Power for refugees: Cooking

The second part of this Undercurrents podcast special explores alternative fuels for cooking.

Audio Published 16 May 2022 Updated 21 October 2022 55 minute listen

From Afghanistan to Ukraine to Sudan - the world is grappling with the consequences that emerge when people are forced to flee from their homes. One factor that does not usually make the headlines is that many people displaced by conflict or natural disasters lack access to the energy services that are necessary for forging dignified lives and livelihoods. 

This second episode examines efforts to provide alternative fuel for cooking in displaced settings in Kenya, Niger and Rwanda, shedding light on what has worked and what has not.

Approximately 81% of forcibly displaced people in these camps rely on basic fuels like wood for cooking. This brings about major difficulties for refugees and the environment, such as illness-inducing fumes from burning wood, the threat of violence to the women and girls who travel often long distances to collect wood, and deforestation.

Since 2015, Chatham House has been researching this issue and convening dialogues to spur action by humanitarians, energy companies and others. Our seminal Heat, Light and Power report provided the first ever comprehensive assessment of access to energy in refugee camps and urban areas with high numbers of refugees.

This two-part podcast is part of the Renewable Energy for Refugees project. Led by Practical Action, the project provides access to affordable and sustainable sources of renewable energy, and improves the health, wellbeing and security of refugees and neighbouring communities.

Correction: During the episode Suzanna Huber is introduced as employed by Inyenyeri. Ms Huber no longer works for the company, and did not at the time of recording.