in northern Kenya that shelter millions of displaced people from Somalia and South Sudan.

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Gender Lenses and Refugee Assistance   |   January 11, 2016   |   By: Valerie Hudson

Gender matters greatly in any form of third party assistance. Refugee camps are not sanctuaries from violence if they are not safe for women and girls. In a focus group designed by the CDC, “women identified the latrines and the paths leading to the latrines as areas where they felt the least safe. Women and girls spoke about men hanging around the latrines and nearby paths. They described lack of proper lighting in the area"

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Watching the World Burn: Islamic State Attacks Against Libya’s Oil Industry

Bell¿ngcat   |   January 8, 2016   |   By: Wim Zwijnenburg

Damage to oil facilities can have severe negative consequences for the environment and public health.

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As Winter Settles in, Refugees from Syria Face Increasing Hardship

Oxfam   |   January 7, 2016

Hundreds of thousands of refugees from Syria have seen another winter descend on the Middle East. Oxfam is providing assistance to help them survive the cold, including cash transfers for heating fuel and stoves, and relief items such as heaters, gas cylinders, warm blankets, and cash to pay for gas refills.

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Influx of Refugees and Limited Firewood Leads to Spike in Gender-based Violence

Women's Refugee Commission   |   January 6, 2016   |   By: Megan Gerrard

Violence against women and girls collecting firewood is spiking in and around the refugee camp in Tanzania where more than 100,000 Burundian refugees have sought safety in recent months.

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Social Enterprise Flat Packs Revolutionise Refugee Camp Shelter

Pioneer's Post Quarterly   |   January 4, 2016   |   By: Max Girardeau

Better Shelter, inspired by the furniture giant IKEA’s flat pack designs, have invented an alternative that’s revolutionising the lives of refugees worldwide. These temporary houses have an expected lifespan six times that of standard tents and at 17.5 square meters are much more spacious. They come flat packed in two cardboard boxes, can be built in a matter of hours by a team of four and are fitted with solar panels, lights, a USB charger, mosquito nets, ventilation, windows, and a door that can be locked from the inside.

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Designed to Save Energy for Jamaican Fishermen, a Lamp Saves the Day in Dominica   |   December 21, 2015

A solar-powered lamp and charging device developed for a remote Jamaican fishing community lights the way for disaster relief in Dominica.

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Fuel and energy: Building resilience in protracted crises

Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO)   |   December 9, 2015   |   By: Patrick Jacqueson, Andreas Thulstrup, and Indira Joshi

There is urgent need to continue to address the energy and fuel issues in a holistic and comprehensive manner, drawing upon the concerted efforts of FAO together with key UN agencies and other partners and stakeholders.

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How mobile tech is improving global disaster relief

BBC News   |   December 8, 2015   |   By: Matthew Wall & Gabriella Mulligan

Administering food, shelter and medical aid is made harder for aid agencies and NGOs without proper communications. Some technology companies have been innovating to find ways of meeting these challenges.

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5 Lessons Learned from Rolling Out Joint Innovative Energy Projects

UNHCR Innovation   |   December 1, 2015   |   By: Amare Gebre Egziabher

This article is an from UNHCR’s report: Innovation at UNHCR 2014. The report highlights and showcases some of the innovative approaches the organization is taking to address complex refugee challenges.

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Solar balloons for refugee camps

The Guardian   |   November 30, 2015   |   By: Emma Howard

Innovations are helping renewable energy become more accessible, powerful and effective. Emma Howard lists six inventions that are changing the sector. #3 is a solar powered balloon, which could provide enough energy to supply 50 people , power a makeshift hospital or a telecommunications unit.

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IKEA campaign offers brighter future for Syrian refugees

UNHCR   |   November 30, 2015   |   By: Charlie Dunmore

A planned solar farm is set to transform the lives of thousands of displaced Syrians living in Jordan's barren northern desert, thanks to donations from IKEA's Brighter Lives for Refugees campaign.

