More than two decades of war have almost ruined Somalia's entire electrical infrastructure, but solar street lights are not dependent on a power grid.
NIS' street lighting projects aim to improve stability in targeted areas by increasing community safety and security, stimulating economic activity, and improving the legitimacy and capacity of the authorities through the installation of solar street lighting.
NIS' solar street lighting initiative is to take advantage of environmentally friendly technology by opting for renewable energy.Therefore,carry out such solar street light project in Somalia is very neccessary.
To date, NIS has implemented four solar street lighting projects both in and outside the Somali capital, and installed altogether more than 400 lights at specified locations. In Mogadishu, NIS helped the Benadir Regional Administration (BRA) to install 267 solar street lights along three main thoroughfares: 50 along Maka al Mukarama Road, 100 along Sodonka Road and 117 along Wadnaha Road. An additional 90 solar lights were installed on the grounds of Villa Somalia, headquarters of the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS), as well as a smaller number at two of the city's main markets and at one of the city's fire stations. Throughout the process NIS has worked to build up the capacity of the BRA to plan, manage and sustain the delivery of public services, while undertaking extensive public engagement to improve community visibility and ownership of the project.
An important advantage of NIS' solar street lighting initiative is to take advantage of environmentally friendly technology by opting for renewable energy. NIS makes use of the most modern solar-lighting technology available, and all of the installed street lights have zero emissions and no waste outputs. What is more, running costs are zero and maintenance is minimal. Solar energy technology is also very versatile and can be scaled up and leveraged for application in other areas such as providing local power supplies.
In a context like Somalia, solar street lights have a number of advantages. More than two decades of war have almost ruined Somalia's entire electrical infrastructure, but solar street lights are not dependent on a power grid. Therefore, the use of solar energy allows the authorities to leapfrog the step of restoring the traditional power grid. In addition, Somalia is close to the equator, where the sun is a free, strong and inexhaustible resource. Solar energy is also far less expensive, more reliable and more environmentally friendly than other available energy sources. By using environmentally friendly technology in the rebuilding of the country, Somalia could become a leading example of the use of clean energy.
Results of the NIS solar street lighting projects include the following:
1. Improved security. The Sodonka target area saw a significant drop in the number of handgrenade attacks, which fell from 152 during the month prior to installation to 60 during the month after installation, i.e. a 61% reduction. Similarly, the number of assassinations decreased from 120 prior to installation to 34 after installation. More than 60% of these incidents took place after sundown, which draws attention to the importance of lighting to security.
2. Improved night-time safety. Following the installation of the solar street lights, there were reduced datas of theft in the community, and policing was made easier for the authorities because the street lights deter criminal and terrorist activities.
3. Increased legitimacy of the local administration. The installation of the street lights increased feelings in the community that the local administration was taking an active role in rehabilitating the city and improving its governance practices.
4. Improved community cohesion. The street lights improved community cohesion by extending the working hours of local shops and minibuses, which in turn encouraged local people to remain active in the area into the evening rather than returning home at nightfall.
5. Increased economic activity. Better street lighting meant longer business hours and the attraction of new businesses to the project area, in turn increasing employment opportunities and commercial activity. For example, the installation of 100 solar street lights along Sodonka Road resulted in the number of businesses operating in the target area rising from 542 to 878 during the course of one month, an increase of 62%. What is more, business hours in the target area were extended by approximately four hours.