By Mafugi Ceesay
With a sponsorship from Amsterdam Dakar Challenge and ComAfriqueInverSol Initiative (CII), on 10 June 2020, provided 60 Intelizon LED solar lights with backup mobile chargers and to Bummary Village, Lower River Region, The Gambia under its “Light up a Village” program.
Alkalo of the village, Bully Demba, thanked Amsterdam Dakar Challenge and ComAfriqueInverSol Initiative for providing them with the solar lights that will help the village and help children to study at night. He advised the villagers to take ownership of the project and also do their monthly contribution in time.
VDC Chairman Nfamara Demba said: “Since we all know there is no electricity in our area yet, in that case these lights will help us save a whopping 75% of our candle cost and give us better light and most of all save us from fire accidents and prevent health hazards.”
Bummary ZonLight Committee (BZC) has been formed with Mr Buma Samateh – President, Mr Demba Jorbateh – Secretary, Mrs Makutu Touray – Asst. Secretary, Mrs Sinajoh – Cahier. This Committee will be responsible for the management and maintenance of the solar lights and will ensure the sustainability of the program.
All the 60 solar lights have been donated to BZC which in turn leases them to beneficiaries who agree to pay a contribution of GMD 2 per day per light. This contribution is collected and managed by BZC and is called the Bummary ZonLight Fund.
Her Excellency Henriette Sonko, Consul General of Holland to The Gambia, welcomed Amsterdam Dakar Challenge and thanked them for their kind gesture. She talked about other socially responsible efforts by the Amsterdam Dakar Challenge in the past. She also advised the village of Bummary to take good care of their LED solar lighting project and also do the contribution in time in order to make this project sustainable.
CII has been lighting up villages in The Gambia since 2009 and has provided solar lights to 78 villages and 50 Rural Primary Health Centres and 121 villages in Guinea-Bissau. These lights provide much needed illumination enabling beneficiaries to perform necessary tasks during the evening / night and help children study after dark. The subscribers of the solar lights showed their delight in getting the lights and have praised Amsterdam Dakar Challenge and CII.
“The contributions are very important to this initiative, I would like to tell all the beneficiaries of the lights to pay their contributions on time in order for this project to be a success” emphasized Famara Dampha, Implementation Manager of CII.
Bummary ZonLight Fund will be used to replace solar light batteries every 2 – 3 years and replace the LED solar lights after 6 years. Every 6 years, the BZC will have a surplus fund from the fund that can be used for any development activity decided by the village.