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What we can learn from the Somali refugee crisis   |   November 30, 2015   |   By: Manola De Vos

Any refugee settlement requires clean water, reliable energy and waste collection as basic requirements for its survival. But when refugee crises strike, environmental impact and sustainability often falls at the bottom of the list of priorities. Ad hoc solutions then persist for years — even when they are harmful and energy-intensive. For decades, the livelihoods of Dadaab people have been crippled by cyclical droughts, erratic rainfall patterns, and rapid land degradation.

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Qatari firm to offer solar training for Syrian refugees

PV Magazine   |   November 27, 2015   |   By: Edgar Meza

GreenGulf is partnering with the Norwegian Refugee Council and other organizations to improve the quality of life for residents with solar installations and a training program. The project is part of a greater effort to meet the massive need for energy among displaced people.

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Winter looms over desperate refugee camps in Kurdistan

Rudaw   |   November 27, 2015   |   By: Kurt Nagl

In the battered shelters of Baharka Camp, several families lack electricity due to flooding caused by heavy rains. Many of the 4,000 people living in Baharka Camp are facing similar issues since the rains have started. And, unfortunately, harsher weather looms.

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How Africa's fastest solar power project is lighting up Rwanda

The Guardian   |   November 23, 2015   |   By: David Smith

East African solar plant is completed in less than a year – creating jobs and setting the country on the path to providing half its population with electricity by 2017.

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Refugee camps' energy bills over $2bn due to neglected energy efficiency   |   November 23, 2015   |   By: Matt Mace

The energy consumption of refugee camps has been neglected by international governments and humanitarian agencies, costing an estimated $2bn annually, according to a consortium of NGOs and think tanks. The Chatham House Report for the Moving Energy Initiative highlights that there are now 60 million forcibly displaced people living across the globe. These people used around 3.5 million tonnes of oil equivalent, predominantly in the form of firewood and charcoal for heating and cooking.

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Refugee camps are the 'cities of tomorrow,' says humanitarian-aid expert

De Zeen Magazine   |   November 23, 2015

Governments should stop thinking about refugee camps as temporary places, says Kilian Kleinschmidt, one of the world's leading authorities on humanitarian aid. 'These are the cities of tomorrow,' said Kleinschmidt of Europe's rapidly expanding refugee camps. 'The average stay today in a camp is 17 years. That's a generation.' Kleinschmidt said a lack of willingness to recognize that camps had become a permanent fixture around the world and a failure to provide proper infrastructure was leading to unnecessarily poor conditions and leaving residents vulnerable to 'crooks.' He discusses providing electricity for households.

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Vulnerable refugees face fifth winter without adequate food and clothing

Thomas Reuters Foundation   |   November 20, 2015   |   By: Danish Refugee Council

Cold weather can be detrimental to the millions of refugees and internally displaced people who have lost everything, and the Danish Refugee Council is working hard to be ready for winter 2015/16. Many refugee families across MENA are living in substandard housing such as informal shacks, tents, unfinished buildings or with multiple other families without means to insulate homes and escape from the harrowing winter that descends on the region.

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Clean Energy in Refugee Camps Could Save Millions of Dollars

The Guardian   |   November 17, 2015

New research shows that investing in clean cookstoves and solar lanterns could benefit people, the planet, and NGOs’ budgets.

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Wood-based Fuels Threaten Health of Refugees

BBC News   |   November 17, 2015   |   By: Mark Kinver

The "huge dependency" of refugees on wood- and charcoal-based fuels has horrific consequences for their health, a report has warned. The authors calculated cooking with wood caused 20,000 premature deaths among displaced people each year. The use of alternatives, such as improved cookstoves and solar lamps, could save money and lives, they added.

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Energy Poverty in Dadaab Refugee Camp

Moving Energy Initiative   |   November 16, 2015   |   By: Moulid Hujale

Moulid Hujale, a Somali journalist who lived in Dadaab - the world’s largest refugee camp at the time - from the age of 10 to 24 talks about the importance of energy.

