In observance of World Refugee Day, the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves has announced the upcoming launch of its new grant facility the Humanitarian Clean Cooking Fund (HCCF).  With support from the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad), HCCF will provide two grants of up to USD $250,000 each for the scale up of projects working to increase access to cleaner, more efficient fuels and cooking technology for crisis-affected people. The call for applications will be announced on June 28 (click here to sign up for updates).

The Need

Over 125 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance today – displaced from their homes by conflict, violence, and natural disasters. Much of the food provided by humanitarian agencies to these crisis-affected people must be cooked before it can be eaten. Yet efficient cookstoves and fuel are rarely provided, forcing people to cook over smoky, polluting fires using solid fuels such as charcoal, wood, and agricultural waste.

The Alliance’s Humanitarian Clean Cooking Fund will support the scale-up cooking solutions that have already proven successful in humanitarian settings, including efficient cooking technologies, alternative fuels, and innovative distribution methods to make options more accessible to crisis-affected people. These solutions are critical to to improving health, protecting the environment, and promoting women’s empowerment, but a lack of dedicated and sustained funding prevents these vital programs from scaling up over the long term. Despite its relevance to food security, protection, health, and other areas, energy access for cooking (as well as heating, lighting, and powering) currently holds no formal role in the UN cluster system for the coordination of humanitarian aid.

Changing the Paradigm

Despite challenges, the role of energy access in humanitarian aid is poised for change. UN Secretary General and Alliance Leadership Council member António Guterres has stated that clean cooking “must play a central role in our work to ensure the realization of human needs and fundamental rights.” Modern and sustainable energy access for all has been included in Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 7, and an increasing number of private sector actors are already collaborating with aid organizations to bring modern energy solutions to refugee camps and IDP communities.

As co-chair of the Safe Access to Fuel and Energy (SAFE) Humanitarian Working Group, the Alliance is leading global efforts to mainstream energy access into humanitarian response through coordination, advocacy, technical assistance, capacity building, and other avenues – ensuring that displaced people are included in SDG 7. The Humanitarian Clean Cooking Fund aims to foster changes in program design and increase investment in alternative fuels and cooking technologies, which will save lives, reduce costs, and promote safety among humanitarian populations.