This report summarises the findings and recommendations arising from the engagement activities of the Smart Villages Initiative in East Africa, South and Southeast Asia, and South America over the first 18-month period (October 2014 – March 2016) of the first phase of the initiative. Over that period, workshops and other engagement activities involved over 600 frontline workers and researchers in discussions to identify the barriers to the provision of sustainable energy services to rural communities and to assess how those barriers can be overcome.
Some of the arising issues are specific to home-based or village-level approaches to energy services and to cooking: specific sections of the report are dedicated to each of these three areas. Other issues are crosscutting—in particular, access to affordable finance, support to entrepreneurs, capacity building, creating awareness, gender and age, and giveaways—and are covered in a separate section.
While achieving Sustainable Development Goal 7 on ensuring “access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all” is a central concern of the Smart Villages Initiative, energy access is a necessary precursor to most of the other Sustainable Development Goals. These broader connections are discussed and implications for development support are outlined.