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Some 3,300 People A Day Still Arriving on Lesvos

UNHCR   |   November 13, 2015

With winter closing in, more than 3,000 people a day are still arriving on the Greek island of Lesvos despite dangerous sea conditions and overstretched and inadequate reception facilities, the UN refugee agency said today. Urgent improvements to facilities for refugees in the island's east at Moria and Kara Tape, under the respective responsibility of the police and the municipality, are also needed. These include lighting, latrines and heating as well as site management.

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Turning Waste into Fuel – and New Livelihood Opportunities

SEI   |   November 11, 2015   |   By: Sarah Odera

A collaborative project between the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI), the Gaia Association, and the Ethiopian government set out to test the technical, financial, environmental and socioeconomic feasibility of producing ethanol for cooking on a small scale in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, using decentralized micro-distilleries. The idea was to provide a new livelihood opportunity for women, who would sell ethanol instead of wood – and in the process, increase the availability of ethanol for cooking in Addis.

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Helping Refugees Isn’t Just About Designing Better Shelters

Wired Magazine   |   November 2, 2015   |   By: Sarah Zhang

Shelter, argues Tim Currion, echoing a long-held tenet in humanitarian aid, is not a product but a process. IKEA may have a better product, but the process for getting refugees permanent shelter is still broken. And with the conflict in the Middle East displacing millions of people, that process is all the more important to get right.

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UNHCR Flags Winter Relief Operations for Refugees

UNHCR   |   October 23, 2015

UNHCR has incorporated heating and fuel into some of its efforts to assist the 644,000 refugees and migrants who have arrived in Europe by sea, as well as some 15 million displaced people who must survive the coming winter across the Middle East. The agency is giving four consecutive months of cash grants to more than 151,000 families (750,000 people) starting in November that will allow them to stagger purchases such as fuel for heating. For urban refugees in Jordan, it will give cash to allow refugees to buy heating, blankets, clothing, shoes and other items.

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Video: Energy and Food for Development in Refugee Camps and Informal Settlements

SET4food   |   October 7, 2015

The objective of the Sustainable Energy Technologies for Food Utilization (SET4food) project, implemented by COOPI, is to significantly improve the efficiency and sustainability of energy solutions for food cooking and preservation in camps and informal settlements for refugees and internally displaced persons. This video shares insights from pilot activities in Somalia, the Central African Republic, Lebanon, and Haiti.

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Innovative Tent for Refugees Harnesses Renewable Energy

Wamda Research Lab   |   September 27, 2015   |   By: Samuel Wendel

Over the last two years, Abeer Seikaly has worked on developing an innovative multi-purpose tent shelter that she hopes can be put to use aiding displaced individuals such as the Syrian refugee community. Developing the design has involved collaboration with experts across multiple fields in order to combine all the tent’s different capabilities - such as water collection and solar energy collection.

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Rebuilding Better After A Disaster

ABS CBN   |   September 25, 2015   |   By: Red Constantino

In the Philippines, the continued failure of humanitarian groups to integrate renewable energy early in their disaster risk reduction programs has resulted in serious deficits in the delivery of response programs. Without reliable power, emergency water and sanitation services become inadequate, especially at night because they are unable to provide lighting to ensure the safety of women and girls in evacuation shelters, communication is severely limited, because computers, mobile phones and radios run out of juice, and planning is circumscribed with the absence of power.

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A 21st-Century Migrant’s Essentials: Food, Shelter, Smartphone

New York Times   |   August 25, 2015   |   By: Matthew Brunwasser

The tens of thousands of migrants who have flooded into the Balkans in recent weeks need food, water and shelter, just like the millions displaced by war the world over. But there is also one other thing they swear they cannot live without: a smartphone charging station.

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Burundi: Women, Children Face Danger on Trek to Refuge

International Rescue Committee   |   August 13, 2015

IRC calls for minimum international standards for Burundian refugees, which require basic protections against gender based violence. Toilets and showers now do not have doors, and women do not have access to fuel-efficient stoves or flashlights. There have been reports of women and girls experiencing sexual harassment and assault as they collect firewood and visit facilities at night.

