“Without being able to access a source of fuel or energy to heat and cook food, alimentary security can’t exist”, according to the Office of the United Nations for Humanitarian Affairs. They continue to explain that the precious relationship between food and energy becomes more significant during situations of crises where thousands of people are forced to leave their homes due to conflicts, violence, disasters and search for shelter and protection elsewhere.
The need to cook and preserve food, so as to make it safe, healthy and nutritious, is particularly evident in refugee camps and informal settlements where, according to the latest data of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the number of displaced people is increasing (from the second half of 2014 the UNHCR assisted 46,3 million people, or 3,4 million more than at the end of 2013).
In this kind of situation, the proper use of food is one of the main pillars to achieve food security and a decent standard of living. To achieve this goal, energy is required. The use of appropriate technologies is the key to achieve effective and sustainable use of food.
To meet this need, COOPI, together with the Polytechnic of Milan Foundation and the Polytechnic of Milan itself, have developed the project SET4food (Sustainable Energy Technologies for Food Utilization). It aims to identify efficient and sustainable energy solutions for the correct use of food in refugee camps and other informal settlements.
The project, funded by the European Commission (General Directorate for Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection), aims to strengthen the capacity of humanitarian operators’ response in the implementation and management of technologies that ensure the availability of energy for preparing, cooking and preserving food in refugee camps in the world.
As part of the project, a decision-support system was developed to identify the most appropriate housing-based technologies (DDS) and guidelines on energy technologies for food use were created.
Pilot projects in four different countries (Central African Republic, Haiti, Somalia and Lebanon) are testing the DDS and other innovative solutions. A series of workshops and public meetings will allow us to share the results with the humanitarian sector. The next workshop is held in Pavia from 4 to 5 June.
Finally, very soon an “open access” e-learning platform will be available in English, French and Spanish, with the aim of training operators of the sector about the use of DDS, and more generally to improve their knowledge of energy technologies for food use.
The project is presented on the 20th of July at EXPO at Cascina Triulza, but already on the 12th of June, at the Urban Center, SET4Food will be recounted to the public as one of the most significant examples in the area of food security.
All materials are available on www.set4food.org
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