USAID’s Community Support Program Helps Kfarjarra Municipality (South Lebanon) Provide Needed Solar Powered Street Lighting
Kfar Jarra in South Lebanon was originally home to around 1000 residents, yet in recent years has experienced an influx of more than 5000 persons as a result of urban expansion from Saida city. This influx created a gap in the municipality’s ability to provide public services as the municipal budget remained based on 1000 native residents. The municipal capabilities also further eroded as a result of the ongoing socio-economic crisis. With state-supplied electricity down to only two hours per day, Kfar Jarra relied on privately owned generators as a backup source of energy to power the existing streetlights.
The fuel crisis and the soaring inflation in the past three years rendered private generators unaffordable and most neighborhoods were left without streetlights, fueling tensions between long-time residents and newcomers over public service provision, safety, and security. In response, USAID’s Community Support Program (CSP) upgraded 100 existing streetlights with solar-powered LED bulbs and installed 20 new solar-powered streetlights at strategic locations across the town in September 2023. To sustain this intervention, CSP is also training municipal staff on the safe operation and maintenance of the new solar streetlight network.
In January 2024, Kfarjarra municipality reported that in addition to enhancing safety and security for 6350 people residing in Kfar Jarra, this intervention has also improved public safety for more than 25,000 residents in the neighboring villages of Lebaa, Kfarfalous and Ain el Mir who use the Kfar Jarra road to commute between the cities of Saida and Jezzine. Meanwhile, the municipality reported annual savings of around $20,000 by significantly reducing electricity and generator costs, allowing it to reallocate funding to provide other needed services.
“This essential intervention has reduced car accidents and theft incidents in the area and significantly improved public health and safety through a renewable energy solution, all while generating needed municipal savings amidst the economic crisis”, said Maroun Chalhoub, Mayor of Kfar Jarra.