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Fund Activates JD25 Million for Renewable Energy Projects

Venture Business Intelligence Monthly   |   August 13, 2015

The Jordan Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Fund (JREEEF) said it has given the green light for the disbursement of JD25 million to provide financial and technical assistance to sustainable energy projects through to 2018. Projects underway as part of the initiative include the distribution of 17,000 LED lamps donated by IKEA to tents and caravans in the Zaatari refugee camp in cooperation with the UNHCR. A further 55,000 LED lamps will also be distributed in Jordanian villages impacted by the influx of refugees.

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Documentary on Fundraising for Refugee Environmental Activities in Uganda   |   August 11, 2015

The influx of South Sudanese refugees into Uganda since December 2013 has resulted in significant environmental degradation in the West Nile. In this documentary, published in April 2015, the Government of Uganda calls upon development partners and the international community to support environmental restoration activities such as tree planting, environmental awareness, development of alternative sources of fuel and addressing issues of climate change adaptation to enhance food security in refugee settlements and host communities.

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Life of a girl: Solar power lights the way for Lourdes

Mercy Corps   |   August 10, 2015

Mercy Corps’ Energy for All program is building awareness and distribution of solar energy products in impoverished areas like Lourdes’ village, giving families like hers an affordable, safe energy alternative that helps them save money and improve their living environments.

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Light impacts SGBV, But Not in the Way You Think

UNHCR Innovation   |   August 5, 2015   |   By: Sam Perkins

Refugees consistently report access to light at the household and community levels as their top priority, followed by access to sustainable and appropriate fuels for cooking. This information comes directly from individuals and community groups, in refugee settlements in The Middle East, Africa, and Asia. However, different communities comment differently on the impact of light and why it is fundamentally important to their lives.

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How I Began Manufacturing Solar Lights for My Community

UNHCR Innovation   |   June 25, 2015   |   By: Abdullahi Mohomed Adow

Abdullahi Mohomed Adow, a 33-year-old refugee from Somalia, describes the impact of UNHCR's solar lighting training project on his life and community.

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Aid Agencies Must Rewire Their Approach to Refugees' Energy Needs   |   June 20, 2015   |   By: Rob Bailey and Michael Keating

One of the new Sustainable Development Goals is to ‘ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all’. If ‘all’ is to mean everyone, the humanitarian system has to start changing now.

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Worldwide Displacement Hits All-time High as War and Persecution Increase   |   June 18, 2015

UNHCR's annual Global Trends Report: World at War, released on June 18, says that worldwide displacement is at the highest level ever recorded. The number of people forcibly displaced at the end of 2014 rose to a staggering 59.5 million compared to 51.2 million a year earlier and 37.5 million a decade ago.

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You Use More Energy Burning Toast than Most Refugees Hope to Have

UNHCR Innovation   |   June 4, 2015   |   By: Sam Perkins

Many refugees struggle to access the most basic levels of energy for their everyday needs. Besides cooking, their most important energy needs are for light and charging mobile phones. In this video, the 700 Watts of power Robert produced led to 21 Watt hours of energy and a lot of lactic acid building up in an Olympic cyclist. This was barely enough energy to cook a single piece of white bread – and we all know we should be eating brown bread, which takes longer to cook.

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Cooking Dinner, Risking Rape   |   June 3, 2015   |   By: Sarah Costa, Women's Refugee Commission, Executive Director

"Almost 10 years ago, the Women's Refugee Commission (WRC) put the issue of Safe Access to Fuel and Energy (SAFE) on the humanitarian agenda. Today, I am in Oslo, Norway, to accept a Green Star Award on behalf of the WRC. In the words of the presenters – the United Nations and Green Cross International – WRC is being honored for its 'holistic approach to humanitarian action by bridging the gap between gender, health and environmental issues in humanitarian settings.'"

