Four projects with the power to tackle the global refugee
energy crisis have been longlisted for the new Ashden Humanitarian Energy
Award. One winner will be announced in June.
The number of refugees around the world is 70 million and
growing – a total accelerated by global heating. Most have to cook on dangerous
open fires or stoves, relying on polluting diesel generators, or going without
electricity at all.
As well tackling these problems, clean energy solutions –
such as safer cooking stoves and solar electricity for lights and mobile phones
– can enable refugees to learn new skills and earn an income.
Ashden CEO Harriet Lamb welcomed the outstanding innovation
in the longlist – but warned the search had also highlighted major failings in
the global humanitarian system.
She said: “What we saw confirms that the humanitarian system
needs to be radically overhauled, with governments offering serious investment
and long-term commitments. Clean energy innovators do amazing work but are held
back by the common short-term funding models
“Refugees deserve the
same opportunities as the rest of us – including access to energy. Our
treatment of refugees is a global scandal that needs addressing.”
The longlist was drawn up by a team of Ashden experts, who
consulted with partners around the world in a search for innovation with the
potential to create radical change.
Harriet Lamb said: “Many organisations are not just
providing clean energy to refugees but empowering them with skills and training
too. The best schemes are run with significant input and guidance from refugees
themselves, and many benefit local ‘host’ communities alongside refugees –
addressing a major political obstacle to supporting displaced people.
“We found organisations making it viable for energy
companies to offer their services in refugee camps, a development with huge
potential for giving refugees the same rights and opportunities as the rest of
us. And projects that go beyond refugee camps – recognising that the refugees
who live ‘hidden lives’ among host communities are often the worst off.
“The varied benefits of clean energy were crystal clear. We
found innovators developing new services in some of the most conflict-affected
countries on earth, services that don’t just provide energy but also address
gender inequality and build local economies.”
United Nations Development Programme
The UNDP has empowered refugees, particularly women and young people,
to sell solar products and build a micro-grid in Yemen.
Kube’s groundbreaking financial model allows the company to supply
sustainable energy to refugees in Kenya and South Sudan.
Norwegian Refugee Council and Practical Action
This package of clean energy measures supports refugees and
host communities in Jordan, providing heating, solar power for overburdened
schools and more.
Gaia Clean Energy
Gaia brings clean cooking and opportunities for women to
refugee camps in Ethiopia.