History and Team - Switzerland

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Founders of the Tiloo project and association

Elena Steger Kassama
Elena Steger Kassama is the acting President of the SOLAR ASSOCIATION TILOO. She was born in Paraguay in 1980 and grew up in Switerland. In 2006 she started the Solar cooker and Environment project in Gambia, together with her husband Amadou Kassama.
Mrs Steger Kassama has concluded a Diploma in NPO Management. Prior to that, she had been trained as a professional Baker and Confectioner in the year 2000, with a further training as professional Caretaker of Children. She is the mother of two children and has been working in the social area (Nursery and Kindergarten) since 2000. Currently, she works is a nursery and is responsible for the placement and training of apprentices.
The idea to start Tiloo came from her relationships in Gambia and the intention to offer a practical solution locally. Her goal was to create workplaces and, at the same time, mobilise the local population for the conservation of Nature. She has a personal and emotional commitment to supporting the people of Gambia and to help improving their living conditions. In order to give a solid foundation to the project, she moved to Gambia for two years. Since 2008, she has been living back in Switzerland. The SOLAR ASSOCIATION TILOO was created in 2011, in Switzerland, to provide financial and strategic support to the project in Gambia. 

Amadou Kassama
Amadou Kassama is a member of the committee and advisor to the association for questions and suggestions concerning Gambia. Together with his wife, Elena Steger Kassama, he started the Solar cooker and Environment project. He was born in Gambia, here he concluded a five year apprenticeship as electrician. He worked several years in this area and was lead responsible for the electrification of constructions and buildings. During this period, he completed an additional certification that allowed him to have his own trainees. Already in Switzerland, he completed a further training as Solar Technician.
He is professionally active as a trained Solar Technician in Switzerland and partly also in Gambia. His goal is to integrate photovoltaic and water heating solutions into the project. The relationship with Nature, fair handling of work collaborators and the use of solar energy in everyday life are very important topics for him. He is active in the management board of Tiloo, where he dedicates himself to the success of the project.

Organisation structure

Tiloo Switzerland is a registered association (Verein), created in August 2011, and the parent organisation of Tiloo Gambia, registered locally as a charitable organisation and run by the local Project Manager. Tiloo Switzerland is responsible for collecting the funds for Tiloo Gambia, coordinating with the local Project Manager and with the volunteers from Switzerland. In addition, it organises fundraising activities and participates in events to the benefit of Tiloo Gambia.

Our Team

Elena Steger Kassama

President of the Association

Annatina Foppa

Vice-President

Christina Keller

Actuary

Célia Groeper

Cashier

Amadou Kassama

Advisor

History

2014: The TILOO Project Centre moves from Kanifing to a new bigger location in Latryia. A new project centre is planned (see here).
November 2011: The project in Gambia is registered and officially recognised as a local Charity Organisation.
August 2011: The Verein SOLAR ASSOCIATION TILOO is founded. The managing committee is composed of 5 people (see Our team). The logo is redesigned to show more clearly who we are and what we are dedicated to.
March 2010: The SOLAR PROJECT TILOO takes part of the West African Conference on Climate Change, attended by participants from all over the world. The printed press takes notice of the TILOO project and an article is published in the Business Digest publication.
February 2010: Elena Steger Kassama is recognised with the third place in the Environmental award Trophée de femmes, started by the Yves Rocher Foundation, for her role model and efforts. The Swiss German newspaper Tagesanzeiger publishes a story about it (in German).
January 2010: Starting after the new year, the joint work with the tourist tours is improved. Visits to the project are now led by professional guides, allowing tourist to provide a sustainable contribution and support with their visit.
December 2009: Another report on TILOO is broadcast on television
November 2009: The Scholl Programme and the work with Women Groups is started. Schools are sponsored with two solar cookers and a starter kit with the most important cooking and baking utensils. After completing the full training programme the schools can produce and sell their own products.
May 2009: Once again, the project is noticed by the media: the Gambian Public Broadcaster GRTS airs a report on the SOLAR PROJECT TILOO.
Spring 2009: Seven student from the Leeds Metropolitan University come to Gambia to improve the solar cookers used by the SOLAR PROJECT TILOO. For two weeks, they work on this project.
Januar 2009: The International Solar Food Conference takes place in India and the Solar Project Gambia is present (www.solarfood2009.org).
The Solar Project Gambia joins with Solar cooker project TILOO and a new name is adopted: SOLAR PROJECT TILOO. The project is led from this point onwards by Elena. The pilot phase of the School Programme begins. School students from several schools in different points of the country are trained on how to make healthy snacks for the school breaks using solar cookers, thereby generating extra income for their schools.
April - May 2008: The Solar Day is brought to life by the project. During this day, visitors and participants take part of informative and entertaining activities, learning how solar cookers work, the consequences of deforestation and the usage of sustainable energy sources Plus, the winner of the cooking competition can win a solar cooker.
The carpentry, bakery and restaurant are built in a new property in Kanifing, to be open to the public in June 2008. The construction effort is kindly supported in loco by a Swiss carpenter.
Spring 2008: The Solar Project Gambia is present for the first time at the Kartong Festival, the most famous Festival in Gambia.
October 2007: The project wins the prize for Responsible Tourism at the international „Mboka“ Trade Fair in Dakar, Senegal.
January 2007: Elena moved to Gambia for one and a half years. The Swiss carpenter Rolf Behringer (an Associate of Globosol, one of our key partners) visits Elena in Gambia and trains local people in carpentry work, mainly related to the manufacture of solar cookers and tunnel driers. In the vicinity of the carpentry there is also a bakery and a restaurant, although these are not next to each other.
January 2006: Elena Steger Kassama imports the first two solar cookers into Gambia. Together with Amadou Kassama, they organise public presentations which draw great attention and interest. Amadou builds a local carpentry in Gambia, to become the future production centre for solar cookers. Thus is the Solar Project Gambia born, which quickly attracts the attention of the media. An article about this new project is published in the local newspaper Daily Observer shortly after.