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Increasing resilience in emergencies, protracted crises and rehabilitation

FAO’s response to the cooking and heating needs of affected populations in emergencies, protracted crises and recovery contexts focuses on ensuing sustainable natural resources management and diversifying livelihood activities. It contributes to FAO’s Strategic Programme 5 on increasing the resilience of livelihoods to threats and crises.

Vulnerable populations, including refugees and Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) as well as the communities hosting them, are often exposed to a range of risks and challenges related to the collection, production and use of traditional biomass.

Safe Access to Fuel and Energy (SAFE)

FAO is a member of the inter-agency SAFE Humanitarian Working Group, along with WFP, UNHCR and the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves. FAO’s work on Safe Access to Fuel and Energy (SAFE) adopts a holistic, multi-faceted approach which takes into account the mutually reinforcing linkages between energy and environment, nutrition, health, gender, protection and livelihoods. This approach is comprised of three interlinked pillars: 

  1. Ensuring a sustainable supply of energy through mapping, assessing and ensuring a reliable and sustainable source of fuel;
  2. Addressing energy demand through fuel needs assessments, the promotion of fuel-saving cooking practices and fuel-efficient technologies for cooking and productive uses;
  3. Promoting social and economic benefits and diversified livelihoods, both from fuel-related and other livelihood activities, in order to build resilience.

Technical Handbook for Assessing Woodfuel Supply and Demand

This technical handbook is co-published by FAO and UNHCR and presents a methodology for assessing woodfuel supply and demand in displacement settings.

The methodology addresses important aspects of FAO’s efforts to build the resilience of livelihoods by providing guidance on how to map and assess the gap between the demand and supply of woodfuel for cooking inside camps, settlements and surrounding areas, supporting field-based actors and decision-makers on taking appropriate actions.

The SAFE Toolbox

The SAFE Toolbox is an Excel-based application, which supports the systematic collection and analysis of multidisciplinary data on energy in displacement settings. The SAFE Toolbox can be used by field-based actors for assessing, monitoring and planning energy-related interventions. The SAFE Toolbox builds upon the methodology presented in the Technical Handbook for Assessing Woodfuel Supply and Demand in Displacement Settings.

Download the SAFE Toolbox

Download the SAFE Toolbox - User Guide

These two products were developed in collaboration with FAO’s Forestry Division and the Emergency and Rehabilitation Division.

Case studies

South Sudan

As part of FAO’s Emergency Livelihood Response Programme, approximately 40,000 durable and portable fuel-efficient stoves were procured based on specific criteria of relevance to IDPs and over half have been distributed. FAO has ensured that women have access to comprehensive training on the use and maintenance of the stoves as well as awareness-raising on fuel-saving cooking practices and the benefits of stove use. Click here for more information.


Conflict over natural resources in the Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASALs) in Kenya is exacerbated by the demand for woodfuel and the increasing reliance on traditional charcoal production as an income-generating activity. Women who collect fuelwood are exposed to a number of challenges, including protection risks, which are increased by the degradation of natural resources.
FAO carried out a study on the fuel and energy-related challenges faced by women in the ASALs. FAO is also implementing a project in Kakuma, northwest Kenya, which links refugees with host communities. FAO is engaging with host communities to promote the sustainable production of charcoal using improved kilns that reduce impacts of charcoal production on the environment. Sustainably produced charcoal will be sold to refugees in the Kakuma camp through a voucher scheme and both refugees and host populations will benefit from locally produced fuel-efficient stoves that reduce the demand for fuelwood.
Click here to read more.