This Initiative is a Private Sector Energised India-US-Africa Sustainable Initiative

Ram Mohan is the Managing Director and Founder of ComAfrique and the initiatior of the ComAfrique Initiative. He is also the Honorary Consul General of India in The Gambia.

Dr Kushant Uppal, founder & CEO of InteliZon is a US Citizen, Educated at the Indian Institute of Technology ( Madras) in Chennai, India and thereafter at the University of Southern California - where he settled down for 20 years returning to India to create InteliZon and Intelligent solutions for Rural Lighting.

How ONE Dalasi ( 0.04US$) per Day CAN give you Light for Life

Read through our Blog pages to find out more......

Developing Sustainability in Villages - A Unique Initiative

Sustainability with Village participation ... driven by Entrepreneurship and Partnership. We can change the world we live in - in our own small way.

Governments should generate and bring light to all corners of the Country. Many development agencies insist that off-grid solar lights should be paid for and not given free. However Our UNIQUE Initiative strives to get the Private Sector / NGOs / or Governments to provide the instruments of Light to remote Villagers and thereafter let the Villagers sustain it by paying for the usage of light. We believe that just selling Solar Lights to Villagers is not the right way. If you want to make it truly sustainable, deliver the means to them and let them pay to sustain it. This is a better form of development.

How does providing sustainable light enhance Food Security?

Villagers who live in darkness, use daylight for income generation. With Light, they are able to enhance their incomes or productivity at night. Children are able to study at night and Education is the driving force behind development. Thus Light is the source of all development.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

The ComAfrique InteliZon Initiative - Sustainability in Lighting Up Rural Villages - Implementation Report

The ComAfrique InteliZon Initiative: ‘Light Up a Village’ with ZonLight

Implementation Report

The Initiative commenced in The Gambia, with ComAfrique offering to sponsor one Village and TATA Africa responding with an offer to sponsor another with ZonLights and ZonHomes. These offers were sent to the Office of the President who responded immediately and very favourably, offered to also sponsor two villages. The Villages named by His Excellency, Sheikh Prof. Alhagi Dr. Yahya A J J Jammeh to be sponsored by ComAfrique and TATA Africa- Safari Motors were respectively

1. Jakoi Gibbirick ( Foni District)
2. Battendeng ( Foni Bintang District)

And those to be sponsored by His Excellency were

1. Bujingha ( Foni Kansala District)
2. Jirramba ( Foni Kansala District)

On 29th December 2009, the ComAfrique team along with Mr Omar Gibba (Dy. Chief of Protocol, Office of the President, made an initial survey of the 4 villages.

On the 4th of January, 2010, ComAfrique Limited invited representatives of the 4 villages to explain the implementation procedure. In consultation with the Dy. Chief of Protocol, dates for the final implementation were fixed.

From January 8th to the 11th, ComAfrique team comprising of Mr Nfamara Dampha, Mr Mustapha Njie, and Mr Ram Mohan driven by Mr Modou Bah with Mr Sheriff Sowe of Safari Motors (TATA Representative) and accompanied by GRTS Reporter Mr Ebrima Jatta and cameraperson Mr Joof undertook the implementation of the first four villages.

The Implementation team decided that it would be ideal to do all villages on one trip, spending one night in each of the villages, thereby giving us an opportunity to experience the effect of the lights in the villages. Our experience has been overwhelming.

ComAfrique Gambia Team with TATA Africa / Safari Motors Team set out to Implement the
ComAfrique Initiative “LIGHT UP A VILLAGE” with ZonLight
4 Villages in the Fonis – January 8th to January 11th, 2010

JAKOI GIBBIRICK( Sponsored by ComAfrique Limited): Jan 8th / 9th:

A Very Warm reception was accorded by the Alkalo’s representative, Mr Backary Jarju. Our First activity was requesting them to set up the Village ZonLight Committee.

