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Emergency Trust Fund for Africa
Nieuwsartikel20 juni 2023Directoraat-generaal Internationale Partnerschappen

Light at home: Sustainable access-to-electricity delivery model to improve households’ quality of life

The Shire Alliance's project, co-funded by the EUTF, involves multiple stakeholders and aims to uplift living conditions of refugees and host communities through energy access, capacity building, and economic development.

A Solar Home System installed in a shelter at Hilaweyn camp, Ethiopia.                                                           ©Javier Mazorra / Alianza Shire
A Solar Home System installed in a shelter at Hilaweyn camp, Ethiopia. ©Javier Mazorra / Alianza Shire

A Game-Changing Initiative by the Shire Alliance

Alianza Shire, a collaborative multi-stakeholder partnership, has initiated a transformative project with the objective of enhancing living conditions in refugee camps and host communities. The initiative, titled "Shire Alliance: Energy access for host communities and refugees in Ethiopia," is co-funded by the European Union Emergency Trust Fund for Africa and implemented by various entities, including the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID), as well as leading Spanish private entities in renewable energy and lighting sectors such as acciona.org, Iberdrola, and Signify; and the Innovation and Technology for Development Centre at the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (itdUPM).

Together, these stakeholders are dedicated to improving the lives of individuals residing in refugee camps and host communities thanks to the cross-cutting impact of energy.

Inspection of a Solar Home System installed at Hilaweyn refugee camp, in charge of ZOA and Alianza Shire members. ©Javier Mazorra / Alianza Shire
Inspection of a Solar Home System installed at Hilaweyn refugee camp, in charge of ZOA and Alianza Shire members. ©Javier Mazorra / Alianza Shire

The project's primary objective is to uplift the lives of refugees and host communities by enhancing local capacity, creating livelihood opportunities, and improving access to basic services through the multifaceted impacts of energy. Currently, the project is centered around Dollo Ado, in the Ethiopian Somali region, in close collaboration with different entities in Ethiopia, including ZOA, the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR), the Refugees and Returnees Service (RRS, former ARRA), Save the Environment Ethiopia (SEE), the in-line ministries, regional bureau, and woredas.

The initiative encompasses two key strategies. Firstly, it aims to enhance access to basic services in refugee camps through the supply of sustainable energy to communal services and street lighting. Secondly, it seeks to create livelihood opportunities and improve the quality of life of refugees and host communities through capacity building, creation of businesses based on solar technology and distribution of solar home systems (SHS), fostering employment and economic development.

Implementation and Impact of Solar Home Systems 

In February, as part of the project’s demonstration phase, 10 Solar Home Systems were installed at Hilaweyn refugee camp. The Alianza Shire project plans to install a total of 2,000 solar systems, benefitting approximately 15,000 people in the displaced settlement and its host community. The market-based delivery model design developed based on the expertise of the Acciona Foundation ensures efficient implementation, building upon previous successful projects.

Previous experiences have shown the positive impact of electricity access, enabling increased study time leading to higher levels of education, extended work hours promoting economic development and enhanced family time with increased interactions. These benefits are all achieved through an environmentally friendly solution.

The project’s economic model was designed with a sustainable, long-term vision in mind. Users will pay a monthly fee in exchange for an energy service and Solar Home System maintenance and replacement in case of device failure. The collected fees are managed by the local energy cooperative, responsible for the operational and maintenance expenses. In addition, with the payment receipt, the cooperative generates an unlocking code for the function of the SHS. This economic model ensures the project’s financial sustainability for the next 10 years, with expenses carefully managed to match or be lower than the monthly fees.

For the demonstration phase, vulnerable households were selected after conducting a socioeconomical analysis, and they are currently exempt from paying the monthly fee. The Solar Home System enable the beneficiaries to meet their basic energy needs.

Solar Home Systems workshop with refugees and host communities from Hilaweyn camp.  ©Javier Mazorra / Alianza Shire
Solar Home Systems workshop with refugees and host communities from Hilaweyn camp. ©Javier Mazorra / Alianza Shire

These stand-alone photovoltaic systems installed, allow users to power some devices. During the day, they could make use of the energy directly from the solar panel to charging two mobile phones, torches, operating a fan for 4 hours, and watching television for 3 hours. At night, the battery storage enables the use of two LED lights for five hours, watching television and two hours of fan usage. This performance contributes to social, economic and environmental positive impacts mentioned earlier.

Initial reports indicate that beneficiaries and the local stakeholders have warmly embraced the project. Thus, positive reception provides valuable insights for the scaling-up and future phases of the Alianza Shire’s project.

More about this project:

Alianza Shire works in the Dollo Ado refugee camps (Hilaweyn and Kobe), which are located in southeastern Ethiopia, close to the border with Somalia and Kenya. According to UNHCR data of March 2023, approximately 207,000 refugees are registered in these camps.

In this context, the establishment  of Solar Home Systems are focused on Hilaweyn refugee camp and its host communities. Regarding the beneficiaries, it is expected that approx. 13.500 people will improve their level of access to energy, from Tier 0 or 1 to Tier 2 as per Sustainable Energy for all (SEforALL). This improvements will be balanced across refugee camps, host communities and gender, with a 50% distribution. Additionally, the beneficiary population will be trained in the use and maintenance of the Solar Home System and business management (in the case of the local cooperative that will work in the project).

 

A light working thanks the energy obtained from the Solar Home System. ©Javier Mazorra / Alianza Shire
A light working thanks the energy obtained from the Solar Home System. ©Javier Mazorra / Alianza Shire
 Internal installation of a Solar Home System in a shelter at Hilaweyn camp.  ©Javier Mazorra / Alianza Shire
Internal installation of a Solar Home System in a shelter at Hilaweyn camp. ©Javier Mazorra / Alianza Shire

 

 

 

Bijzonderheden

Datum publicatie
20 juni 2023
Auteur
Directoraat-generaal Internationale Partnerschappen
Region and Country
Horn of AfricaEthiopia
Thematic
Strengthening resilience of communities
Partner
AECIDUnited Nations High Commissioner for Refugees

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