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The iShack Project uses solar electricity to show how slums can be incrementally upgraded in a sustainable and socially just way. 

In 2013 we received a grant from the South African Green Fund to provide solar electricity, on a pay-for-use basis, to residents of an informal settlement in Stellenbosch (Enkanini) in the South Africa. With this funding we aim to provide the service to over 1500 clients. We launched in September 2013 and we already have over 250 clients who now have access to clean, safe and affordable energy for their lighting and media needs - where previously they were using dirty, dangerous candles and paraffin.

A major feature of the project is to build local enterprise capacity for the self-delivery of the energy service to the target community. We are training a group of franchisees called "iShack Agents" (who all live in Enkanini) to install and maintain the solar systems and to market the service in their community. The clients pay a monthly fee for the service to ensure long term operational sustainability. The energy service provides lighting, television, cell-phone charging and additional energy for music, dvd players and radios.The energy utility is scalable and in future, fridges and water heaters will be added.

So, in essence, we are using solar electricity to demonstrate how ecologically sound technologies can be used appropriately to incrementally upgrade informal settlements and slums and at the same time build local enterprising capacity within the community. This model recognises the significant existing social, human and physical capital within slums. A key objective of the iShack business model is to build on this existing capital to unlock a range of social and economic benefits and opportunities for the community. Our vision goes go far beyond simply providing clean, safe and affordable energy. Other technologies that can be incorporated into the model include off-grid sanitation, ecological housing, water services and food production. 

We have started to use donations to help reduce the joining fees for clients. These joining fees go towards the incomes of our Agents. So any donations we receive help lower the barriers to entry for residents without reducing the Agent incomes.

Follow us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/iShackproject.org



community development


  1. Stanley

    4 November 2015

  2. Saskia Eveleens

    6 September 2014

  3. Heather Dodge

    4 September 2014

7 Donations