Call for abstracts - BEYOND FIREWOOD: Exploring Alternative Fuels and Energy Technologies in Humanitarian Settings

CALL FOR ABSTRACTS, International Research Conference
BEYOND FIREWOOD: Exploring Alternative Fuels and Energy Technologies in Humanitarian Settings
December 11-12, 2008 in New Delhi, India


The Women’s Commission for Refugee Women and Children is an advocacy and expert resource organization working on behalf of refugee and displaced women, children and adolescents around the world. The Women’s Commission, based in New York, conducts research, documents findings, provides technical assistance and undertakes advocacy. One key focus of the Women’s Commission’s work since 2005 has been on ensuring safe access by displaced women and girls to appropriate cooking fuel.

As part of its Fuel and Firewood Initiative, the Women’s Commission will be hosting the first-ever major international research conference on firewood and alternative cooking fuels and energy technologies in humanitarian settings on December 11-12, 2008 in New Delhi, India.

The conference will bring together developers, practitioners and users of alternative fuels, energy technologies and physical protection strategies appropriate for use in humanitarian settings from around the world. The aim is to share experiences and create new linkages among researchers and practitioners, and build an empirical basis for fuel-related interventions in humanitarian settings. In addition, the conference will link technical experts with humanitarian staff in sites and regions that are urgently in need of such interventions.

The Women’s Commission’s conference steering committee is now soliciting abstracts for presentation at this conference. Abstracts will be selected from submissions from developers, implementers and/or users/beneficiaries of such interventions in the following three categories:

1. Case studies, evaluations and/or documented research on household energy interventions from or applicable to humanitarian settings. This category includes

o Improved stoves/cookers and/or other cooking technologies;
o Alternative cooking fuels or energy sources including but not limited to: solar energy, ethanol, liquefied petroleum gas, biomass briquettes/pellets and biogas;
o New and/or underutilized household energy interventions applicable to use in humanitarian settings that could benefit from examination by a diverse audience.

2. Case studies, evaluations and/or documented research on protection, environment, food and/or health and safety interventions related to the collection, provision or use of household energy in humanitarian settings, particularly those that have measured the impact of a household energy related intervention on the health/safety of women and girls. This category includes:

o Direct provision of fuel/cooking technologies to beneficiaries;
o Physical protection strategies for firewood/fuel collectors, including patrols, escorts, use of peacekeeping forces, etc.;
o Environmental programs/interventions designed to reduce reliance on wood/biomass as a primary source of cooking fuel and/or to increase the availability of such materials through reforestation, alternative construction materials, etc.;
o Alternative fuels/cooking technologies/shelter designs, etc. implemented to reduce the incidence of indoor air pollution and/or of fires/burns caused by cooking fuels.

3. Case studies and/or evaluations of fuel-related livelihoods interventions. This category includes:

o Projects implemented to provide a substitute to fuelwood-intensive livelihoods activities such as brick-making, charcoal-making, etc.;
o Projects implemented to provide alternatives to/reduce reliance on the sale of firewood or fuel rations for income-generation purposes.

In addition, individuals or agencies with specific technologies available for demonstration are invited to apply for a demonstration slot. Procedures for doing so are the same as for abstracts.

All submissions must be limited to 400 words or less and must be submitted in English via the online abstract submission Web site Submissions received in any other manner will not be considered. All information requested on the submission Web site must be provided and submitted with your abstract before your abstract will be considered. If an applicant wishes to submit an abstract based on an already-published paper, it will be the responsibility of the applicant to obtain all necessary permissions in advance of the conference.

Abstracts must introduce the study, program or technology in question; the region(s) of implementation; the intended beneficiaries; the results of technical studies and performance evaluations; and the overall impact of the project. More specifically, abstracts should seek to address the following points:

o Background: Briefly describe the context for the work and explain why the study, program or technology was needed. [40 words]
o Objectives: What goal is/was this study, program or technology intended to achieve? [50 words]
o Study, Program or Technological Design and Methods: Describe the key activities that define the work. For example, provide information that answers questions such as: How was the program designed? Who were the key beneficiaries and implementers and how was this population identified/selected? What were the key aspects of the intervention (i.e., design/production/dissemination of technologies, training, etc)? [100 words]
o Findings: What was/is being discovered from doing this work? Describe the monitoring and evaluation framework (i.e., what is the justification for the claims?) [160 words]
o Conclusion: What can you conclude about this study, program or technology? How might this information be used by other organizations? [50 words]

Submission of an abstract represents a commitment by the applicant to attend the conference should that abstract be selected for presentation, to present a finished paper according to the conference presentation standards and format, and to answer questions from conference participants regarding the presentation.

Abstract submissions will be received between August 12 – September 15, 2008. All abstracts will then be reviewed by the conference steering committee and applicants notified of the committee’s final decision by October 1, 2008.

A limited number of sponsorships are available for qualified applicants, with preference given to refugee/internally displaced applicants. Sponsorship applicants must further complete the sponsorship application form which will be available on the conference Web site, beginning September 1, 2008. Sponsorship applications received in any other manner will not be considered.

Sponsorship for the conference will include the cost of travel to and from New Delhi, India; ground transportation within New Delhi; hotel accommodation; and meals and incidentals. Sponsorship applicants who are also submitting abstracts are urged not to register for the conference until a decision has been made regarding your abstract submission.

All sponsored participants whose abstract has been accepted for presentation will further be expected to attend a one-day practice and review session in advance of the conference, on December 10, 2008. All other presenters are also invited to attend this practice session.

Contact information
Additional information regarding the call for abstracts and conference details may be found on the conference Web site and will be continually updated. Applicants are therefore requested to check the site regularly. All questions and requests for further information should be sent to

We look forward to seeing you in New Delhi in December.

The Women’s Commission for Refugee Women and Children, Fuel & Firewood Initiative
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