Simeneh Gebeyehu
Assistant WaSH Officer
Duty Station: Assossa, Ethiopia

I’m addressing the challenge of how to keep the refugees’ camp clean, offer refugees access to domestic energy, and benefit refugees by selling waste as a value product.

Domestic energy and the lack of refugee self-reliance are the two most outstanding challenges that UNHCR Assosa operations have faced in the last decade. No viable option has existed that could be adopted or implemented in order to mitigate these problems. At the same time, at UNHCR Assosa operation, solid waste and human waste are very common happenings in the camp, like at other operations. After disposing of the waste, no further recycling attempt has been done. As a dedicated UNHCR WaSH Energy and Environment Expert, it is my responsibility and job to invest my time to critically think and find out any reliable and sustainable solution to solve the sanitation, domestic energy, and livelihood challenges that our operation frequently and consistently faces.

I want to find a solution to this challenge because a solution can improve the lives of refugees in the camp, ensure the protection of rights of refugees, and improve the self-reliance of refugees.

Currently, UNHCR Assossa must look for solutions to a) keep the refugee camp clean and avoid disease transmission due to poor sanitation, b) protect the environment by reducing the pressure on the forest for firewood cutting purposes, and c) increase the livelihood of the refugees through livelihood programs. The solution we work toward will solve these existing problems that are faced daily in the camp. At the same time, refugees will enjoy their rights after meeting the basic needs (food, WaSH, domestic energy, livelihood, and so forth).