Niger: Access to Gas Project

Two thirds of the Diffa region where majority of refugees and displaced people live is affected by desertification. Wood is rare and thus a precious resource.

Partnering with the private sector, UNHCR has established a local, autonomous, sustainable and accessible gas provision system that enables the population living there to access cooking gas.

UNHCR supports the initial investment for the first 6 kg bottle of gas (costing US$40, equivalent to 80 per cent of the monthly income of a vulnerable household). In return, the private sector invests structurally in a region where they did not exist before. Five Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) provision stations (with 10,000 litres capacity), and 30 gas selling/refill points have been created across the region, where beneficiaries can exchange their gas bottles by themselves.

"There’s a big difference between wood and gas. Since we’ve been using gas, the money we used before to buy wood, we can now use it to buy food. This helps me and my niece to provide for the family.”

Hassana Amadou, a Nigerian refugee mother of eight, living in Niger

The benefits of this project are already showing.

Approximately 225,000 people (around 30 per cent of Diffa's population) is now using gas, compared to just one per cent a year ago. The intervention generates a combined total saving of US$200,000 in monthly income. The cost of the project will be fully reimbursed after just 15 months of gas use by the beneficiary households.

Gas protects the environment which is highly affected by desertification. It is estimated that 300 hectares of wooded land is saved on a monthly basis in the region thanks to the project, hence significantly reducing the difference between the supply and demand for wood in the whole region.

The gas refills cost much lower than the price of wood, which means people have more money to invest in other areas.

It also tackes issues of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV), as women and girls are spared having to gather firewood far from home, where they are vulnerable to assault. It also enables girls to spend more time in school rather than on domestic chores.