The CEO of IKEA Foundation visits the Dollo Ado camps
UNHCR, 10 Sep 2015
Ethiopia-15 September 2015 (UNHCR)-The Chief Executive Officer of the IKEA Foundation, Mr. Per Heggenes, last week visited the five Dollo Ado refugee camps as part of a periodic programme review of different projects funded by the IKEA Foundation. Accompanied by UNHCR Representative Clementine Nkweta-Salami and ARRA Deputy Director Ayalew Aweke, Mr. Heggenes toured different projects in the five camps including farms, a hybrid power system and livelihood activities. The CEO interacted with refugee leaders, beneficiaries of different projects as well as with representatives of humanitarian agencies to learn more about the projects and to take stock of the achievements recorded and the challenges encountered.
Together with the UNHCR Representative and with the Deputy Director of ARRA, Mr. Heggenes officially launched the diesel/solar hybrid water system which comprises 300 parallel solar panels with a combined capacity of 48 kW. The system helps pump water from the river to a treatment center and then powers the pumping of 400,000 liters of treated water from the plant to Kobe camp.
The hybrid system pumps 50% of the camp’s water needs, thereby reducing operational costs, mainly diesel, by 50%. The need to scale up this innovative system has been highlighted as it reduces high operational and maintenance costs and increases carbon credit ratings.
The IKEA Foundation CEO showed a particular interest in a livelihoods project in Melkadida camp that is involved in furniture making, including beds, chairs and tables. The small business, owned and managed by a group of four refugees, benefited from ETB 60,000 cash grant from the IKEA Foundation. Abdullahi Ali, chairman of the group, known as ‘Shakira Group’ told the delegation that business has been brisk lately and they have to work hard to meet the ever-growing demand for beds in particular. “We are capable of producing one bed per hour and the retail price per bed is ETB 300”, he said. Only that morning, Abdulahi reported receiving an order for 40 beds.