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Beyond firewood: fuel alternatives and protection strategies for displaced women and girls

This document presents the findings of desk reviews looking into fuel provision, collection and physical protection strategies in various IDP and refugee situations worldwide and conducted site visits in Darfur, Sudan and in the Bhutanese refugee camps in eastern Nepal.

The paper assesses alternative fuel options, firewood collection techniques and other protection strategies, appropriate to the local context and in all phases of an emergency. Findings include:

  • direct provision of fuel can eliminate the need for women and girls to leave the camps in search of firewood
  • the patrolling of firewood collection routes by peacekeepers, national or international security forces, police or human rights monitors can be beneficial
  • the promotion of fuel efficiency can reduce both the frequency and amount of firewood collection

Recommendations include

  • the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), UNHCR or another lead agency should designate a single UN agency or nongovernmental organization (NGO) to be responsible for coordination of all fuel-related initiatives in refugee and IDP settings
  • gender based violence (GBV) lead agencies should develop a coordinated, comprehensive data collection system for reporting and tracking incidences of GBV in individual displacement situations
  • income generation activities should be an integral part of any fuel strategy