Sustainability in Shelters
In Roraima, UNHCR, with the support of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), has implemented activities of a pioneering strategy called “Greening the Shelters”. The introduction of Aquaponics and Biodigester systems is part of this initiative, which aims to improve living conditions of those sheltered. With the support of Fraternity Without Borders (FSF), the aquaponics system was set up in the Emergency Space 13 de Setembro, whereas the Biodigester system is on the way to start operating at the São Vicente 2 shelter. While piloting both projects, it would be possible to better understand how these systems adapt to the local climate and what their levels of efficiency would be; based on this, expansions can be implemented next year. Aquaponics is a system that reuses reclaimed water, integrating aquaculture with plant production source, using the fertilizers produced by the fish as fertilizers for the plants. This sustainable technology provides complementary food (herbs, fruits and vegetables) to households while allowing high vegetable gardens maintained with the hydroponic water. Whilst, the Biodigester project is a low-cost technology that generates renewable energy from waste and leftovers from the community, producing cooking gas and biofertilizer for plants. It also has the potential to reduce organic disposal in the shelters, as these residuals will be used for composting in the vegetable gardens. In the future, it will provide cooking gas for sheltered community, strengthening their alternatives for food security and nutrition. In both projects, UNHCR’s partner FSF already conducted a 2-day training session in each of the shelters (São Vicente 2 and 13 de Setembro) open to all the sheltered community. This training included environmental education and how such technologies work, also providing the managing committees – comprised of young Venezuelans (from 13 to 18 years old) better tools to make the most out of these initiatives. Hence, these initiatives promote environmental awareness and empowerment of the young community. It is part of UNHCR’s strategy to implement green and innovative technologies and, with them improve the living conditions of refugees and migrants.