As the world’s largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide, the World Food Programme (WFP) is dedicated to achieving a Zero Hunger world by 2030. Under this vision, WFP’s Safe Access to Fuel and Energy (SAFE) initiative is working to enhance vulnerable communities’ access to cooking fuel and energy and ensure that the food assistance provided can be prepared and consumed as safely and nutritiously as possible. Since its inception in 2009, WFP’s SAFE Initiative supported over 6 million people in 18 countries including Burundi, Haiti, Kenya, Malawi, Senegal, Sudan, and Tanzania. WFP also currently serves as co-chair of the SAFE Humanitarian Working Group.
Limited access to cooking fuel has shown to negatively affect people’s food security, nutrition, health, livelihoods and natural environment, and poses serious challenges to achieving maximum impact on the ground. SAFE adopts a multi-faceted, tailored approach to meet the energy needs of displaced and crisis-affected people through sustainable energy- and livelihood related activities. SAFE interventions are context-sensitive and can include provision and production training of fuel-efficient stoves and alternative fuels, sustainable natural resource investments such as community afforestation and agroforestry initiatives, promotion of alternative non-wood dependent livelihood options, technical training, and gender-based violence sensitization. Engaging with the communities, each SAFE project is designed to specifically address the local cooking energy needs and challenges in pursuit of long-term resilience and food security.
WFP’s largest SAFE initiative was launched in the Darfur region of Sudan in 2009. In Sudan, access to energy is a critical humanitarian need for over 2.5 million people who have been affected by conflict. With a combination of measures--such as distribution and training on fuel-efficient stoves and fire-fuel briquettes, the promotion of income-generating and environmental activities, as well as other training and sensitization initiatives--SAFE in Sudan has effectively supported over 3.7 million people to date. The production and dissemination of fuel-efficient stoves and briquettes have led to firewood savings of approximately 40 percent per user, addressing households’ immediate cooking needs and allowing them to save money for other needs such as food and education. The reductions in firewood consumption have also been associated with lower frequencies of firewood collection trips, thus reducing women’s and children’s exposure to protection risks, and a reduction in deforestation of approximately 15,000 ha of forest land per year. The project has helped women become active participants in household decision-making and economic activities, strengthening their entrepreneurial capacities through trainings. It has also lowered, through the improved stoves, the exposure to toxic emissions from cooking over open fire.
With humanitarian needs at record high levels, WFP is committed to assisting 10 million people by 2020 through SAFE interventions under its 10x20 campaign. Partnerships and platforms such as the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves will be instrumental in achieving this goal to facilitate knowledge sharing, capacity building, development of complimentary programs, and awareness raising for SAFE on multiple levels. For further information on WFP’s SAFE programme and initiatives around the world, please visit our website and make sure to check out WFP’s just launched SAFE animated video.