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KwaDukuza solar streetlights - an amazing story!

Solar street light

Children playing under the street lights

Children playing under the street lights

The Groutville Community streets at night

Following the installation of solar street lights in KwaDukuza, South Africa,  the life of the community has already significantly changed. In the disadvantaged community of Groutville, children can now be seen playing under the lights of the streetlights after sunset, a small pleasure that was inaccessible to them before Urban-LEDS.

As part of the Urban-LEDS project, the ICLEI Africa Secretariat (ICLEI AS) has implemented “Community Showcase Projects” in all South African Satellite and Model Cities. These activities are practical projects engaging local communities to improve their living conditions and contribute to low-emission development. Indeed, while strategy development is critical, it is also important to show at the community-level the range of solutions available for low-emission development.

Each project demonstrates that resource efficiency and sustainability is not only relevant but also beneficial for community members of any socio-economic background. With this “glocal” approach to low emission development, Urban-LEDS in South Africa successfully delivers local answers to a global challenge. It also responds to local challenges such as access to energy.

In KwaDukuza, the Groutville community is home to the Stranger Child Welfare Association which puts 20 children in need in the care of foster parents. Early this year the families took possession of new care homes and ICLEI AS conducted training with them on the importance of Urban Low Emission Development, how to use insulation cookers, light-emitting diode mobile lights and compost containers. The families also received support from the municipality to create their own food gardens and plant trees.

Finally, solar street lights were installed in this disadvantaged community, a privilege usually reserved to more central and commercial areas of cities. But in the inclusive spirit of the Urban-LEDS project this low-emission technology was brought to the Groutville community, changing its life for the better. As seen in the pictures provided by the Municipality of KwaDukuza, the children of the care homes are now able to play football in the streets. This is proof of a meaningful, life-changing impact of Urban-LEDS!

For more information on the Community Showcase Projects and Urban-LEDS in South Africa, please consult the final Urban-LEDS report and the publication “Showcasing Sustainable Solutions in South Africa”.