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.
Jun 10, 2014

Growing our Successful Program

Our next business is waiting for funding.
Our next business is waiting for funding.

We have been very successful so far with our Mayan Power and Light program.  We have taught 200 people about solar power, including over 100 Mayan women.  We have started a solar business that is profitable, 90% owned by women, and we are ready to start two 100% woman owned solar businesses in 2014, but we can only do this with your help.

Actually we have extra help on June 25th, when -- after 12:00 noon -- Microsoft Youthspark has agreed to match every grant we receive up to $1,000 per grant and up to $1,000,000 for the program.  From historic data we should have all June 25th to match the Microsoft money.

Please share this with your friends.  We want to start two new Mayan woman owned solar businesses.  This will provide income to 12 families + provide light to 2,000 families every year.  ATC will be working with the businesses for 5 years to insure they are profitable and that they can help start other sustainable businesses.  

With your help we can greatly enhance the lives of 10,000 people per year, every year for at least 5 years.

Women who earn extra income invest more in their families.  Their children receive better nutrition and with better light they do their homework in the evenings for the first time.  

Mark June 25th on your calendar.  On June 25th after 12:00 noon, Microsoft Youthspark will be matching donations to the ATC Mayan Power and Light program up to $1,000 for each donation.

We have been incredibly successful with teaching young Mayan women about electricity, circuits and solar power.  In January we started our first woman owned* solar business, Sistemas Energeticas Appropriadas (SEA).  SEA works out of Xela, the second largest city in Guatemala.  I visited SEA in May and helped install a 40 watt solar power system on a church/community center.  The transformation from no electricity to having bright LED lights is powerful, and amazing to watch a building become a very well used community center.  In the past most meetings were called off at dusk.  In Guatemala that is often around 6:00 pm.  With electric lights people can organize!  

If you ever want to see our work in Guatemala please check out travel with ATC on our website.  We take 6 - 10 groups to visit Guatemala every year.  The trips are volunteer work trips, so be prepared to get your hands muddy, learn about electricity and meet a great group of people who make all our Guatemalan projects work.  

Thank you for considering this,

Please don't forget June 25th

-John

Mayan Women Teach "Circuits and Solar"
Mayan Women Teach "Circuits and Solar"
Wiring the Solar Control Panel
Wiring the Solar Control Panel
Learning To Install Multiple Solar Panels
Learning To Install Multiple Solar Panels

Links:

Mar 6, 2014

Success and Sustainability

Learning Solar
Learning Solar

Success!

As I write this today we just finished installing solar power on a pre-school in the village of Panyebar, Guatemala. The building had no electricity.  In cloudy weather the classrooms were very dark.  Now the building is a community center.  Women are already signed up to work collaboratively in the evening hours to weave and do needle-point work so they have more to sell in the market.  Community members have arranged for meetings at night to discuss how to improve their lives.  All of this is possible because of you and your generous support of what we now call our Mayan Power and Light program.

The ATC Mayan Power and Light program has had the great fortune to have an dedicated and capable team in Guatemala helping us realize our very ambitious goals.  We set out to achieve much and we have acomplished more than expected in a very busy 18 months.

Project Outcomes as of March 4, 2014:

The Appropriate Technology Collaborative Mayan Power and Light program original goals were :

• To teach 24 – 36 Guatemalan women about electricity, circuit design and solar technology.

We taught 83 young Mayan women the "Circuits and Solar" curriculum.

• Trained 8 women mentors in the Circuits and Solar curriculum.

We have trained 13 women mentors.

• Conducted a workshop in the United States for nonprofit organizations and others to learn the Circuits and Solar curriculum.

Completed October 2012

• Started a Mayan women’s solar power business that will sell solar lighting and power systems to households and small businesses.

We started SEA Solar, a majority woman owned business in December 2013.

• Conducted a workshop in Guatemala for NGOs to learn the “Circuits and Solar” curriculum and how to incubate solar power businesses.

We conducted a workshop for other NGOs in August 2013

Circuits and Solar students have:

• Installed over 50 home energy systems.

• Worked with Business students to create a business plan for a solar power social venture.

