Lighting up a village of Nioro Tukolor with ComAfrique-Inversol Initiative

Light Up A Village is a project under ComAfrique-Inversol Initiative. Seeing the destructive nature of candles, their goal was to eliminate the dangers of candles and provide a light that was safer, better and cheaper and far more sustainable than a candle. They are bringing lights to every household and removing candles from the lives of people in the villages up the country. This project not only brings brightness to the people of the village but also promotes health, education, financial and social benefits.
The idea was founded around 2007 by Mr Ram Mohan. By then, ComAfrique was a cashew trading company. Working with lots of local farmers every year, they heard numerous complaints of losing houses in fire outbreaks caused by candles. Searching for a solution, Mr Mohan got an idea from a gift he once got. It was a solar light. He began with a small number of villages with the support of the former president of The Gambia. After installing solar lights in the first four, they started lighting up more and more villages every year. Today, there are 89 villages in The Gambia using solar lamps instead of candles.
Light Up The Village Project is not only making a difference for the remote households yet also creating new employment opportunities in collaboration with the Fandema project. The whole assembly of the lights is taking place in The Gambia, by young girls included in local and community development projects for women with the aim of promoting their productive capacities through entrepreneurial training.
In August, ComAfrique-Inversol Initiative lit up the Nioro Tukulor, a village in the Central River Region of The Gambia. The lights donated to this village were sponsored by The Indian Community in The Gambia, celebrating 75 years of India’s independence. For each year of independence, one light has been donated to the village.

My Gambia team was honoured to witness this event. Young men and women dressed up in their best traditional outfits welcomed the new era in the village. The event started with an enchanting reception of the guests of honour and continued with a cultural dance by groups of girls. Many of the residents expressed their sincere gratitude to the Indian community and ComAfrique-Inversol Initiative.

˝We are speechless, and the only thing we can do is thank ComAfrique-Inversol Initiative for the depth of our hearts and pray that God will repay them˝, one of the village residents commented.

The villagers set up a light committee consisting of members of the village. They will be responsible for the collection of the daily contribution of GMD 2 for each light. This is how they make the project sustainable, create a sense of responsibility, and still lower the lighting cost since one candle can cost from 5 to 10 dalasis. The money will be used to maintain and buy additional lights for the rest of the households, replace the broken ones, or even for other developments in the village. Adama Bah, a resident of the Nioro Tukolor and one of the trainees of the Fandema project, will now be responsible for the installation and maintenance of the solar lights and the training of her fellow villagers.

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