Category: Stories

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.

When villages become education hubs: the work of the Akaa Project in Ghana

Two village students practice reading at the Akaa Project's school.

Interview with Lauren Grimanis Founder, The Akaa Project Location: Eastern Ghana / Boston, Massachusetts “I love the notion of bringing things back to the village”. When Lauren Grimanis first visited Ghana, she was a senior in high school. It was July 2007, and she was working on her college applications. She only stayed there for …

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Permanent link to this article: https://e4sv.org/villages-become-education-hubs-work-akaa-project-ghana/

Raising US$1 million in equity to take off-grid energy in Pakistan to next level

Interview with Shazia Khan Co-founder and Executive Director, Eco Energy, an off-grid company in Pakistan Location: Washington, DC and Pakistan “Instead of thinking like a manufacturer, I ask how I can best meet people’s needs” In 2010, less than a year after Shazia Khan co-founded Eco Energy, devastating floods hit Pakistan. Through her non-profit organisation, …

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Permanent link to this article: https://e4sv.org/raising-us1-million-equity-take-off-grid-energy-pakistan-next-level/

Off-grid green cooling breakthroughs improve farmers’ incomes

Philipp Denzinger, GIZ Proklima Off grid pilot locations: Swaziland, Seychelles, Jordan and Kenya “Even in an off-grid system, if you’re not considering natural refrigerants, you’re not really being green at all”. In developing countries, a refrigerator is often a first important purchase for a family moving into the middle class, while advantages of cooling technology …

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Permanent link to this article: https://e4sv.org/green-cooling-fishing-agriculture-farmer/

ONergy: India can’t rely on coal – it must go renewable

A computer centre powered by ONergy solar technology.

Interview with Vinay Jaju Co-founder and COO at ONergy, Head at Switch ON “Energy is not the end. It’s just the means to the end”. Vinay Jaju’s interest in environmentalism first got serious while he was working in Australia and got involved with local forest conservation efforts. When he returned to India in 2008, he …

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Permanent link to this article: https://e4sv.org/onergy-india-cant-rely-coal-must-go-renewable/

Smart Villages Podcast 4 – Renewable energy & going “beyond coal”: A conversation with Daniel Kammen (21.5 minutes)

This is the second podcast (21.5 minutes) in our two-part series of interviews with Professor Daniel Kammen, Class of 1935 Distinguished Professor of Energy in the Goldman School of Public Policy and Founding Director, Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory of the University of California at Berkeley. (Listen to Part 1) Sir Brian Heap, Senior Advisor to …

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Permanent link to this article: https://e4sv.org/smart-villages-podcast-4-renewable-energy-going-beyond-coal-conversation-daniel-kammen-21-5-minutes/

Smart Villages Podcast 3 – A brief look at the off-grid energy work of Daniel Kammen, University of California Berkeley

In this short 8.5 minute podcast, you’ll listen to Part One of our two-part interview series with Professor Daniel Kammen, Class of 1935 Distinguished Professor of Energy in the Goldman School of Public Policy and Founding Director, Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory of the University of California at Berkeley. (Listen to Part Two) Sir Brian Heap, …

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Permanent link to this article: https://e4sv.org/smart-villages-podcast-3-brief-look-off-grid-energy-work-daniel-kammen-university-california-berkeley/

Juabar’s “Media Hubs” bring women’s health TV and Swahili “Sesame Street” to rural Tanzania

Interview with Olivia Nava Co-founder and CEO, Juabar Location: Oakland, California / Tanzania “Anywhere where there is mobile money, there is a potential for services in delivery and market opportunities.” Juabar is a solar entrepreneurs’ network which has been based in Tanzania since 2013. The three-person company behind the initial model, of a solar panel …

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Permanent link to this article: https://e4sv.org/juabars-media-hubs-bring-womens-health-tv-swahili-sesame-street-rural-tanzania/

One angel investor on launching 10 off-grid companies—and what it takes to be successful

Interview with Andrew Reicher Angel investor in off-grid energy companies Location: UK and across rural Africa “I do not measure impact. I know it when I see it”. For more than a decade, Andrew Reicher worked for large financial firms aiming to encourage economic development in some of the world’s poorest corners. Again and again, …

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Permanent link to this article: https://e4sv.org/one-angel-investor-launching-10-off-grid-companies-takes-successful/

“Jikokoa”: Scaling up clean cookstoves and providing local jobs

Interview with Boston Nyer BURN General Manager, Kenya Location: Kenya “The next step is to get more sustainable fuels into people’s homes”. “The whole impetus is to save trees,” explains Boston Nyer, BURN’s general manager in Kenya. In East Africa, 60% of deforestation is driven by the need for wood and charcoal for cooking. “Our …

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Permanent link to this article: https://e4sv.org/jikokoa-scaling-clean-cookstoves-providing-local-jobs/

d.light founder: Solar can leapfrog the grid for people living at the “bottom of the pyramid”

