The Ashden Awards are a UK-based charity working to increase the use of local sustainable energy worldwide. They find, reward and publicise the work of leading sustainable energy programmes working across the developing world and in the UK.
The Gaia Association in Ethiopia is transforming the lives of refugees by distributing stoves that use ethanol fuel, a by-product of the sugar industry. The area around the Kebribiyah camp, home to 17,000 Somalian refugees, has suffered severe deforestation and women were always in danger of attack when they went out to collect fuel wood. The Dometic CleanCook stoves are healthier and more efficient – and families can avoid using wood altogether. Now Ethiopian manufacturers are producing the stoves locally.
Sarah Butler-Sloss, founder and chair of the Ashden Awards said: “Our judges were enormously impressed with the enthusiasm for the stoves among refugee women. Not only did the stoves prevent wood-collection, with its associated dangers and environmental impacts, they were also much safer, quicker and more pleasant to use, in particular avoiding the risk of respiratory and eye diseases from smoke inhalation.”
Accepting the Ashden Award on behalf of Gaia Association, Milkyas Debebe said: “The Ethiopian people, especially women and children and our growing refugee population, suffer increasingly from poor energy choices and energy poverty. Gaia is pioneering ethanol stoves and fuel, using Ethiopia’s natural resources. With support from the UNHCR and the Ethiopian government we are helping both Ethiopians and refugees. This Award will help us to reach more people in need.”
For more information: