Ethiopia has one of the lowest rates of access to modern energy services, whereby the energy supply is primarily based on biomass.
Today only 27 % of the population has access to energy through the electricity grid.
The partnership’s first experience took place at Adi-Harush refugee camp in Shire, northern Ethiopia, from 2014 to 2017.
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 for the camp inhabitants.
Women and girls in charge of firewood collection for cooking had to walk long distances over time, being exposed to safety risks and gender 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 has been focused on the improvement and extension of the electricity grid in this camp and the connection to communal services.
These communal services include a primary school, two communal kitchens or markets hosting 36 small businesses and the installation of protection devices and rehabilitation of equipment.
Furthermore, 63 LED luminaries have been installed as public street lighting covering over 4km.
The results achieved by this intervention have considerably improved people’s lives and security conditions in the refugee camp, building a better natural environment for coexistence by reducing the collection of firewood and CO2 emissions.
At the same time, in economic terms, it will also mean saving money in diesel consumption.
Refugees’ participation has been crucial throughout the whole process: from training to equipment installation.
With the aim of generating some livelihood opportunities and ensuring sustainability, a group of refugees has been trained to become the technicians in charge of the functioning and maintenance of the infrastructures.