Solar cooperative brings light and development to refugees in Ethiopia

The nearest national electric grid to Ethiopia’s Melkadida Refugee Camp is more than 200 kilometres away. Yet there is power. There is light.And there is opportunity. It all started with a visionary partnership between the private sector, host communities and refugees. 

 IKEA Foundation had started a partnership with UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, two years before, and was beginning a transformative approach in the area focusing on livelihood programmes to help foster socio-economic inclusion, sustainable livelihoods and self-reliance. 

IKEA Foundation’s investment and the cooperative’s hard work are paying off: electricity from the solar mini grid has already reached approximately 31,230 refugee and host community households, helping create dozens of businesses that benefit the entire population. Additionally, two 30-kilowatt solar pumps are bringing water from a nearby river to irrigate 45 hectares of land, helping local farmers improve both crops and food security for families in the Melkadida area.