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Our Work

Improving data and information

Standardized data for energy supply, energy use, efficiency, costs and payment mechanisms are needed for most refugee settlements around the world. 

Detailed research in different contexts and clear and timely dissemination of the results is sorely needed. The MEI is working to aggregate the emerging findings and act as a knowledge hub for best practice in humanitarian energy provision.

The MEI has designed a model offering the first global estimates of the scale of energy demand, cost of energy use and CO2 emissions among populations of concern to the UNHCR.

A shift in thinking is taking place, and this is matched by developments in technology, business models and on-the-ground experience globally.

Heat, Light and Power for Refugees Chatham House Report for the Moving Energy Initiative

Creating energy markets

Humanitarian organizations have relied on a procure and provide model of energy distribution that has stunted the ability of energy suppliers to sell products and offer services within refugee settings. Medium and long-term refugee populations will be better off moving from handouts and emergency relief to self-reliance as quickly as possible. The expertise to create clean and financially sustainable energy services can often be found in the private sector, so finding the right model for public–private partnerships and outsourcing services is critical.

By building on local markets and the entrepreneurship of displaced - as well as local - people, relevant solutions can often be quickly found and scaled up. A Kenyan living close to Kakuma refugee camp has established a business selling solar panels in the camp, providing a vital service for residents and an income to support him and his family.

Solar businesses present opportunities for host and refugee populations

Promoting rights

It is important that host governments consider the benefits of allowing refugees to work legally in host countries, shifting them into a more secure and formal economy, with benefits for all. The MEI is working closely with its partners to progress this agenda.

Inclusion of local and refugee populations

By including refugees in national energy access targets and plans, host nations can harness humanitarian and development funding to bolster national energy resilience. There is potential for solutions to be win-win, meeting commitments to protect refugees whilst relieving energy poverty among local populations.

Additionally it is important that donors and humanitarian organizations recognize that such schemes that also benefit local communities, or contribute to a host country's wider development goals, are more likely to be adopted by governments in national contexts.