Lighting the Darkness
The streets of Woreda2 have been without enough light for many nights. Residents believed that mobility at night is like suicide mission. Many people lost their lives and were harshly attacked on those streets; women and young girls suffered the brutal forces of perpetuators only because of their femininity, mercilessly rapped and dropped into road side dirty ditches.
The youth organized under YWCA’s safe and inclusive cities supported by Plan international began to engage on community safety after attending training in which they carried out different activities that helped them to understand, analyze and plan on the safety issues of their community. Ermias recalls it as follows “when we began to draw our safety mapping most of our streets were colored with black markers; suddenly it reminded me the screams of men and women in the cold of silent nights whispering into my ears. Yeah, this is my community, my reality.”
Ermias, presenting safety mapping to local government officials and community leadersAs part of their engagement, the youth and some community leaders began to prioritize the issues of their community and street lighting become one of their top concerns. After completing their safety planning and submitted their street lighting initiative, YWCA supported them to carry out community dialogue and purchase 108 bulbs for street lighting at the most dark and crime spots. Youth coordinator of Woreda 02 Yohannes Amsale said “In the safety community process we were working with community leaders, woreda government officials and community police officers. The community police officers were very interested with the issues and they insisted to work hand in hand with us. It was fascinating; we immediately began to work with them and we started mobilizing the community, reaching businesspersons. This became intensified when we successfully delivered 108 bulbs with the support of YWCA on the public gathering we organized jointly with the community police officers. Thereafter, we were able to convince the community members to pull-out their light on their doors. Moreover, with community leaders and community police officers we approached Ethiopian electric Service district office for the maintenance of main street lights”.
Accordingly, a total of 823bulbs were installed on Tributary Streets from which the 108 bulbs were with the support of WYCA, the 686 bulbs donated from private sectors and community members, the other 29 bulbs on the main Street maintained by Ethiopian electric Service district office. Now, most of the streets in woreda 02 are equipped with lights. A group of youth with 42 members is also working on community safety on voluntary basis in collaboration with community police and community security committee. The youth led safety groups members observed that their initiative has contributed to the reduction of violence and crime in our dark streets and increase safe mobility for most of our community members especially for women and young girls who have been suffering mostly.