Siqalo, on the Cape Flats is an area we are quite familiar with, having conducted an enumeration there last year. Among many issues this community faces, the lack of access to electricity is the focus of this post.
Access to clean, safe and affordable energy is one of the Sustainable Development Goals identified by the UNDP. If this goal is to be achieved then we need creative and sustainable energy solutions to be introduced to poorer settlements such as Siqalo.
A project that is making a difference in this area is the iShack Project, an initiative of the Sustainability Institute. An innovative public-private business model, iShack provides sustainable and renewable energy solutions/services to under-serviced, low-income communities in South Africa. It also seeks to strengthen the communities it serves by building local enterprising capacity, developing skills and creating jobs.
iShack Solar Panels in Siqalo settlement (image cred: iShack Project Facebook)
The iShack Project offers an innovative and sustainable solution to a widespread problem. They also provide technical training to community members. iShack trains up local ‘iShack Agents’ to install and maintain the solar energy systems within their communities. This participatory approach of community upskilling and local ownership is in line with some of VPUU’s core values.
The following video is worth a watch. It explores the importance of sustainable energy solutions and looks at the iShack Project as a case study.