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Yoann Berno
 |  August 09, 2017


Energy is the dominant contributor to climate change. Energy is also essential to social and economic well-being. Yet more than 95 Million Nigerians live without electricityThe Nigerian Rural Electrification Agency (NREA) exists to meet this dual challengereduce the carbon intensity of energy while making energy available to everyone in Nigeria. Through their Rural Electrification Fund (REF) they promote, support and provide rural electrification through public and private sector participation. Catalyst, a Zurich-based digital technology and data solutions startup, has developed a powerful project management app to catalyze NREA's initiatives.

Yoann Mobile App Photo.png

The Problem

NREA didn’t have a “digital” strategy to efficiently monitor and manage the 300+ projects they support on a yearly basis. No clear roadmap, no real resource management tool, and no tracking of historical data.

Project management is all about resource and work allocation, setting deadlines and keeping track of project status. One project with a handful of people involved can be easy to manage. But it is very challenging for one organization to manage 300+ projects without automated project management tools.

Bottom line: It was impossible for NREA to scale their programs to meet the goal of universal electricity access by 2030.

The Solution

NREA contacted Catalyst to solve this problem. Catalyst built a mobile app using AppSheet in just a few weeks. They started by digitizing the thousands of historical projects, and then moving them from Excel to a central Google Sheet. Once that was completed, Catalyst:

  • Designed mobile-friendly forms to capture and edit on-going project information. The goal was to ensure that less tech-savvy mobile users found them intuitive and easy to use. 
  • Embedded a dashboard that shows projects by state and development stage, and highlights projects that require further attention (after converting Google Sheets to a mobile app).
  • Enabled automatic notifications to help NREA better distribute tasks and keep track of important deadlines.

When the app was launched, NREA equipped its field agents with Android phones and sent them across the country to collect valuable projects data.

Yoann Mobile App Photo.png

The Result

NREA is now tracking 205 solar projects simultaneously, making rapid inroads towards meeting their goal of of universal electricity access by 2030. Although 40% of Nigerians still live without power, NREA feels confident this technology will lessen the time they will have to wait to get connected.


AppSheet: What apps did you make for this project?

CatalystField Service Management App, Call Center App


AppSheet: Why did you choose Appsheet to create the apps?

Catalyst: Truly great product. Simple, flexible, intelligent


AppSheet: What's your favorite AppSheet feature and why?

Catalyst: Offline mode. It's a make-it or break-it factor for our customers given the poor connectivity in African rural areas.


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Citizen Developers are Workplace Innovators. They build custom apps to improve and optimize work processes in their organizations, introducing innovative ways to "get work done." As citizen development becomes the new normal, it promotes innovation, agility, and flexibility throughout an organization. To learn more about AppSheet and citizen developers, check out the following page:

Citizen Developer

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Yoann Berno

General Manager of Catalyst. An electrical and computer engineer, Berno has 8+ years of experience in professional services and cloud-based enterprise software. Berno founded Grafica (, Kenya-based data analytics solution for off-grid solar distributors. Grafica was later merged into Catalyst.

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