When lighting brings hope to Tawergha

March 4, 2020

Mr Jumaa Mujahid is providing drinking water to customers at his shop in Tawergha. Photo: ©UNDP Libya/Malek Elmaghrebi

''When I returned to Tawergha two years ago, I opened a store and started selling drinking water to earn a livng so that my family and I could live again in Tawergha, '' said Mr. Jumaa Mujahid, 62 years old and father of three children.

In 2011, during the conflict that Libya experienced, 40,000 Tawergha residents were forced to leave their homes becoming displaced for over seven years. Jumaa and his family fled as well.

''We lived in very tough conditions far from our home,'' stated Jumaa.

Mr Jumaa Mujahid in front of his shop in Tawergha. Photo: ©UNDP Libya/Malek Elmaghrebi

Searching for a stable life in changing times

Thanks to the Reconciliation agreement between Misrata and Tawergha facilitated by UNSMIL with the support of UNDP in 2018, people from Tawergha began to return to their homes safely and settle again.

Jumaa was one of the first residents who decided to return to Tawergha after years of displacement. Going back home and searching for stability was full of challenges for Jumaa and his family. All facilities were vandalized or stolen previously.

"We were excited to be back home, but when we arrived, we realized that life was not going to be easy as almost everything was destroyed, " recalled Jumaa.

"When we entered Tawergha in 2018, it was like a ghost town very dark and frightening, in which we did not find any means of living. Almost every facility was looted, homes, schools, and hospitals," said Mr. Abd-alhadi Medali, Director of the Services Office in Tawergha.

Despite the lack of basic services, Jumaa did not despair. He decided to stay. "I had to find means for a living. I therefore launched a small business consisting of selling drinking water," he explained.

"The city was very dark and without life. Walking around, we were feeling scared and insecure. I was living with my family using the generator in the house for a year and a half until the Government restored the electric grid,” explained Mr. Khairallah Mansour, a resident of Tawergha.

Solar street lights in Tawergha at night. Photo: ©UNDP Libya/Malek Elmaghrebi

When restoring basic services makes the difference

Led by national and municipal Libyan institutions and implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) with international support and the Government of Libya, the Stabilization Facility for Libya (SFL) is an immediate stabilization initiative which provides quick rehabilitation of critical infrastructure and delivery of equipment to support local authorities to improve services to their citizens.

Through the Facility and a quick intervention, UNDP installed 40 lighting poles for the city's streets that are powered by renewable solar energy.

"Life is better now in Tawergha. After installing the street lighting, we started to feel safer and more comfortable while touring the city," Khairallah said.

"People started feeling reassured with this new lighting. Fortunately, the installation process was fast, and it is contributing to a common sense of stability in people living in Tawergha," said Mr. Abd-alHadi.

"We are grateful and thank everyone who contributed to the completion of this project or others, and we thank the Stabilization Fund in Libya for this initiative and the United Nations Development Program in Libya, " added Abd-alHadi.

"It was my good fortune that the lighting poles were installed in front of the shop. Now I can keep the store open and sell water until late at night. I used to close the shop when the sun went down because there was not enough lighting," Jumaa stated. "This will contribute to boost my business, " he concluded.

The SFL has also delivery an ambulance to the township of Tawergha and started the renovation of three schools. It will also equip a computer laboratory in the school town.