Safe access to cooking fuel is critical for the most vulnerable in humanitarian, transition and development settings. Without it, people face risks to their health, safety and well-being. A survey conducted in 17 countries where the World Food Programme (WFP) operates confirmed that beneficiaries often resort to negative coping mechanisms to cook WFP food. To collect firewood women may have to venture into dangerous environments in which they risk gender-based violence, including rape. To save fuel, beneficiaries may undercook food or skip meals. To buy firewood, they may sell part of their rations.
At the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference in December 2009, WFP committed to: ‘work with its partners to make safe access to firewood and alternative energy a reality for half of its displaced beneficiary population through the Safe Access to Firewood and alternative Energy (SAFE) initiative, by targeting WFP beneficiary households and WFP-assisted schools’.
This handbook will guide current and future WFP programming. It will help professionals understand the broader impacts of limited access to cooking fuel and how SAFE can mitigate them.
Lack of safe access to fuel in humanitarian, transition and development settings has far-reaching consequences, influencing:food assistance outcomes; long-term food security; beneficiaries’ safety, dignity, health and livelihoods; women’s vulnerability to gender-based violence; and the environment.
The handbook also guides the implementation of the SAFE initiative as part of WFP’s commitment to school meals programmes where safe access to cooking fuel and environmental degradation can be an issue. This commitment is grounded in the joint collaboration of UNICEF and WFP on the Essential Package of twelve integrated interventions, including the promotion and provision of improved stoves, to enhance the efficacy of school meals programmes.
This handbook was prepared by the Humanitarian Policy and Transitions Service. It is the result of wide consultation with key stakeholders includingUN Agencies, NGOs,technical partners, and WFP staff at Headquarters and in the field.