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  • Women in Nepal

    Fuel and Firewood Initiative Intern, Fall 2009

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    The Women’s Refugee Commission works to improve the lives and defend the rights of refugee and internally displaced women, children and adolescents. As an advocacy organization, the Women’s Refugee Commission is dedicated to bringing about systemic changes that lead to greater respect for the rights of uprooted women, children and adolescents. The organization strives to effect policy change with broad, worldwide impact.

    Displaced people living in camps are provided with the bare essentials for survival—basic shelter, food and water. The food distributed by humanitarian agencies, typically dried beans, rice or whole grains, must be cooked before it can be eaten. However, cooking fuel is generally not provided. As a result, displaced women and girls must regularly find firewood to cook food for their families, or to sell to make a meager income. Each time they leave the relative safety of the camp to search for firewood, they risk being raped, beaten, even killed. The longer a camp exists, the farther refugees must travel to gather wood, increasing the risk of attack. Firewood collection also causes environmental degradation and burning wood indoors releases toxic smoke, causing respiratory infections that kill more people every year than malaria.

    The Women’s Refugee Commission launched its Fuel and Firewood Initiative in 2005 to address this multi-sectoral problem. We and our partners in the InterAgency Standing Committee Task Force on Safe Access to Firewood and alternative Energy in Humanitarian Settings have made significant progress in the past four years –though measuring the extent of this progress has proven difficult due to the general lack of baseline data. The objective of this internship is therefore to conduct a baseline survey of existing and planned household-energy related programming and funding in humanitarian contexts.

    About the Internship:

    This internship is suited to students of international affairs, international development, public policy, global public health or other similar fields with the desire to obtain experience in a professional humanitarian advocacy organization. It will provide the opportunity to work closely on household energy-related policy issues, attend internal organizational presentations and contribute to the long-term objectives of the Fuel and Firewood Initiative. The Fuel and Firewood initiative will make every attempt to respond to the relevant interests and educational goals of the intern.

    Specific Activities:

    • Work with Senior Program Officer, Women’s Refugee Commission, to conduct a baseline analysis of household energy-related programming worldwide, including type and location of initiative, implementing organization(s), donor(s), project cost and timeline, etc.;
    • Develop a comprehensive spreadsheet for analyzing and monitoring existing and new household energy-related programming in humanitarian settings worldwide;
    • Track and analyze policy initiatives for donor governments to feed into systematic policy review and to find points of entry for advocacy on household energy-related issues relevant to humanitarian settings;
    • Under the guidance of Women’s Refugee Commission program staff, research completed, existing and planned private and corporate support for household energy-related projects in humanitarian, rural and development contexts;
    • Assist with IASC Task Force SAFE dissemination process and workshop and follow-up as needed;
    • Attend relevant meetings and conferences.


    • Bachelors degree required, Masters student preferred;
    • Excellent research, data collection, analysis and writing skills;
    • Previous professional and/or academic experience in humanitarian/public policy, household energy and/or international development required;
    • Knowledge of the UN humanitarian system strongly preferred;
    • Excellent communication skills, including telephone and interview skills;
    • Excellent computer skills, including internet research, Microsoft Word and Excel

    Reports to: Erin Patrick, Senior Program Officer, Fuel and Firewood Initiative
    Position: Fuel and Firewood Initiative Intern – Fall 2009
    Location: New York, NY
    Timeframe: Fall 2009 (start/end dates negotiable)
    Deadline to Apply: Until filled

    To apply, please submit résumé online at IRC Careers.

    The Women’s Refugee Commission considers all applicants on the basis of merit without regard to race, sex, color, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, age, marital status, veteran status or disability. 
    The Women’s Refugee Commission is an equal opportunity employer