Mayan Power and Light

by Appropriate Technology Collaborative
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Mayan Power and Light
Mayan Power and Light
Mayan Power and Light
Mayan Power and Light
Mayan Power and Light
Mayan Power and Light
Mayan Power and Light
Mayan Power and Light
Mayan Power and Light
Mayan Power and Light
Mayan Power and Light
Mayan Power and Light
Mayan Power and Light
Mayan Power and Light
Mayan Power and Light
San Rabinac School students for a computer lab
San Rabinac School students for a computer lab

Last week the MPL field staff journied out to what we call the Last Mile communities 3-5 hours from commercial centers and paved roads. Here, there is no grid electricity, poor cellphone service and a lack of government services for health and education.

These remarkable communities came together to break the cycle of poverty - they chipped in cash and labor to build their schools and bridges. They bought a gasoline generator and gathered a few computers to provide their kids with a modern education. Out here, many homes have small solar power systems to light the space and charge a cellphone, but using a computer has been out of reach. 

That's where MPL comes in. Word of Mayan Power and Light's solar schools have spread across the region -  teachers and community leaders from three communities formed Solar Committees to power their school computer labs, with concrete fundraising plans to maintain their equipment.  We met with all three comittees to move plans forward to have three schools electrified by the end of the year! 

Schools in La Unilla and San Rabinac (photos attached) will be powered by the sun by the end of July!  

Solar power is a big investment, but it's an immediate solution to Energy Poverty. With a solar power school, the whole community has access to charge their cellphones, their kids can learn to type and go to highschool, and the community can meet at night. Solar Schools enable rural students to take computer classes and aspire to professional jobs.

In this way, MPL can uplevel underserved communities that are committed to improving living conditions for the next generation. 

Our visit to San Rabinac and La Unilla last week finalized a year of planning and cooperation with representatives of community councils and associations who have proven themselves ready to manage their school solar power system effectively.

As always, its an honor and inspiration to work with such dedicated community leaders. 

Finalizing project plans with community leaders
Finalizing project plans with community leaders
Road to the Last Mile Solar Schools
Road to the Last Mile Solar Schools

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Mayan Power and Light Team reopens office, 2021
Mayan Power and Light Team reopens office, 2021

Thank you so much for donating to Mayan Power and Light in 2020.  With your generous support, we served hundreds of households, 3,967 people, last year. 

Forced to pivot for COVID, in 2020 we reached 30 women entrepreneurs with online social business coaching, we provided 319 children with solar lamps for homeschool, 100 families with household water filters, 100 families with food assistance, and we benefited 2 schools (1200+ people) with solar power to better serve their at-risk communities. 

We took advantage of the work-from-home order to develop our organizational capacity with back-office improvements.  We created a strong monitoring and evaluation database tracking tool and mobile application for the women's entrepreneurship program.  These tools will ensure comprehensive data collection of the program’s impacts and reach, while utilizing our staff’s time and effort efficiently.

We perfected our green technologies training manual, and identified the most affordable and durable water filters, solar kits and clean cookstoves to help thousands of rural poor improve energy efficiency, save money and save the environment.  The first 104 solar kits have arrived at our office this month, and we are now the official country distributor of VF100 water filters. 

In 2021, we are hiring 3 rural promoters and training 5 current staff members to extend workshops and distribute green technologies to over 10,000 rural people. We will support 120 women’s businesses with action planning to increase their income, and 3 interns will track their businesses over 6 months to demonstrate results.

Thank you for supporting Guatemalan communities with sustainable solutions that break the cycle of poverty. 

We're glad we can count on you as part of the team,

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Backwashing the Filter at replicated workshop
Backwashing the Filter at replicated workshop

2020 was tough, travel bans and social distancing forced us to adjust our regular projects. But with creativity and cooperation,  we were able to deliver essential services to families affected by loss of income and school closings.

This month, 100 families have clean drinking water at home with .1 micron water filters. 

We partnered with local organizations specializing in health and water to safely deliver water filters to needy families in rural communities. We trained their staff to replicate the training workshop in their communities to reach more people without risking contagion. 

We don't stop there, we are carrying out a year-long study of the health and economic impacts of water filters, so this emergency response project also generates data and insights for development best practices.

You can learn more about how Mayan Power and Light improved services for COVID at our Greet & Give Gathering on #GivingTuesday, December 1, 2020.  

GlobalGiving bonus funds will boost all donations on Dec. 1st, making it possible for us to raise an ambitious $42,000 for solar power and water filters in rural communities next year.  Can you mark your calendar to donate to Mayan Power and Light on #GivingTuesday?

You'll get to chat with us personally with over 45 minutes of table conversations. If you speak some spanish, it's your chance to chat with Mayan Power and Light director and co-founder, Marilena Choguaj.

I'll host a table too, so stop by and say hi!

Chat with us at the Greet & Give Gathering!
Chat with us at the Greet & Give Gathering!
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Call for applications for business coaching
Call for applications for business coaching

Few businesses have remained untouched by the COVID crisis.  In Guatemala, small businesses struggle to stay open, weathering governmental stay-at-home orders and concerns regarding health and safety.  Giving support to sustain these businesses is essential to their families and communities. 

At ATC, we have remained mission-focused and are playing to our strengths as we do our part to sustain local economies by developing new programs that can be safely administered remotely.  

For 2020, we pivoted our social business training program to provide needed support for small businesses struggling to stay in operation.  Our business specialist created a webinar-based program to reach 120 Guatemalan businesses, in eight 15-participant sessions, providing tailored guidance for them to modify their business strategy to react to shifting customer needs. We will keep in touch with these businesses over the coming months, following up and offering continuing support and consultation.

Through this coaching, we reframe this economic crisis and help participants regain control over their business strategies.  With thousands out of work, spending patterns have changed across all consumer sectors.  Many people are investing in small home businesses and prioritizing long-term solutions to secure their basic needs.  We are helping businesses to recognize this and make sound decisions that will enable them to survive today’s challenges.

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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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Organization Information

Appropriate Technology Collaborative

Location: Ann Arbor, MI - USA
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Project Leader:
Monika Goforth
Ann Arbor, MI United States
$158,884 raised of $195,000 goal
 
2,198 donations
$36,116 to go
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