Conversations with CoM SSA | Gender sensitive public lighting: Why and how?
Published: 7 Jul 2021
The webinar was a first attempt to discuss the importance of mainstreaming social and gender issues within the development of public lighting projects. CoM SSA partner, AFD took this opportunity to launch a Gender Sensitive Public Lighting User Guide. This Guide was created to help municipalities to develop public lighting projects that integrate gender at different stages of project development.
Key point 1:
How do we make sure to include vulnerable people in Public Lighting projects? Citizen participation in the public consultation is key for the success of the project. Vulnerable people should be included in the discussions. Efforts shoud be made to reach out to them separately or through civil society, such as NGOs, to voice their needs upstream. Methods to include vulnerable people are the key individual interview (KIIs) or focus group discussions.
Amandine Gal, Econoler : “It is of the utmost importance to integrate gender issues from the very beginning of an energy efficient public lighting project as it will help to save money that such integration would require in a later stage of the project”.
Key point 2:
One of the challenges that Nouakchott region, in Mauritania, is encountering within the development of their public lighting project is the cultural dimension and the different perception of lighting for some groups of citizens.
Although everyone agrees on the usefulness of lighting, some people may be reluctant to accept the installation of light poles in certain areas. To overcome this barrier, the Nouakchott Region intends to organise a consultation workshop with the participation of the different cultural groups to elaborate together the street-lighting plan for the city.
Jöelle Matte, Econoler: “It may seem counterintuitive to integrate social and gender aspects in a technical field such as public lighting. Only recently, the international community started to focus on these issues and there is still a lot of awareness to be done. This webinar as well the Gender Sensitive Public Lighting study are a good start”.
Key point 3:
Usually in sub-Saharan African cities, such as Kampala, in Uganda, and Nouakchott, we observe that the main highways and major thoroughfares are primarily covered by public lighting, without consideration of women’s needs. To avoid walking in the dark, women and other vulnerable groups have no other choice than to transit on major highways and this undermines their physical security. The speakers pointed out the importance of considering women’s point of view in the definition of the public lighting plans.
Giulia D’Angiolini, Econoler: “Women shall be considered not only as public lighting users, but also as key actors for the development of such systems as well as any other energy infrastructure”.
Access the full User Guide here.