Africa is changing, and it is changing quickly.

Every day, we see stories of desperate journeys undertaken by those trying to find a better life. We believe that life is possible anywhere, if people are given the opportunity to create it.

But this is not a project just about giving. This project is about building bridges.

Our mission is to learn from the wonders of Africa and its people – their connection to the land,
their spirituality, and their energy.

In return, we are sharing our knowledge and tools to help the villagers of Abéné take advantage of the
natural resources around them and build a village for the future.

We don’t want to define what they need or how they live. We want to offer little things that work.
Little things that’ll make a big difference.

Doug Manuel

President and Project Leader

Doug Manuel dedicates his life to building bridges between Africa and the West. Lighting Up Lives is a testament to his commitment.

“Africa has given me so much, and I just want to give back,” Doug says.

Doug’s love for Africa was born when he attended a djembe workshop in 1995. This was consolidated when he worked on a documentary about African elephants. He left his career at the BBC in 1997 and spent two years in West Africa studying the music and history of the djembe. Since then he has spent twenty years running leadership and team building programs for Fortune 500 companies and leading business schools around the world.

He now has a home in Abéné, a village in Senegal where he has been deeply affected by the poverty around him. Scenes such as watching a midwife deliver a baby during one of the village’s frequent power outages while clenching a flashlight between her chin and shoulder, have fueled his determination to work with villagers to find sustainable responses to meeting their needs.

Doug believes that Africa’s future lies in moving away from dependence on resources from abroad and towards local autonomy. Through Lighting Up Lives he is working with villagers in Abéné on a pilot project to develop that spirit of autonomy. His aim is to offer a tested partnership approach to other villages in rural Africa. It’s his way of giving back to a continent whose people have been so generous to him.

Kelly Rosset

Association Treasurer and Operations Manager

Kelly Rosset brings twenty years of experience in the banking and investment sectors to her role with the Lighting Up Lives association.

Kelly has worked with Swiss banking and investment institutions in Switzerland and Singapore where she has been involved in marketing and business development and in setting up structures for foundations and trusts. She has extensive experience in client relations, advising on investments for clients based in the UK, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. Kelly was educated in Switzerland and speaks English, German and French.

While working in Singapore, Kelly had the opportunity to be involved with a foundation for children in Thailand which was setup by former colleagues. Her volunteer work included a trip to project sites on the Thai border and in Burma.

As Operations Manager for Lighting Up Lives, Kelly handles all administration matters, donations, and organizing retreats. “I am very happy to have the opportunity to be part of Doug Manuel’s charity organization,” she says.

Pascal Goulpie

Association Secretary and Renewable Energy Consultant

Pascal Goulpié has worked in the renewable energy sector for more than twenty years. During this time, he has participated in many volunteer projects in developing countries and in Switzerland.

His solar awning prototype was honoured by the World Wildlife Federation in 2004. He went on to manage the MS Tûranor Planet Solar, a boat that circumnavigated the globe powered only by photovoltaic (solar) energy – a milestone accomplishment.

Pascal has since worked on initiatives to combat ocean pollution by transforming the plastic and other rubbish clogging our seas into energy. He now focuses on the hydrogen energy vector. “Hydrogen is a booming energy solution,” he says.

Since meeting Doug Manuel at a djembe workshop fifteen years ago, Pascal has been his advisor on energy solutions for development projects and recently traveled with Doug to Abéné to consult with local authorities about renewable energy options for the village. Pascal is a founding member of the Lighting Up Lives association.

This is just the beginning.

You can join our journey to empower the people of Abéné – helping them take advantage of
the wealth of resources around them.

Make it real