Category: Blog

Fairtrade Coffee at its Source in Uganda

It’s a long journey from a tiny bean growing in the mountains of Uganda to your first morning cup of coffee in the UK, nearly 7000km away. To learn more about this journey, some SVRG members visited a coffee processing facility funded by the Lutheran World Group near Kasese, Uganda in November, 2020. This facility …

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Martin Kariongi, in his own words

As we remember our friend, Martin Saning’o Kariongi, who passed away this week from coronavirus, we wanted to collect together some of the material that we, and others, have on the internet featuring Martin talking about his work.

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Martin Saning’o Kariongi – a life in brief

While looking through my notes this week hunting some site data for a community in Tanzania that we are working in jointly with our partners OMASI, I found – on the very first pages of my notebook – the notes from our first project meeting, where Martin gave us a little glimpse of his life …

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Martin Kariongi, Director General of OMASI

People do not decide to become extraordinary. They decide to accomplish extraordinary things. Sir Edmund Hillary It is with great sadness that we have to share the news that Martin Kariongi, leader of our Tanzanian partner organisation OMASI, but more particularly our friend and colleague from Terrat, passed away in the morning of 1st March …

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A Solar powered Electric Milling Machine

Milling machine

Many of the communities we work with are agricultural, with maize flour contributing to an integral part of their diet. In the rural Maasai Tanzanian communities we work with, villagers often have to travel miles to neighbouring towns to access a diesel milling machine. Once there, they can face long waiting periods for sufficient customers …

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Bucket-mounted Solar Systems

Solar panel systems can be expensive and time-consuming to build. They can require specialist knowledge to set up, and be difficult to maintain. In rural communities, it can make a huge difference if a solar panel system can be made simply and at a lower cost. That’s why Smart Villages is always on the lookout …

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Innovation Africa-style

One thing that the Smart Villages model is based on is the notion of “appropriate technology” – that is the use of technologies that are specified and optimised based on their context and utility, rather than their absolute efficiency or performance. The classic example is the use of, say, an off-the-shelf lead acid battery instead …

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Unbalanced 3-phase power nearly killed the radio

So let’s start by stepping back a little. Our innovative partners, OMASI, have set up a number of different productive, social and community projects on their main site in the village of Terat in the Simanjiro District of Tanzania. There’s a shop, a community meeting hall, and a hostel (originally set up as somewhere for …

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Permanent link to this article: http://e4sv.org/unbalanced-3-phase-power-nearly-killed-the-radio/

Meetings with Remarkable Trees…

We were delighted to find that one of the many amazing things about working in the Maasai Plains of Simanjiro District, south of Arusha, is the indigenous baobab trees. The baobab, Adansonia digitata, is native to Africa, and classes as one of the biggest trees in the world. Whilst they “only” reach 25-30m in height, …

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Solar Boma Systems should be a thing

For the Maasai, the traditional living unit is the boma. This is an extended, or multi-family compound surrounded by a thorn hedge (usually), which will contain between 3 and 10 houses. There is an inner circular compound, also surrounded by a thorn hedge, to keep the livestock safe during the night. Satellite photos of the …

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Leena Chandran-Wadia: Are mini-grids the answer to rural electrification?

[:en] Interview with Leena Chandran-Wadia Senior Fellow, Observer Research Foundation Location: Bangalore, India “The day we can say that every home is electrified is very far away” ‘Kerala is totally electrified!’ run the headlines in the  Indian papers. It’s a claim many Indian villages make, says Dr. Leena Chandran-Wadia, the Senior Fellow at the Observer Research Foundation …

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It is not a village but people: Long Lamai, a case study of a smart village

Long Lamai is a Penan village in upper Baram, northern Sarawak, of Malaysian Borneo. Travelling to the settlement from the nearest town Miri takes eight hours on rough logging roads and an hour of hiking through the dense rainforest. Alternately, it is reachable by flying from Miri to Long Banga by an hour’s flight via …

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Energy for Displaced Communities: How could Smart Villages help?

There are 65.3 million forcibly displaced people and 21.3 million refugees, hosted across the world (UNHCR). “Few forcibly displaced people” have access to modern energy. Out of 8.7 million refugees and displaced people in camps, only 11% have access to “reliable energy sources for lighting” (Chatham House, 2015). However, forcibly displaced people and refugees are …

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Off-grids can power South Asian electrification

South Asian governments would do well to integrate off-grid with grid options in their quest to achieve universal electrification, says a new study. “The governments prefer to extend the grid even to those regions in which renewable energy sources are available in plenty,” says Debajit Palit, associate director, The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), New …

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The frugal innovation revolution that is taking the world by storm

Rasperry Pi is a great example of technology enabling frugal/jugaad innovation

In late 2015 a Cambridge-based nonprofit released the Raspberry Pi Zero, a tiny £4 computer that was a whole £26 cheaper than the original 2012 model. The Zero is not only remarkable for its own sake – a computer so cheap it comes free with a £5.99 magazine – it is also symptomatic of a …

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Permanent link to this article: http://e4sv.org/jaideep-prabhu-cambridge-judge-business-school-discusses-the-frugal-innovation-revolution-that-is-taking-the-world-by-storm/

Opportunities in Bario made me want to come home to Malaysia

What questions does the typical fifteen-year-old city Malaysian ask? ‘Should I look for a job this school holiday?’ ‘What do I want to do in the future? Go into business or work for someone?’ ‘Should I pick the science or art stream for school next year?’ ‘Should I continue my tertiary education locally or overseas?’ …

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Bursting With Energy—Nakuru Agricultural Show

Tribal dancers performing in front of the packed stadium

Kenyan farmers have been travelling to the Nakuru National Agricultural Show every year since 1920. These days you need to arrive early if you want to avoid the lengthy queues to purchase an entry ticket. You can tell when the show has officially opened from the throngs of people, rickety matatus and crowds of motorcycles …

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Kenya Spots Geothermal Potential in The Menegai Crater

Nakuru town was once dubbed ‘the cleanest town in East Africa’ but it lost that title many years ago. As you approach the town from Nairobi, you join a long procession of aged cargo trucks belching jet black exhaust fumes, reducing the air quality and staining roadside buildings. The town is, however, taking steps to …

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DAREnterprisers harnesses East Africa’s impetus for change

DAREnterprisers is run by Cambridge University based volunteering group Cambridge Development Initiative (CDI)—a student run organisation that prides itself on its on-the-ground decision-making and human centred design. The CDI partnered with Smart Villages and others to address growing youth unemployment in East Africa, taking advantage of the impetus for economic change and growth in the …

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What do Perovskites mean for the Photovoltaic Industry?

I once visited my local newspaper printing press. The machinery was immense. Two tonne rolls of paper were fed continuously into the ink rollers at fantastic speed. Conveyer belt contraptions whizzed partially folded newspapers around the factory with a frenetic industriousness. The whole apparatus would spit out 12 newspapers a second. Now imagine that it …

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