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.
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
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.
John Barrie, Executive Director
The Appropriate Technology Collaborative
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.)
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.
Increase the knowledge and skills of the Estrella de Mar young women in regards to technical matters.
The following are some of the specific objectives:
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.
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.
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.
After carrying out the activity we can draw the following conclusions:
I visited part three of the workshop as the women were starting to test solar panels and wire together their "Kits Solares". There was a level of intensity and excitement in the room with the women asking lots of questions and having fun learning new skills. Several days after the workshop, I talked with Norma, the Director of Starfish in Panajachel and she said that for many of the women this was a life changing experience. They never had imagined that they could learn and accomplished so much in a technical field like solar power. The ultimate goal of our Mayan Power and Light project is to help Mayan Girls start a solar power cooperative. The workshop participants have already asked us for extra solar hardware for additional installations. Success: We have been very fortunate to collaborate with Starfish One-By-One, an NGO which provides opportunities and mentoring for young Mayan women and our Engineers José Ordoñez and Carlos Alvarez, who make learning technical subjects fun. We also thank Michael Smith of Ann Arbor who created the original Circuits and Solar curriculum. We also need to thank you for your contribution to this project! Without you and our local collaborative partners, our Mayan Power and Light fproject would not be possible. Mayan Power and Light is successful beyond our original goals. We started this program with the intention of providing the Circuits and Solar workshop to a total of 4 women mentors and 24 Mayan Girls. We are now on track to teach 12 mentors and 45 Mayan girls this year. (We also have a waiting list of over 100 for next year) In order to continue our success we need to find more funding so each girl can get a "Kit Solar" ($100 ea.) and have the experience of installing solar power on a home that lacks electricity. We also need to pay for more teachers and additional transportation, books and materials. Please consider a donation to this program through Global Giving: http://bit.ly/MayanPowerandLight Thank you,
John S. Barrie
Project Reports on GlobalGiving are posted directly to globalgiving.org by Project Leaders as they are completed, generally every 3-4 months. To protect the integrity of these documents, GlobalGiving does not alter them; therefore you may find some language or formatting issues.
If you donate to this project or have donated to this project, you will get an e-mail when this project posts a report. You can also subscribe for reports via e-mail without donating or by subscribing to this project's RSS feed.