Stories are what make the world and inspire the imagination. We have collected, and continue to add, stories about energy access and rural development around the world, as well as the latest updates and thoughts from our own projects and activities.

We’re Hiring – deadline extended!

Are you practically- or technically-minded with a keen interest in international development? A recently graduated or graduating engineer, or experienced in management of technical development projects? Love to travel and experience new cultures? Not afraid to get practical: wiring up electronics, engaging with partners or conducting focus groups? Then we’d love to hear from you! We are recruiting for two roles – Development …

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Mobile Minigrids – Community Site Survey Report

Smart Villages Research Group and project partners Chemolex surveyed more than 11 remote communities in Central and Western Kenya to find a suitable location for trialling of a mobile minigrid system. The report linked below outlines their key research findings. The Maasai Mara communities around Narok proved most promising, as these were the only ones …

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Challenging Assumptions through Community Engagement

At Smart Villages Research Group, we truly believe in the importance of a community-led approach. We always start by asking the community to tell us about the challenges they’re facing, through focus groups and service value tests. This helps us ensure that any technology or system we develop will definitely provide value to the community, …

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Removing Plastic from Kenya’s Rivers – Year 2 Report

We were so excited to be able to join our Kenyan partners Chemolex again in September 2021, once international travel restrictions had begun to ease, to see the tremendous progress being made on river plastic cleanup, and to sit down together to solve some interesting challenges in the project. Once again, amazing results have been …

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Climate Change is Real

We often hear on the radio and news about how climate change is disproportionately affecting countries in the Global South. Although the effects are slowly reaching us in Europe, they are rarely life-threatening, only mildly inconvenient or unusual. For our partners in Tanzania and Uganda, it is harrowing to hear first-hand how their friends and …

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Trusting Time Estimates from Focus Groups

When running focus groups in Uganda, our partners noticed significant discrepancies in the answers that the community members were giving during the focus groups in comparison to the responses they’d given when baseline surveys had been conducted by the Ugandan team over the past few weeks. They challenged the community to explain why they were …

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Weather Reporting from Uganda

I’m proud to report that we have set up the first Weather Net WiFi connected weather station in the whole of Uganda, allowing us to monitor the solar irradiation at our Matugga solar site and compare it to the output power of the panels. This will help us with spotting problems and evaluating the effectiveness …

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Unreliable Grid Power

Even though it looks like the main national grid might soon reach some of the villages we’ve been working with, both in Tanzania and Uganda, it is surprising how many of them are still keen for us to continue installing solar power despite the fact that this will be significantly more expensive for them. Having …

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Fundraising with DonorSee

As part of our project work, we always come across other small issues in the communities in which we are working that are outside the scope of project funding to be able to address, but which nevertheless are priorities for us, our partners, and the communities. In these cases, often even only a very small …

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Project Summary Booklet

We’ve created a short booklet with photos and facts about each of our main projects, covering projects with both SVRG and our sister company, STI4D. Each project is only a few pages, with bitesize information and lots of fun infographics. Take a look to learn more!

Find me phone signal!

Before we installed a microwave relay WiFi booster at Kiruru village,  phone signal could only be found by climbing up on top of a termite hill, midway between the powerhouse and the school! When installing equipment, we’d periodically have to pop back to the termite hill to call our team back in the UK for …

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