There is growing concern about the extent and ways in which the provision of humanitarian support to refugees and other displaced populations can serve to create and reinforce dependency, reducing people’s ability to support themselves and their families and limiting opportunities for integration into local economic, social and political structures. These concerns are amplified in situations where there displacement becomes protracted, in some cases lasting upwards of 20 years.
Drawing on existing research assessing the problems of dependency and marginalisation associated with refugee camps, this theme considers the matrix of power between energy interventions, energy suppliers and displaced communities. We will examine the extent to which intersection and interdependency between infrastructures, socio-economic, environmental and political factors disenfranchise refugees’ interaction and ownership of energy, addressing ways in which alternative narratives around energy can promote greater equity, autonomy and dignity.
How can energy provision for displaced populations embed self-determination and self-reliance into existing and new structures? To what extent can/do energy projects in displaced communities accommodate consultation to encourage bottom-up solutions?
What are the societal and cultural barriers to engagement between refugees and sustainable energy services both within camps and in relation to the local/host community? What approaches and methodologies for the delivery of energy to displaced populations will enable refugees to move from recipients to participants in their own futures?