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13 January 2020

ELECTRICIENS SANS FRONTIÈRES (ELECTRICIANS WITHOUT BORDERS) WINS THE ZAYED SUSTAINABILITY PRIZE !

The French NGO Electriciens sans frontières is the happy winner of the Zayed Sustainability Prize, for the “Energy” category, with an award of USD $600 000. Our NGO was selected for its actions at the heart of the Rohingyas refugee’s camps in Bangladesh.

After being selected as one of the three finalists last October, among more than 2300 candidates, the international jury chaired by the former President of Iceland, Ólafur Grímsson, awarded the prize to our French NGO! An international recognition for our humanitarian action that reconciles energy needs in crisis situations and longer term solutions.

The prize has been awarded today by the crown prince and the President of Indonesia, during the opening ceremony of the Sustainable Development in Abu Dhabi.

A RESPONSE TO ROHINGYA REFUGEES' MOST PRESSING NEEDS

Persecuted in Burma, the Rohingyas had to flee their country: now there’s next to a million of them hosted in camps located close to Cox’s Bazar, in the southern part of Bangladesh. Electriciens sans frontières was tasked by Friendship, an NGO present on the field, to help it improve the alarming living conditions faced by the refugees inside the camps: high levels of insecurity at night around latrines or water points, especially for women and children. Numerous lightning equipment had been installed but were not working any more, due to the lack of local skills to maintain or repair them.

TRAINING IN THE FIELD OF RENEWABLE ENERGY AND ENTREPRENEURSHIP

Electriciens sans frontières designed a renewable energy training curricula, in close collaboration with the Schneider Electric group and the NGO Friendship, organised a training program to renewable electricity. Twenty Rohingyas and Bangladeshi apprentices were trained to install lightning or power supply equipment, as well as to maintain and repair with an immediate practical application. This traineeship is an opportunity for apprentices to acquire skills in the field of renewable energies, but also to improve their autonomy: apprentices were trained to the bases of entrepreneurship to be able to launch their own business.

A SUCCESSFUL EXAMPLE OF SOCIAL INNOVATION, EASY TO DEPLOY IN SIMILAR CAMP SETTINGS

Today, more than 8000 people benefit from improved living conditions, thanks to the project. Today, with still 600 000 Rohingyas remaining in Burma, the exodus towards Bangladesh could go on.

The needs for light and energy should increase, confirming the necessity of the empowerment of the population. Furthermore the approach adopted by Electriciens sans frontières in this project could be replicated in other refugees or displaced persons camps, wherever light must be kept on enduringly.

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