VILLAGE STATISTICS (Provided by Village Alkalo and Representatives)
Number of Compounds : 38
Houses : 54
Total : 1010  (Men : 310  Women : 500  Children : 200)

 Average spending per Month on Candles per Family 300 GMD

Jakoi Village ZonLight Committee
Ebou Gibba
Salimina Jarju
Adama Sanneh
Alkalo Representative - Backary Jarju
Alkalo : Seikou Jarju

The Committee agreed that the village would participate in the sustainability programme of 1 Dalasi per day per Light. The full village was asked to gather in front of the Alkalis compound at sunset. We set up a demonstration Street Light and a work table around which the ZonLights and ZonHomes for distribution were arranged. A list was drawn up with village compound representatives’ names and the number of lights to be given to each compound. This was worked out on the basis of the number of individuals living in each compound.

The ceremony began with prayers followed by a demonstration of the operation and durability of the lights. Thereafter the Initiatives Sustainability Program was explained – especially how important the 1 Dalasi payment was. Villagers were allowed to ask questions and clear doubts. Then the actual presentation began. Each Compound leader was called out by name. On being given the designated number of lights, they were publicly asked if they accepted to pay the Village ZonLight Committee a sum of ONE Dalasi per Light per Day. They were also told that in case of default they would accept that the Committee was empowered to take back a light and re-issue the light to any other. Amidst a lot of cheering, each compound head came forward, took the lights, signed receipt and adherence to pay the 1 Dalasi per Light per Day. Great excitement followed as each compound member then lit up their lights. The GRTS Camera crew too were amazed that the ZonLights were used for their filming as well. The entire evening was only powered by solar ZonLights. No big expenses were made for the ceremony and a cost effective program was initiated with a bright yet cost effective spirit. 71 Lights were distributed in Jakoi as detailed below


TOTAL LIGHTS GIVEN 71 (worth 77,000 GMD)
ZonLight Basic 57 (57,000 )
ZonLight II 10 (12,000 )
ZonHome 4 (8,000 )

JAKOI Villagers Gather around a Demo Zon Streetlight for the Handing over Ceremony of ZonLights & ZonHomes

Mr Nfamara Dampha demonstrates ZonLight to the Jakoi ZonLight Committee and to the Villagers while Mustafa Njie looks on

Village recipient of ZonLights Signs acceptance to pay Village ZONLIGHT Committee Sustainability fee of 1 Dalasi per Light per Day

This included ZonHomes for the Alkalo residence as well as for the Mosque, School Head and the Medical Centre.

The presentation ended with prayers to the Almighty and with thanks being showered on His Excellency, President Jammeh for encouraging the initiative from ComAfrique and to ComAfrique for their Light up a Village with ZonLight Initiative.

A Certificate of Implementation of the Initiative was signed by the ComAfrique Team as well as by the Village ZonLight Committee and witnessed by the Alkalo. A copy of this certificate is attached.

The entire ComAfrique team and the GRTS crew slept late that night while Jakoi Gibbirick cheered the entry of simple lights into their lives. The hospitality in Villages that we have seen has been in true reciprocity to the nature of the event. Each member of the team was housed with one of the families.

The ComAfrique and GRTS team then left the following morning to Battendeng.

BATTENDENG VILLAGE (Foni Bintang District) Sponsored by TATA Africa-Safari Motors) – 9th /10th January, 2010

VILLAGE STATISTICS (Provided by Alkalo and Representative)

Number of Compounds : 8
Houses : 41

Total : 134 (Men-55 Women-39 Children-40)
Average spending per Month on Candles per Home 300 GMD

Battendeng Village ZonLight Committee
Jainaba Jammeh
Sajo Jarju
Seaka Badjie
Alkalo : Borry Jammeh

ComAfriques Modou Bah, Mustafa Njie, Nfamara Damfa & Sheriff Sowe prepare ZonLights at Battendeng

Battendeng Village Housewife Cleaning Rice under ZonLight

A much smaller village than Jakoi, but with the same big enthusiasm. This village designated by His Excellency, President Jammeh, was sponsored by TATA Africa-Safari Motors. With 8 Compounds, 59 Lights were distributed to a very excited village. The Alkalo and villages sang songs in praise His Excellency, President Jammeh. They sang for TATA Africa – Safari Motors and thanked ComAfrique for the initiative.

The Alkalos residence, The Village Mosque as well as the night Koranic school benefited with having ZonHomes allocated.

