Skills sponsorship: return from mission to Benin

Published on 8 October 2018

News from the electrification campaign of bush schools and the 2018 dispensary of the Lumières Partagées association.

The team of the association Lumières Partagées (teachers and students of the J. PERRIN high school in Marseille), Thibault de Montgrand (employee of the company Tenergie as a patron of skills sponsorship), the local NGO “Les mille Lucioles” and the beneficiaries, gathered around a campaign to electrify bush schools and maintain solar installation on the Kotopunga dispensary (project 2015). The mission carried out the following actions:

– Boukoumbé:

Installation of solar systems in 8 junior school classrooms, maintenance of 2 classrooms with malfunctions and preventive maintenance of the installations at Marie Immaculée Middle school.

– Kotopounga:

The supervision of the dispensary was defective, our expert allowed the system to be put back into operation in order to recover all the electrical information to study and verify the long-term operation of the system. A new clock was also installed for the water pump, which caused disruptions to the internal power grid of the dispensary. The youth team and local electricians created an extension to the installation (addition of several electrical outlets and lighting for 5 new rooms). A complete maintenance of the solar power plant was carried out (functional check and cleaning of the panels, verification of the tightening of the installation, cleaning of the batteries and upgrading). And lastly, a solar refrigerator was also put back into service.

I went to Benin with the association Lumières partagées in the spring of 2018. We were put in contact by Synergie Solaire which made it possible to make the link between my technical skills and the needs of the association.

I would also like to thank in particular Hélène Demaegdt from Synergie Solaire, and the members of the association for offering me the opportunity to accompany them, and the company TENERGIE for giving me the opportunity to leave.

It was my first experience in the world of rural electrification: we had a project, with a few students, to build small solar installations in fifth grade classes so that students could pass their certificate of study under the best conditions. On a personal level, I intervened on the second part of the mission which consisted in upgrading the installation that was carried out in 2015 on the Kotopunga dispensary. This installation had the following defects: lack of communication of the equipment, problem of power supply to the water pump. I was impressed by the management team, both in the pedagogical relationship with the students and in their flawless logistical organization. I was particularly moved by the joy of the people we met on the spot, and their gratitude for the project.

Being able to use my professional skills for this type of assignment opened my eyes to my desire for a longer-term commitment to development projects. »

Thibault de Montgrand, Operations and Maintenance Manager