host youth turn invasive plant to energy source for refugees

by Natalie Rzehak

from Organisation for Development

Our solution

To solve the severe cooking energy shortage in the refugee camp of Asayta, the Ethiopian NGO Organisation for Sustainable Development (OSD), has established a charcoal briquette production centre. Previously unemployed host community youth are now generating income, through selling highly demanded briquettes to refugees. OSD creates business links in the sector of energy, environmental protection and economic development to solve the multi-sectoral problems in the area.

What's the business opportunity for host and refugee community

Unemployed young people from the host community, provide access to affordable energy in the desert and deforested area of Afar, by producing carbonized briquettes from the aggressively invasive plant "Prosopis Juliflora". While addressing energy shortage of refugees, the solution also contributes to reclaim important farm land from the invasion of Prosopis near the Awash River, giving local farmers the chance to use the land for irrigated agriculture

How has it been implemented and what impact it had

The production and sells are run and managed through cooperatives. Those have their own structure such as chair, deputy chair and cashier, as well as a bank account for saving 30 % of their monthly income for business growths and maintenance. The cooperative has launched their work in February 2018, after facing few problems they are now providing fuel to 400 households in the refugee camp, while the 15 members of the cooperative have a steady income. The production, will be majorly scaled up.

Our Skills and Experience

OSD is working in Afar since 2013 in business oriented support for the communities. They have managed, against all odds , to realize productive use of the invasive species as well as the cleared land. OSD has also committed to UNHCR to implement environmental protection in the refugee camps and currently it has good track record in making green of the dry areas. Furthermore, OSD is successfully implementing home gardens for refugee households to diversify their nutrition.