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Foroba Yelen: Light and life to poor African communities

The villages of Bamoussobougou and Soanogola in the impoverished district of Cinzana, Mali are completely agro-based. In a bid to expand and improve the educational, cultural and business activities of the village, the students of Innovation Design Engineering from the Imperial College and the Royal College of Art, London have worked in collaboration with Matteo Ferroni, an Italian architect, to come up with the Foroba Yelen, a community-based lighting venture. These mobile lighting systems with detachable batteries can be easily charged through solar-powered charging stations that have been established in the respective villages.

Collective Light

The venture is the result of researching, discussing and concept development done by the students throughout the summers. The team members were spread across the globe and knowledge sharing took place via email, social networking websites and video conferencing. The team members actually met in Mali in September 2011 to realize the project. The actual construction of lights was done using local materials that were freely available and robust construction techniques were followed.

Wood, mild steel, high-power LED bulbs, fluorescent bulbs, PV panels and dry cell batteries were used in the making of these sustainable lights. All the fabrication is done locally with the help of diagrams and drawings. The idea is to ensure that such a project can be replicated and reproduced in other needy villages as well. The villages gain new business opportunities by renting out lights and new work timings are set since sunset is no longer a factor that determines working hours. The social life along with the business and educational level of these villages is bound to improve with this infrastructure addition.

Via: Peter Krige

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