UNDP bets on solar lanterns to light up Somali businesses and homes
The lanterns will be distributed to female headed households within IDP (internally displaced persons) communities in Mogadishu, as part of a renewable energy project financed by the OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID).
Solar lanterns can significantly improve safety, especially for women and girls in IDP communities, and provide the opportunity for school children to study after dark. The lanterns are also a clean and safe source of light that can replace potentially hazardous forms of lighting such as candles and kerosene lamps, helping to reduce the risk of fire, and the negative health impacts of burning kerosene indoors.
Each household will receive a pair of lanterns: one which can be used for cooking and charging mobile phones, and to provide safety by lighting the way to toilets and other areas of the camps, and one for the specific purpose of enabling children to study in the evenings.
Mr. Elmi Omar Elmi, Deputy Minister for the Federal Ministry for Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management, thanked OFID and UNDP for their ongoing support as the solar lanterns were handed over. “Internally displaced people need special attention and the support from OFID and UNDP in providing clean energy gives new hope for vulnerable IDP communities in Mogadishu” he said.
Suleiman J. Al-Herbish, Director-General of OFID, reiterated that providing safe sources of energy is vital to increasing the safety and well-being of marginalized communities. “The lanterns will offer people in displaced communities a chance to move forward towards better standards of living, despite the difficulties they continue to face,” he said.
Speaking at the handover, UNDP Somalia Country Director George Conway said UNDP’s energy work is delivered in partnership with the Somali Government and in line with the Government’s National Development Plan.
“UNDP will continue to work closely with both the Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation and the Ministry for Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management, as well as with international partners such as OFID, to assist with the delivery of clean and renewable energy across Somalia,” he said.
Led by the Federal Government, the current part of project, funded by an OFID grant, will see six government offices in rural areas receive 1,500 watt solar systems and 50 young people receive training in the installation and maintenance of solar equipment.
In August, supported by UNDP and OFID, the government launched a solar power system for the Office of the Prime Minister in Mogadishu, promoting the use of alternative energy and reducing energy consumption by 35 percent at ‘Villa Somalia’.