Alianza Shire kicks off a project in Dollo Ado refugee camps, on the Ethiopian border with Somalia

Following the interruption of the project in the Tigray region, due to the outbreak of armed conflict, Alianza Shire is beginning a new project in the refugee camps and host communities of Dollo Ado, on the border with Somalia.

The main goal is to improve living conditions in refugee camps and in their host communities, strengthening local capacities, creating income-generating opportunities and improving access to basic services through the cross-cutting impacts of energy.

The decision to transfer the project to these camps was made in consultation with other actors involved in the project, such as the European Union and UNHCR.

The selection criteria for the refugee camps involved finding a stable zone in terms of security, where our local partner ZOA could easily export the expertise already acquired in the Shire refugee camps.

The Dollo Ado refugee camps and their host communities met the requirements, where there have been no significant conflicts in recent years and where ZOA has experience with other projects in the area.

Furthermore, the Dollo Ado area is ideal for implementing electricity access initiatives since, on the one hand, energy projects have previously been carried out there, and on the other hand, it is an area where electricity service is not yet connected to the national grid, nor will it be in the short or medium term. The closest grid connection point is 200 km away, and does not fit into the existing conventional electrification plans.

Objectives of the new project

The two main objectives of Alianza Shire in this new project are as follows:

  1. Improve access to basic services in refugee camps through the supply of sustainable energy in community services, as well as the installation of public lighting. To do this, we will collaborate with local entities to assess energy needs and thus be able to design a solution that is both technologically and organisationally appropriate.
  2. Create income-generating opportunities and improve living conditions for the refugee population and host communities through training, creating businesses based on solar power technology and the distribution of Solar Home Systems (SHS), and promoting employment and economic development.

Within this second objective, we aim to promote the creation of companies among the refugee population and host communities, based on photovoltaic technology and the distribution of solar home systems, which will create opportunities for income generation and livelihoods.

In this project, we will also include a line of work based on the systematisation and dissemination of the main experiences and lessons learned during the project, to make them available to the international humanitarian community.

Consequences of the conflict in Tigray

At the beginning of November 2020, political tensions between the Federal Government of Ethiopia and the Regional Government of Tigray led to an armed conflict that has affected access to basic services, such as electricity, fuel, communications and transportation, in addition to loss of life.

After continuously monitoring the situation in Tigray together with ZOA, a partner organisation in the implementation of the project with a stable presence in the Shire region, and the United Nations Agency for Refugees (UNHCR), Alianza Shire has decided to halt operations in the area. At present, our partner UNHCR, together with other international agencies and international and local organisations, have developed an emergency response throughout the Tigray region, which includes the Shire camps.