Solar street lighting installation begins in Kobe refugee camp

At the end of May, after several months of preliminary work, we began the process of installing solar luminaires in the Kobe refugee camp and the host community.

Both the technical decision on the most viable, sustainable and appropriate solution for solar street lighting in the Kobe refugee camp and the agreement on the location of the lamp posts were the result of an intensive collaborative work process between the Alianza Shire team, Save the Environment Ethiopia (SEE, the local NGO), ZOA, UNHCR, Refugees and Returnees Service (RRS), and above all, the local population.

The process of co-designing with local communities in the priority areas

In 2021, local organisations reported that of the 227 existing luminaires in Kobe, only 10% were functioning. After initial maintenance work on 50 of them, an intensive work process began to come to an agreement on the design of a broader intervention, in which the first step was to identify the areas with the highest lighting priority together with the local population.

These priority areas were identified through two activities. On the one hand, a gender-focused participatory community mapping workshop was organised with 32 women and girls from both the refugee camp and the host community. They pointed out the areas where they felt unsafe, and identified latrines and the perimeter areas of the camp as the most dangerous.

In addition, several interviews were also conducted with local actors, notably RRS, along with the Refugee Committee and UNHCR, who identified new risk areas.

Upon cross-checking the data collected, there was a high overlap in the areas classified as less safe and therefore in need of street lighting: the peripheral areas of Kobe refugee camp, the market, new arrival areas, and the main roads between the refugee camp and the host community.

The process of designing the technical solution

In parallel to the identification of the priority areas, the Signify team also carried out technical work to select the most suitable type of solar luminaire for the conditions in the area, assessing the number of hours of sunshine in Dollo Ado and the battery life, so that lighting could be guaranteed throughout the night.

The luminaire model chosen was the SunStay BRP710 LED30, capable of lighting a radius of 25 m each; more than 200 of which were donated by the Signify Foundation.

Although three different alternatives were studied for the final implementation, the chosen approach provided for the maintenance of the majority of the non-functioning luminaires and the installation of additional luminaires in the areas with the highest risk.

Taking into account the comprehensive maintenance of the previous non-functional luminaires, and with the installation of new solar luminaires, the coverage of the lighted area will increase from 5.6% of the territory to approximately 40%, thus improving the safety of the different areas of the camp.