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Feb 7, 2019

Empowerment and Entrepreneurship go hand-in-hand

Group Lunch to celebrate the new year
Group Lunch to celebrate the new year

Getting to know our clients is one of the most important elements to project success.  We're going to let you in on a day in our empowerment program with ATC's Project Coordinator and Women's Empowerment specialist, Marilena Choguaj. Marilena shares the responses of 5 women in a five hour sesion to define their life goals and take steps towards them.  This process helps identify motivations to start-up green businesses in low-income communities.   Here's what they said:

Discussion: Empowerment and it's characteristics 

When presenting the characteristics of an empowered woman, we reflected on which characteristics students demonstrate in their environment. They mentioned: leadership, self-esteem, trust, honesty, respect.

When asking what quality should they improve, they mentioned tiscipline and independence.

Ruth added, "It does not mean getting away from our partners, but working with them. If we want to leave, it is not asking for permission, but informing them that we will leave, in this way not to create conflicts and reach violence."

When asked what they are doing to demonstrate their empowerment, they said, "Being in the group, working to strengthen the group."

We asked them, "Why are they in this entreprenuership group?"

Maricela: I'm because I want to be more economically and emotionally independent.

Ruth: So I do not have to ask my husband for money for the things I want and to learn more, besides contributing to strengthen the group.

Suly: I want to earn money to help my children to study, graduate and go to college, I want to give them opportunities that I did not have.

Aucelia: I want to support my mother with the expenses at home and continue studying at the university.

Jhoselyn: Earn money to give my son what he needs and have more knowledge.

 

Notice anything about their responses? We did!

Each new entreprenuer had some other family member in mind for their motivation to earn money. 

Ultimately, this demonstrates that their prime motivation is the longterm wellbeing of their family. When a woman is emotionally empowered and ready to start her own business, she immediately transfers her success to her children, parents and community.

Come meet them in person - Community Volunteer Positions are now open to help communities start small green businesses!

Writing out their Life Plan
Writing out their Life Plan
Dec 17, 2018

We're in (Green) Business!

weighing the product after drying
weighing the product after drying

Batz Kuxya Women's Dehydrator Cooperative is open for business! Thanks to you, we've made fast progress with weekly meetings to set up the cooperative's administrative structure, internal processes, production, and sales.

The cooperative now has a viable product ready for the market. They are creating sales schedules for each member to serve in both produciton and sales on a weekly basis, creating paid work where they never had it before. Even better, they are their own bosses!

This month we've been perfecting the packaging of our products - herbal teas and dried cookies - to send the right message about who we are as a cooperative. The cooperative decided to use biodegradable plastic to send the consistent environmental message between their permaculture farms and their sun dried products.

Last week, Ruslan, a robotics engineer from California, volunteered with Batz Kuxya to test and measure the solar dehydrator's performance. He showed the cooperative members how to find the best drying sections, noting that the corners or the edges may experience less airflow than the center. These comments helped the group consider standardization of their product and how to optimize it.

Next year we will be inviting Guatemalan university students to work with the cooperative in developing their business plan by focusing on their sales and marketing strategy.

 

Stay tuned as we progress!

temperature testing
temperature testing
Nov 13, 2018

2008 - 2018 Mayan Power and Light

Community Circuits & Solar Santa Isabel March 2018
Community Circuits & Solar Santa Isabel March 2018

That's 10 Years of community-led solar projects in Guatemala. And we're really taking off!

Our first projects in 2008  were 4 solar installations with handmade circuit boards & LED lights built in Guatemala for rural family homes.  This pilot project as done in exchange for long term information about the life and value of a small solar power system on the family's quality of life and health. We learned of the benefit of home productivity when there are lights on at night. A respondent said she could finally weave at night and her son could do homework. These comments encouraged us to spread that benefit. 

We began offering community Circuits & Solar workshops to empower low income people to manage and install their own home solar power systems to benefit family economy and health.  These workshops reduce the cost of solar power by empowering individuals to install on their own homes.

In 2009 we began offering trainings with CECAP of Santa Cruz la Laguna, finding that only a few girls participated. Noe Simon, Director of CECAP explained, “Girls won’t take these classes with boys, but we would be very interested in offering all girls-classes.” At this point we organized with Starfish-one-by-one, a girl's empowerment in education organization, to offer their students with empowering green technology workshops.  

Feedback from one of the Starfish teachers commented, “It’s great to learn this green technology, but what are we going to do with it?”  

Our response came in 2015, training 12 rural women from across Guatemala in solar power and entreprenuership. This group was in constant communication with us throughout the course of the program, their stories and comments during the project taught us that gender-based barriers to business were barring them from success.  Some could not travel alone to make sales and lack of family support disuaded them from continuing.

We learned that the program would be more successful by identifying women leaders, including women's empowerment curriculum, visits to assure the support of their families, and training the entreprenuers to offer free public workshops on water filters, eco-stoves and solar power. This is what's coming in 2019. 

 

Over 50% of project funds come from individual donors like you.  We need $18,000 by December 31st to make the project a success.  Please help us by sharing our project with your friends and family and becoming a monthly donor.

#GivingTuesday November 27th: New Monthly donors get 100% match on this donation after 4 consecutive months of giving.  

 

Highschool girls install solar on school 2017
Highschool girls install solar on school 2017
Women-owned solar business is 6 years old, 2018
Women-owned solar business is 6 years old, 2018
 
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