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Jul 28, 2020

315 Solar lamps abate 882 tons carbon in 2020

Kids in Chitas reading at night
Kids in Chitas reading at night

As COVID19 cases continue to rise in Guatemala, keeping families healthy is more important than ever. Meanwhile, the environmental crisis remains and the world is adjusting to the new economic crisis.  

This quarter, we provided a sense of security to 315 un-electrified children with a simple solar lamp: saving the family money on candles, and creating a safe, lit space so the family can read or weave. Each solar lamp abates 2.8 tons of carbon dioxide, collectively we’ve abated over 882 tons of C02 this year. 

Since the national quarantine restricts travel across departments, we worked with our trusted community partners, school principals at two solar schools,  to receive the solar lights by mail and distribute the solar lights to their students.  We tracked the donation with school enrollment lists and photographs and when travel is approved, we’ll do a follow-up visit with the children and parent, engaging them with activities that raise environmental awareness.

This month, we are also partnering with two community partners to distribute water filters to 100 rural families who lack potable water. Our partners will undergo a social impact study of the water filters to provide an third party assessment of our work. 

We’ve achieved these activities and much more with full social distancing and reduced contamination from transportation.

Girl at home with new solar light
Girl at home with new solar light

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Jul 9, 2020

Short-Listed Engineering for Change Design Competition

ATC promotes working from home & masks
ATC promotes working from home & masks

Although COVID-19 interrupted the build of our latest prototype in March 2020, we held on tight. We competed in the Siemen´s Design Challenge on Engineering for Change to expose our work to new critique and improvement. Our project was short-listed and given feedback on our response to market demand and competitin.

Now, a Guatemalan engineering student reached out to ATC in search of an opportunity to complete his thesis project while working from home. 

ATC has been cooperating with volunteer engineers by distance for over 10 years now - we are the most experienced engineering non profit in Guatemala for online communications for the design process. Noe, from Universidad de San Carlos, Guatemala´s top university, will be scaling our new hybrid solar dehydrator design for manufacturing by rural cooperatives. 

His project will respond to the needs of rural cooperatives to create standardized natural food products affordably while protecting their environment. The timing couldn´t be better - as we expect the country to steadily open up in the early months of 2021 - at which time our prototype will have been built and tested right here in Guatemala.

Thanks to ATC volunteer engineers in Michigan, Mexico and Guatemala we will have a sustainable solution for rural economic development in the aftermath of the pandemic to help rural communities regain economic momentum, feeding their communities and providing dignified work.

Links:

May 5, 2020

319 kids living in the dark got solar lights

A photo sent from Sandra, Chitas School Principal
A photo sent from Sandra, Chitas School Principal

We were blown away by your show of support during #ClimateAction week. Over 115 people from the US and Europe chipped in over $11,300 to bring clean water and light to Guatemalan families affected by the pandemic. You helped us meet our goals and serve more people suffering under the COVID19 quarantine. 

Overall in Guatemala 54% of the population live in poverty; in la Zona Reina, the poverty rate is at 75%. Thousands of people live day-to-day, but are out of work for over 2 months now. Stress is rising and UNICEF is warning of the rise of domestic violence. Living in isolated villages, kids in la Zona Reina rely on school as the only building with lights, cell phone charging and computers. With school closed, they spend long days and nights at home in the dark. Now the school principals of Chitas and Tiritibol are working with us to help their students cope with the added isolation.

Your generosity helped us serve 319 children last week with basic lighting to read and feel safe while school is closed. Their parents save precious funds on candles for food,and can be more productive at night. 

It wasn´t easy.  With the whole of Guatemala on lock down, our field staff can´t travel out to the poorest communities who need help. Luckily, our past collaborative projects with local community leaders developed mutual trust, transparency and a culture of cooperation to take action during this situation. 

Two school principals in the un-electrified interior of Guatemala have shown exemplary community leadership since we worked together to install solar panels, lights and a computer lab at their schools.  We organized the distribution of solar lamps to 319 primary school children by matching school enrollment lists with signed documents and using shipping services to send documentation and solar lights back and forth. When we can move around the country again, our field staff will visit Tiritibol and Chitas to interview parents and children for monitoring and evaluation purposes. We´ll update you with that information when the time comes. 

Thanks to your recent donations, over 125 water filters are now on their way to Guatemala for distribution in May to help poor families stay healthy, save money and save the environment.

Stay tuned for more updates about our response to the pandemic.

No school means no light, until solar lamps arrive
No school means no light, until solar lamps arrive
The first night with lights
The first night with lights
 
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