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Mayan Power and Light

by Appropriate Technology Collaborative
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
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
Marilena leads empowerment training in Chiche
Marilena leads empowerment training in Chiche

Mayan Power and Light is expanding into new rural areas of Guatemala where we can save the environment and provide a better quality of life.

Last month, 30 women from the isolated Community of Chupoj III, Chiche, Quiche participated in an emotional empowerment workshop to introduce them to Mayan Power and Light's special program. 

ATC relies on local leadership to plan and direct our projects - working with Municipal governments, the department for women's rights and pre-established women's groups. By presenting one-day empowerment workshops, we are building relationships and spreading word about our work in business incubation and access to appropriate technologies to attract rural women into our unique opportunities in Mayan Power and Light. 

The Chupoj III group are mothers who are recognised as community leaders by SOSEP and the Municipality of Chiché. They thanked ATC for the workshop held, as they had not had any empowerment training before. Instead their trainings are usually focused on food preparation for nutrition and childcare.  The emotional empowerment workshop helps women in difficult circumstances to channel their emotions, stress and fear in more constructive avenues to overcome domestic abuse, unemployment and low self esteem. 

The Director of the Women's Office of the Municipality was attentive and translated the workshop in Quiche. She invited us back to share more empowerment trainings saying that they were unique and much needed discussions for women's liberation. 

A child
A child's drawing on the wall of their shelter

One month ago today, Volcan Fuego erupted - taking more than 112 lives and displacing 12,000 more.

Poor emergency response procedures by government agencies spurred communities to self-organize their evacuation centers and demand resettlement assistance. This fight is due to last a long time as survivors remain crowded in schools, gyms and churches.

To lend our hand, ATC staff was directed towards relief efforts - communicating with leaders and organizations near ground zero to learn where we can help. 

Our empowerment field staff visited several evacuation shelters and surviving villages to interview leaders about community needs. They said they have stockpiled clothes, food and water that arrived from the generosity of strangers, but that the flow of donations has slowed considerably and is not expected to continue.  Men in the shelters must return to the volcano to fetch firewood for cooking in their city shelters. Donated drinking water will soon run out. People in surviving villages are cut off from electricity and water quality has deteriorated since the eruption. 

Through our Mayan Power and Light program, we have water filters, solar lamps and even fuel-saving stoves that could benefit the shelters. SEA, our women-owned social enterprise, has donated lamps and staff to assist in relief efforts. 

Thanks to the many donors to our Globalgiving Guatemala Volcano Emergency project, 200 water filters and 57 solar lamps are ready to be distributed next week. 

To ensure the filters are used well, our empowerment staff will be piloting our new Mayan Power and Light curriculum with a half-day training on family health and sanitation including the importance of water filtration and smoke reduction in the home. Water filters and sanitation training will reduce the spread of parasites and viruses in the shelters where up to 8 families are sharing a room. 

Shelter coordinator asks for empowerment training
Shelter coordinator asks for empowerment training
Computer education creates opportunities
Computer education creates opportunities

68 kids at the elementary school of Nueva San Jose, San Lucas Toliman, Solola celebrated the arrival of the school's first computers this Friday.

In 2016, we installed a small solar power backup system at the school to assist with the frequent blackouts. Now, this clean energy is powering the laptops that bring modern education to the rural poor. 

Nueva San Jose school has been operating for 9 years in a building that used to be a chicken hatchery, converted into 4 classrooms with a small covered area for play. Looking out into the street, you see open drains flowing with gray water and houses made from sheet metal. 

The parents of the school children are day laborers at the nearby coffee plantation or at the dairy factory - where many people work 14 hour shifts. We have seen that in many families, there will be one child to receive extra resources for high school education in hopes they will support the rest of the family with their professional salaries.  These gifted children have a lot of pressure on them to succeed, but lack the tools to assist them.

One basic and invaluable tool these children lack is access to a computer. Many had never even seen one up close before. Without learning to operate a computer, to type or to search the web, Nueva San Jose children are entering high school with a severe disadvantage. Without basic training in computers like their peers, the community's dreams of breaking out of poverty will continue to be hampered. 

In the last 6 months, 23 people sent used laptops to our Michigan office.  You, our Globalgiving supporters, funded the shipping and computer reprogramming to a Spanish operating system.

Thanks to you, second-hand computer labs are making technology available to people at the bottom of the economic pyramid, creating opportunity for dignified work. 

Nueva San Jose Children begin computer program
Nueva San Jose Children begin computer program
Tiritibol Computer Lab
Tiritibol Computer Lab

Its March 2018 and we already have two new villages with solar lighting! 

THANK YOU FOR MAKING THIS HAPPEN!

February 19 – 21st: The public elementary school in Tiritibol, Quiche got 520 Watts of solar power to light up 5 classrooms, power a computer lab and light up the town meeting hall!

820 community members of Tiritibol have a nearby access point to charge their cellphones and lanterns.

180 children get typing lessons for the first time in their new computer lab!

And our solar training workshop has already inspired 10 families to start saving up for home solar power!

 

March 5 – 9th: The village of Santa Isabel, Suchitepequez came together to repair their community building and install solar lighting and a cellphone charge station. 220 community members have a place to meet after dark, an important improvement for their agricultural cooperative to have evening meetings after a day’s work in the fields.

We also ran our newest Mayan Power and Light workshop on Water Filtration, teaching men and women about how water filtration can save firewood from boiling water. Using Sawyer water filters enables a community to clean and re-use filters for years without economic investment in replacement parts.

 

Your donations are keeping our solar education and access programs growing.

You can help us win more funding with the Globalgiving Girl Fund by voting with your donation to Mayan Power and Light. Winning entry into the Girl Fund will help us train 15 rural women to distribute solar power and water filters with our free community trainings.  The contest ends Thursday, please donate now!

Santa Isabel, first night with lights
Santa Isabel, first night with lights
Sta Isabel helps install solar after workshop
Sta Isabel helps install solar after workshop
 

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Organization Information

Appropriate Technology Collaborative

Location: Ann Arbor, MI - USA
Website:
Project Leader:
John Barrie
Ann Arbor, MI United States
$85,855 raised of $100,000 goal
 
1,369 donations
$14,145 to go
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