Appropriate Technology Collaborative

The Appropriate Technology Collaborative creates sustainable technologies that promote economic growth and improve the quality of life for low income people worldwide. We design, develop, demonstrate, and distribute affordable technologies. Working in collaboration with local talent and other nonprofits (NGOs) we create solutions that are culturally sensitive, environmentally responsible and locally repairable in order to improve the quality of life and reduce adverse impacts on the environment.
Jul 31, 2015

You've funded our pilot Amaranth Thresher!

Amaranth Winnower design by Calvin College
Amaranth Winnower design by Calvin College

Wow! You guys are great. With just two GlobalGiving Matching Funds days we totally funded the designing and building of Solola's FIRST amaranth thresher and winnower!  

"Winnower?" you ask. Yes! An amaranth winnower takes care of the finest and toughest job in amaranth production - the separating of the tiny seeds from the chaff, the thresher cuts the seed-bunch from the stalk. 

In the last days of May, ATC Executive Director and appropriate technology genius, John Barrie, met with Dominga, the head of Mujeres Oxlajuj E Women's Amaranth Cooperative to discuss priority design needs. As we discussed threshing (separating seeds from stalk) vs. winnowing (separating chaff from seeds), Dominga explained that the winnowing of 1 acre of amaranth requires days of the most tedious work for farm women and children.  So, apart from threshing, we need to prioritize designing a good winnower.

"What's so hard about designing an amaranth winnower?" you inquire. Because unlike larger grains like wheat and rice, the amaranth grain is so tiny that is blows off with the chaff, losing a lot of product! So ATC engineers are designing a special winnower to sift these fine little superfood grains by mimicking the by-hand sifting process. 

Calvin College has been sharing their research in amaranth threshing with ATC. We'll be adapting the design below to fit with locally available materials and adding on an improved winnowing mechanism. 

So, by harvest season in November, we will have:

- worked with local engineers and designers to adapt the thresher/winnower designs for the local context

- built the first machine to be located at the cooperative center 

- tested and fine-tuned this first machine for improvement

...and that's just the beginning...  

We've have upped our budget to keep this amazing project progressing as the new winnowing design is going to need lots of follow-up and tune ups over the harvest season. Our goal  is to have a finalized working design by next summer, so we can build a second machine to provide more access to more farmers.

Here we go, ATC, creating Opportunity by Design. 

ATC and Mujeres Oxlajuj E meet to discuss designs
ATC and Mujeres Oxlajuj E meet to discuss designs
Jul 20, 2015

Gearing Up for New Classes and Businesses!

University Circuits and Solar Graduates
University Circuits and Solar Graduates

Question:  What do you do when your next two Mayan Power and Light workshops are delayed?

Answer:  You teach “Circuits and Solar” at the University level, which is exactly what SEA Solar did last month.   

ATC and our Solar Team, SEA Solar congratulate Faculty and Students of the Architecture and Engineering school of the of Mesoamerican University for taking our first University level introduction to solar class.  Everyone learned about electricity, circuits and solar power, including hands-on training using professional grade solar and electronic equipment. 

SEA Solar is available to teach solar at Colleges, Universities and for NGOs anywhere in Latin America.

More information write to Info@seaguate.com

We have just been awarded a grant to provide several new Mayan Power and Light workshops and to train two groups of Mayan women entrepreneurs in sales and installation of solar power in Guatemala. 

On August 1, 2015 we will have a group of volunteers from the U.S., England and possibly Ecuador work with SEA Solar to install solar power on a pre-school in the rural western highlands of Guatemala.  Photos to follow.

Please consider a new donation to Mayan Power and Light.  We will have two new women’s businesses and we need to purchase inventory for demonstrations and sales.  With an extra $2,000 we can bulk purchase entry level solar lights which will cost less and thus help with sales.  More families will gain the incredible advantage of bright solar light instead of trying to see at night by kerosene lamps and candles. 

With your help our new businesses will have more solar hardware to sell, they will purchase it at a lower price and they can sell at a lower price.  Bulk purchasing makes it possible for Mayan Power and Light businesses to become self-sustaining.

 

Thank you,

 

John Barrie

Learning Solar 2
Learning Solar 2
Homework by Candle Light
Homework by Candle Light
Homework by Solar Light
Homework by Solar Light
Jun 9, 2015

They sold out of honey!

the bee boys harvesting honey for sale
the bee boys harvesting honey for sale

Guess what?

Our community Permaculture Day market not only brought together our farming cooperatives to share knowledge and experience, it not only raised funds for appropriate farming technology, it also gave the San Pablo Beekeepers an awesome sales and networking venue.

And they totally Sold Out!

Jeremias, leader of the ¨Bee Boys,¨as I chummily like to call them, brought in the last bottles of honey from harvest season, and totally sold out!! ...I think it´s because of his charm... He talked on and on about the health benefits of bees pollen with Mujeres Oxlajuj E Amaranth Cooperative. They loved him too.

It was an uplifting day for the Bee Boys, though selling out of product doesn't mean they're exactly getting rich. Unfortunately, over the last year, the Bee Boys have lost over 20 hives, so production has been sparce. They are raising questions about why their colonies are diminishing and are ready to take action on a solution. Some ideas they have about the problem:

  • A lack of fodder/flowering trees during last year's rainy season required the Boys to supplement their hives with sugarwater, so some hives left for 'greener pastures'
  • A viral disease is impacting some hives
  • Pesticides used in neighbouring coffee plantations may be affecting behaviors
  • Disturbance of the bees in their hives due to their current method of maintenance and harvest may add to their other stresses. 

Thanks to YOU, we're ready to start solving these problems. The Bee Boys' first training is coming up next month!

 

Thanks for being awesome,

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