French NGO Électriciens sans frontières (Electricians without borders) has won the Zayed Sustainability Prize for Energy for its work in the Rohingya refugee camps in southern Bangladesh.

In Abu Dhabi, an international jury headed by former President of Iceland Ólafur Grímsson chose the NGO from among 2,300 candidates and awarded it with the 600,000-dollar-prize. Its ‘Light for the Rohingyas’ project consisted of teaching renewable energy and entrepreneurship to both Rohingya refugees and Bangladeshi citizens.

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During the training programme, apprentices were taught how to install and maintain power and lighting supplies and trained to be autonomous and launch their own businesses.

‘Light for the Rohingyas’ was implemented in partnership with Schneider Electric Group and the international NGO Friendship, which works with underprivileged communities in Bangladesh, where lack of lighting can have dangerous consequences, especially for women and children.

The project improved the living conditions of 8,000 out of almost a million Rohingyas who live in the refugee camps after fleeing religious persecution in the Myanmar state of Rakhine since 2017.

Electricians without borders President Hervé Gouyet said: “Our project ‘Light for the Rohingyas’ answers the vital needs of the Rohingya refugees through a training program in renewable energy and entrepreneurship.”

“The approach we adopted in this project could be exported to other camps. We are particularly proud to have received the Zayed Prize which represents international recognition for our humanitarian action.”

The Zayed Sustainability Prize was established in 2008 by Sheik Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, to sponsor innovation in the sustainability field.