The project in brief
Ministry in charge of Emergency Management (MINEMA)
January 2019 - Ongoing
In October 2018, the Government of Rwanda issued a directive to stop the distribution of firewood in the refugee camps, in order to transition to alternative clean cooking solutions and stop deforestation.
To address the firewood and cooking energy situation to comply with the government directive to stop the distribution of firewood in refugee camps by January 2019.
In February 2017, during the annual National Leadership Retreat, the Government of Rwanda resolved to gradually ban the use of firewood as source of cooking fuel in Rwanda as a mitigation measure to the rapid deforestation faced by the country which led to subsequent environmental issues such as soil and land erosion, flash floods, etc.
- Ministry in Charge of Emergency Management (MINEMA)
- Refugees and host communities
- Private Sector (SafeGas)
Challenges and how they were overcome
Limited cooking fuel options in the market. The representatives of the Rwandan Government, Ministry in charge of Emergency Management (MINEMA) and UNHCR met to discuss a way forward which would facilitate a refugee camp setting where firewood and charcoal will no longer be used. With the support of the energy expert from UNHCR HQ, the various alternative solutions available on the market in Rwanda were reviewed and a decision made to use a mix of briquette and pellet fuel solutions in the smaller camp populations and LPG in the largest refugee camp (Mahama).
UNHCR launched a tender for supply of environmentally friendly biomass fuel and tier 4 clean cooking stoves to be distributed in-kind in the smaller camp populations and LPG in the largest refugee camp (Mahama).
Results of the Good Practice
Refugees were walking long distances to collect firewood at risk of SGBV to women and children. There were a number of protection cases of refugees being arrested or conflicts between refugees and host community for cutting forests. Refugees were exposed to respiratory diseases from the firewood smoke. The roll out of alternative cooking fuels has improve the health conditions of refugees, SGBV cases reduced and improved coexistence between refugees and host communities.
Jobs created for refugees working as bank agents or re-sellers of clean cooking fuels in the camp and companies involved in clean fuel contribute to the national economy.
The Government of Rwanda, UNHCR and partners are working to ensure continuous decrease in use of firewood.