It has been an exciting few months for all of us involved in bringing solar energy to Salamale as we have been able to raise over US$5000 for this project and in the process were awarded with a permanent spot on the global giving website. This was from an amazing 75 unique donors. So a massive thank you goes out to all of those who dug deep and donated to the project. A permanent position on the Global Giving website will help to raise the profile of this project and will be an extremely useful fundraising tool for the making the project a reality.
For those who are unfamiliar with the project, the objective is to install a solar powered community charging station (CCS) in Salamale. This involves providing solar power to a kiosk and an adjacent community centre in the village. The community centre will provide a public space with lighting, while the kiosk will act as a centre to charge small electrical items for a small fee (ie mobile phones, batteries, lamps etc). As a part of the project we will also be disseminating small LED lights in the community, which will be recharged at the CCS, and provide a better light than the kerosene lamps that are currently in use. The impacts of providing improved lighting are immense, as most kerosene lamps provide a light that is too poor to read with, hindering the education opportunities for children in the community. The CCS is a profitable venture, and all money paid for recharging these small items will go directly into a community fund, which can be then used for any future maintenance or future community projects. EFO has been involved in installing such CCSs in Sierra Leone with great success, and we are looking forward to expanding this concept to Mali, whose sparsely spread population and high insolation (sunlight hours per day) make It an excellent location for solar powered CCSs. The installation at Salamale will be a pilot model, which EFO plans to replicate at other sites across Mali.
Project Yelen and EFO’s work will not just stop with the CCS in Salamale. As mentioned above, the CCS raises funds which can be used for future community projects. From these funds and additional fundraising for abroad we will work with the Salamale solar power to other sites in the community, such as the hospital (providing lights and power for a vaccine fridge) and the school (providing lights and power for computers), as well as other initiatives such as solar water purification projects. The CCS is ultimately the seed laid down to help facilitate future projects in the community. This has been the approach that EFO has utilised in Sierra Leone so far and has had great success (for example one community who had a CCS installed two years ago has already helped to co-finance solar power installations at their health clinic and school).
Currently, in terms of the project, we are currently seeking extra funding to complement the already raised funds. This will include approaching corporate donors and foundations, as well as enacting a series of fundraising events throughout the year. After this we will looking to order and ship all the necessary solar power and LED lighting equipment to Mali; then after it arrives EFO and Project Yelen will arrive to Salamale and implement the project. Our tentative date for conducting the project is at the end of this year, although this will be very much dependant on our ability to source additional funding.
Once again – a big thank you to everyone for all your support so far. We are all extremely excited about this project and can’t wait to get our hands dirty installing a CCS for Salamale.
All the best,
EFO and Project Yelen