Pilot project

The partnership’s first experience took place at Adi-Harush refugee camp in Shire in the north of Ethiopia, where more than 8,000 Eritrean refugees lived, many of whom were unaccompanied minors.

Energy access-related problems at Adi-Harush were numerous. The electric supply service generated by the electricity grid was extremely irregular and dangerous due to the facilities’ low quality.

In addition, lack of security in the camps together with lack of night lighting added dangers to camp inhabitants, e.g. women and girls in charge of firewood collection for cooking had to walk longer distances over time, being exposed to safety risks and gender-based violence.

Moreover, burning firewood for cooking and diesel for electricity generation (which is also expensive) led to environmental degradation due to deforestation in the surroundings and emission of greenhouse gases.

The project was focused on the improvement and extension of the electricity grid in this camp, the connection to communal services, such as the primary school, two communal kitchens or markets hosting 36 small businesses and the installation of protection devices and rehabilitation of equipment at the communal services.

Furthermore, 63 LED luminaries were installed as public street lighting covering a distance of over 4km. The results achieved by this intervention have been
very positive.

It has considerably improved people’s lives and security conditions in the refugee camp, improving the natural environment for coexistence by reducing the collection of firewood and CO2 emissions.

At the same time, in economic terms, it also means savings costs in diesel consumption. Refugees’ participation was crucial throughout the whole process: from training to equipment installation.

Moreover, with the aim of generating some livelihood opportunities and ensuring sustainability, a group of refugees were trained to become the technicians
in charge of the functioning and maintenance of the infrastructures.

Shaping new solutions

Dollo Ado area, located in the southeast part of Ethiopia, comprises the second largest refugee community in Africa. Around 200,000 refugees (registered in UNHCR refugee camps in 2018) live distributed along six refugee camps: Dollo Ado, Buramino, Bolkomnayo, Helaweyn, Kobe and Melkadida.

The names of the refugee camps correspond to the host communities located nearby, being all these refugee and host communities lying into two woredas (local administrative government): Dollo Ado and Bokolmanyo.

Due to the limited access to energy in both refugee and host communities, Alianza Shire will provide sustainable energy solutions to respond to two differentiated necessities:

On the one side, health facilities, humanitarian institutions offices and communal services, such as street-lighting, lack secure energy from renewable sources, since many of them are highly dependent on diesel generators.

Therefore, a sustainable solution based on solar technology adapted to the humanitarian context will be designed to respond to this demand.

On the other, a market-based model will be deployed to provide electricity at household levels to both communities considering the lack of access to this service when houses are widely dispersed and far from electricity connection points through Solar Home Systems.

The marketbased model will foster the local market and entrepreneurship, enhancing the creation of livelihoods within the communities.

Both solutions are co-designed and co-created with the communities so they become producers and consumers at the same time, fostering the creation of new enterprises or retail businesses while building managerial and technical capacities so the solutions can be sustained in time and become self-reliance.

The Comprehensive Refugee Response Frame-work approved in the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants in 2016 emphasizes that any action on refugee camps must take into account the situation of host communities surrounding the camps.

Implementing partner:


Collaborating partners:

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