The lights provided was as follows

ZonLight Basic : 46 (46,000)
ZonLight II :  10 (12,000)
ZonHome 3 (6,000)

Villagers Celebrate under ZonLight - The Arrival of Sustainable Light in Battendeng

Sheriff Sowe of Safari Motors - Representing TATA Africa - Hands over ZonLights to a Battendeng Village member

 Alkalo of Battendeng, Mr Borry Jammeh sings a Song thanking President Jammeh

A Certificate of Implementation of the Initiative was signed by the ComAfrique Team as well as by the Village ZonLight Committee and witnessed by the Alkalo. A copy of this certificate is attached.

Alkalo Borry Jammeh Handing the Certification of Implementation to Ram Mohan
We trust that he will not have any further use for that Torch :-)

The following morning the team thanked the hosts for their hospitality and left for the village of Bujingha in Foni Kansala District.

BUJINGHA VILLAGE (Foni Kansala District) (Sponsored by His Excellency, President Jammeh) - 10th / 11th January, 2010

A right turn before the Bwiam Hospital, and a few kilometres drive brings you to the village of Bujingha. A very well organised representative of the Alkalo, Mr. Modou Bojang met the team and immediately set about organising his Village ZonLight Committee.

VILLAGE STATISTICS (Provided by Village Alkalo and Representative)
Number of Compounds 25
Houses 133

Population ( Including Children) 
Total : 317 (Male: 167  Female: 150)

Average spending per Month on Candles per Home 300 GMD

Bujingha Imam leads prayers while Alkalo Representative Modou Bojang, ComAfrique Nfamara Damfa and M Njie with the Village ZonLight Committee pray

Bujingha Village ZonLight Committee
Modou L Bojang - Alkalo Representative
Binta Bojang
Baboucar Jarju
Alkalo : Seikou Bojang

Bujingha Alkalo Mr Seikou Bojang Hands over Certificate of Implementation to Ram Mohan of ComAfrique

Village Children in Bujingha Studying under ZonLights

This village was all the more excited because H E, President Jammeh had personally sponsored as well as selected the village. They understood the seriousness of the sponsorship and this was seen in their attitude – very positive.

The Ceremony began as usual with a prayer of thanks and loud cheering marked every household as their representative received the designated lights. The simplicity of the lights and yet the effect they have were constant reminders of how important light is. The ComAfrique team helped install the ZonHomes in the Alkalos residence as well as the Mosque.

Details of the Lights provided:

ZonLight Basic : 45 (45,000)
ZonLight II : 23 (27,600)
ZonHome : 3 (6,000)

A Certificate of Implementation of the Initiative was signed by the ComAfrique Team as well as by the Village ZonLight Committee and witnessed by the Alkalo. A copy of this certificate is attached.

Hospitality here was at a peak demonstrating the appreciation of the arrival of the Implementation team. The ComAfrique and GRTS team then left for the village of JIRRAMBA.

JIRRAMBA VILLAGE (Foni Kansala District) (Sponsored by His Excellency, President Jammeh) – 11th January, 2010.

VILLAGE STASTICS (Provided by the Alkalo representative)
Number of Compounds : 29
Houses : 236
Population (including children)
Total : 331 (Male :164  Female : 167)

Average spending per Month on Candles per Home 300 GMD
 ComAfrique Dampha, Bah, Njie assisted by the Imam of Jirramba – arrange the ZonLights for Charging before handing over

The Cheer that the ZonLights and the team brought to Jirramba and the other villages was worth much more than anything else

A few Kilometres after Bwiam, a left turn and a couple of kilometres brought us to this fairly large village. Sidi Gibba, the very young son of Alkalo Mr Jerreh Gibba was our point of contact. We wanted to attempt a day time ceremony to enable the GRTS crew to return to Banjul to cover other engagements. However the hospitality and the enthusiasm of the villagers made us stay back and implement this village too in the evening. A Large and diverse Village ZonLight Committee was selected.

Jirramba Village ZonLight Committee
Sidi Gibba
Baboucar Jarju
Fatou Badgie
Njougou Jarju
Alkalo : Jerreh Gibba

 Village elders of Jirramba show their appreciation welcoming Ram Mohan and the team from ComAfrique

Nfamara Dampha listens to a Villager of Jirramba while the Alkalo, Mustafa Njie  and the Village Committee listen.

