Development Action Group is an NGO working in partnerships with communities around sing and urban development project through training, information dissemination project facilitation and lobbying and advocacy. DAG support a community driven housing development and the Peoples Housing Process( PHP) as an opportunity to get households to integrate sustainable use of energy as it had direct implications on households budget and ongoing maintenance. The presentation will share lessons learnt n work done on the ground in raising awareness and implementing sustainable energy demonstration projects in the communities Cape Town.

What is happening on the ground?

For the past five years DAG embarked on an education and training programme on energy efficiency and renewable energy (RE) focusing on low-income households in the Town area. The aim of this programme was to raise awareness around energy issue and its impact on the environment. The strategy was to run and identify demonstration projects that exhibit sustainable use of energy and ensure environmental sustainability. Together with DAG the community will test alternative technologies (mg at affordability, appropriateness, convenience in use and maintenance and its acceptability and how these technologies contribute to the sustainability of a household.

We realized that the poor are receptive to RE technologies, and that they are using RE. Historically they are the ones that were left without electricity until the national electrically programmes but were not supported with efficient technologies. Through programme we had the opportunity to exchange information and learn from households themselves of the extent of energy poverty and challenges they face and they could benefit from energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies programmes. Information from Kuyasa micro loan scheme reveals that 70% of secondary loans are used to implement thermal improvements.

What are the Lessons from the ground?

· Silvercity Soup Kitchen

The Silvercity community kitchen supported by an organization called War Against Malnutrition and Hunger is using gas for cooking in the mornings. The women say it is fast and cheaper thus saves them time and money. The food is kept warm all day by the hot boxes, therefore costs them nothing and help to keep the food nutritious and as no reheating is required. The water to wash dishes is warmed by the solar water heater and costs them nothing. This has enabled this poor community to feed its people for as little as 50 cents a plate of food and 20 cents a cup of soup. The people of Silver City really need support to extend their kitchen services and start catering broadly to generate more income and sustain the project. There are about 3 women employed to run the kitchen. Their knowledge about the technologies has grown significant yard is readily available for those who visited. It has become a popular side to take trainees on DAG course such as government official and other locals to learn from these women. Many have visited are inspired to replicate this in their areas. The department of health and welfare can be involved in rolling out such a programme.

· Kuyasa housing project

10 houses in Kuyasa Khayelitsha have benefited in the pilot project run by the City of Cape Town with assistance from South North, the first low-cost housing Clean Development Mechanism CDM project. The project retrofitted solar water heater, energy saving light bulbs, installed a ceiling and a shower. This project will inform a large II out to about 2300 houses in the area. The technology intervention has a potential to make a significant impact on the livelihoods and quality of life of many people especially women and children. The savings in time, fuels and money that they bring to the households are significant in the context of deepening poverty in South Africa. Some of the benefits that the families boast of are the improved indoor quality (warm and cool paces) saving from buying fuel such as paraffin longer periods of light without worrying about electricity expenditure and clean indoor resulting from prolonged use of paraffin and those related to social cohesion. Also the households marvel at the time saved from cooking water and lighting up flame stoves in the morning.

· Dry water sanitation system in the Energy Park in Khayelitsha

This enviro-loo is part of demonstration supported by DAG to test the enviro-loo option as a dry sanitation technology. Set within the golf park with its green it is expected that the waste generated will be used to enrich the soil around. DAG had taken many households to learn how to use this system and get peoples perceptions and opinions on it. The response we got was that the systems were very useful in the context of water shortage and will assist in conserving this resource. Women who have them installed in their areas found them clean and very hygienic in that there is no smell and no flies. The department of water should be rolling out this programme The City has also set up a few of these around certain sites to raise awareness and to get feedback on what system would be relevant and which do households prefer.

What is required to roll out such programmes

All the project mentioned above are at a pilot stage and are driven by a number of players. The recipients and users have found the projects beneficial and can address many challenges faced by the South African community. If these projects are so successful why are these projects not rolled out yet?

Here are some of the ways in which these projects can be rolled out at a large scale

· The households should be provided with as much information as possible and training provided on how to monitor their energy consumption patterns so that they can adjust accordingly.

· It is important to provide and extended service that will deal with maintenance issues after project completion Information poverty was identified as a key constraint to choices that poor households can make in constructing livelihood strategies.

· Monitoring and evaluation of roll out projects is key to their success and the residents need to be involved to improve management of these projects. Also residents should be involved in the implementation and trained to carry out maintenance thus benefiting economically from these.

· Women and youth have got a significant role as they are carriers of information and are decision makers in budget control. Technologies need to it the end users. The DAG programme focused a lot on linking service providers manufacturer with communities to discuss issues related to handling and safety of the technologies. This should be embedded in policy making.

· The PHP programme in Western Cape stipulates that every PHP house built should now install ceilings and be plastered to address condensation and thus improving thermal performance of the houses (provision of mandatory standards)

· They have made funding available for these projects to the sum of R1004. This initiative should expand to include energy saving liqhts and solar water heating. Ensure that there is integrated resource management planning and find creative ways of funding big programmes The department of housing, Minerals and energy and the department of health should collaborate on this matter

· Again the PHP policy makes provision for housing support centres to be set up to provide administrative support to house construction for a stipulated period at R570 per household. These could be used sustainably by turning these to visible advice offices on RE and energy efficiency and other information that would enhance people's livelihood and improve quality of life. DME can link HSCs to their Integrated Cetres Programme


In conclusion we need to ask the portfolio committee to support these initiatives by ensuring that policies are conducive to this proactive efforts displayed by the poor and ensure that there is a policy frame work that addresses their challenge. If the poor are already using renewable energy sources the question is "Who should be switching to renewables?. You, me, shopping malls, industry, government departments, urban dwellers in areas where there is technical support and back up close at hand should be installing renewable "

The poor are driven by the circumstances to switch to renewables, what will it take for the others to make the switch?

We will have to rely on mandatory standards, policy regulation and the Parliament Portfolio Committee has a role to play here. We also have to continue building awareness on the benefits, technical aspects and cost savings and the environmental benefits of sustainable energy interventions. Development practitioners, planners and business need to work together to ensure sustainable development programmes are implemented.