Displaced people face energy crisis

New Ashden appeal supports clean energy for refugees

Craig Burnett

Editor

Ashden’s new humanitarian energy appeal will boost clean energy solutions for refugees and displaced people.

Safe, reliable, clean energy is essential for everything from cooking to lighting, to making homes warmer and safer, to ensuring schools and health centres can supply vital services.

For this reason, Ashden is seeking donations to the 2021 Ashden Award for Humanitarian Energy. Next year’s award will promote and support world-leading clean energy innovation for refugees. Donations will help fund networking and publicity opportunities for shortlisted organisations, and further support for the overall winner – including a direct cash grant.

Entries to the award open in January and a winner will be announced in October – after a rigorous judging process involving sector-leading experts.

Ashden CEO Harriet Lamb said: “This award will focus on initiatives that put power in the hands of displaced people – who so often lose their rights and voice along with their homes and belongings. The dignity that access to energy brings can be as vital as the hot meals, healthcare and phone calls to loved ones it also makes possible.”

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Yemen was awarded the 2020 Ashden Award for Humanitarian Energy. The organisation has created community-owned microgrids in conflict-hit villages, bringing energy, incomes, and a new role for women.

The refugee energy crisis

Refugees and displaced people face a desperate battle to access clean energy, and the safety and dignity it brings. About 80% of people living in refugee camps are thought to have minimal access to energy for cooking and heating, and about 90% have no access to electricity. Even limited access to energy comes at an enormous cost – in the Dadaab refugee camps in Kenya, households spend an estimated 24% of their income on energy – compared to a UK household spend of just 4%.

This award will uncover innovation bringing clean, affordable energy to refugees and displaced people around the world. In particular, it will focus on innovative finance and delivery models for bringing clean energy to humanitarian settings. It will seek out initiatives giving displaced people – and host communities – the chance to plan, run and benefit from clean energy programmes.

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