About Us

Smart Villages Research Group is an organisation that believes people in remote villages in the Global South deserve the same opportunities as everyone else. Unfortunately, many existing rural development methods are failing to achieve sufficient impact, and often fail entirely.

We hear a lot about the idea of Smart Cities, but less than half of the global population live in cities, with 79% of the global poor living in rural areas. Following 7 years of grass-root research work, we have developed the ‘Smart Villages Approach’ to community development to overcome these challenges. In partnership with local NGOs in the Global South, we are working with rural communities to pilot our approach, and demonstrate the difference that a community-centric model can achieve in creating a Smart Village.

The Challenge

Globally, there are:

  • 770 million people without access to electricity
  • 663 million who lack access to safe water
  • 3 billion who lack safe, clean cooking facilities without harmful pollutants 

Until such communities have access to modern energy services, little progress can be made to develop their economies and improve their lives.

Solar Pannel hut-3
Dr Bernie Jones discusses the Smart Villages concept

The Smart Villages Approach

The Smart Villages Initiative (SVI) worked for over 7 years in six regions across the world to bring together the diverse set of players, generating new insights into why so many development projects fail, and how to tackle the challenges of village energy access for development.

SV Pocket Guide
2014-2017 Findings Report

The Way Forward

Following the successful conclusion of this first phase of activities, Smart Villages Research Group ltd and our registered charity The Smart Villages Foundation were established to take forward the findings, and leverage our unique global base of knowledge and network, to pursue the linked goals of universal energy access and rural development. Our priorities include:

  • Facilitating the establishment, with local partners, of pilot “Smart Villages” and integrated community solutions around the world to demonstrate this holistic and sustainable rural development approach and its impact.
  • Working with research partners todevelop rigourous data to evidence the impact of our development model, through baseline studies and long-term impact assessment across multiple development metrics, across multiple SDGs.
  • Developing and testing innovative technologies that can help deliver some of these integrated development objectives – for example innovative agricultural technology, cold storage, ICT access, remote education and telemedicine.
  • Work on projects and consult and advise on energy access and holistic models of rural development, harnessing the wealth of information and the experience we have assembled through our global network during the course of the past 10 years.

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