Empowering Displaced People and Communities: A Call to Action

World Humanitarian Day & World Refugee Day 2021

Patrick Ojok was the first BrightLife customer in Kiryandongo settlement in Uganda as a result of the USAID/Power Africa De-Risking PAYGO Solar Home System project
Patrick Ojok was the first BrightLife customer in Kiryandongo settlement in Uganda as a result of the USAID/Power Africa De-Risking PAYGO Solar Home System project. Photo Credit: BrightLife

What we have done so far

This year, our SCC Innovation Fund (SCCIF) awarded grants to four companies that will use renewable energy technologies to increase access to electricity in refugee-hosting areas of Kenya and Uganda. Supported by Power Africa, the awardees will implement activities that benefit nearly 3,500 displaced and host community households with improved energy and business opportunities, from solar-powered poultry businesses to e-bikes and solar-powered cargo tricycles.

Solar power for stimulating local enterprise in Arua and Lamwo settlements in Uganda. Photo Credit: EleQtra

What we can all do now

Since our founding in 2018, the SCC has learned several valuable lessons related to funding service delivery in displaced communities:

  • Partnership with the private sector can increase efficiency: There is strong recognition of the role that private companies can play in designing, piloting, implementing and scaling technology solutions. As noted by SCC member Shell’s Enter Energy initiative, private companies are primed to step in to provide access to a wider range of energy services than the traditional humanitarian sector, offer speed and innovation in adapting business models for rural communities, and reach sustainable service delivery with less reliance on subsidies. As a result, there is strong interest from NGOs, the public and other humanitarian agencies to partner with the private sector partners to achieve these goals.
  • Market intelligence can boost business: A 2018 report by the IFC, confirmed anecdotally by SCC members, found that a majority of companies surveyed across multiple sectors wanted to increase their business with refugees and host communities but were held back by a lack of market intelligence. To fill this gap, the SCC has produced market profiles for multiple settlements and a digital “heatmap” of member activities and assets. We are also responding to member requests for tools like geospatial mapping of technology coverage, inventories of ongoing interventions and active entities, and analysis of market dynamics including customer profiles in settlements and host communities. Through the SCCIF, matchmaking and knowledge generation activities, the SCC is providing these services to our members and the larger community.
OffGridBox solar PV system powering productive use activities in Ikungi, Ikungi District, Tanzania. Photo Credit: OffGridBox
  • Implementers: Apply to future rounds of the SCCIF to take advantage of a unique funding vehicle that can energize your expertise in displacement settings. We are always looking to identify and engage innovative service providers in the energy, digital tools and connectivity sectors. We can connect you with more than 65 SCC members to share best practices, and partner based on similar interests or needs for expertise.

A U.S. Government-led partnership that seeks to add 30,000 MW and 60 million electricity connections in sub-Saharan Africa by 2030 > https://bit.ly/2yPx3lJ