Power to Change

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Power to Change © Photography Edoardo Santangelo

Photo Miners produced and hosted this exhibition curated by Humanitarian Engineering and Energy for Displacement (HEED) project, recording their work with communities in Rwanda and Nepal. Photographed by Edoardo Santangelo. Photo Miners thank Coventry University, the Engineering and Physical Science Research Council (EPSRC) and Arts Council England for funding that made the digital exhibition possible.

The 'Human Stories' of those impacted by the HEED project's energy interventions on communities in refugee camps.

Refugees and others displaced by conflict, political instability, human rights abuse and environmental disasters are further rendered vulnerable by poverty and inequality of access to resources to support themselves and their families. Humanitarian efforts often focus on addressing immediate needs relating to food, health care and shelter to the neglect of longer-term issues such as energy. This lack of access to safe and sustainable energy undermines the quality of life of refugees and others who are displaced, limiting their life chances and opportunities for self-reliance.

Funded by the UK’s Engineering and Physical Science Research Council (EPSRC), the Humanitarian Engineering and Energy for Displacement (HEED) seeks to understand the energy needs and aspirations of forcibly displaced people to increase access to safe, sustainable and affordable energy services.

In 2019 HEED commissioned the humanitarian photographer Edoardo Santangelo to document the impact of the HEED project’s energy interventions on communities in the refugee camps of Kigeme, Nyabiheke, and Gihembe in Rwanda and with a displaced community in Khalte, Nepal.

The ‘Human Stories’ depicted through Edoardo’s images show how people live, work and socialise in the camp and the way sustainable energy systems and structures can promote greater gender equity, autonomy and dignity for all people living in refugee camps.

Led by an interdisciplinary team from Coventry University, in partnership with the international development charity, Practical Action, and Scene Connect, an ICT social enterprise, HEED provides crucial guidance on innovative approaches towards new energy technologies, including fuel-efficient cookers, renewable sustainable fuels, and solar-powered lighting, to build the resilience of refugee communities.

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