ENABLING DATA-DRIVEN & USER-CENTRIC IMPACT

Rural Senses provides actionable user-driven data collection and analysis to maximise the impact of development interventions by listening to and accounting for what really matters to communities, enabled through our novel machine-learning algorithm.

Committed to Social Sustainability

Rural Senses is a social enterprise that originated from research conducted at the University of Cambridge. Our mission is to provide ethical, unbiased, cost-efficient and verifiable beneficiary analytics data to measure needs and impact in humanitarian and development interventions. By doing so, we seek to  improve the lives of people living in low-resource settings, to ensure projects are sustainable, and ensure project success is defined primarilty by its evidence based impact. We combine community-driven data collection techniques with with Natural Language Processing (NLP)-based analysis to understand what is important to local communities and to help design projects and interventions that are both financially and socially sustainable. Our robust academic methods, vast field experience and local knowledge help us to reflect our dual directive of improving people’s lives by optimising the effectiveness and impact of development action, and to ensue financial return.

Backed by Leading Practitioners

“Rural Senses’ framework is the best existing tool to measure actual impact as it is perceived by the beneficiaries themselves.”

Sir Brian Heap, University of Cambridge

Enabling
Data-Driven Interventions

Many of the decisions that affect vulnerable communities are based on partial and outdated data that do not reflect what is needed on the ground. The cost of collecting data in remote communities and the complexity of analysing unstructured data hinders the flow of useful data. As a result decisions on projects do not reflect the needs on the ground, have limited impact, and are not utilised fully. Rural Senses offers access to and analysis of reliable and ethically sourced data at scale and depth, by combining novel data collection methods with our AI-based data annotation. We reduce the time and cost of bottom-up community-data whilst significantly increasing data reliability and actionability. Our robust data collection methods and advanced machine learning algorithm originated from research conducted at the University of Cambridge.

Learn How We Do It

The Team

Yau Ben-Or

Yau Ben-Or

Co-Founder and Managing Director

Yau has over 7 years of experience in leading multidisciplinary teams in multinational projects. Prior to co-founding Rural Senses, he worked as a project manager for MobileODT to improve global health and co-founded SolarChange to promote renewable energies. Yau holds an MPhil in Sustainable Development from the University of Cambridge.

Dr Stephi Hirmer

Dr Stephi Hirmer

Co-Founder and Technical Director

Stephi has a decade of international development experience, in particular working with rural communities. She holds a PhD from the University of Cambridge where she is a Visiting Research Fellow. Her interests are focused on user-centred design of hard infrastructure. She has worked on projects for Arup, GIZ, KfW and SVI.

Josephine Tumwesige

Josephine Tumwesige

Uganda Country Manager

Josephine has 8 years’ experience in planning, operations and maintenance of telecommunications technologies and their application for education, health and financial inclusion. She is the co-founder and director Faith Initiative Group which helps women- and children-headed households improve their livelihood and nutrition. Josephine holds a B.Sc. in Telecommunications Engineering from Makerere University and an MPhil in Engineering for Sustainable Development from the University of Cambridge.

Upeshika Heenetigala

Upeshika Heenetigala

Policy Advisor<br />

Upeshika has 5 years’ experience designing & managing large scale infrastructure projects in Australia. Prior to joining Rural Senses, she worked at the Greater London Authority on sustainable development policy. Upeshika has a B.E (Honours) in Civil Engineering from the University of Melbourne and an MPhil in Engineering for Sustainable Development from the University of Cambridge.

Barik Sale

Barik Sale

Community Engagement Manager

Barik is originally from Darfur region in Sudan, today living in Israel. He is a social activist, public speaker and community leader. He Co-Founded the African Student Organisation (ASO) in Israel. Barik holds a BA in Government, Diplomacy and Strategy from the Interdisciplinary Center (IDC), Herzliya.

Costanza Conforti

Costanza Conforti

Senior AI Developer

Stanze is a PhD candidate in Natural Language Processing at the University of Cambridge, where she focuses on deep learning applications in semantics-related tasks. She interned at Google AI twice.
Since 2016, she collaborates with the Siemens Machine Intelligence group; previously, she worked on Neural Machine Translation at LMU University of Munich.
Stanze also enjoys scientific divulgation and is a strong supporter of the promotion of diversity in STEM.

Wayne C.W. Lau

Wayne C.W. Lau

Strategic Advisor

Wayne is a strategic advisor to Rural Senses

The Team

Yau Ben-Or

Co-Founder and Managing Director

Yau has over 7 years of experience in leading multidisciplinary teams in multinational projects. Prior to co-founding Rural Senses, he worked as a project manager for MobileODT to improve global health and founded SolarChange to promote renewable energies. Yau holds an MPhil in Sustainable Development from the University of Cambridge.

Dr Stephi Hirmer

Co-Founder and Technical Director

Stephi has a decade of international development experience, in particular working with rural communities. She holds a PhD from the University of Cambridge where she is a Visiting Research Fellow. Her interests are focused on user-centred design of hard infrastructure. She has worked on projects for Arup, GIZ, KfW and SVI.

Josephine Tumwesige

Uganda Country Manager

Josephine has 8 years’ experience in planning, operations and maintenance of telecommunications technologies and their application for education, health and financial inclusion. She is the co-founder and director Faith Initiative Group which helps women- and children-headed households improve their livelihood and nutrition. Josephine holds a B.Sc. in Telecommunications Engineering from Makerere University and an MPhil in Engineering for Sustainable Development from the University of Cambridge.

 

 

Upeshika Heenetigala

Policy Advisor

Upeshika has 5 years’ experience designing & managing large scale infrastructure projects in Australia. Prior to joining Rural Senses, she worked at the Greater London Authority on climate change adaptation & sustainable development policy and projects. Upeshika has a B.E (Honours) in Civil Engineering from the University of Melbourne and an MPhil in Engineering for Sustainable Development from the University of Cambridge.

Barik Sale

Community Engagement Manager

Barik is originally from Darfur region in Sudan, today living in Israel. He is a social activist, public speaker and community leader. He Co-Founded the African Student Organisation (ASO) in Israel. Barik holds a BA in Government, Diplomacy and Strategy from the Interdisciplinary Center (IDC), Herzliya.

Costanza Conforti

Senior AI Developer

Stanze is a PhD candidate in Natural Language Processing at the University of Cambridge, where she focuses on deep learning applications in semantics-related tasks. She interned at Google AI twice. Since 2016, she collaborates with the Siemens Machine Intelligence group; previously, she worked on Neural Machine Translation at LMU University of Munich. Stanze also enjoys scientific divulgation and is a strong supporter of the promotion of diversity in STEM.

Wayne C.W. Lau

Strategic Advisor

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