Tag: blog

Fairtrade Coffee at its Source in Uganda

It’s a long journey from a tiny bean growing in the mountains of Uganda to your first morning cup of coffee in the UK, nearly 7000km away. To learn more about this journey, some SVRG members visited a coffee processing facility funded by the Lutheran World Group near Kasese, Uganda in November, 2020. This facility …

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Martin Kariongi, in his own words

As we remember our friend, Martin Saning’o Kariongi, who passed away this week from coronavirus, we wanted to collect together some of the material that we, and others, have on the internet featuring Martin talking about his work.

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Martin Saning’o Kariongi – a life in brief

While looking through my notes this week hunting some site data for a community in Tanzania that we are working in jointly with our partners OMASI, I found – on the very first pages of my notebook – the notes from our first project meeting, where Martin gave us a little glimpse of his life …

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RIP Martin Kariongi, Director General of OMASI

People do not decide to become extraordinary. They decide to accomplish extraordinary things. Sir Edmund Hillary It is with great sadness that we have to share the news that Martin Kariongi, leader of our Tanzanian partner organisation OMASI, but more particularly our friend and colleague from Terrat, passed away in the morning of 1st March …

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Permanent link to this article: https://e4sv.org/martin-kariongi-director-general-of-omasi/

Language and Education Barriers in Community Engagement

The SVRG approach is grounded in community engagement and human centred design, to ensure the systems we install bring real, lasting benefit. Unfortunately, due to language barriers, we are unable to run focus groups ourselves, but rely on our in-country partners to assist with translation, or with running the entire group following training. Our translators …

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Permanent link to this article: https://e4sv.org/language-and-education-barriers-in-community-engagement/

A Solar powered Electric Milling Machine

Milling machine

Many of the communities we work with are agricultural, with maize flour contributing to an integral part of their diet. In the rural Maasai Tanzanian communities we work with, villagers often have to travel miles to neighbouring towns to access a diesel milling machine. Once there, they can face long waiting periods for sufficient customers …

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Bucket-mounted Solar Systems

Solar panel systems can be expensive and time-consuming to build. They can require specialist knowledge to set up, and be difficult to maintain. In rural communities, it can make a huge difference if a solar panel system can be made simply and at a lower cost. That’s why Smart Villages is always on the lookout …

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Permanent link to this article: https://e4sv.org/bucket-mounted-solar-systems/

Grid extension in Tanzania

On our most recent trip to Tanzania, the number of half-fallen trees was quite noticeable. I thought nothing of it at first, even though several of them were lying across the roads. They could have been damaged in storms? That was until we realised that they were all under newly erected grid electricity lines. The …

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Permanent link to this article: https://e4sv.org/grid-extension-in-tanzania/

An Intro to Rural Tanzanian Schools

Trying to get a good education in the rural communities with which we work in Tanzania is a real challenge. With classes of 80 students, insufficient chairs, classrooms and equipment, no electricity or running water, lack of funds to buy textbooks, and some parents encouraging their children to fail the pre-secondary exams so they don’t …

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A Wood-Mounted solar array for the Tanzania’s Maasai Radio Station

The community radio station: Orkonerei Radio Service (ORS FM), is the first Maasai pastoralists’ radio and was established to better communicate with the Maasai in Terrat, Simanjiro district. For many Maasai who don’t understand Kiswahili or Maasai, it’s their only source of information and important for education on health and agriculture. At their peak, ORS …

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Animals in the Electronics!

Three days before our recent flight to Tanzania, we’d received word that the inverter installed at our 50kW solar array in Ormoti had stopped working. The local electrician was sent in to take a look, and found a lizard had somehow managed to crawl inside and fried its brains. He removed the lizard, thinking it …

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First impressions at Ormoti, and a Maasai welcome

This post was written new SVRG team member Natasha, on her first day on site in the communities in Tanzania: We arrived at the Ormoti site, to scenes of Maasai men sat around, wrapped in their traditional cloth. The solar array installed by Bernie, Anna and Arran previously was way bigger than I’d imagined, with …

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Innovation Africa-style

One thing that the Smart Villages model is based on is the notion of “appropriate technology” – that is the use of technologies that are specified and optimised based on their context and utility, rather than their absolute efficiency or performance. The classic example is the use of, say, an off-the-shelf lead acid battery instead …

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Unbalanced 3-phase power nearly killed the radio

So let’s start by stepping back a little. Our innovative partners, OMASI, have set up a number of different productive, social and community projects on their main site in the village of Terat in the Simanjiro District of Tanzania. There’s a shop, a community meeting hall, and a hostel (originally set up as somewhere for …

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Permanent link to this article: https://e4sv.org/unbalanced-3-phase-power-nearly-killed-the-radio/

Meetings with Remarkable Trees…

We were delighted to find that one of the many amazing things about working in the Maasai Plains of Simanjiro District, south of Arusha, is the indigenous baobab trees. The baobab, Adansonia digitata, is native to Africa, and classes as one of the biggest trees in the world. Whilst they “only” reach 25-30m in height, …

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Permanent link to this article: https://e4sv.org/welcome-to-big-tree-country/

Solar Boma Systems should be a thing

For the Maasai, the traditional living unit is the boma. This is an extended, or multi-family compound surrounded by a thorn hedge (usually), which will contain between 3 and 10 houses. There is an inner circular compound, also surrounded by a thorn hedge, to keep the livestock safe during the night. Satellite photos of the …

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Leena Chandran-Wadia: Are mini-grids the answer to rural electrification?

[:en] Interview with Leena Chandran-Wadia Senior Fellow, Observer Research Foundation Location: Bangalore, India “The day we can say that every home is electrified is very far away” ‘Kerala is totally electrified!’ run the headlines in the  Indian papers. It’s a claim many Indian villages make, says Dr. Leena Chandran-Wadia, the Senior Fellow at the Observer Research Foundation …

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