Can remote villages have the same opportunities as urban centres? Can rural residents have access to careers, clean water, healthcare, education, and communication—without leaving their villages?

Smart Villages believes that people in remote villages deserve the same opportunities as everyone else. Remote villages are often “off the grid” and do not have a reliable supply of energy for lighting homes, cooking, charging mobile phones, or powering businesses. The energy sources they do have, such as kerosene lamps, are often harmful to their health. The national grid may never reach many of these remote villages, but other solutions exist. We believe that energy access in off-grid communities can change lives—but only if it is implemented for the long-term and includes community involvement and training. Every village can be a “smart village.”

Smart Villages aims to provide policy makers, donors and development agencies concerned with rural energy access with new insights on the real barriers to energy access in villages in developing countries – technological, financial and political – and how they can be overcome. We are have chosen to focusing on remote off-grid villages, where local solutions (home- or institution-based systems, and mini-grids) are both more realistic and cheaper than national grid extension. Our concern is to ensure that energy access results in development and the creation of ‘smart villages’ in which many of the benefits of life in modern societies are available to rural communities.