About the Smart Communities Coalition (SCC)

Low- and middle-income countries host the vast majority of refugees, yet they have limited resources to provide for refugees’ basic needs without straining their existing systems.

The Smart Communities Coalition seeks to improve the delivery of essential services to refugees and host community members through enhanced coordination between public and private entities and strategic implementation of technology. Efforts will focus on three foundational pillars — connectivity, digital tools, and energy access — with the intent to launch pilots in Uganda and Kenya in 2019.

Through technology and process innovation, the Smart Communities Coalition seeks to improve outcomes for both refugees and host community members by:

  • Increasing efficiencies in camp management and service delivery
  • Empowering refugees to provide for themselves and their families
  • Equitably addressing the needs of host community members in and around targeted settlements
  • Improving stability in conflict afflicted regions

Working together, SCC members will identify new models to deploy innovative technology and partnership solutions to enable transformational change in the delivery of services to refugees and host communities. These efforts will empower refugees with increased ability to provide for themselves and their families, thereby helping to generate greater value to host communities.

Coalition activities will focus initially in Kenya and Uganda. Market profiles are available below.

Coalition Members

Identifying opportunities and overcoming challenges of doing business in settlement communities


Kakuma Camp

Profile information on host community integration with one of the longest-lasting refugee settlements in the world

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Kalobeyei Settlement

Information on operating in Turkana County and in a planned, relatively new settlement

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Bidi Bidi Settlement

Creating opportunities to overcome the significant pressure on natural resources

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Kiryandongo Settlement

How to operate in a diverse demographic and socioeconomic community

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Rwamwanja Settlement

Operating in the Kamwenge District across multiple host villages

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Smart Communities Coalition Annual Meeting

The Smart Communities Coalition held its second annual meeting on February 27–28, 2019, at the Mastercard Labs for Financial Inclusion in Nairobi, Kenya, with nearly 40 participants from 28 organizations. The goals of the workshop were to:

  • Share lessons learned since the launch;
  • Agree upon governance and operational conditions that will drive success; and
  • Enable strengthened coordination to guide the design and implementation of activities.

Members remained engaged throughout the two days, providing concrete feedback on subjects as diverse as coalition effectiveness, new pilot design, and monitoring and evaluation indicators. We thank those who joined us and we continue to welcome thoughts and suggestions from all.

The Coalition's first design workshop was held on March 27–28, 2018.

SCC Design Workshop participants in Nairobi

2019 SCC Design Workshop participants in Nairobi.

2018 Year in Review

The Smart Communities Coalition seeks to embrace a new way of working. By combining our collective expertise and deploying new technology and partnership solutions, we can better serve the needs of refugees and host community members. Our first annual review details our progress, learnings, and future plans.


To learn more and join the Smart Communities Coalition, contact:

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Sasha Kapadia, Director, Humanitarian & Development, Mastercard


Katrina Pielli, Senior Energy Advisor, USAID Power Africa