The five-year UNHCR campaign "Light Years Ahead" has raised US$1.4 million to improve the basic cooking and lighting needs of more than 450,000 refugees in seven African countries, improving security, health, and household and school productivity in refugee camps.
26 January 2012: The UN Human Rights Commission’s (UNHCR) five-year campaign called ‘Light Years Ahead’ is helping to provide lighting and fuel-efficient stoves in African refugee camps to support the livelihoods of the people and improve the safety of women and girls.
Since 2011, the campaign has raised US$1.4 million to improve the basic cooking and lighting needs of more than 450,000 refugees in seven African countries. It has distributed some 200 solar-powered street lights, almost 15,000 lanterns and more than 8,000 fuel-efficient stoves in camps in Chad, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, the Sudan and Uganda. The provision of street lamps, lanterns and cooking stoves has not only improved life in the camps, but has also made it safer, particularly for women and children. Women are also spending less time collecting wood for cooking and children are able to do schoolwork in the evenings, contributing to lower drop-out rates.
It is estimated that the new stoves use 80% less fuel and contribute to improving health by reducing smoke from fossil fuel-based lighting and cooking options. [UNHCR News]