Tag: stories

Steve Andrews, Heya: for-profit models are working for clean technologies in Africa

Interview with Steve Andrews, CEO, NewLight Africa (Heya!) Location: London, UK and Nairobi, Kenya “Think of us as the Amazon of rural Africa” After some time in the solar lights business, Steve Andrews asked himself what more his customers could need. He was CEO of SunnyMoney, a company owned by the NGO SolarAid, which he …

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Making the market” for solar in northern Tanzania

Interview with Mohamedrafik Parpia Founder, Zara Solar Location: Mwanza, Tanzania “I didn’t know anything about solar” A Dutch woman walks into an electronics store in north-western Tanzania. It sounds like an improbable beginning. Karlijn Arkesteijn is one of the people Mohamedrafik Parpia credits for going from running a family business on the shores of Port …

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How will India install 10,000 micro-grids over the next five years?

Dr. Rahul Walawalkar, President & MD, Customized Energy Solutions India (CES) and Executive Director, India Energy Storage Alliance (IESA) Harsh Thacker, Project Manager for MICRO, the Microgrid Initiative for Campus and Rural Opportunities, Customized Energy Solutions India (CES) Location: Pune, Maharashtra, India “Learning should not be proprietary; we have to learn from each other’s mistakes” …

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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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Greenway: Bringing cleaner cooking to rural India

Neha Juneja, Co-founder, Greenway Location: Mumbai, India “If you don’t experience a problem yourself, it’s not easy to solve it” There was a year in the early days of Greenway in India, where Neha Juneja and her two-co-founders were eating everything they were cooking on a traditional cookstove that each of them kept in their apartments …

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Profile: Shyam Patra, Naturetech – Winner, India

Describe an overview of your organization and highlight the vision you see way forward? Naturetech Infrastructure Pvt. Ltd. is a social enterprise building model villages based on holistic approach to rural development centered on smart solar AC micro grid infrastructure. Naturetech microgrids power village street lights, households, schools, water pumps and its grids can be …

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Profile: Arpan Mukhopadhyay , Naturetech – Winner, India

Brief biography Arpan Mukhopadhyay is a design engineer looking into the smart metering aspects of smart village initiatives of Naturetech Infra.  He is a newly passed out post graduate and is passionate about development of the weaker sections of society and protection of environment using technology. He  did his M.Tech in Power Electronics and Drives …

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Doing rural energy in ‘rugged and inhospitable’ places

Interview with Tony Woods Founder, Sustainable Energy Services International (SESI) Location: Global, with origins in Central Asia / Pakistan and Afghanistan border “I didn’t know what I didn’t know, so there was nothing to be afraid of.” After spending time working in Singapore, Tony Woods was on an ambitious bicycle tour, from South Africa to China, …

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Profiles of Smart Villages Competition Finalists and Winners

East Africa Energy Innovation Challenge 2017 The third annual East Africa Energy Innovation Challenge took place in summer 2017.  With the application and screening process fully handed over the CDI for a sustainable continuation of the programme, the Cambridge Development Initiative (https://cambridgedevelopment.wordpress.com/) (CDI) selected 11 individuals out of over 200 applicants for the programme. The …

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From fashion to action: Project Tsehigh’s Grace Mahary

Interview with Grace Mahary Founder, Project Tsehigh Location: New York City / Eritrea “I am black, grew up an athlete and saw a disparity in energy in parts of the world.” Canadian model and activist Grace Mahary has worked on making fashion more inclusive. She has spoken out on Black Lives Matter, on diversity in …

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Oorja: Turning farm waste into energy in Uttar Pradesh

Interview with Amit Saraogi, Co-founder and CEO, Oorja Location: Delhi, India “We will be able to strengthen local economic development, increasing demand for our solution and bringing jobs into the local economy” Amit Saraogi spent part of his childhood in Uttar Pradesh, playing amidst the rice fields where his family harvested rice paddy to be processed in their …

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Emal Barekzai, CEO, Zularistan

Location: Kabul, Afghanistan “We worked in areas which were 100% Taliban” *** Emal Barekhzai came to Jalalabad in 2002. He was living in Kassel, Germany, and he found a two-month role working as an IT technician at a girl’s school there. Only 3% of girls were going to school in the country – a worthy cause. …

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Sunlabob: Pioneering rural electrification in southeast Asia

Mid-90s, Lao People’s Democratic Republic. As a German electrical engineer who has recently moved to one of the poorest countries in the world, Andy Schroeter sees the potential that can be had for energy access in remote areas. At the time, Laos has an electrification rate of 30%. “Aside from cities in the Mekong Valley,” …

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Svati Bhogle, social entrepreneur and founder, Sustaintech

Svati Bhogle, social entrepreneur and founder, Sustaintech Location: Bangalore, India “Grow, but don’t spread yourselves too thin.” How long do you blend tea leaves with milk? Should you brew the tea for a shorter few minutes after that, or turn the gas off? When Svati Bhogle, a chemical engineer by training, went from one of …

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Rafiki Power and E.ON: Mini-grids for improved livelihoods in Tanzania

Interview with Daniel Becker Managing Director, E.ON Off Grid Solutions and Founder, Rafiki Power Location: Tanzania Daniel Becker is the Managing Director of E.ON Off Grid Solutions and founder of its Tanzanian brand, Rafiki Power, which focuses on mini-grids for productive uses of energy. For a look at how Rafiki Power operates, watch their short …

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Digital Green: How videos are transforming farming in India and across Africa

A Community Resource Person (CRP) in Bihar, India, disseminating a video to women's self help groups

Interview with Rikin Gandhi CEO, Digital Green Location: Across Asia & sub-Saharan Africa “Ultimately, lasting impact takes place by changing the story of how farmers see themselves, and helping them realise that they can aspire for a better life for themselves and their families, too.” Rikin Gandhi is the CEO of Digital Green, a not-for-profit …

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Lighting up rural Bangladesh

Interview with Farzana Rahman Senior Vice-President (Investment), Renewable Energy, IDCOL Location: Bangladesh “The amount of solar home systems we have installed – 4 million – speaks for itself” Around 12% of Bangladeshis, or 18 million people, currently use solar home systems. Solar panels sit on top of rural homes with corrugated tin roofs, connected to …

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Can telemedicine revolutionise rural healthcare in Africa?

A clinical officer uses The Virtual Doctors' app to get more information about a girl's symptoms.

Interview with Huw Jones Executive Director & Founder at The Virtual Doctors Location: Zambia “If you’re got education and health, that’s a foundation.” Huw Jones traces the earliest origins of The Virtual Doctors to a trail of blood he saw while travelling through rural Zambia to buy pumpkins for soup. It was the mid-1990s and he was …

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Micro-entrepreneurs and business model innovation in Madagascar

Interview with Rik Stamhuis Co-Founder and Managing Director, Jiro-Ve Location: Antananarivo, Madagascar “It is the business model, and not the product, which needs innovation in solar” How do you change people’s behaviour forever? Rik Stamhuis says you need to ensure that there is a solution which won’t force people to have to go back to their …

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Solarkiosk: Innovative “connected solar market centres” drive small businesses, solar energy

Marc Zedler, Project Manager, Connected Solar Market Centers (CSMC), Solarkiosk Location: Berlin, Germany and across Africa “Focus on a core group of entrepreneurs who engage with the community” For Marc Zedler, there is a bigger picture at Solarkiosk, a German solar company operating in multiple African countries. Having a service which provides rural communities with …

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