Eager Jirramba mother signs for her ZonLight agreeing to pay 1 Dalasi to the Village ZonLight Fund assisted by Mustafa Njie

Happy Jirramba Villager with her ZonLights

This village seemed a far more affluent village with several vehicles driving past and all children neatly dressed in school uniforms. Yet the absence of light and the excitement among young and old alike gave one a feeling that this was really important to them. Families that did not have compounds as yet, wanted to sign up and take lights – willing to pay the ONE Dalasi per Light in advance. Reactions have been very energising for all of us. We are determined to take this further. In a very heart warming gesture, the village of Jirramba even wanted to take an additional ZonHome for the neighbouring village Mosque.

Details of ZonLights and ZonHomes provided in Jirramba:

JIRRAMBA Number & Value (GMD)

ZonLight Basic : 40 (40,000)
ZonLight II : 29 (34,800)
ZonHome : 3 (6,000)

At the end of the ceremony, the Certificate of Implementation of the Initiative was signed by the ComAfrique Team as well as by the Village ZonLight Committee and witnessed by the Alkalo. A copy of this certificate is attached.


Thus came to the end of a very exhilarating trip and the beginning of a long voyage for ComAfrique, where we will endeavour to attract more sponsors with participation from ComAfrique as well.

ComAfrique have assured each village that they will sponsor ONE Rural Street Light to Each Village being sponsored (at 6,000GMD each). This light can be mounted in a central place in the Village. The Village ZonLight Committee will be responsible to find a manner to make this light sustainable as well. These will be installed as soon as they arrive and the housings are fabricated in The Gambia.

To summarize the efforts of our team, please find below what the first four sponsorships of 4 (Four) Villages have yielded

TOTAL SUMMARY Number & Value in GMD

Total Lights Given : 277 (324,400 GMD)
ZonLight Basic : 188 (188,000)
ZonLight II : 72 (86,400)
ZonHome : 13 (26,000)
Zon StreetLight* : 4 (24,000)

A Break up of Corporate and HE President Jammehs Sponsorships is below


Total Lights Given : 132 (153,000 GMD)
ZonLight Basic : 103 (103,000)
ZonLight II 20 (24,000)
ZonHome 7 (14,000)
Zon StreetLight* 2 (12,000)


Total Lights Given : 145 (171,400GMD)
ZonLight Basic : 85 (85,000)
ZonLight II : 52 (62,400)
ZonHome : 6 (12,000)
Zon StreetLight* : 2 (12,000)

* The ZonStreet Lights are yet to be assembled and will be put up and sponsored by ComAfrique Gambia Limited

ComAfrique Limited would also like to mention that the ZonHomes are now being assembled in The Gambia.

The ComAfrique Team would like to profusely thank His Excellency, Sheikh Professor Alhaji Dr. Yahya A J J Jammeh for the immense support given in implementing this Initiative. We would like to believe that this is only the beginning and that we will work towards getting more sponsors for ZonLights and ZonHomes in villages to make rural Gambia energy independent and bright. We would like to thank the Office of the President, Secretary General, Government of The Gambia, Mr Omar Gibba (Dy Chief of Protocol) and the Director of GRTS Mr M Sanyang as well as the very enthusiastic and hard working GRTS team of Mr Ebrima Jatta and Mr Joof. Our thanks also go for the encouragement given by the Ministry of Energy, Ministry of Petroleum and PURA for giving us moral support to move ahead. Our profound gratitude goes to Mr Sumeet Tank of TATA Africa and to Mr H R Aswani and Mr. Ram Aswani of Right Choice Supermarket who have also taken the cause in sponsoring villages. And of course we cannot but thank the people of The Gambia without whose support, no sustainable project could ever move ahead.
Ofcourse - Finally we thank our partners and the developers of this wonderful technology, InteliZon and Dr Kushant Uppal for thse wonderful inventions that will transform dark corners of the globe into brightness.
We thank Mr Har Krishnan Nair of Western India Cashew Company who has involved himself with this project in Africa.

Ram Mohan
Managing Director – ComAfrique Limited
On Behalf of the ZonLight Implementation Team of ComAfrique
Mr Nfamara Dampha

Several ZonLights Fixed on a strip makes a wonderful Flood Light for Rural Meetings

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