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Environmental emergency heroes honoured with Green Star Awards

Relief Web   |   June 3, 2015   |   By: UNEP, OCHA, and Green Cross International

The Women's Refugee Commission is honored with the Green Star Award by UNEP, OCHA, and the Green Cross International for its SAFE initiative.

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Mahama: A day in a refugee camp

The New Times   |   May 24, 2015   |   By: SOLOMON ASABA

A snapshot of life in Mahama refugee camp for Burundian refugees flooding into Rwanda.

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Women’s access to wood energy during conflict and displacement: lessons from Yei County, South Sudan

FAO   |   April 6, 2015   |   By: A. Thulstrup and W.J. Henry

The example of South Sudan, with its millions of displaced people, exposes the pressing need for sustainable supplies of woodfuel and efficient cooking technologies in the wake of emergencies, to ensure not only food security, health and safety but also environmental sustainability. See page 52-67 in FAO's Unasylva journal for the full article.

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Ashok Gadgil: The Humanitarian Inventor

IEEE Spectrum   |   February 28, 2015   |   By: Evan Ackerman

In 2004, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) asked Gadgil to help design a more efficient stove for the millions of refugees living in camps in the western Sudan region of Darfur. Traditional wood-burning stone fireplaces are inefficient, and women must risk their safety to hunt for firewood or else trade their food rations for fuel.

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Humanity, hope and thoughts of home: Syrian refugees in southern Lebanon

UNHCR   |   February 25, 2015

This year is the fourth that UNHCR and partners have provided winter assistance to Syrian refugees in Lebanon, a massive operation whose planning and budgeting begins months in advance to ensure that, despite the myriad funding and logistical challenges, as many of the assessed needs as possible can be met. Winter monthly assistance has been provided from November onwards, including assisting the most vulnerable families to purchase heating fuel, providing stoves, blankets, weatherproofing kits and other essentials needed to keep people warm and dry.

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IKEA rekindles Brighter Lives for Refugees campaign for second year

UNHCR   |   February 2, 2015

Following the success of last year's campaign, the IKEA Foundation on Monday launched a two-month fund-raising drive in stores worldwide to provide renewable energy and education projects in Bangladesh, Chad, Ethiopia, Jordan and Sudan.

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Stoves and fuels sent to thousands of Syrian refugees amid freezing temperatures and snow in Lebanon

Christian Aid   |   January 22, 2015   |   By: Czarina Ong

Christian Aid has allocated emergency funds to provide sheets and blankets for 6,000 people living in temporary homes in Gaza, as well as stoves and fuel for 4,600 displaced people in Lebanon's Bekaa Valley in order for them to survive the harsh living conditions.

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Cooking can save lives: WFP commits to making cooking safe for 10 million people by 2020

World Food Programme   |   December 22, 2014   |   By: Daphne Carliez

For WFP, work goes beyond delivering food assistance. Making sure that the food we provide can be consumed as safely and nutritiously as possible is a sustainable way towards eradicating global hunger. For this purpose, at the Cookstoves Future Summit in November, New York, WFP committed to making cooking safe for 10 million people by 2020 with the 10 X 20 Campaign.

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Could a simple stove save children's lives? In Malawi, the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine undertakes largest trial of its kind.

BBC   |   December 13, 2014

The BBC reports on a cookstove initiative from the The Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine. The team intends to distribute 16,000 stoves in the north of Malawi, and in Chikwawa in the south. It will be the largest trial of its type ever undertaken anywhere in the world.

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Turkish school students raise pocket money to buy stoves for refugees

Cihan   |   December 8, 2014

Students of Hizmet Movement affiliated Turkish schools in eastern Iraqi city of Kirkuk gathered their pocket money to buy stoves for refugees who live in poor shelters and suffer from cold weather conditions.

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Ending Violence Against Women – A Crucial Step Towards Zero Hunger

World Food Programme   |   November 25, 2014

“If we go into the bush to collect firewood, we risk getting robbed or raped – all sorts of things,” Maria Nabinto, a refugee in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), told the World Food Programme (WFP) earlier this year.

