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Eight days forever changed the lives of more than 2000 people in Ndiao Bambaly, Ndioben Taiba and Santhie Ndiao, Senegal. Between February 2nd and 10th, 2019, two Odigo employees, Michel Sentenac and Issa Ndiaye, visited these three villages near Kaffrine, a town 400 kilometers from Dakar, as part of the Senegalese segment of the Lightforce project, a partnership that began last year between Salesforce and the non-governmental organisation (NGO) Liter of Light. Objective? Bringing light to people in one of the most remote areas of the country while using as little technology as possible.
Alongside 8 employees of Salesforce France and some from a local company, Michel and Issa deployed around 100 street lamps, distributed 50 portable household lamps, and 30 mobile phone charging stations. All of those exclusively powered by solar energy, an energy source that has the advantage of being as durable as it is reliable.
The Senegalese Lightforce team at Orly airport,
departing for Dakar.
Preparing portable household lamps.
“Project in line with our values”
This project would never have been possible without Issa, a Bid Manager at Odigo. “One of the members of the Lightforce Senegal team at Salesforce contacted me and explained the project,” he recalls. “I informed our CEO, Erwan Le Duff, who immediately gave me his approval, as this project is in line with the company’s values and helps strengthen the partnership between Odigo and Salesforce.”
In addition to bringing all the necessary equipment with them, the volunteers trained the local people in the assembly and maintenance of the equipment in the long run. Let us not forget to mention the implementation of an entire supply circuit for the necessary parts (led, solar panels, sockets, etc.) based on local and operational collaboration with the COMI association. In order to strengthen bonds, Issa and Michel also put themselves in the “learner shoes” on a daily basis to discover local customs and habits.
“Make yourself useful without expecting anything in return”
Today, according to the United Nations, nearly one billion people in the world, about 13% of the world’s population, continue to live without electricity. This situation has dramatic public health consequences.
The equipment offered by Lightforce makes it possible to provide a safe and durable solution on a daily basis. Promoting education, keeping wild animals away, reducing the risk of livestock theft, while avoiding smoke and fire risks caused by the use of candles and oil lamps are all positive aspects of this equipment. Additionally, there is no need to spend money or wait to recharge mobile phones anymore, no more lighting products to buy either.
A visit to a local dispensary also made it possible to measure the precariousness linked to the lack of basic electrical equipment for lighting, especially the conservation of medicines and vaccines. “It really is a unique experience and an opportunity to make yourself useful without expecting anything in return,” says Issa, delighted.
The Light illustrated by schoolchildren.
Installation of a street lamp by villagers.
Last verifications at sundown.
Commitment to the environment and society
This corporate project constitutes a good example of Odigo’s social and environmental commitment to foster better connections between large organisations and individuals built on rich and satisfying relationship between employees and customers. And this is exactly what happened with Issa. When he returned to France, Issa kept in touch with participants from the Senegalese companies in Dakar and one of the locals from the last village he visited.
For Odigo, who also contributed financially to the project, corporate social responsibility (CSR) is a crucial topic which is, of course, in line with its values. Indeed, this project covered the seven fundamental values that guide the decisions and define the culture of Capgemini and Odigo: