#National News

Mbolo concludes high level stakeholder workshop on SMFP

Sep 27, 2021, 12:26 PM | Article By: Cherno Omar Bobb

Mbolo Association, a non-profit organisation based in Tujereng that strongly advocates for alleviating poverty whilst protecting the environment and promoting gender equality on Friday concluded a three-day high level stakeholders’ workshop on the Solar Multifunctional Platform (SMFP).

 

The project: “Promoting small – scale agricultural communities’ resilience in Central River Region by enhanced agro processing products using solar technology through empowering women” is sponsored by the European Union to enhance women’s livelihoods by strengthening their productive capacities and abilities through training in entrepreneurship whilst empowering their professional activities with renewable energy.

The workshop held at Fandema Women Development Center in Tujereng was aimed at critically looking at lessons learnt, scaling-up and the way forward of the Solar Multifunctional Platform (SMFP). 

Silvia Llopart Gracia, Project Manager said the project seeks to alleviate poverty for communities in Central River Region through access to solar energy and also bring about gender equality. 

She added that the project started in Tujereng and was later extended to Mamuda. She noted that they further extended the project to North Bank and Central River Regions.

She highlighted that they believe the SMFP will bring another paradigm for poverty alleviation in The Gambia, saying: “we want to ensure people in rural communities have decent lives.”

Sheriff Abass Sanyang, Governor Central River Region said the project could be very helpful economically to beneficiary communities as it seeks to improve livelihood. 

Hon. Sanyang added that government needs to emulate the model which can also improve health status of communities.

Momodou Ebou Touray, Project Consultant said renewable energy is now central to any development initiative globally and as such described the project as very good.

Mr Touray noted that the use of solar technology by Mbolo to transform lives in remote communities in the Gambia is commendable.

Omar Touray, deputy Mayor Banjul City Council described solar as the future as stable electricity supply in the countryis a challenge. He expressed their willingness to collaborate with Mbolo Association on such initiatives for Crab Island.

Dr Adama Gassama-Jallow, senior energy officer at Ministry of Petroleum and Energy said Mbolo has been coming up with good initiatives that will benefit the country particularly rural communities and women.

She pointed out that women are mostly affect with energy poverty, noting that the focus is now to help them participate in the energy sector.

She recalled that her ministry did a similar pilot project in five rural communities using Gen-sets but was quick to add that some of them are no more working but stated that they look forward to revitalizing them.

“We have to replicate Mbolo’s initiative in all rural communities where the grid might take long to reach,” she further said.     

Amie Secka, a native of Sinchu Alahie in Niamina, Central River Region whose community benefited from the project said the project not only benefitted them but also communities around them.

According to her, prior to the project they only consumed refrigerated water during Ramadan at high cost but can now do year-round at a cheaper price.

She also said that the project availed them economic benefits with use of solar, applicable to preserve their gardens and poultry produce, clean drinking water, use of washing machines and therefore thanked Mbolo Association for their initiative.

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