Solar Streetlights Bring Safety and Business Back to XudurFor the first time since 1991, residents in Xudur town have streetlights and are able to walk the streets safely without the fear of insecurity. The installation of 60 solar street lights was part of the Danwadaag Phase II project, a community-driven development project supported by Somalia Stability Fund (SSF) and implemented by the Danish Demining Group (DDG) and the Xudur community. Before the installation of the streetlights, residents of the town relied on either small generators to light up part of the town, while small businesses around the main street used lamps and torches in the first few hours of the night.
As part of the community-driven initiative, the fundraising committee mobilized the residents to contribute to the streetlights, which was identified and prioritized during the needs-assessment phase of the project.
40 year-old Ali Karyare, a businessmen in Xudur, gave an account of the challenges they faced before the street lights were installed: “We encountered hardships in the absence of solar light. We used to close the businesses at 6:00 pm in the evening, but now we work until 11:00 pm at night".
32 year-old businesswoman, Faduma Sugow, was delighted with the installation of the streetlights, expecting her business will thrive with their installation: “Now that we have streetlights, things are different. As a result, our resources are safe and we can work till late, as the town experiences increase in trade activities“.
Residents are now able to socialize and keep their businesses open at night. Since the installation, women can walk freely at night, shopping and visiting their neighbors without fear. “I could not walk on the streets at night. Most of the businesses were closed at 6:00 pm and we stayed in our homes as soon as night came because women couldn’t go out during the night time due to high possibility of becoming victim of crime, such as rape, theft and others. But we can feel safe going out at night now, thanks to the solar street lights,” said 28 year-old, Zakia Mohamed, a local resident.
Solar lighting, being a new concept to Somalia, is increasingly becoming an alternate and reliable source of power. “This facility will remain with us forever, five local technicians were trained in solar lighting maintenance, installation and repairthus creating an industry that is sustainable”, says Omar Mohamed Mohamud, a resident in Xudur.
The contractor engaged casual labourers from the local community to dig pits for solar poles. “Our task was to make foundation of concrete metal bar and carrying of streetlight solar poles”, explains Omar Maxamed, supervisor of the 15 casual labourers that worked installing the solar streetlights. He added, “We were able to finish the foundation pits of one meter length and one meter width within 18 days and this is because of the type of soil making the excavation difficult".
For Omar and the other casual labourers, this project also provided them with a source of income: “The small wages we received acted as a temporary source of employment and helped us support our families.”