The main activities of SMART Centres are demonstration of SMARTechs, private sector development by means of training of local entrepreneurs in production and business skills and scaling up by means of supply chain development, cooperation with vocational education and policy advice. SMARTechs now include innovative water and sanitation products and technologies and later on may expand with energy and agriculture
SMART Centres encourage Self-supply; water sources for and paid by families, but also train the local private sector in installation and repairs of new and existing communal water supply. With initial support, SMART Centres are increasingly generating income and become self sustaining.
Millions of people do not have safe water or sanitation. Especially in Sub-Saharan Africa numbers are increasing due to fast population growth. Climate change is affecting rain patterns and thus food production in Africa. About 35% of rural water points in Africa are broken while funds for repairs and new wells are limited. Innovation in technology and approach is needed to decrease cost and increase sustainability of water and sanitation. SMART Centres at national or district level can solve local problems, offer business support services and so build up supply chains of market based products.