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.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Mr Hari Krishnan Nair - CEO Western India Cashew - Visits Taibathu

An email from Mr HariKrishnan Nair, CEO of Western India Cashew Company - a partner and Sponsor of the ComAfrique-InteliZon Initiative visited Taibathu Village.  His visit coincided with the onset of the Monsoons - a very good sign as suggested by the Alkalo of Taibathu. Read his account in his own words - in an emaoil sent to us :-...

Hi Ram,

Thank you for the chance..

From: Hari Krishnan Nair []
Sent: 19 July 2010 18:47
Subject: Waca Waca Africa

I've just got back from a hectic trip to West Africa - Guinea Bissau and the Gambia. A major highlight was a visit to Taibatou Village in the Western South Bank of the Gambia.

The Gambia is an English speaking enclave on both banks of the Gambia river opening out to the Atlantic Ocean, surrounded by French-speaking Senegal on 3 sides. Taibatou is a dirt-road ride off the main road from Banjul to Sanyang. The village has 80 houses, tin-roofed and plastered-mud walled, in 26 compounds. The people are all farmers, growing cashews also, among other crops - maize, cassava, etc. The children do go to school; there is an Elementary School, and the chieftain spoke surprisingly good English in a
very soft voice. Many of the others also spoke Arabic.

My company had sponsored Solar lighting for the village and I wanted to actually visit them and see the Project. The sponsored lights belong to the Village Committee and are given out to families on a contributory basis - the house-holds each pay 1-3 Dalasis (4-12 USC) per day to the Committee, which becomes a fund to replace the batteries in 2 years and augment the lights, so that it is sustainable. This expenditure is less than half the cost of candles - 5 Dalasis per room per night. Two or three lights are common property and light up the street in front of the Chief's house where the villagers have their meetings.

This project is implemented by ComAfrique Ltd., owned by Mr. Ram Mohan, the Hon. Counsel of India in the Gambia, who had started off in business more than a decade ago, supplying cashews to us.

The rugged solar lights "Zonlight" are made in India, and use the newest technologies: LED lights, Lithium cells and compact solar panels to provide 9-12 hours of light with 3-4 hours of charging. ComAfrique uses local people to scout the villages and implement the projects, keeping costs much lower than when done by
ex-pats. The cost of sponsoring lights for a village is $2,500 to $4,000, depending on the size of the village. If any of you is interested, please visit, or let me know. I'll also be putting up some photos on Face-book over the next two days.

It was raining when we landed up at the village at about 11 am. The Village committee was waiting for us and we spent some time in the chief's house. He told me about the difference it had made to them - they can go out in the dark if there is any threat; the children can study longer at night without hurting their eyes; the families can cook and do other chores; no threat of fires from candles... it's been one month and their lives have changed. More people kept coming as the rain abated, and they wanted to shake my hand. The
two teens (boy and girl) who maintain the collection accounts brought out their register and proudly showed me their collection - no delinquencies.

The chieftain made a small speech of thanks with tears in his and everybody else's eyes. It's a special feeling.


Thursday, July 1, 2010


In an unfortunate but understandable set back, the Village of Sitanunku have backed out and have opted for their mentor Mr Marcel Hendricks to directly fund a Solar Water Pump rather than sponsor Lights and work on the Loan based on the ComAfrique ZonLight Initiative.  While the majority apparently were united in exhibiting their self sustanability and independence on water and light, a few villagers on the committee commented that since the EcoHotel project of Mr Marcel Hendricks would anyway be responsible for providing Light and water to the region, they opted out and preffered to take cash from him rather than implement their own water and light with the ComAfrique Initiative. 
However, Trust Bank that had so magnanimously agreed to give the villagers a loan for their Solar Water Project bsed on our Initiative, they have since suggested that they would like to sponsor a village with ZonLights and we await further communication with them.

First International Bank ( F I B ) - Two MORE Villages & RURAL Banking Implemented

THE FIRST INTERNATIONAL BANK (FIB) Have joined the efforts of the ComAfrique-InteliZon Initiative by sponsoring two villages - nominated by His Excellency, President Jammeh.  The Villages of Bunuborr and Santaba in the Foni Districts have now been implemented as well.
A total of 101 Lights were given to the Villages at independnt ceremonies by representatives of F I B Bank.
Mr Cyril, Ms Veronica and Mr Abduali of FIB accompanied the Implementation team.  A big thanks from ComAfrique-InteliZon to Mr Pa-Ousman Njie and the rest ot the FIB team.
RURAL BANKING services were also intiated with the Kanilai Branch manager of FI B bankvisiting all the other villages in the FONIs where the ZonLight Commitees have already been established.

Thus this Initiative has now introduced Rural banking as well.  The Manager of FIB bank will make monthly visits to each of the villages in the Fonis.  Jakoi Gibbirick, Battendeng, Bujhinga, Jirramba, Kallang and now Bunnuborr and Santaba will all be able to bank their ZonLight Funds with FIB at their doorstep.

This current implementation created the following committees :

1. Abdoulai jarju- 7297054.
2. bubacarr jarju- 6362639
3. Fanta Gibba- 7579092
4. Yafai colley- 7222315
5. Alkali Kitim jarju- 7511013

Number of Lights given- 55 lights
Basic ZonLights- 43, ZonII- 9 and Zonhome- 3

1. Ansumana Bonjang- 7352933
2. Seaka Bonjang-
3. Fatou Jarji- 6336581
4. Omie Jarji
5. Alkali Famara bojang- 6235759.

Number of light given: 46
Basic ZonLights- 34, ZonLIght II - 9 and Zonhome- 3

The Implementation Team comprised of  the following persons :
ComAfrique- Famara Dampha, Buba Jarju, Buba Driver

FIB: Mr. Cycril, Ms. Veronica, Mr. Abdulai.

The Following press persons accompanied the team for the Implementation
Daily Observor- Mr Sheriff Barry
GRTS- Mr. Lamin Saho, Mr. Buba Darboe.