Solar Panels at Cox's Bazar in Bangladesh
Submitted by: Munevver Huseyın MOLLAOGLU - Responsible of the South Asian Countries, The Foundation for Human Rights and Freedoms and Humanitarian Relief (IHH)
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Introduction to the project
Bangladesh, Chittagong / Cox’s Bazar
The project started in December 2017.
9.500 solar panels have been distributed and the project will be continuing in the future.
The Foundation for Human Rights and Freedoms and Humanitarian Relief or İHH is a conservative Turkish NGO, which is working now in more than 100 countries around the globe. IHH aims to reach every region hit by wars, disasters, poverty and human rights abuses, and believes that civilian initiatives play a complementary role in resolving humanitarian problems (besides from interventions by states and international organizations). IHH's goal is to deliver humanitarian aid to all people and take necessary steps to prevent any violations against their basic rights and liberties. These goals are achieved through the delivery of food, clothes and tents to crisis regions hit by wars, conflicts, and natural disasters so that victim's urgent needs are met. The foundation further provides health services in drought and aridity-stricken regions where poverty and deprivation have become chronic, and carries out long-term projects that aim at enabling local peoples stand on their own feet. For those wanting to work with the organization, some emphasized activities include taking active part in their activities, making donations or fund-raising, organizing seminars, and distributing posters.
Context and the need for Solar Panels:
Bangladesh is experiencing one of the worst humanitarian crises in its history due to an unprecedented influx of refugees from Myanmar. As of December 2017, 623,969 refugees have arrived in Bangladesh since August 25th, 2017. These 623,969 refugees have joined 412,518 that have fled in earlier waves of displacement, for a total refugee population of over a million. Refugees arrive in Bangladesh with very few possessions and are now living in extremely difficult conditions. Many have used their savings on transportation and for the construction of shelter. They are reliant on humanitarian assistance for food and other lifesaving needs. With the continuing influx of refugees, pre-existing camps have expanded into informal (makeshift) camps and spontaneous settlements. Most new arrivals (578,000 people) are reportedly living in makeshift or new spontaneous settlements, while 46,000 are staying with host communities.
The border district in southeastern Bangladesh near Myanmar is hosting more than 1 million Rohingya refugees, including over 745,000 people who fled attacks on the minority Muslim community starting in 2017. Our Solar Panels projects are key in addressing the need for electricity in the camps and in improving the conditions in which refugees live.
The aim of the project is to address the need for electricity at Cox’s Bazar via a solar package, which includes three energy-saving lamps, a solar panel and a charger.
Financial and volunteering
- Small Kindness (SKB)
- Self Development Initiative (SDI)
Challenges and how they were overcome
- As there was a very big number of refugees,, how and where these solar panels would be installed became the major challenge. Addressing this priority became a really tough task for the project managers.
- Solar panels and other necessary materials are not available near the camp, hence transportation was also a big challenge.
- Rainy season hampered the construction activities.
- Quality assurance was a challenging job, mostly since it requires meticulous monitoring.
Results of the Good Practice
1) Electricity problems in the camps were addressed:
By far the largest and fastest refugee influx into Bangladesh was triggered in August 2017. Since then, an estimated 745,000 Rohingya have come to Cox’s Bazar. Now, these people have access to electricity.
2) Solar panels have helped improving standards of living:
In Cox’s Bazar, entire camps do not have any electricity. IHH’s solar panels project in refugee camps around Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh have helped improve refugees' standards of living as a whole. Camps have become more secure and electricity has allowed refugees to engage in activities that allow for cash generation.
How the project meets the GCR Objectives
Objective 1: Ease the pressures on host countries
Our solar panel projects have helped to reduce the enormous pressure which host communities have, particularly that of the host government. We are providing solar panels to the refugees within the government fixed camp area. Since it is hard for the government of Bangladesh to supply electricity to over one million refugees, our solar panels project is helping the government in easing the pressure.
Objective 2: Enhance refugee self-reliance
Electricity has allowed Rohingya refugees to engage in creative and constructive work. The Solar panels project has helped to improve law and order in the region, making camps more secure. This has further enabled refugees to concentrate more in money-generating activities and in not passing their evenings and nights as idle. Hence, the project is making more refugees self-reliant and confident.
Objective 3: Expand access to third-country solutions
Objective 4: Support conditions in countries of origin for return in safety and dignity
Through our solar panels installation project, we are helping the refugee communities to lead a better life and hence, indirectly helping third countries in finding and expanding solutions and for return in safety and dignity, which are essential to resolve the Rohingya crisis.