More than 10 million refuges around the world are living in UNHCR refugee camps. In the camps, they use biomass fuel (firewood, charcoal) for lighting, cooking and heating. The collection and use of biomass fuel imposes a number of serious risks, including: sexual and gender-based violence or assault, loss of livelihood and educational opportunities, unrests caused by the scarcity of biomass, environmental degradation and respiratory illnesses due to household air pollution. Modern off-grid lighting solutions can eliminate those risks and foster the social and economic development of the crisis-affected population by providing affordable, quality light and basic electricity services such as phone charging.
As part of its mission to sustainably deliver basic and clean electricity to every household before 2030, the Global Off-Grid Lighting Association (GOGLA) is committed to ensure that refugees have access to affordable and, at the same time, high quality lighting products and has now joined the Safe Access to Fuel and Energy (SAFE) initiative. SAFE is a cross-sectoral initiative focused on ensuring access to safe fuel, energy and powering for the people that the humanitarian community serves.
Koen Peters, GOGLA Executive Director stated that “GOGLA very much welcomes that humanitarian aid agencies are showing strong interest in the need of energy access. We are happy to support them in delivering best value for money products to crisis-affected people all around the world”. To ensure end-users in various refugee camps around the world get access to solar lighting products that meet minimum quality standards, GOGLA and its members are currently engaging the UNHCR in the development of specifications for the procurement of solar lighting products. Based on their quality assurance activities, the Lighting Global program has recently published in technical note guidance for aid agencies and governments for the procurement of solar lighting products. GOGLA is encouraging the humanitarian sector to build on existing work and to use these standards as a benchmark for procurement processes.
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