In Smart Villages access to sustainable energy services acts as a catalyst for development – enabling the provision of good education and healthcare, access to clean water, sanitation and nutrition, the growth of productive enterprises to boost incomes, and enhanced security, gender equality and democratic engagement.
Unfortunately in the world today, there are still around 1 billion people without access to electricity. 3 billion are still cooking on dangerous and inefficient stoves. Many of them live in remote rural communities. Until such communities have access to modern energy services, little progress can be made to develop their economies and improve their lives.
The Smart Villages Programme
The Smart Villages Initiative worked over 7 years in six regions across the world to bring together the diverse set of players, generating new insights into how to tackle the challenges of village energy access for development. We followed-up with complementary activities include briefing meetings for policy makers, innovation competitions to generate new ideas, training courses, policy advice and explorations of specific technical and policy issues.
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.