Gaia Association has successfully secured over 365,000 liters of ethanol for its humanitarian program operating in refugee camps in Ethiopia. Thanks to support from the Biofuels Directorate, the ethanol has been approved for purchase by Gaia Association on behalf of UNHCR. The allocation of fuel was made by the Ministry of Mines, Petroleum and Natural Gas. This move demonstrates the Ministry’s support for and commitment to the humanitarian program and Ethiopia’s ethanol cooking sector more broadly.
Gaia Association serves as implementing partner to UNHCR and delivers energy services to over 60,000 refugees living in camps across Ethiopia. These services are largely focused on supply clean cooking fuels and stoves, but also include the provision of solar lighting. Ethiopia hosts one of the largest refugee populations in Sub-Saharan Africa; the total refugee population is estimated to be greater than 800,000 people.
The ethanol cooking program routinely receives positive reviews from refugees, who attribute decreased incidences of sexual and gender based violence and increased school enrollment to its existence. The ethanol program has additional benefits, including a reduction in household air pollution which yields positive health impacts. Moreover, the ready availability of a modern fuel reduces conflict between the refugee and host communities over scare firewood resources.