By Mafugi Ceesay
ComAfrique InverSol Initiative, Banjul (CII) and Intelizon Energy Ltd., India have partnered with Mbolo Association to assemble excellent quality sustainable solar lights in The Gambia.
It was the generous sponsorship of Rotary Club of Boston St. Botolph, Rotary Club of Spalding & Welland along with Gambia Experience, Community Development Fund who came together to provide these locally assembled solar lights to “Light up a Village” – Chebo Matty Ceesay in the North Bank with 43 Intelizon ZonBulb LED solar lights.
CII has been implementing its “Light up a village” program since 2010 and has provided more than 5,000 sustainable solar lights to 87 villages in The Gambia impacting more than 70,000 people. CII has also provided lights to 50 Rural Health Centers in The Gambia.
Rotary Club of Boston & St. Botolph and Rotary Club of Spalding & Welland have sponsored 6 and 2 villages respectively. Gambia Experience through its Community Development Fund has participated in 23 villages with CII since 2013.
The Intelizon Energy Ltd. – ZonBulb were locally assembled in a unique project with Mbolo Association (FANDEMA) where 30+ rural girls were trained on the assembly of Zonbulbs by a former student of Mbolo Association itself – Saffiatou Saine who is employed ComAfrique InverSol Initiative. She learnt the assembly from Intelizon Energy India and went back to her institute trained Fatou Touray and Mama Jammeh, who live near Chebo Matty Ceesay village. The partnership of the solar activity center set up by Mbolo Association called Fandema and CII will now look after the maintenance and warranty of the lights for a period of 3 years.
The unique implementation of the “Light up a Village” program in Chebo Matty Ceesay village, NBR, CII has set up a new phase in its path on socially responsible program for rural development combining Woman Empowerment.
Alkalo of the village Abdoulie Ceesay, thanked the sponsors and CII for providing them with the solar lights that will help the village enormously. He also added that this project has come at a time when they really need clean lighting system. He continued by advising the villagers to take the ownership of the project and make their monthly contribution in time.
VDC Chairman Babu Ceesay said on the occasion “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 hazard.”
Chebo Matty village Committee has been formed with Mr Chebo Ceesay – President, Mr Babu Ceesay – Secretary, Mrs Amie Jallow – Asst. Secretary, Mrs Amie Camara – Cahier and Wurry Jallow member. This Committee will be responsible for the management and maintenance of the solar lights and will ensure the sustainability of the program.
All beneficiaries have agreed to pay a contribution of GMD 2 per day per light. This contribution is collected and managed by Chebo Matty Zonlight Committees and is called the Chebo Matty Ceesay ZonLight Fund.
Chebo Matty Ceesay 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 CZC will have a surplus from the fund that can be used for any development activity decided by the village.
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.
“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.