Last December, our colleagues Patrick D. (EA) and Gaëlle A. (EAF) went to Senegal for a multi-stage mission, with a temperature difference of almost 40°C compared to European winter temperatures.

The first stage took place in the Kaolak region, where our two volunteers were warmly welcomed by the managers of the Malem-Auder non-profit organization, which is very active in improving living conditions and in agroecology in rural areas of Senegal.

The association asked Energy Assistance to help rehabilitate a well by installing a solar pump in Medina Safa, a village of 650 inhabitants. The planned flow rate (2.5 m3/h over the course of the sun) maximizes watering, giving the best chance of a good harvest.

After checking and advising on the grounding of the panels, the installation, carried out by local partner Bonergie, was handed over and celebrated with the village elders and the women who will manage the plot.

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In Hodar, our volunteers examined the solar installation at the health center, which was built in 2020 and has been suffering from malfunctions. An adaptation of this installation is currently being studied.

Their stay in the region also enabled them to visit other agricultural achievements in the villages ofNavarenne and Banghadi, or future projects, such as in Tobene.

The second phase took our volunteers to Yayem, where they gather the necessary information for a future electrification project for the school, attended by 315 pupils, and the host house.

 

Finally, our volunteers went to Mbour to check out the facilities at the Cajoutiers school for the deaf and hearing-impaired, built in March 2022 and in need of more satisfactory maintenance.

Many thanks to our two volunteers for this excellent Franco-Belgian collaboration and mission.

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Our mission was to uplift the educational landscape for 600 young girls at Likuni Girls Secondary School in Malawi through the installation of solar panels and batteries. Malawi grapples with frequent power outages, disrupting the learning process. Enter solar energy – a reliable power source that not only brightens classrooms but also contributes to our planet’s well-being.

Lighting the Path to Education:

Likuni Girls Secondary School, a boarding school near Lilongwe, is home to 600 girls. Our solar system not only illuminate classrooms after dark (around 5 p.m. due to the latitude) but also power 30 computers, providing access to modern educational tools. We firmly believe that every girl deserves a chance at a bright future, and access to education is the key.

Scope of the Solar Project:

While connected to the local network (ESCOM), persistent power cuts prompted the installation of 22 photovoltaic panels and 4 Lithium batteries as a backup. The panels have been placed on the school building’s roof, a restored technical room now houses the solar regulation equipment, electrical boxes, and batteries. The solar system (almost 10kWp with a storage capacity of 19.2kWh) ensures a continuous power supply to classrooms, the computer lab, and the administration bloc during outages.

Towards Sustainability and Eco-Friendliness:

Beyond classrooms and administration bloc, dormitories, kitchens, and more remain unconnected. A feasibility study is underway for supplying biogas to the kitchen. This would allow daily meals to be prepared without the need for electricity or firewood, and provide biofertilizer for the vegetable garden, offering an eco-friendly solution. This move aims to combat deforestation and enhance the school’s self-sufficiency.

 

 

Fostering biodiversity for a Sustainable Future:

In commitment to sustainability, Likuni Girls’ Secondary School pledges to plant 800 native trees. This tree plantation will aim to reforest areas of Lilongwe that have been hardest hit by deforestation (mainly for firewood and charcoal) and to teach girls the benefits of having trees nearby. Trees along riverbeds aim to reduce flooding during the rainy season, particularly dramatic given floods in Malawi in recent years.

 

A Journey of Impact and Growth:

Our mission has been a profound journey of learning, growth, and giving back to a community that has become close to our hearts.
Hear from the Beneficiaries:

Acknowledgments:

This impactful project was initiated by Worldwide Solidarity for Education (WSE) and executed by Energy Assistance asbl-vzw. The successful material installation was carried out by a dedicated local supplier, ensuring close after-sales service.
A heartfelt thank you to our exceptional team of volunteers: Genevieve R., Michael dM., Johan B., Tony MdH, Sabine B., Jean B., and to all supporters who have made this mission possible, especially Pedro M., Mark D., and Sister Amelia N. Together, we’re making a difference!

 

 

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The first major project in Belgium was a great success I

This mission to electrify the AMAH center in Mesnil-St-Blaise was carried out by over 20 volunteers in the field, including 7 new ones!
A wide variety of entities (ENGIE, ELECTRABEL, ORES, EQUANS, LABORELEC), with a strong representation of their retired employees.

The 144 panels (410Wp) and 3 x 10 kVA SMA three-pole inverters were installed over two long weekend days, involving more than 220 hours of on-site work. The installation of the panel installation structures and cabling had been carried out beforehand. A total of 300 hours were spent on the installation.

