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The offices and inboxes of humanitarian practitioners are packed with guidelines, standards, manuals and case studies. Many are directed at those delivering humanitarian programmes and responses, the very people who most often struggle to work out which guidance is most relevant and to find the time to read it. For those developing such materials, dissemination of them is a constant challenge.

In 2018, Oxfam and the University of Loughborough, with funding from the HIF, carried out research on how and whether lighting affects risks of gender-based violence (GBV) in refugee camps in Nigeria, Iraq and Uganda.

The research results, captured in the Shining a Light report, have already been shared with other agencies including Mercy Corps and Women’s Refugee Commission, who were researching Inclusive Energy Access in Emergencies and using the findings of the lighting research to inform some of their work. The project also developed a global handbook and an online course, to ensure more people, especially practitioners, could access the lighting guidance and tools.

With additional HIF funding, Oxfam was able to share further learning by supplementing the original materials with a new video available in English, French and Spanish , a Technical Brief for Lighting and a series of Tip Sheets on Public Lighting, Gender and Safety’; Individual and Household Lighting; Practical Tools for Community Lighting; and a handy Lighting Checklist.

About the Inclusive Energy training project

The Inclusive Energy training was developed by Mercy Corps and the Women’s Refugee Commission as part of the EEMRG program (Energy in Emergencies: Reducing Risks of Gender-based Violence), a two-year programme funded by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration. While the Inclusive Energy project has a wider remit than the lighting research work, the approach and priorities are similar, with a focus on equitable access to all forms of energy, and specifically on addressing risks of GBV for women and girls in relation to energy.

The training project was developed collaboratively with leading INGOs – including Oxfam – and practitioners. Its aim is to equip humanitarians with the knowledge, approaches, and tools needed to support inclusive energy access interventions. The course is meant for humanitarian practitioners responsible for the design or implementation of energy access programs. It also targets humanitarians who can proactively leverage energy access to enhance the inclusivity, safety, and effectiveness of their programmes.

Learnings from global research and studies can tangibly improve the quality of humanitarian work – especially of new approaches that aim to reduce the risks of GBV and ensure inclusion and community participation.

Humanitarian organisations need to work together and build on each other’s work if they are to help close the gaps between global research, guidance and its usage by the field staff for whom it’s meant. Finding synergies and connections between different projects and initiatives can help more people access relevant resources easily and efficiently, and create more impact.

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