The famous Emile Kits have finally arrived in the villages of Wawrenou and Dahioké in Côte d’Ivoire. Nelly Téchiné, the sponsor of the project that won Foundation support in 2017, spent 15 days in the West African nation helping residents install the kits and training them to manage the electrical system.
Nelly and Jacques, a volunteer from Electriciens Sans Frontières (ESF), went to the village of Wawrenou on 14 January to install a kit with help from Konan, the ESF contact in Côte d’Ivoire. Dividing up the work and making the most of their specialist expertise, they were able to make fast progress. Jacques supervised the installers who placed solar panels on the roof of the school and laid the wiring, while Nelly worked with the future maintenance technician to explain how the electrical system worked. The villagers were highly involved in the project, and the first kit was already up and running by the end of the day.
The next morning, Nelly and Jacques gave teachers games and tools to teach children how electricity works. They then met with all of the adults in the village to explain how solar panels work so they could manage the kit, and particularly its battery, themselves. This learning day was an essential part of the project. Villagers were very enthusiastic and had high expectations for possible uses of the kit. The next day, the children attended their first video course, with cartoons about electricity (naturally!) and how to produce it.
Before Nelly and Jacques left, villagers celebrated the project’s success along with the president of the local council and the ESF contact, who both said they would like to see additional Emile Kits installed in other villages in the department. Nelly and Jacques then set off to set up another kit in the village of Dahioké. Working just as efficiently, they installed the electrical system, which was already operational by that evening!
After training installers and leading the first activities for children, the project sponsors returned to Abidjan. In the capital, they met with other stakeholders and potential partners to discuss replicating the use of Emile Kits in other departments in Côte d’Ivoire.
After these constructive and highly promising talks, Nelly and Jacques flew back to France full of ideas. They will return to Côte d’Ivoire in 10 months to ensure the kits are working properly and assess their strengths and weaknesses in order to help the villagers benefit to the full from the new systems.
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