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With this project, all the EA structures were put into action, including volunteer recruitment with the help of Gilles, administrative follow-up by Tony and Sabine, and communication with Sylvia.

We also took the opportunity to improve our safety procedures for working at height and wearing personal safety equipment.

After two weeks in service, the system has already produced almost 3,000 kW/h. The savings generated will enable us to maintain our support measures for the home’s residents, as well as investing in building improvements with a view to further energy savings.

   

Thanks to l’Avenir for the nice article: https://www.lavenir.net/regions/namur/houyet/2023/08/20/mesnil-saint-blaise-144-panneaux-photovoltaiques-un-cadeau-venu-du-ciel-pour-laide-mesniloise-aux-handicapes-42633OC3EBGJFA42LHR3JBN2Y4/

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During the previous mission to Guinea in March 2020, our volunteers received a request for help from the town of Koundian, for electrification of the health post and school. Two additional requests from the villages of Gbangban (school) and Kodiéran (school + health post) made it possible to envisage a third mission in this region.

Initiated in 2020, these 5 projects experienced numerous delays, firstly due to the Covid crisis and confinement, then to constraints on volunteer project leaders, and finally to various administrative and logistical problems. The equipment was finally dispatched in January.

During this mission in April-May 2023, our volunteers Dominique K. and Sylvia B. took delivery of and inspected 5 installations carried out by our partner Dramane Keita, a local electrician who had accompanied and been trained in solar installations during missions in 2018 and 2020. Passing on skills is one of our association’s core values!

 

In Gbangban, a small village of 4,500 inhabitants 30 km from Kankan, the whole village rallied round to welcome our volunteers. The school has been equipped with a 1,200 Wc system, which will enable remedial classes to be held in the evenings.

 

Drumming and singing also greeted our volunteers in Kodieran, a village of 9,500 inhabitants. Electrifying health posts in rural areas greatly improves the quality of care they provide, and makes night-time deliveries safer.
The Kodieran health post has been equipped with an 1800 Wp solar system and a fridge for storing vaccines and certain medicines.
At the school, 3 classrooms and the principal’s office have also been electrified (1200 Wp installations), enabling evening revision.

And what a welcome to Koundian! The ‘Kondé’ mask came out to welcome our volunteers, the 1st Minister of the Children’s Government gave a great speech and the whole village celebrated the light in the health post and school!
Koundian has a population of nearly 37,000, so the health post plays an important role. It has been equipped with an 1800 Wp installation, providing lighting only, as the health post is already equipped with solar fridges. The school has also been equipped with a 1200 Wp solar system.

    

The Koundian sub-prefecture is also lending its ecological support by committing to reforest 10ha, including this plot of former mine land and another chosen to protect the source of a river running through Koundian.

As well as taking delivery of these 5 new facilities, our volunteers checked the 11 facilities built in 2018 (the schools and health posts in Gbilin, Loïla and Faranindoun) and 2020 (the schools and health posts in Oudoumakoro and Balandougou, as well as the Fondation Sidibé gynecological clinic in Kankan), with the great satisfaction of seeing that everything is working well, except for a few adjustments to be made in one village.

In all, our 2 volunteers covered more than 1,500 km of tar and laterite, visited 16 facilities in 9 villages in 6 days, and made a very positive assessment!

As with the two previous missions, a partnership was established with the beneficiaries: the village chiefs agreed to take charge of the reception and transport of the teams and equipment, while Energy Assistance provided materials and expertise, and ensured the training of local managers in the rational and eco-responsible use of the energy made available, in order to ensure the sustainability of the installations. An ecological contribution was also agreed: the Koundian prefecture undertook to reforest 10ha.

Well done and thank you to our two volunteers Sylvia B. and Dominique K., and to Dramane Keita, for this lightning mission, rich in sharing and success. And thanks also to all those who contributed to the finalization of these projects: Christophe L., Roland R., Olivier D.B., and of course Sabine B. and Tony MdH.

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The school group ‘Les Cajoutiers’ in Warang, welcomes about 700 poor children from the region and also organizes inclusive classes for deaf and hard of hearing children.

Following the extensions of the school’s buildings to also accommodate children with Down’s syndrome, Energy Assistance was asked to review and adapt the installation completed in September 2016, thanks to the support of the ENGIE Foundation.

For this purpose, the existing installation was divided in two and powered by two new inverters, two lithium batteries, additional solar panels on the existing part and a new solar field to power the new part of the added buildings.

The work was carried out by a local electrician, Djibril Traore, who supplied and installed the locally ordered equipment. Regular monitoring by project manager Freddy A. ensured that the modification and installation of the equipment was completed successfully.

