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.
May 22, 2013

Exceeding Expectations

Testing a Small Solar Power System
Testing a Small Solar Power System

I am just back from Guatemala where I met with the lead teacher for women's class for Circuits and Solar.

We had 32 women sign up to learn to teach the class for the Spring / Summer term.  We had originally decided that we would teach 2 women mentors in the Spring and another 2 women in the Fall.  With such enthusiasm on the part of the teachers we have changed the program to teach 12 Mayan women mentors this summer and a total of 45 students in the fall.  Note:  This far exceeds our original goal of teaching 4 women mentors and 24 - 36 students.  

This leaves us with a dilemma.  We have created a class that bridges the technology gap between men and women but because the class is expensive to teach (each student and teacher receives a solar power kit which costs ATC just under $100.00 each) plus we have had to add a class in how to use basic construction tools for the women mentors.   It looks like we  are going to come up short at the end of the year by $3,500 - $4,000.

We try to have our reports be upbeat and not just another request for funding.  Unfortunately this time we need to break with our tradition and ask you for a donation to help this program be the success people have come to expect from The Appropriate Technology Collaborative.  

Also of news, we have made some changes in the curriculum and how the class is taught.  Each student and teacher will be responsible for installing their solar power system in a home or other building that lacks electricity.  They will work in groups so everyone has experience with more than one installation. 

Apr 18, 2013

Cameroon Solar Update

Reading by Candle Light
Reading by Candle Light

Our solar project in Cameroon needs a funding push to get enough funding to teach Circuits and Solar.

Our other similar projects show that once a class graduates they have the skills to understand, maintain and repair solar power systems.  Solar is less expensive than kerosene lamps so the people who purchase solar power save money.  We had one family tell us that they saved about 25% of their disposable income just because they chose to buy a solar light.

The solar light you see attached to this email is a very simple light that also can charge a cell phone.  It is brighter than a kerosene lamp and it does not create toxic fumes.

We are working on a website devoted to this project which I hope will take this Global Giving campaign to the next level.

Solar lighting businesses are sustainable ventures that provide jobs and create conditions that lead to better health and better education.

 

Thank you for your support.

Inexpensive Solar Light and Cell Phone Charger
Inexpensive Solar Light and Cell Phone Charger

Links:

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!

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