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.
Oct 10, 2012

New photos!

Mayan girls examining solar panels
Mayan girls examining solar panels

Here are some photographs and a new video from our recent trip to Guatemala!  These are some of the young women that are planning to learn solar and circuits from our course and from there, build their own solar cooperative, providing steady employment for them and income for their families.

I want to mention one particular point about the video.  If you watch closely, you will see the girls smiling as they climb the ladder to the roof where our solar panels are installed.  For all of them, this is the VERY FIRST time they have done this!  Yet their dream is so compelling, that they are challenging themselves to broaden their experiences and learn new skills.

I hope the glimpse of our girls taking their first steps towards their dream of a solar cooperative inspires you to help us make it become real, to give them the skills they desire to fulfill their hopes and make their dreams come true.

Two of our excited students!
Two of our excited students!
The beginnings of a women
The beginnings of a women's solar coop


Sep 13, 2012

The footwork is proceeding apace!

We recently went to Guatemala to meet with our partners, mentors and prospective students in this project. 

Our mentors are all female, to help our students overcome cultural shyness and get the most from the training.  We have done our best to draw from the local culture, so that the women who mentor the girls are aware of cultural cues, language and have experience with solar.  The girls are very modest young women, yet once we got them to the roof, their curiousity took hold and they examined the examined the solar array thoroughly.  During our visit, our partner organization, Starfish, was filming the girls for a video promoting the class.

Currently, we are on schedule to teach the class in February in Guatemala.  We are accepting volunteers to travel with us for this course.  We have posted 2 links to photos of the girls on Flickr and will add more as time permits.


Jul 10, 2012

Young Guatemalan Women Learn Solar Power

Future Solar Technicians
Future Solar Technicians

The Appropriate Technology Collaborative is starting a campaign to teach young Guatemalan women about electricity, circuits and solar power.  

Please check out our new GlobalGiving project: 



In Guatemala malnutrition is a big problem with 1 of every 2 children chronically malnourished.  Lack of education, particularly for girls, coupled with high fertility rates keep families trapped in poverty.  A proven way to break the cycle of poverty is to provide girls with education and opportunity.  Women's education through ATC's "Teach Guatemalan Women Solar” workshops will provide young Guatemalan women with an education and the skills to become solar technicians. 

How It Works:

This year we started teaching "Circuits and Solar" in Guatemala.  Working with our Guatemalan staff and local teaching legend Michael Smith, we created a course that teaches students with basic math and reading skills about electricity, circuits and solar design.  The class is a big hit with a waiting list but, only one young Guatemalan woman signed up.  We asked why and found that while young women have a strong interest in technical subjects and even more interest in solar, they don't usually take technical classes with men.  

Women’s technical education through ATC’s Circuits and Solar workshops will provide young Guatemalan women an understanding of the technology that fuels the 21st century while at the same time teaching critical technical skills that women need to become solar technicians. To support women learning and remove any fear of judgment, ATC’s Circuits and Solar workshops will be conducted by women who are trained in the curriculum, and who mentor rather than instruct students during the course of the workshop. Participants will interact and learn from one another in a friendly, informal hands-on environment. The all-women workshops offer a rare environment to learn about technology in a positive setting.

Why Solar?  

Worldwide we find much interest in sustainable solar power.  Students are naturally curious about the new technology.  In rural Latin America where there is no electricity, families light their homes with kerosene lamps and candles.  The World Health Organization has determined that individuals breathing kerosene fumes and soot inhale the equivalent of smoking two packs of cigarettes a day. Solar lighting is less expensive than kerosene lighting.  Selling small scale solar home lighting systems is a proven way to make a living in Guatemala.  


Why Girls?  

 The benefits of educating girls — to countries, to families and to girls themselves — are so substantial that some economists, including Lawrence Summers, a former Harvard University president and former director of President Obama’s National Economic Council, have stated that educating girls may be the single highest return investment available in the developing world.  Educating girls not only stimulates economic growth, it improves the well-being of women and gives them more agency in their communities and countries.  – 

                                    United States Embassy Website

Please Help!  

Please check out our new Global Giving campaign at: and help young Guatemalan women have a bright future.

Needle Point at Night with Solar Light
Needle Point at Night with Solar Light


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