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Friday, June 20, 2014

Mathare Slums Gets World’s First LED Solar Lit Football Pitch by Philips

The world’s first ever LED solar lit pitch was inaugurated at Mathare open grounds on Thursday evening. The initiative undertaken by Philips and Royal Netherlands Football Association (KNVB) saw the firm install solar lit floodlit on a full 7,000 square meter pitch, the very first of its kind in the world.

Speaking during the installation exercise Philips East Africa Lighting General Manager, Mary Kuria said, “We are very delighted to launch this initiative that will play such a vital role for residents of this area in terms of their extra-curricular activities while also helping beef up security in the area.”

The initiative comes at the back of a similar exercise which was done last year around the same area but which covered approximately 1000m2 or the size of a small football pitch.

“The concept of the Community Light Centers is to create areas of light for rural communities which live without electricity, thus effectively ‘extending the day and extending play and creating numerous opportunities for social, sporting and economic activities in the evening,” noted Philips East Africa General Manager Roelof Assies.

During the ceremony, some boys’ and girls’ team from the area got the chance to play under the 3-killowat-powered pitch which can last for at least three days in the unlikely scenario of absence of the sun.

“This initiative plays right into the heart of our county development plans,” noted Kenya@50 Executive Director Saima Ondimu. “Lighting projects like this not only support sporting activities but are vital for helping reduce crime and other vices that the youth may engage in hence we are really excited,” she said.

In attendance was also KNVB International Projects Coordinator Johan Van Gegn and former Harambee Stars manager and current Tusker FC manager, Francis Kimanzi who lauded the exercise saying, “This is a win-win situation for the youth and the aging population as well. The solar floodlights project will keep the youth busy while the coaches will be able to conduct their training programmes well into late evening.”
Philips is currently installing more than a hundred “Philips Community Light Centers” across Africa. The company has already set up 8 in Kenya and are targeting to do at least 19 centers by next year.