Bobbie Baker
Shelter Officer
Duty Station: Zahle, Lebanon

During my Fellowship year I plan to undertake a detailed needs assessment and feasibility study to understand how pressures on Lebanese infrastructure can be reduced through the local design and production of a bio-gas digester unit.

This will be developed hand-in-hand with selected refugee communities in both a rural and an urban context.

This is a problem because the ongoing armed conflict in Syria has resulted in a dramatic influx of refugees into neighbouring Lebanon, with 1.18 million refugees registered and approximately 500,000 awaiting registration (to be confirmed). This equates to approximately 40% of Lebanon’s population. To date, and in line with the Government of Lebanon’s requirements, no formal settlements have been established. Refugees therefore typically reside in rented accommodation (urban areas) and temporary shelters in informal settlements (rural areas).

The refugee influx has created a strain on Lebanese infrastructure with regards to solid waste management, environmental conservation, and electricity demand. This in turn is creating social conflict between host communities and their refugee populations. It is therefore proposed to assess the need for, design, and implement small scale bio-gas digester units to meet (or partially meet) the solid waste and energy demands of refugee households.

The objectives of this project are to:

  • Reduce the strain on existing Lebanese waste management, and therefore reduce conflicts between host and refugee communities;
  • Improve the waste management practices of refugee communities and therefore improve associated health impacts and the environmental footprint;
  • Establish energy services for refugees in the form of gas production for heating, cooking, and electricity production;
  • Ensure that residues/ byproducts created from the anaerobic/ fermentation process are complementary to local processes (e.g. agriculture), thus creating a waste-to-value chain;
  • Provide livelihood opportunities to refugees and host communities through creating a local supply chain demand for bio-gas digester inputs, outputs, and bio-gas digesters.