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, 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.
Jan 21, 2015

Mayan Power and Light 2015

Installing a multi-panel solar power system
Installing a multi-panel solar power system

In 2015 we will be adding to the Mayan Power and Light (MPL) program.  In addition to teaching about electricity, circuits and solar power, and in addition to starting Mayan woman owned solar businesses, we are looking to add classes and business incubation about other essential technologies.

Background:

Guatemalan indigenous women are the poorest of the poor, achieving the lowest ratings in education (only 39% of Mayan women are literate vs. 77% of non-indigenous women) and job opportunities due to cultural, economic, geographic and structural barriers.

Our Response:

In response to multi-sectoral barriers to indigenous women's advancement, Mayan Power and Light will utilize the Asset-Based Community Development model in a 3-Phased scalable program to empower indigenous rural women in Guatemala. In collaboration with a community-integrated campesino organization (CCDA), locally owned Social Venture Capital Businesses (SVCs), and an international Appropriate Technology organization, indigenous women will lead community development with access to training and income opportunities in the following phases. Phase 1: Awareness raising on women's rights, nutrition and sexual health; Phase 2: Technical training in solar and essential technologies (solar, clean cookstoves and water filters) business; Phase 3: Start-up of rural, essential technology micro-businesses.

This unique collaboration of a grassroots-based campesino organization with SVCs and essential  technologies improves upon existing programs because it aims to 1)  ally indigenous grassroots organizations, SVCs and an international appropriate technology organization to 2) grow a green rural economy led by women.  MPL is designed to start a social trend in women's equal economic participation supported by essential technology businesses.

Each component of this proposal, women's empowerment, business development and the "essential technologies" of solar power, clean cookstoves, and potable water provide measurable benefits.  Together they promote gender equity, health, education and financial empowerment. 

We believe the combination of empowerment and essential technologies will break the cycle of poverty.

Our Goals:   

Specific Problem: 75% of indigenous (Mayan) Guatemalans live in poverty with indigenous females experiencing the lowest school enrollment rates and the highest geographic and gender-based cultural barriers to jobs. The lack of income generating opportunities for indigenous women constrains their ability to invest in their families' health and education, keeping indigenous communities trapped in poverty.

Goal #1) To create avenues for indigenous women's empowerment and equal participation in a sustainable, rural economy that provides essential services for the whole community.

Goal #2) To undergo a detailed, participatory investigation into cultural, economic and structural barriers  to gender equity in Guatemalan indigenous communities and assess changing attitudes towards women's participation in income generation. 

Mayan Power and Light is growing.  We are a grass-roots organization that will change lives.  2015 will be an exciting year.  Stay tuned!

Sep 22, 2014

Green Business in Guatemala, Opportunity by Design

Aracely and Juana: Teachers and Entreprenuers
Aracely and Juana: Teachers and Entreprenuers

Thanks to your support, Mayan Power and Light is creating opportunity for rural Mayan women in Guatemala!

As "Circuits and Solar" Workshops and Solar Installations continue, more women are being introduced to this new technical field. Our students are experiencing their first carpentry and electrical training, using powertools and climbing on roof-tops to install solar on community buildings. The communities that recieve these panels are also benefitting!

Let us tell you about other ways Mayan Power and Light is creating income-generating opportunities for women:

When ATC installed solar electricity at the Panyebar Daycare center, 3 young women had their first experience with solar electrical work. Now, the benefits of this project are radiating outwards as 5 other women seize the power of solar electricity to extend their productive work hours and generate income creatively.

Last month, the teachers of the Panyebar Daycare Center made their first visit to the artisan market with their jewelry, handmade under ATC solar-powered lights.  These 5 teachers and community leaders run a daycare and nutrition center to feed and educate over 60 children every day. Being an isolated town inhabited by landless day-laborers, the citizens of Panyebar experience yearly 'hungry months' due to long periods between harvest-work.

Juana, Aracely, Dominga, Dolores and Maria, Full-time teachers and managers of the Daycare Center gather every night under solar-powered lights to make beautiful jewelry from recycled materials and fruit-seeds. They sell their jewelry cooperatively to supplement their small teacher salaries.  

Check out this inspiring video about The Appropriate Technology Collaborative's solar installation at Panyebar Daycare Center.

Your continued support for Mayan Power and Light is changing the lives of young women with vision.

The Facts:

- Over 68 Graduates of "Circuits and Solar" workshops

- 2 Women Mentors trained to teach "Circuits and Solar" to other women

- Our first women-owned solar business has started making sales!

 

Want to do more? Volunteer with The Appropriate Technology Collaborative to Install Solar in Guatemala

Links:

Jun 25, 2014

June 25th Microsoft Matching Funds

Installing Larger Solar Project
Installing Larger Solar Project

June 25, after noon EST Microsoft will match your donation to ATC:  http://bit.ly/MPL_Donate

Microsoft is matching 100% all donations to ATC! With your help we can provide light to over 16,000 people every year! On Wed. June 25th after 12:00 noon EST please donate to ATC. 

All donations will help us start solar businesses owned and run by Mayan Women. From experience each business will sell over 1,000 home solar power systems per year, making money for the businesses, saving money for each household and creating a cleaner future for us all.

More information is available in the attached brochure:  http://bit.ly/MPLJune25

Our Guatemalan team, SEA, has been working to develop a richer curriculum that uses a variety of solar panels.  In addition to providing solar lights to homes that lack electricity, there is a call for larger systems that can offset some of the cost of electricity in Guatemala.  

Guatemala has a multi-tiered system where the first bit of electricity is pretty inexpensive, but then the costs go up dramatically.  Even people with very low incomes and low electric usage end up paying the higher fees.  SEA has developed a large solar panel that offsets a significant amount of electric current and saves families a lot of money.  

We will have much more on these slightly larger systems soon.  SEA is working with a non-profit that builds houses in low income communities and they are interested in 40 - 80 watt systems.  

Here in the U.S. we are working on a second year curriculum that will reinforce what students learn in year  one plus it will add a section on transistors.  (Transistors are really easy to teach, I'm surprised we don't teach this here)

I will be back in Guatemala in July, we have a group who will be installing solar in August.  

More soon,

John

Installing the Voltage Controller and Inverter
Installing the Voltage Controller and Inverter

Links:

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