The people of Sare Pateh have hailed the Akon Lighting Africa project, three weeks after the Kombo North village became the first beneficiary of a project that aims to reach every home without a light and create over 1000 jobs in the country.
The pilot project seeks to reach at least 15000 homes, officials disclosed.
Akon Lighting Africa is an initiative to bring clean, renewable and affordable energy solutions primarily to rural and off-grid areas in Africa.
The goal of the Akon Lighting Africa initiative is to provide solutions to the energy crisis in Africa through innovative, clean and accessible solar solutions, including street lamps, home-based solar kits, pre-paid micro-grids, lamps and recharge stations.
The donated equipment consists of 20 solar street lights, life straw water filtering system for a local school, solar system for the school, a local health center, and mosque and market area.
Through its partnership with Unique Solutions, a community center was equipped with a satellite TV, Internet connectivity and charging stations for mobile phones for the community of Sare Pateh.
“It opens doors for so many things and we want to create a thousand homes,” Papa Njie of Unique Solutions said.
Alieu Sowe, the caretaker of a video club brought by the project, defined the project as “nice and good,” adding that they only pray for more of the same projects.
Alieu Suwareh, a shopkeeper, and barber, said the project within this short space of time has raised up the status of the village.
“So we really thank God for that,” Mr Suwareh said.
He explained that the people of the village travel many kilometers whenever they need to cut their hair, but that too, he said, would soon be a thing of the past.
“The project brought light into the shop, all we need now is a socket to plug in, compared to before when people had to travel out or I use a comb to barb them.”
Delo Bah, a native of the community and member of the Village Development Committee, said the project came as a pleasant surprise.
He said the community was really in need of rescue prior to the coming of the project, defining it as timely.
“Our community is on the part of joining the global world. In the long term, it will generate employment and income. With those incomes, we can channel them into other things to benefit our people,” he said.
According to Delo, the project has galvanised and put life into people and the community.
He underscored that through this project they were able to host several different political rallies that lasted for many hours, adding that it would not have been possible without the street lights.
Delo is hopeful that the project would soon be able to sustain its people and generate revenues.
“With proceeds from our video clubs and other facilities, we hope to create a cultural center as Jamwelly is a beautiful place for tourists,” he said.
Demba Bah, the alkalo of the village, highlighted the effects of the project after only three weeks of its installation.
Bah, who has been an Alkalo for close to 50 years, said everything has changed since the project reached them.
He explained that young people from neighboring villages come to Sara Pateh on a daily basis in their numbers, and stayed late into the night.
All that was possible because of the project and they prayed for its sustenance, he said.
Alkalo Bah recalled boring moment and blackout in Sare Pateh, and returned gratitude to the sponsors of the ‘life-changing project.’
He promised to safeguard the project, saying in his village, nobody goes to sleep as they jealously guard a rare benefit that doesn’t come by easy in today’s world.