Following my arrival in Sierra Leone on the 8th of February 2012 which was preceded by the arrival of Gilles Loobuyck and Lionel Bogaert from Solar Zonder Grenzen/ Belgium on the 6th, we immediately embarked upon the making of solar lamps. The crew on the ground (Mohamed Turay – National Coordinator; Osman Kamara – technician; Mohamed Zombo – Project coordinator; Simche Robert – PRO, Ishmael Zombo – Sales Manager) were met ready and enthusiastic to learn.
This facilitated the making of more than 100 solar lamps within a week. The speed with which the guys understood the process was surprisingly encouraging. Despite some minor setbacks, the enthusiasm and commitment displayed by both the foreign and local teams led to the successful assembly of a total of 120 solar lamps. The solar lamp project was successfully launched in Bonthe on the 18th February. The launching was a huge success which was complemented by a radio discussion programme in the local FM radio station ‘Radio Bonthico’. The success of the launch was marked by an immediate rental of 20 solar lamps on the first day of launch to be followed by the rest of the other 30 lamps in the following two days.
At present, fifty households are proudly benefiting from the solar lamps in the community of Bonthe. The people of Bonthe so welcomed the novelty that the sixty lamp quota meant for them were exhausted within three days. We are currently being inundated by requests to make more lamps.
On behalf of the organization and on my personal behalf, I would like to use this opportunity to express our thanks and profound appreciation to Tommy Fernandes Solenergi Uten Grenser – Solar Energy Unlimited/ Norway for their indefatigable support in enhancing the success of this project. Your role in saving the people of this country from the hazards of kerosene lamps and candles will not be easily forgotten. The initial stage of this project has proven that the people of Sierra Leone are ready to embrace renewable energy. The greatest challenge now is meeting the demand of the people. To this we look forward to your continuous support