Power for refugees: Electricity

A new podcast special explores an often-overlooked aspect of humanitarian assistance: access to energy.

59 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 first episode of a two-part Undercurrents special examines efforts to electrify refugee settlements in Ethiopia, Kenya and Rwanda, shedding light on what has worked and what has not. Approximately 94% of forcibly displaced people living in these settlements do not have access to electricity to heat or cool hospitals, schools and dwellings, or to light streets.

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.