IOM Leads ECHO-Funded Global Solar and Water Initiative in Africa

Kenya - The IOM Regional Office in Nairobi is coordinating a Global Solar and Water Initiative, currently funded by the European Commission Humanitarian Aid Office (ECHO), to mainstream the adoption of renewable energy (solar) in water projects across the relief sector.

An interagency technical working group has been established in Nairobi, with participating agencies including IOM, UNHCR, UNICEF, Save the Children, World Vision, OXFAM and Norwegian Refugee Council.

This initiative gives partners an opportunity to contribute to the global efforts within the global water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) cluster, towards a more effective and sustainable use of natural resources that link humanitarian responses to sustainable development, particularly in cases of protracted displacement.

The solar-water initiative utilizes the photovoltaic technology that converts energy from sunlight directly into electricity, using large solar panels. The generated electricity is then used to pump water to homes.

Many camp setups today pump water through generators that consume large amounts of fuel with high recurrent costs. With the use of solar power, the initiative advocates for clean, cost effective energy to pump water to refugee and IDP camps, as well as to host communities.

The project partners are also in contact with humanitarian agencies, leading manufacturers in the field of solar energy and academia, to establish guidelines that will see effective and sustainable use of this technology in humanitarian responses.

“We need to set a standard operating procedure that will guide humanitarian actors’ work in powering water schemes with solar technology. This will allow us to compare solar based systems with other energy choices and make informed decisions,” said IOM Programme Manager, Alberto Llario.

This technology will be implemented in Africa and parts of Asia. Under the current initiative, IOM is partnering with OXFAM and NRC in the implementation. The rollout will begin in refugee and IDP camps in East and Horn of Africa.

For further information please contact Alberto Llario at the IOM Regional Office in Nairobi, Tel: +254 727 392 495, Email: