Kebribeyah Refugee Camp: Indoor Air Pollution Monitoring Summary

Indoor Air Pollution Monitoring Summary:The Gaia Association CleanCook Stove Tests
in the Kebribeyah Refugee Camp,Somali Regional State, Ethiopia
Center for Entrepreneurship in International Health and Development, School of Public Health, University of California-Berkeley and The Gaia Association 07 March 2007

Purpose of Study

Under the guidance of the Center for Entrepreneurship in International Health and Development (CEIHD), Gaia Association has performed indoor air pollution (IAP) tests for the past year in homes in Addis Ababa and refugee camps throughout Ethiopia. IAP in refugee communities is a major concern, and the data collected from this study will aid in the mitigation of the negative effects of indoor smoke. CEIHD is assisting with the air quality measurements and equipment in pilot study homes and will use data generated by this study.

Background of Gaia Association and This Study

Gaia Association is an Ethiopian NGO formed one year ago to further the aims of Project Gaia Research Studies, which has as its purpose to demonstrate the use of alcohol fuels (ethanol and methanol) for household and refugee use in Ethiopia. The association seeks to replace existing traditional fuels such as firewood, kerosene, charcoal, and dung that have been shown to be harmful to human health. The vehicle for this change is the CleanCook stove by Dometic AB, which is fueled by ethanol.

For the past year, Gaia has been collaborating with UNHCR (The United Nations High Commission for Refugees) and ARRA (Administration of Refugee and Returnee Affairs) to distribute the CleanCook stove to the Kebribeyah refugee camp, which is located in the eastern Somali Regional State. Since the project’s inception 800+ stoves (households) along with 10 liters (a 10 day supply) of ethanol have been distributed to each participating household. In the future, the program will expand to include all homes inside the camp. In order to ensure a sustainable fuel supply, an ethanol storage facility has been built at Kebribeyah. The storage facility can hold up to 16,000 liters of ethanol and the association has also secured a tanker to transport the ethanol from FINCHAA (an ethanol distillery) to Kebribeyah.

Kebribeyah currently accommodates over 16,000 refugees. The camp conditions and construction of the refugees’ structures contribute to high levels of IAP. Entrances to homes are the only access to fresh air, and most homes/cooking areas are poorly ventilated. Predominant use of solid biomass cooking stoves indoors and the lack of ventilation results in high levels of indoor air pollution, such as carbon monoxide (CO) and particulate matter of aerodynamic diameter less than or equal to 2.5 microns (PM2.5). Use of incense and kerosene for lighting also add to high levels of CO and PM2.5 in the indoor air. The close proximity of the homes contributes to transference of PM and CO from one house to another. The dry, arid, and windy climate of the eastern region also plays a part in the levels of outdoor air pollution.

The project provided an opportunity for the participants and residents of the camp to gain firsthand knowledge about IAP and to learn that it is a major human health concern. Through the assistance of interpreters, several issues were addressed regarding the study and the subject of IAP. The participants were extremely concerned about how IAP affected their lives, and they expressed varied health concerns regarding the issue. The information collected at Kebribeyah provided evidence not only to our team, but also most importantly to the stakeholders, that alternative fuels and technologies have their place in refugee communities. At the completion of the study, the participants knew that the equipment placed in their homes would contribute to data that in the future would aid them and their living conditions. By conducting the study, we gave legitimacy to the stakeholders’ concerns that IAP has negatively impacted their health and livelihoods. The stakeholders reported the positive effects of the CleanCook and how it mitigated the negative effects of IAP.

Special Conditions of the Camp

The Kebribeyah refugee camp offers an exceptional testing environment, because the homes are uniform through out the community. All are characterized by their lack of good ventilation. Homes and cooking shelters alike have doors covered by cloth flaps and no windows.

Due to the political instability in the region, it was imperative for the Gaia Association IAP team to leave the camp by 17:00 everyday.

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