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"Light up a village" initiative launched

Jan 22, 2010, 12:41 PM | Article By: Yai Dibba

A solar lighting project aimed at providing light to the rural communities at an affordable price was yesterday lunched by the Indian ComAfrique Limited at the headquarters of National Environmental Agency (NEA) in Kanifing.

Dubbed as: "The ComAfrique "Light up a village" Initiative" is a basic sustainable solar rural lighting project that combines individual and corporate social responsibility with local village participation to make it genuinely possible to provide basic clean light to rural areas.

Under this initiative, each village (of approximately 25 households) is sponsored by a participating Corporate, NGO, individual of Government, providing about 50-70 "ZonLights" for households and 5-7 "ZonHomes" for the school, community centre, village chief’s house, medical centre, police station, mosque or church, etc.

According to Ram Mohan of ComAfrique Limited, ZonLights and ZonHomes are simple yet durable in India. He said ZonLights give up to 15-17 hours light with 6 hours solar charge.

He revealed that the committee would provide ComAfrique with of each village name of the Alkali, approximate population, number of the house, average spending per household on candles and other source of light etc based on this information, the final configuration of the sponsorship is drawn up.

The head of each family receiving each light then formally and pupblicly engages with the village Zoneolight committee to pay a minimal sum of one Dalasis per Day or 30GMD per month for each sponsored light.This is very low compared to the 5-6GMD spend on candle per day and it is safer too.  This money, he said, is paid to Village Zonlight Fund, which will be managed by the committee. He said that this fund generates an income of D360 per light per year for the village, noting that this fund to purchase replacement batteries in two years (life of Li-lon battery), which cost D175 for Zonlight and D250 for ZonHome.

He called on Corporates, NGOs and Government departments to come forward to sponsor and light up a village with Solar ZoneLights and ZonHomes. He said that the sponsorship value is approximately D65, 000 to D70, 000 (approx US$2, 600) per village.

Mr. Mohan revealed that has commenced in The Gambia with first four villages being identified by the President. According to him President Jammeh has sponsored two villages (Bujingha and Jirramba) and ComAfrique and TATA Africa-Safari Motors sponsored the two other villages (Jakoi and Battending) respectively. He further revealed that Right Choice Supermarket have offered to sponsor another village.

ComAfrique contact: Nfamara Damfa (220) 7008892 or Mustafa Njie (220) 7012812.