UAE: Beyond2020 initiative lights up world's largest refugee camp in Bangladesh

Abu Dhabi - As part of initiative, 240 solar home systems and 640 solar lamps installed at Kutupalong Rohingya refugee camp

By Ashwani Kumar

Published: Sat 5 Jun 2021, 2:41 PM

Beyond2020 – the Zayed Sustainability Prize’s humanitarian initiative – has transformed the lives of 4,500 people at the world’s largest refugee camp in Bangladesh through solar lighting solutions.

As part of the initiative, 240 solar home systems and 640 solar lamps have been installed at Kutupalong Rohingya refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar.

It was in March that Prize’s 20by2020 initiative was rebranded to Beyond2020, establishing it as a flagship platform for continuous global outreach. The initiative, now in its second phase, is done in partnership with various local and international organisations, and since its launch in December 2019, has reached 9 countries so far.

For this particular project, Electricians Without Borders, a leading France-based non-profit organisation, and the Prize 2020 winner under the ‘energy’ category, were tasked with installing the technology on behalf of Beyond2020.

Dr Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, UAE Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology and Director General of the Zayed Sustainability Prize said: “Empowering vulnerable communities and advancing global progress towards the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) remain the guiding principles of the Beyond2020 initiative. Beyond2020 and its partners are glad to play a part in helping the community in need in Bangladesh and supporting the efforts of humanitarian non-profits to relieve any hardships suffered by the community.”

Al Jaber added, “We are pleased with the introduction of these vital lighting solutions by Beyond2020, bringing greater ease to the daily lives of the community and enhancing security while building a more supportive environment for expanded community activities. We will continue to expand the reach and accessibility of the Zayed Sustainability Prize’s winners’ and finalists’ innovative sustainable solutions to even wider communities in the region and globally.”

Johannes van der Klaauw, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees’ (UNHCR) Representative in Bangladesh said the initiative is breaking new ground in giving access to sustainable energy solutions.

“In Bangladesh, this generous donation will make a real positive difference in the lives of vulnerable Rohingya refugees. Light at night improves security and has important positive social impacts in the community, particularly for people living with disabilities and for women and young girls. The use of sustainable technology, such as the expanded use of renewable energy solutions, is a key priority for UNHCR in Bangladesh.”

Apart from installing this energy project, Electricians Without Borders also trained residents in equipment maintenance for their respective households. The Beyond2020 deployment in Bangladesh targets all refugees, with a focus on people with disabilities, pregnant women, and young girls.

Photo: YouTube
Photo: YouTube

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