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UN World Food Programme To Provide SAFE Energy And Cooking To 10 Million People By 2020

World Food Programme   |   November 21, 2014

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) will seek to help 10 million people safely prepare and consume the food it provides by 2020, getting one step closer to eradicating global hunger, the agency announced today at the Cookstoves Future Summit in New York.

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WFP To Provide Safe Energy And Cooking To 10 Million People By 2020

World Food Programme   |   November 21, 2014

If we want to reach a Zero Hunger World, we cannot separate the delivery of food assistance from the numerous safety, health, and environmental risks associated with properly cooking it. WFP’s SAFE initiative addresses the dangers people face in collecting, supplying and using firewood.

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Four Portraits of Displaced Persons Living In Camps In Democratic Republic Of Congo

World Food Programme (WFP)   |   November 11, 2014

World Food Programme (WFP) highlights the stories of four displaced persons living in camps in the Democratic Republic of Congo. One of these stories, that of Karoreho, highlights his difficulties finding firewood for cooking, and describes his gratitude to WFP for providing him with fuel briquettes.

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Darkness Was Gone (Video)

Energy Access Practitioner Network   |   October 21, 2014

This is the story of how each one of the 3,700 households in the Kiziba refugee camp in Rwanda were given a solar lamp, and the impact that "light" has had on their lives.

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UN releases video on cookstoves and carbon credits featuring International Lifeline Fund (Video)

International Lifeline Fund   |   October 14, 2014

The UN recently released a video about fuel efficient cookstoves and the generation of carbon credits featuring an International Lifeline Fund stove program in Lira, Uganda. View it at The video provides an overview of the Lifeline program in Lira and its impact, as seen through the eyes of Lifeline's local Ugandan staff, vendors and customers. For additional information about Lifeline and its programs visit

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Searching for Safety in Democratic Republic of Congo (Video)

World Food Programme   |   July 22, 2014

WFP provides food for survivors of sexual violence who are recovering in Panzi Hospital in Bukavu, in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Rape is widespread in DRC, particularly in the war-torn east of the country. WFP is also working to reduce the risk of sexual violence against women with a project for the manufacture of fuel briquettes in Goma. It means that women living in camps don't have to go out looking for firewood in the bush where they are liable to be attacked.

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Refugees Deserve Clean Energy Too

UNHCR   |   June 20, 2014   |   By: T. Alexander Aleinikoff and Radha Muthiah

Fashion icon Gisele Bündchen has walked many runways, but recently she took a walk of a drastically different kind: To learn about the challenges that families face when they don’t have modern energy services, Gisele joined a group of Kenyan women as they walked more than five miles in the heat to collect wood to use for cooking their families’ meals.

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Strengthening the Safety of Women Refugees through Cleaner Cookstoves

United Nations Foundation   |   June 19, 2014   |   By: Jenni Lee

We know refugees need food, water, shelter, and medicine, but less attention is paid to their energy and cooking needs. In advance of World Refugee Day on June 20, I sat down to talk to Radha Muthiah, Executive Director of the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves, about what this means for families living in refugee camps and other humanitarian contexts.

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Women Breaking Barriers to Clean Energy

UN Women   |   June 2, 2014   |   By: Gisele Bündchen

Fashion icon Gisele Bündchen @giseleofficial is a Goodwill Ambassador for the UN Environment Programme. She has been dubbed the world’s ‘greenest’ celebrity.

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Refugees: Moving out of the shadows

IRIN   |   May 31, 2012

When night falls in the Dadaab refugee complex in eastern Kenya, nearly half a million refugees are plunged into darkness. The lack of light robs schoolchildren of the possibility of studying and provides perfect cover for thieves and rapists. For many households who cannot afford candles or kerosene lamps, let alone a generator, the only source of light is that produced by cooking fires. But firewood is an increasingly scarce and contentious commodity.

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