OXFAM Provides Solar Electricity In Nimikoro
With rural electrification becoming the new vogue, Oxfam, the British Non-Governmental Organization operating in Sierra Leone, has taken the lead in complementing government’s effort in the provision of electricity by handing over 43 solar systems to the Solar Management Committee in Nimikoro Chiefdom, Kono District.
The handing over ceremony took place on Saturday 26th May, 2012 at the town’s community center in the presence of Paramount Chiefs, Councilors, community leaders and other stakeholders.
The project is implemented by Future Energy Enterprise (FEE), in collaboration with Oxfam, under the Solar Energy for Rural Electrification in Sierra Leone (SERES) project and is aimed at alleviating poverty through electricity.
Alhaji Brimah Sallu, FEE Programme Support Manager, whilst formally handing over the systems to the Solar Energy Electricity Management Committee (SEMAC), noted that the community would be responsible for the payment of the monthly fee on a regular basis and assured that Oxfam would monitor and assist the committee as and when necessary for which he congratulated the Committee for its commitment to the project.
He also thanked government for granting duty waiver concession to clear the items from customs and excise and enlightened that the project was conceived to reduce the cost and dangers of running either a generator or candle.
According to the Programme Support Manager, FEE is a social enterprise determined to support rural communities like Nimikoro, the first beneficiary of the project, and underscored that the success of the project would pave the way for other communities to benefit from it and urged all to comply by paying for the items according to the terms of the agreement.
“The project, which started at a snail pace, is now attracting a hybrid consumer base. Furthermore, pending beneficiaries will not benefit from subsidy but will have to pay at a higher cost. Management is also working to create a website to receive responses from other partners,” Alhaji Brimah Sallu stated.
Chief Sahr A. D. Foday whilst underlining the impact of the project, informed that electricity, through solar energy, is cost effective and that his children now spend long hours reading in addition to several other invaluable advantages.
Imam Mahmoud, a Muslim cleric, stated that formerly, the mosque used to operate two generators at exorbitant cost but that now it cost them less to generate electricity through solar energy for which he promised to pay the amount before the end of the three-year stipulated period.
Paramount Chief Aiah Denton Bona Foamansa III revealed that the contribution of Oxfam to his chiefdom has been of immense benefit to his people and promised to always collaborate with the organization.
The ceremony was chaired by Chief Sahr Matturi who recalled that Oxfam was formed in Great Britain in 1940 to help victims of famine and other natural disasters.
The Chairman continued that Oxfam was also formed to help transform developing countries and acclaimed Samuel Musa, an indigene of the township, for being the brainchild of the project pointing out that the slogan “Light is Life’ is apt and commended President Koroma for his development strides.
This is the first time in the history of the community to benefit from any form of electricity, the reason why the event was full of pump and pageantry.
A skit presentation by pre-school pupils on the relevance of electricity and the dangers of studying under hurricane lamps formed the highpoint of the ceremony.
A. R. Bedor
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