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.
Feb 20, 2013

First Evaluation Report

Solar Students
Solar Students

Our project has a new name:  "Mayan Power and Light"  We are collaborating with the NGO "Starfish One-by-One" to teach young Mayan women about electricity and solar power and we are going to help start a women's solar power cooperative.

We hired Formative Evaluation Research Associates (FERA) to help us assess our impact for this project.  FERA is an independent evaluation group based in Ann Arbor, Michigan that has provided evaluation and learning opportunities to the nonprofit sector for over 35 years.

FERA works with clients engaged in innovative efforts at the local, national, and international levels. These clients include foundations and their grantees, nonprofit organizations, strategic alliances and collaborative efforts, and networks/membership associations.

In January Dr. Karin Tice of FERA visited our partners in Guatemala, and she visited potential clients for solar sales and installations.  

The first take aways from Dr. Tice's preliminary report are:

1.  The teachers and students are very engaged already with the project.

2.  The value of solar is greater than we expected.  Rural Guatemalan's that do not have electricity are spending more on candles and kerosene lamps than our original estimate.  This makes sales of solar lighting systems a better model for a business than we anticipated.

3.  Our Engineers are ready starting February 27th to work with our partners, Starfish One-by-One, and teach the Starfish mentors the solar curriculum.

4.  Our Executive Director is traveling tonight to Guatemala with teaching materials and home solar energy systems to get the first class started.

We are very excited to get to the real work of this project.  

We will keep you posted on how things are developing, and 

Thank you so very much for making this project possible!

Jan 15, 2013

Update on Business Climate in Cameroon

Solar Panel on a Roof
Solar Panel on a Roof

One of the goals of The Appropriate Technology Collaborative is to set up small to medium scale businesses in less economically developed countries.  Often there are many barriers to business development.  The regulations for starting a business can be obscure even to local people with years of experience.  We have found ourselves or our partners standing in line for hours to get documents stamped only to be told that there is yet another set of stamps required before a business is legal.

Fortunately in Cameroon the government has set up a fast track for starting new social enterprises.

From the US Small Business Administration Website:

"Recently, the Cameroonian government has brought two new agencies in Cameroon to make the business environment more friendly. The first one is the creation of a one-stop shop for new companies. That means instead of needing three to six months to create your company, you can do that now in three to five days. Another agency, the investment and promotion agency that facilitates all the processes businesses have to go through when they want to do business in Cameroon. So, for example, the agreements, even the facilities like for electricity, water, they can take care of that so that the business person just cares about meeting people. So these are two agencies that have been created which improved the business climate."

With your support we can teach "Circuits and Solar", send teaching kits and solar hardware to our local team and get them started in a sustainable business.

Thank you,


John Barrie

Solar Light System #3
Solar Light System #3
Nov 21, 2012

Expanded offerings!

Our girls
Our girls

Our class for the girls will be taught in March of 2013, and materials are on their way to Guatemala.  Based on the girls' goals of operating a cooperative and the business potential, we have expanded the course.

Originally, we would be teaching them the basics of circuits and solar technology.  Now we are adding transistors to the curriculum.  Transistors are the basis of all electronic devices.  Having this key knowledge, the girls would be able to create a variety of businesses to support themselves.  Having this skill set will allow the girls the flexibility to respond to the needs of their community as it integrates with technology and their knowledge will give them a level of personal power to take care of their needs and their families.

In March, we also hope to talk with the girls about their school being the base for classes that we would teach to fellow nonprofits about solar, solar cooperatives and creating solar businesses.  This would also give the girls a chance to work with others outside their community, building their people skills.  

In the middle photo you will see our girls: Yolanda, Elisabeth, Selena, Reyna and Lorena.  


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