Research team and Kat cropped

We’ve got some great news for those living without access to energy in Africa. Kat Harrison, our Director of Impact and Research, is joining Acumen to continue the amazing work she was doing here at SolarAid.

For the last three years our research team have collected critical information linking energy access to poverty alleviation. Kat’s commitment to sharing her learning publicly turned our Research and Impact division into a world-class resource for researchers, practitioners and funders interested in solar and off-grid energy. Under Kat’s direction we developed the largest, most comprehensive database on lighting in developing countries, with a particular focus on the impact of small-scale solar lighting in Africa. Kat will now be able build on that work as Acumen’s new Associate Director of Impact.

Former SolarAider’s Kat & John at the launch of John’s book

It is with a heavy heart that we are saying goodbye to Kat and the research team, but owing to some recent events in Kenya and Tanzania, our two main markets, it was no longer possible to house the team here. We are of course thrilled that Kat will be able to continue her amazing work with the good people of Acumen, who will acquire our extensive database of research networks and take over all our ongoing studies. These projects include the first large-scale study on the impact of solar lights on poverty reduction, supported by Google, and an investigation on the impact of solar lighting on education outcomes in partnership with Stanford University, supported by the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID).

“There is much we still don’t know about the impact of off-grid energy solutions on the lives of the poor,” said Acumen’s Chief Innovation Officer Sasha Dichter.

“Even within Acumen’s energy portfolio, it is a challenge to gather robust data on how poor customers are using off-grid energy products and what are the long-term impact our energy companies are having in alleviating poverty. With Kat and SolarAid’s research now powering our work, we can start to truly understand how energy is transforming the lives of the poor.”“We’re obviously sad to be saying goodbye to Kat but we’re delighted to have found a new home for our award-winning Research and Impact department,” said Richard Turner, SolarAid’s UK Operations Director.

“Acumen shares many of the same values and goals that we hold – including an unwavering commitment to catalysing solar markets for the poor – and we are confident that Kat’s research will go from strength to strength, taking what we have built to the next level. And most importantly, improving energy access in some of the poorest regions of the world.”