Firewood Consumption in Refugee camps, still on a High Quota
From the current field assessment by UNHCR, and energy experts from around African continent and environmental protection bodies spearheaded by FSDS officials in Mugombwa Congolese refugee camp, it was realized that most of refugees depend on woodland while cooking and many others are using them as their primary source of energy to lighten their house during the night. The indications of the assessment revealed that each household needs an amount of about 7kg of dry firewood for their daily cooking activities.
According to FSDS, this quantity of firewood is high and caution need to be taken for more reduction. The 7kg weight of firewood daily consumption need per household may even exceed if one does not use saving cooking stoves.
“Saving cooking stove helps us to save firewood, but also it depends on the kind food you want to cook. So, once you cook firm food like beans, you cannot expect more saving and all these firewood will be exhausted a day.” A visited refugee told the training participants during their field trip in Mugombwa Camp on Wednesday 24, August 2016. The training aimed at capacity building to improve energy services among refugees in line with creation of a peaceful coexistence environment.
FSDS vows the high consumption of woodland puts our environment on high risks and contributes to climate change. “The more firewood are used, the more deforest and climate change we will encounter” Warned Mr. Patrice NSENGIYUMVA, FSDS Country Director.
Wet firewood, a challenge for refugees in Mugombwa
Refugees in Mugombwa refugee camp claimed over wet wood given are not facilitating them for fuel. In this case, there subjected to the use of much firewood and contribute to air-pollution by gas emission from wet wood burning.
The measurements taken did not limit to the quantity of daily firewood consumption, but the research also measured to evaluate on how wet are the distributed firewood. And this was pointed among the key factors highlighted to contribute to the high firewood consumption. Firewood being used in Mugombwa camp, were found between 15 and 18 wet.
FSDS whose energy service sector and environmental protection in and around refugee camps, plans to cut down firewood consumption among refugees by creating home grown solution initiatives with a pilot project of waste management and valorization.
Usually, waste collected from refugee camps were being thrown away, or given to certain host community individuals for nothing and sometimes with so many expenses for transportation to the recycle destination. Otherwise this can be viewed as a loss for refugees and another task for implementing partners, since they can be treated and used for organic manure and briquettes fabrication to replace firewood used.
Woodlands consumption in Rwanda is not alarming high only among refugees community, but it seems like a global issue for the country. Protection of environment especially forests is a key responsibility for everybody and reducing firewood consumption would be a cure-all, so let us secure them and plant more for sustainable development within a peaceful coexistence environment.