How Renewable Energy Can Help Make Refugee Lives Better
What is the state of being we expect for a refugee to have? While the expected time to be spent in these temporary shelters is a few months, many have been housing people for close to 20 years.
The culture of refugee camps is thriving in all war-torn regions in the world; be it Syria, Yemen or Iraq for that matter. Refugees are all those human beings who have been displaced from their place of stay, due to war, food scarcity, human rights violations or other climatic disasters. Currently, the world is dealing with 26.4 million refugees who are awaiting homes and rehabilitation.
Many are without electricity or drinking water and have to make ends meet in dangerous precarious conditions. Children have been without proper education. Medical help is scarce too. Now there are organisations that are solely fighting for the basic rights of refugees. One such is Electriciens Sans Frontieres, a France-based non-profit organisation solving electrification issues in emergency situations. They have been fighting since 1986 against the inequalities of access to electricity and water in the world. Refugees are now a part of their mandate for equality too.
It is here that use of renewable energy looks doable and seems to be a reliable solution. While the UN sustainability goal speaks about “Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all”, this doesn’t seem to take refugees of the world into consideration.
The new Refugee Day had an excellent theme to present on June 20- “Whoever. Wherever. Whenever. Everyone has the right to seek safety.” So, provision of electricity and clean drinking water is paramount to the health and safety of women and children.
Projects carried out by Electriciens Sans Frontieres for example are focused on using the energy provided by the sun or by waterways and innovative public lighting solutions to enhance safety and energy security in the camps. Through their effort, electrification of refugee camps in Somalia, Jordan, Bangladesh, the Dominican Republic, and in many other parts of the world has been made possible.
The Zayed Sustainability Prize, a global award that recognises excellence in sustainability shows as to how much renewable energy can do for the lives of refugees. Some funding and government support will go a long way in empowering such NGOs that are working for the betterment of refugees worldwide.