• Participated in a hands-on workshops to install solar power on at least one municipal building. 

The Mayan Power and Light Program Continues

The Mayan Power and Light program has been very well received.  We now have over 100 students on the waiting list for the educational program, and we have two groups who have been pre-qualified for starting solar social ventures.  

We need your continued support to provide business plans, start-up capital, continued education and solar inventory.  

We are asking to please help us fully fund this Global Giving campaing.  When we reach our goal of $20,000 we will be able to support two new businesses.  Each business will help 1,000 families per year switch from burning candles and kerosene lamps, which is expensive, to inexpensive solar power.  The business we started in December is making great sales and they are willing to help us start new woman owned businesses in other parts of Guatemala and beyond.  

Your help is critical to our success.  It has made all the difference so far.

Thank you,

John Barrie, Executive Director

The Appropriate Technology Collaborative

Carpentry Workshop
Carpentry Workshop
Graduating Class
Graduating Class

Links:

Dec 4, 2013

Report From ATC Team in Guatemala

Learning Carpentry Skills
Learning Carpentry Skills

Activity Report, Mayan Power and Light Workshop, November 2013.

(Note:  This report is a translation of a report from the ATC team in Xela, Guatemala who traveled to Lake Atitlan to teach our Circuits and Solar class and to help start a solar power cooperative.  There are photos missing that will be added as an attachment.)

Introduction:

This document is a report of the activities carried out in Santa Cruz la Laguna and Panajachel, with the Mayan Women mentors, which aimed to reinforce the skills possessed by young Mayan women so that in the future they may be able to start a small enterprise or cooperative in order to sell and install small solar energy systems.

Objectives:

General:

Increase the knowledge and skills of the Estrella de Mar young women in regards to technical matters.

Specific:

The following are some of the specific objectives:

  • Develop capabilities for using tools
  • Get to know solar panel technology and its uses.
  • Get to know the minimal requirements for a small installation.
  • Carry out practices to gain the skills needed in order to do a self-installation.

Tools and carpentry workshop:

The workshop proceeded according to plan, starting at 9:00 at the CECAP site in Santa Cruz la Laguna. 21 young women participated, aided by 3 Estrella de Mar mentors in the morning and one in the afternoon, plus 2 people from AEIDS who helped in the development of the workshop.

The young women first received a theoretical tools workshop in order to receive some guidelines regarding their use, shape, practical recommendations, etc. They then went to the CECAP carpentry workshop, where they built a small wooden box 22x16x12 cm tall. They measured, cut and assembled the wood until it was done. Each person built one box, but they worked in pairs to help each other out.

In the afternoon, they worked with electronic circuits as an introduction to the following day when they would go into more depth into the topic of solar panels.

Panels Workshop.

The second day was spent in Panajachel since it was near the facilities that would be needed in the afternoon.

We only lent our support to the 3 mentors from Estrella del Mar that worked with the young women.

The panels’ output was measured in the light, shade, connected in series and in parallel. We also covered every connection that an actual system would have, the site location, considerations due to shade, orientation and inclination of the panel.

 

Installation:

     During the installation process, we split into two groups because we had to complete two installations in two separate houses.

     I went with the group that made the installation at Santa Catarina Palopó, which took us all afternoon to complete.

We found the installation site and then checked for shadows so we could later find a place for the controller and install the light bulbs.

Conclusions:

After carrying out the activity we can draw the following conclusions:

  • Women have been able to develop skills for using tools they don’t normally use, improving their own abilities, creating development and more opportunities.
  • It was possible to empower them with basic knowledge in electricity and electronics so they can understand the benefits and risks of working with electricity and so be able to carry out small installations.
  • The women got to know a new useful technology, non-polluting and which uses the sun, a resource that is highly available in Guatemala. They also learned that using this technology they can bring development to their communities as agents of change.
Mayan Woman Learning Carpentry Skills
Mayan Woman Learning Carpentry Skills
"Circuits and Solar" Workshop
"Circuits and Solar" Workshop
"Circuits and Solar" Workshop 2
"Circuits and Solar" Workshop 2
Learning Solar
Learning Solar
Graduation!
Graduation!

Links:

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