To address the need for improved access to energy and meet the United Nations Clean Energy Challenge (2019), humanitarian agencies require robust, valid, and meaningful data that documents the everyday energy practices of displaced people. Collecting data through sensor monitoring is one way of providing quality energy data that will aid humanitarian actors in designing and delivering sustainable affordable energy solutions. Using the case of the design and deployment of 20 stove use monitors (SUM) in Kigeme refugee camp in Rwanda, this paper discusses the benefits and limitations of collecting data on cookstove usage using wireless sensors in refugee settlements., Central to the discussion is the value of reflexivity or critical reflection to uncover significant knowledge gaps that can apply more generally to the problem of designing and deploying sensor systems for the displaced setting. If sensor monitoring systems are to collect data that aid appropriate energy planning and support technology development in the humanitarian sector, we contend improvements in sensor design and deployment protocols are needed to accommodate the displaced setting’s cultural, economic, and political complexity. These improvements include the uptake of sensor monitoring design that embeds ethical, progressive, and inclusive protocols when working in the displaced setting.
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