Sustainable energy for refugees and host communities

Programme description

Title: Access to sustainable energy for host communities and refugees in the region of Kigoma in northwestern Tanzania
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Tanzania
Lead executing agency: Vice President’s Office (VPO)
Overall term: 2017 to 2020


The region of Kigoma in northwestern Tanzania is the only region in the country where the relative poverty rate rose between 2001 and 2012. The high number of people fleeing from Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo has posed another challenge for the region since 2015. Approx. 360,000 people have sought refuge in the three refugee camps in the region, Nyarugusu, Nduta and Mtendeli, according to the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR). The intake capacity of all three refugee camps has now been far exceeded.

Tanzania is one of the countries with the highest levels of deforestation in the world. Experts estimate that around 403,000 hectares are cut down in the country each year. The majority of the population depends largely on wood as fuel for cooking and lighting. In the past decade, 90 per cent of the entire power supply was generated from biomass. Kigoma produces almost all of its energy from these raw materials.

The use of raw materials is rising along with population growth in the region, which mainly relates to increased firewood consumption for food preparation. The Tanzanian Government would like to counteract this trend. The relevant measures are to be environmentally sound and reduce pressure on forest areas. The burdens on the people on the ground are minimised and contribute to improving the relationships between the people seeking refuge and the residents in the surrounding communities.


The access to renewable energies for people seeking refuge and the surrounding communities in the region of Kigoma in northwestern Tanzania is improved.


On the one hand, the project is working on reducing the use of firewood resources by offering alternatives, while on the other, it is supporting neighbouring communities with reforestation measures, among other activities, and promoting actors in energy production chains in the region. This is to prevent conflicts between the people seeking refuge and the local population. 

With various measures, the project helps to stabilise the host regions and to integrate people seeking refuge. 

Disseminating improved stoves and cooking practices: The project aims to improve access to cooking stoves for households in refugee camps and neighbouring communities. The project also promotes an increase in the energy efficiency of stoves which have already been installed in the refugee camps.

Access to high-quality solar energy: The project seeks to improve access to certified solar energy products for households in the refugee camps and the surrounding communities. Based on the activities of the ‘Energising Development (EnDev) – Programme for Energy Access’ project in Tanzania, traders receive incentives when they prove that they have sold certified solar lamps in remote regions.

Reforestation measures: The project plans to increase the stock of trees in selected refugee camps and host communities and to plant new trees where appropriate. Awareness-raising measures are also planned on the topic of environmental conservation.

The project is a part of the special initiative ‘Tackling the root causes of displacement, reintegrating refugees’.