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Kenya: Kakuma Refugee Camp

EDP together with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) established a partnership to bring renewable energy and sustainable environmental solutions to the Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya, which being in a remote area is not served by the national power grid.

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kakuma: an edp project

This is an unprecedented global project that was presented at the 5th annual conference of the Clinton Global Initiative in New York in September 2009. EDP's aim is to contribute to the improvement of the living conditions of the Refugees, seeking to enhance the sustainable development of the camp's different communities, empowering the project's recipients and covering their basic energy needs. It is a simple idea that has directly revolutionised the lives of 6,000 people and indirectly of more than 70,000.


Various interventions were carried out using this partnership in 2010:

About 47 kW of photovoltaic solar systems and more than 1,500 low energy bulbs installed in 10 institutions: two hospitals, four schools and a further four buildings. The metal structures were built locally, as were the technical plants housing the electrical equipment. A 3kW wind tower was installed at the UNHCR compound.

These measures enable fuel savings in the region of 50,000 litres per year and a reduction in CO2 emissions of about 120 tonnes per year, decreasing the number of blackouts and driving efficiency in medical care and services provided to the community, with improvements to safety lighting and education provision.

31 solar street lamps have been installed at the Refugee Camp and the local community village, 21 of which were built locally by the Refugees themselves, reducing the insecurity felt at night, particularly by women, to be reduced and contributing to a decrease in fuel consumption by kerosene lamps and in CO2 emissions by approximately 20 tonnes per year.

Through a programme established together with 15 schools, their directors and the students' parents, coordinated by the LWF - Lutheran World Federation, 4,500 rechargeable solar lanterns were distributed to students.

These lanterns can only be recharged in the schools, which ensures the attendance of the students who benefit from this lighting project. The initiative aims to improve school performance, as it enables night study, a decrease in absenteeism and drop-out rates among children and teenagers, especially young girls who frequently stay with their mothers to collect firewood and water and, under poor lighting conditions, are more vulnerable to assaults; this also contributes to increased safety on the way home from school.

30 high quality solar ovens were supplied to 10 restaurants employing vulnerable women, supported by the National Council of Churches of Kenya, in order to reduce firewood consumption and increasing environmental sustainability by restricting CO2 emissions. Training on solar cooking was delivered to 30 women. These ovens contribute to a decrease in the number of accidents caused by fire and a reduction of health risks. Additionally, as they do not require permanent supervision, the women may devote themselves to other activities while cooking.

With the aim of reducing contaminated water-related diseases and minimising firewood consumption, water purifiers were distributed to 20 Turkana families in the local community giving them access to good quality drinking water.

With the objective of supplying the local community, three water wells were also drilled, and equipped with solar pumping systems. Some two hundred people living in the Kakuma camp now benefit from irrigation water for agriculture and reforestation. Vegetable and fruit growing by the camp's different communities not only enables the production of more nutritious food for own consumption, but also a source of income from the sale of surpluses.

All the activities were complemented by technical training sessions delivered to about 100 Refugees who attended them actively and participated in the running of the various initiatives. The Don Bosco Vocational Training school and its students participated in the manufacture and installation of the systems and continue to take care of their maintenance and repair.