In addition to technical advice during the implementation, Freddy also provided a lot of administrative advice to this local contractor. The transfer of skills is also one of the missions of our association. While he had no official documents proving his professional existence, he now has a trade register and all the documents allowing him to have contracts with the government, and he is one of the few in the region!  And he did not fail to thank Freddy for insisting on this.

At the beginning of March 2023, Freddy A. and Patrick D. went to Senegal to check and accept this new solar and electrical installation and to give a certificate of competence to Djibril.

The electrical supply of the buildings allows not only the lighting of the classrooms in the evening but also the use of projection equipment and the supply of the fridge, which is indispensable for the conservation of food for the preparation of the midday meals offered to the children.

We are convinced that the upgrade of these installations will bring a plus to this beautiful work set up by Sophie Corynen-Camara and all her team.

Thank you to our volunteers for their investment in this beautiful project!

 

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In January 23, our colleagues Patrick D and Juanito R F went to Lokpo and Gbessou in Benin to receive and control the installations realized by ARESS, mandated for the realization and remotely controlled by the project manager Freddy A.

The mission was complemented by visits to 9 additional sites, 5 sites built by EA Belgium and 4 by EA France, as well as visits to potential projects (6 schools and 3 health centers) in the So-Ava region.

Patrick tells us:
“During this mission, we travelled more than 1200 km by car and more than 20 hours by canoe (a little is nice, but that much …)
During our journey, we were accompanied by Joel Kiki, member of ENGIE Benin, in charge of offering solar kits in the most remote Beninese villages, and depending on the place, some other members of ENGIE Benin joined us.

We started with the elementary school of Gbessou but we noticed several deficiencies both electrically and aesthetically, despite the follow-up via Whatsapp of the project manager Freddy A. It appears that the team was mainly composed of novices with little experience in electrical installation and we are therefore very far from the quality encountered on other projects carried out by ARESS

 

In Lokpo, another surprise: while we expected to find a completed site, everything was still in progress.

We therefore asked and showed the teams in place what we expected of them so that the installation would be carried out according to our criteria of safety and aesthetics, as well as how to connect certain electrical devices.
And we decided to continue our journey towards the other projects to be controlled

First stop in Cocotomey, where we checked the work requested from ARESS, following reports of recurring breakdowns. The problem was solved to the satisfaction of the beneficiaries.

   

We continued our journey to the Bohicon region where we visited 3 facilities built in November 2018 by our colleagues from D’EA Belgium

  • In Lokosoum, everything is in perfect working order and maintenance to the great pleasure of the beneficiaries, who asked us for the extension of two buildings that were abandoned in 2018 and recently returned to activity following the increase in the number of students attending the school.
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  • In Todo, unfortunately, the solar power supply of the large multipurpose hall is completely abandoned, following the death of the contact we had on site.
  • Finally, in Saclo, the installation was still functional, but the basic project of a school-farm has been abandoned due to lack of water (a pirate connection had been made to the inverter for the connection of a pump which was too small and did not work). The solar electricity is used only for the housing of a family and we noticed a flagrant lack of maintenance of the panels, covered with a beautiful layer of sand, the lack of water undoubtedly explains that.

The next stage brought us to the north of Parakou, 420 kms from Cotonou. Boko hosts a large hospital complex, partly equipped with solar installations that could help overcome the deficiencies of the Beninese network. The beneficiary contacted us because, after the installation of the system, an error code informing of a too high load was frequently appearing on two of the three inverters. Based on our recommendations, the hospital’s electrician split the installation to connect only consumers up to 4.5 kW to reduce the load of each inverter.

We then went to the capital to visit 4 installations realized by our colleagues from EA France.

  • In Djomon, a very large school with morethan 1000 students was partially equipped with a photovoltaic installation to organize evening classes. Except for the fixing and the frame of the solar panels eaten by rust, everything is in perfect state of maintenance and functioning.
  • For the 3 other installations, the result is very disappointing: the solar installation in Allankpon does not work anymore, the batteries are swollen and the inverter has been used as a nest for ?
  • The Avrakou nursery, which was supposed to finance the operation of Ste Bibiane, is no longer functioning and has been transformed into an office.
  • In Ste Bibiane, the installation is no longer working either, both the inverter and the batteries, which have already been replaced once, are out of order.

  

 

Back on the two initial projects, we had the great satisfaction to see that the work requested was quickly executed by the “ARESS” staff who were very attentive and eager to learn!

During our visit, we noticed that the roof was not 100% waterproof and that the solar components could be flooded! This remark was quickly taken into account by the installation of a new roof.

And finally, we spent the time we had left to “size” several projects located on the lagoon in the town of Sô-ava: 6 schools from 200 to 850 students and 3 health centers.

