Production and distribution of 30.000 Improved Energy Saving Stoves for the Somali Refugees’ Camps

Project location: KENYA, Somali Refugee Camps of Dadaab
Project start date: September 2009 - Project end date: June 2010
Project number: 2009-38
Beneficiary: UNHCR

UNHCR’s environmental policy deals with refugee and returnee-related environmental problems during all phases of refugee assistance, i.e. during the three critical situations in which UNHCR works every day: 1. emergency phase; 2. care-and-maintenance phase; 3. durable solutions phase, which can include such activities as environmental rehabilitation of the asylum country’s territory after repatriation and/or address, environmental concerns related to the integration of refugees in the host country, or the reintegration of returnees in their home country.

Environmental problems confronting UNHCR, refugees - returnees and local populations can vary from one place to another according to the area’s climate, its physical setting and the prevailing socio-economic conditions. Environmental issues cross many sectors and should therefore be addressed wherever possible in the entire planning and management process. To assist with this, a small number of key principles have been identified which, as experience shows if applied, will help reduce the impact of refugees and returnees on the environment overall. These principles are: an integrated approach; prevention before cure; cost-effectiveness and net benefit maximisation and the local participation.

The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees was established on December 14, 1950 by the United Nations General Assembly. The agency is mandated to lead and coordinate international action to protect refugees and resolve refugee problems world-wide. Its primary purpose is to safeguard the rights and well-being of refugees. It strives to ensure that everyone can exercise the right to seek asylum and find safe refuge in another State, with the option to return home voluntarily, integrate locally or to resettle in a third country.

UNHCR works in 116 countries in the world and is funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions, principally from governments but also from intergovernmental organizations, corporations (companies and foundations) and individuals. It receives a limited subsidy of less than two percent of its budget from the United Nations regular budget for administrative costs and accepts 'in kind' contributions including items such as tents, medicines, trucks and air transportation. In its efforts to protect refugees and to promote solutions to their problems, UNHCR works in partnership with governments and regional organizations, as well as international and non-governmental organizations. UNHCR is committed to the principle of participation by consulting refugees on decisions that affect their lives.
During the first three months of 2009, Kenya has received further 30,000 – 35,000 asylum seekers. The Dadaab camps are full and cannot host anymore new arrivals. Camps were originally planned for a capacity of 30,000 but now host an average 80,000 persons each. Over 60% of the refugee families do not have energy saving devices including solar cookers, shelters, firewood, environmental education on natural resource management and garbage pits. In order to address these problems, UNHCR with implementing partners  run Environmental management programme in Dadaab which is made of several projects such as water harvesting, sanitation, forestry, domestic energy-saving and multi-story gardening including firewood distribution and creation of greenbelts to regenerate land.

There are various challenges:
Produce 350,000 seedlings in the 5 tree nurseries
The current tree nurseries carried out with the production of 150,000 seedlings for a population of 170.000 refugees. However, the refugee population is increasing at high rate and by end of 2009, it is estimated that the population will increase to 330,000 refugees. To meet the demand for seedlings for this big population, it will require 350,000 seedlings for refugee/local households to meet their requirement for shade, poles for shelter construction and firewood.

Establish 400 hectares of greenbelts in 4 camps & host community
Currently UNHCR with its partners have rehabilitated 850 hectares of greenbelts in order to reduce degradation of environment around the refugee camps. According to environmental assessment, approximately 300 hectares of land are degraded by refugees per year while harvesting construction materials and collection of firewood. As a result this has affected the livelihood of the host communities who depend on livestock which browse on trees and vegetations. The rehabilitation of the degraded areas to restore the vegetation is important for the host community’s livelihood. Also the greenbelts establishments improve the relationship between refugees and host communities and reduce conflicts.

Produce and distribute 30,000 improved energy saving stoves
Currently 36,000 refugee households have energy saving stoves in the three camps. By end of 2009, the population is expected to increase to 330,000 refugees and average family size is 5 persons. This translates to 66,000 households and each family will receive 1 energy saving stove. The gap between the current family with stoves and the ones without stoves will be 30,000 families.
The stoves will save 50% of the firewood needs and will also reduce the level of degradation around the camps.

The Nando Peretti Foundation has awarded a grant to meet the energy saving stove problem.

Promote Environmental information education in Schools and Communities  
Due to the new influx of refugees, there is high degradation of the environment around the refugee camps. In order to minimise destruction of environment and avoid tension with the host communities, environmental awareness need to be enhanced and new refugees trained on sustainable use natural resources.

Trainings and demonstration: Energy Conservation and use of energy saving stoves.
For the above 30,000 new refugees getting energy saving stoves, there is need for training them on proper use and maintenance of the stoves. These trainings will include cooking demonstrations and good energy practices.

Support to environmental institutions to improve environmental management around camps.
Currently the environmental structures existing in Dadaab have a weak capacity to manage their environment effectively. They require trainings, field visits and learn lessons from other communities in environmental management.

Rain water harvesting in Schools, Hospitals & Communities.
The three camps occupy an aggregate settled area estimated at 50 km2. Like the whole of North Eastern Kenya, Dadaab is a semi-arid area with scanty and unreliable rainfall below 300 mm a year and temperatures averaging 35-40 degrees Celsius. The only reliable water source is ground water supplied by boreholes. CARE under the mandate of UNHCR operates and maintain a total of 18 boreholes and 18 boreholes allocated to supply potable water to the refugees at a rate of 15-20 l/p/d; in addition to maintaining all other water related infrastructure. The region experienced cholera outbreak in the second week of February and water supply was stepped up in the camps. The registered refugee population increased from 235,455 in January 2009 to 259,323 in March, a net growth of 10%. In addition, water demand remained high in Hagadera as a result of population growth. Boreholes are operating an average of 18 hours to meet the demand. Due to frequent water shortages, there is needed to construct fro-cement tanks to collect rain water from the roofs and store for human consumption especially in schools and hospital in the camps.

UNHCR, in respect of the environment guidelines, aims to achieve the following issues as outcomes of the project:
•    Produce 350,000 seedlings in the 5 tree nurseries;
•    Establish 400 hectares of greenbelts in 4 camps and host community;  
•    Produce and distribute 30,000 improved energy saving stoves;
•    Promote Environmental information education in Schools and Communities;
•    Trainings and demonstration in Energy Conservation and use of energy saving stoves;
•    Support to environmental institutions to improve environmental management around camps;
•    Rain water harvesting in Schools, Hospitals & Communities.

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