Sarah Rosenberg-Jansen wins ISRF fellowship to study refugee energy use

Dr Sarah Rosenberg-Jansen has won an Independent Social Research Foundation fellowship to study how energy is used in refugee camps, which she will pursue as an affiliated fellow at ODID.

Worldwide there are now almost 80 million forcibly displaced people, the majority of whom struggle on a daily basis to access even basic resources. Humanitarian agencies, such as UNHCR, are responsible for ensuring refugees have energy. However, in reality, the practices of many humanitarian agencies do not provide sustainable solutions. As a result, the basic energy needs of millions of people are not being met by the humanitarian system. Rather, many refugees are forced to secure their own energy access.

Through the Independent Scholar Research Fellowship, Dr Rosenberg-Jansen will seek to demonstrate the impacts of this system, posing the question: how is energy valued and accessed in refugee camps?

She will use ethnographic methods to explore the political narratives and ethnographic uses of energy. Refugee voices, their energy needs and priorities will be placed at the heart of the enquiry, demonstrating how important electricity and clean cooking access are for vulnerable households.

The project will also work with policymakers at UNHCR and the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) to embed learning on how humanitarian actors support refugees in accessing sustainable energy.

Dr Rosenberg-Jansen completed her DPhil at ODID in 2020. She also spent 10 years working as a humanitarian, and the project builds on existing data collected during that time.