(Xinhua) -- Female refugees residing in Kakuma refugee
camp situated in northwest Kenya are set to benefit from a clean
energy project following the installation of Information,
Communication and Technology (ICT) hub in the area.
Sarah Hare, Senior Practice Specialist
at Crown Agents said the hub that uses solar system will transform
lives of women and children living in Kakuma refugee camp through
provision of clean energy and sharpening of their digital skills.
“The hub is set to provide access to
energy for computer use, internet, phone and solar home kit
charging, vocational training, life skills and community
cohesion through joint trainings of refugees,” Hare told Xinhua
during an interview on Monday.
She said the facility will accord
refugees and the host population an opportunity to acquire skills in
leather craft, computer repairs, horticulture, weaving, plumbing,
carpentry, mechanic and baking.
Energy poverty is a persistent problem
in refugees’ lives since they are isolated from the national grid
and lack reliable access to renewable power.
The project is also aimed at replacing
the use of fuel wood for cooking that exposes households to health
Only 2.7 percent of the population had
access to electricity as their main lighting source in 2015 in
Kakuma, a marginalized region that is home to refugees from
neighboring countries including South Sudan, Somalia, Democratic
Republic of Congo (DRC), Burundi, Ethiopia, Uganda and Rwanda.
Joe Attwood, Moving Energy Initiative
(MEI) Program Manager said a series of low carbon and market
development activities are being initiated in Kakuma refugee camp in
Turkana County located in northwestern Kenya.
Attwood noted that many refugees in
the camp do not have any form of lighting at night as women and
girls also face various risks when they leave camps in search of
“We want to ensure that the low carbon
and market development projects remain self sustainable through
full involvement of local communities,” Attwood added.
He noted that the approach further
seeks to lessen hostilities between refugees and the host community
due to stiff competition for scarce fuel sources.
Attwood observed that the project
intends to dispel a belief that refugees are a liability to the
society they live in.
BBOXX, a partner in the project plans
to establish a distribution outlet for sale of solar home systems in
and outside the camp.
“We have lined up consumer awareness
activities to education refugees and host communities on the
benefits of solar products,” said Pervin Mariga, the company’s
Kenya Retail Manager.
He said the firm has established solar
kiosks outlets where refugees and the hosts will operate as
distributors or technicians of energy products such as solar home
systems, solar lanterns and improved cook stoves.
Under the project, a solar-powered ICT
and learning hub is complete and is equipped with low-energy
consuming computers, internet, printers, photocopiers and
Two healthcare clinics managed by the
International Rescue Committee (IRC) at the camp are also set to be
It will train IRC staff, as well as 15
skilled and non-skilled people from the host and refugee communities
to support the installation, operation and maintenance of the solar
system at IRC’s two primary healthcare facilities.
Once complete, the project is expected
to cut IRC’s diesel fuel consumption and operational costs by 80
percent and save costs amounting to 63,000 U.S. dollars annually.
Some of the initiatives, including the
construction of a solar-powered ICT and learning hub in the refugee
camp, are complete, while the installation of solar systems on two
health facilities within Kakuma refugee camp is on-going.
The MEI project is being managed by
Energy 4 Impact through a partnership with Chatham House, Practical
Action Consulting, Norwegian Refugee Council and United Nations High
Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
Other partners include BBOXX, Kube
energy and Crown Agent.