Thank you all, and thank you to EA for having allowed us, once again, to live a very enriching human experience.”

And it is a huge thank you that we address to Patrick, Juanito and Freddy for this rich and long mission and for the time they gave for all these projects.

 

 

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On November 10, 2022, our three volunteers Jacques T., Georges D.M. and Julie T. arrived in Umphang for the realization of photovoltaic installations in the boys’ orphanage and in the central building and also in the school-farm a few kilometers away.

The first step was to check the photovoltaic installation at the girls’ orphanage, realized in 2020 by Jacques T. and Georges D.M. It works perfectly!

 

After receiving and checking the solar equipment and accessories, supplied by a local company, and after a fine-tuning with the beneficiary of the work to be done, our volunteers happily set to work with many local helpers, including a painter who decorated the wall of the orphanage with our logo!

The installation delivers a power of 5kVA and allows in particular the lighting and the supply of electricity to the orphanage welcoming about thirty boys. The orphanage is located a few kilometers from Burma. As a result, most of the children are Burmese refugees having lost their parents due to the repression of the Burmese military junta.

The farm, used mainly to supply the orphanage with fruit and vegetables and to house the farmer and his family, benefits from a photovoltaic installation with a power of 3 kVA. This installation provides them with electricity and will soon be used to extend the farm’s activities to livestock.

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Our volunteers have, of course, taken the time to inform the beneficiaries of good practices to ensure the sustainability of the installation.

Thanks to Jacques, Georges and Julie for their dedication during this beautiful mission as well as to the project manager Jacques H.

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In Boko, Benin, the Saint Jean de Dieu hospital is supported by Médecins sans vacances and the “Hubi & Vinciane” foundation.

Our volunteer Sarah O. tells us about this beautiful mission, realized with Steve B., Vincent M. and Jean-Marie T. :

“In September, a team of 4 volunteers left for Parakou – in the center of Benin and 9 hours drive from Cotonou, to install solar panels and batteries and allow the Saint Jean de Dieu hospital in Boko to continue to function despite the power cuts.

 

As a mother, it was very emotional for me to work in the maternity, neonatal and pediatric departments. And it was so satisfying to be able to provide a minimum of electrical safety so that mothers-to-be would no longer give birth in the dark, and that very fragile babies and young children could be cared for with medical equipment.

Accompanied by a nice motivated team, we installed the 42 panels and 4 solar installations and no doubt we also inspired a few young people to continue their studies in electricity – with the fun (climbing on the roof) and not so fun (not rushing and making sure the work is good) sides ????

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How lucky we were to have met so many great people in 2 weeks! Special thanks to Madame Clémence who took care of us and the wonderful Rafiath from ENGIE Parakou who was very helpful with the paperwork and helping us find the missing equipment.

   

My dream for the next mission? To have a young woman electrician in the local team and to inspire the next generation! Rafiath showed us that it’s possible! Weren’t the Amazons of Dahomey from Benin? “

 

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Last September, the Tractebel Challenge gathered the most enthusiastic sports teams around different disciplines: cycling, mountain biking, orienteering, shooting, etc.).

Energy Assistance was very proud to award the fighting spirit prize to team n°5 of Aï-Na, Maximilien and Chloé!

‘Never give up’, ‘go all the way’ are also part of the values conveyed by the EA volunteers who always find solutions to realize their missions and photovoltaic installations and thus allow many beneficiaries to improve their daily life.

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For the mission in Ethiopia in November 2022, the project manager Miklos A. (ENGIE – United Arab Emirates) called upon volunteers from different Engie entities: Armando O.S. (ex-Tractebel – Belgium), the mission manager, was accompanied by Sangeeth S. (Engie Solutions – United Arab Emirates), Muddasssar N. (Engie Solutions – United Arab Emirates) and Ashenafi G. (Tractebel – Ethiopia).

This multicultural team, mixing experienced volunteers with others without field experience, allowed a sharing of knowledge, but also a beautiful human adventure with multiple challenges, meetings and new friendships.

Thanks to our partnership with the University of Arba Minch, the projects contributed to the development of local skills, while ensuring the sustainability of the facilities.

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To provide lighting and power to two secondary schools, we installed 6.4 kWp and 10.2 kWp of solar modules in Kashakashaso and Chaba Beles respectively. Lithium batteries of 14.4 kWh and 19.2 kWh respectively ensure the storage of energy.

These electrical installations, respectful of the environment, have considerably improved the educational conditions of more than 1000 students.

   

Congratulations and thank you all for your commitment and for this great achievement.

Thank you to the NIF Foundation which, by co-financing this project, has made it possible.

 

Have a look on YOUTUBE and watch the video made by the team :

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