Interview with Ned Tozun Co-founder, d.light, a for-profit social enterprise based in China, India, East Africa, and the USA Location: Nairobi, Kenya “Now that the technology has evolved, we want to provide more holistic energy solutions”. After studying and working in engineering, Tozun knew he was “wired” for entrepreneurship. He started “a couple of companies” …

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Permanent link to this article: https://e4sv.org/d-light-solar-can-leapfrog-the-grid/

Mlinda’s pico-grids in India: Powering productive uses at the right price

Girls School Hostel Sundarbans Electrified by Mlinda

Interview with Vijay Bhaskar Country Director, Mlinda Location: India “We pitched our tariff as an alternative to fossil fuels, and they’re willing to pay our tariff and make sure they’re consuming responsibly”. Mlinda’s first project to bring renewable energy to the Sunderbans, in West Bengal, didn’t go as well as hoped. The organisation wanted to …

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Permanent link to this article: https://e4sv.org/mlindas-pico-grids-india-finding-right-price-villagers/

Thwarting thieves: Solar Turtle keeps solar panels safe & secure

Interview with James van der Walt, Founder, Solar Turtle Location: Stellenbosch, South Africa “Step one is having the courage”. James van der Walt was working as a mechanical engineer in Ireland in 2009, when the economic crisis hit. “It was atrocious, everyone was going on the dole,” he remembers. He was taking a ferry to …

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Permanent link to this article: https://e4sv.org/thwarting-thieves-solar-turtle-keeps-solar-panels-safe-secure/

Disruptive technology for rural villages: The case of Sure Chill solar refrigerators

Interview with Ian Tansley Chief Technical Officer, Sure Chill, a Cardiff-based tech company Location: UK “The single biggest challenge we have is people grasping the scale of what we can do: reaching billions” Tansley has spent over thirty years working in Africa, in Nigeria in particular. Remote solar-powered systems were failing; for example, conventional refrigerators …

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Permanent link to this article: https://e4sv.org/disruptive-technology-rural-villages-case-sure-chill-solar-refrigerators/

Village Infrastructure Angels: Village agriculture can be powered by solar energy

Interview with Stewart Craine Founder, Village Infrastructure Angels Location: Vanuatu, Indonesia, Honduras, Papua New Guinea “You have to be obsessed with access to sustainable energy to do this job”. Stewart Craine calls his work “an adventure”—an indication of the robust attitude he’s applied throughout his career as an energy access entrepreneur. Craine co-founded Barefoot Power, a …

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Permanent link to this article: https://e4sv.org/village-agriculture-can-be-powered-by-solar-energy/

Children in rural Ghana empowered by access to information, IT skills

Interview with Josephine Marie Godwyll Founder and National Coordinator at Young at Heart Ghana Location: Ghana “The missing link most of the time is information”. Rural communities have a tremendous amount to gain from access to information. The internet offers potential solutions to many of the problems that make rural life difficult, but these are …

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Permanent link to this article: https://e4sv.org/children-rural-ghana-empowered-access-information-skills/

Cambridge students bring tech to Indian students, inspire learning

Interview with Moni Gupta Co-founder of Mobile Education for Smart Technology Location: India / Cambridge, UK “The same thing they are learning in their books they can explore with this technology and build up more creativity”. Today, Moni Gupta is a PhD student in chemistry at the University of Cambridge. But she remembers her time …

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Permanent link to this article: https://e4sv.org/cambridge-students-bring-tech-indian-students-inspire-learning/

Changing lives with energy access: Micro-hydro grids in rural Tanzania, Part 1

An Italian project (CEFA) and the local village company (MVC) have installed a mini-hydro grid in the southern highlands of Tanzania. The project has helped a large off-grid area of Matembwe village to access electricity and build up the local economy and services. It is sustainable thanks to management and maintenance.

Permanent link to this article: https://e4sv.org/changing-lives-energy-access-micro-hydro-grids-rural-tanzania-part-1/

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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Permanent link to this article: https://e4sv.org/not-village-people-long-lamai-case-study-smart-village/

For energy in Nepal, “remoteness is more than geographical”

Interview with Ben Campbell Location: United Kingdom; Nepal “Remoteness is more than geographical”. Ben Campbell is a lecturer in the Department of Anthropology, Durham University (UK), whose research and collaborations have focused on sustainable energy solutions for remote mountain villages in Nepal. But his interest in sustainability began well before he entered academia, when he …

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Permanent link to this article: https://e4sv.org/4238-2/

Hacking energy: low-tech “jugaad” energy innovation gives high-tech a run for its money

Jugaad innovation

Interview with Jaideep Prabhu Jawaharal Nehru Professor of Business and Enterprise at the Judge Business School at Cambridge University Location: United Kingdom; India “There is no shortage of ingenuity”. Jaideep Prabhu is the Jawaharal Nehru Professor of Business and Enterprise at the Judge Business School at Cambridge University, and he directs the university’s Centre for …

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Permanent link to this article: https://e4sv.org/hacking-energy-low-tech-jugaad-energy-innovation-gives-high-tech-run-money/

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