EnDev partners with SNV to provide Kenyan refugee camps with access to energy

EnDev partners with SNV to provide Kenyan refugee camps with access to energy

SNV has been selected as a development partner to deliver an access to energy project in Kakuma Refugee camp in Kenya.

The project is funded by the Energising Development (EnDev) and will run from 1 September 2017 to 31 October 2018. It aims to implement a market-based approach to deliver clean, safe and affordable cooking solutions to over 16,000 people and provide more than 21,000 people with access to solar energy for lighting and phone charging.

The initiative builds on SNV’s previous experience working in the improved cookstoves (ICS) and solar sectors in Kenya. In-country presence, track record and expertise in ICS and solar market development played a significant role in SNV’s selection as a development partner for this project.

Kakuma refugee camp is home to over 175,000 refugees and asylum seekers, mostly coming from South Sudan and Somalia, but includes a number from other African countries such as Ethiopia, the Congo, Sudan and Burundi. Although refugee status is supposed to be temporary, many people have spent over 20 years living in this camp and the continuing conflict in neighboring countries makes it unlikely that these refugees will be returning home any time soon.

Currently, 78.8% of households in Turkana acquire their main cooking fuel through the collection of firewood, which is mainly done by women who travel an average distance of almost 4 kilometres a day. Others buy firewood and charcoal for cooking at a high cost. Through this initiative, SNV will facilitate the supply chain development of clean fuels, improved cooking technologies and solar products. This will allow refugees and their host communities to gain access to clean cooking and lighting, improving health conditions and reduce the workload for women, in particular. In addition, it will provide opportunities to increase income through the productive use of energy.

With this in mind, in 2016 the government of Kenya and UNHCR opened a new integrated settlement camp - Kalobeyei Camp, 18km North East of the current Kakuma 1 camp and provided farming land with the objective of empowering the refugees and the host community to become self-reliant and more economically independent. The new settlement’s population has shot to almost 40,000 in a record 11 months and plans are underway to provide water for irrigation amongst a number of other sustainable initiatives.

Tom Derksen, Managing Director for Energy said: “This is a pioneering project for SNV’s work in the energy sector. Although we implement similar access to energy projects across the developing world, to apply market-based approaches in a refugee context will come with a specific set of challenges."

"At SNV we are dedicated to a society in which all people, irrespective of race, class or gender, enjoy the freedom to pursue their own sustainable development therefore we are pleased that we can help to improve the lives of people affected by conflict.”

Marcel Raats Co-manager of the Energising Development (EnDev) Programme said ”EnDev looks forward to this project which takes place in a very challenging environment. During a recent visit to Kakuma camp not only the great demand for cooking, lighting and phone charging services became apparent, but also the willingness of people to invest in these services. Lacking or absence of supply however, leaves the market largely unexplored."

SNV’s Renewable Energy Sector is a facilitator of commercially viable markets for cost effective renewable energy products and services. We work in underserved areas facilitating energy access for lighting and cooking needs for households, SMEs and institutions through a variety of technological solutions such as biogas, solar PV and clean cookstoves.