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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

Thanks to our precious GlobalGiving donors, the Mayan Power and Light team was able to adjust to unexpected changes and pull off a better social program that served the needs of the most isolated, low-income people in Guatemala.  Your support  helped us train 158 people in solar technology, and serve 11,399 people with solar lighting!

You got us this far, please consider helping us keep our program running with a monthly donation.


It helped me overcome my economic conditions and my knowledge about solar systems.   - Josefina


Gaging our qualitative impact based on the Grassroots Development Framework, Mayan Power and Light made a considerable impact on the lives of these women. 

They earned respect and esteem in their communities.

  • Carmelina wired up the solar panel to turn on her town’s first light bulbs in their only public building.   
  • Neighbors looked to Fatima for help in her community’s Circuits and Solar training.
  • Neighbors witnessed Fatima’s skills installing solar on their town meeting hall
  • Fatima’s mother, Julia, marveled about how people really look up to her and see her working hard to sell solar products.

They developed self-confidence to engage in public life with a stronger voice.

  • They began to travel across country for the first time. Fatima, Delia, Carmelina and Josefina traveled to Xela for training.
  • Fatima, 16, started travelling across the country for the first time, alone! She went to Xela several times for follow-up training and to pick up merchandise for urgent customers.
  • Fatima helped teach Circuits & Solar to community members and volunteers in three solar installations.
  • Natalia traveled across country for the first time with her baby to give sales support to other rural Mayan women. 
  • They posted their own advertisements on Facebook and passed out leaflets.
  • They spoke about social issues and the environment to clients and community members.

They increased their income from zero and invested in their family’s education and nutrition.

  • Though their income varied extremely according to the season, they made on average of Q948 per month.
  • The highest income earner was Delia with an average Q1,775.00 per month; lowest Q0.00, highest month Q10,500.00 in November 2016.
  • Fatima used her November 2016 income to pay for next year’s Diversificado in Business Management.  She will bring new skills to Mayan Power and Light.
Mentoring Girls
Mentoring Girls


First time wiring up a solar kit
First time wiring up a solar kit

Yup. ATC is feeling pretty cool right now. 

Globalgiving picked our project to promote to their Project of the Month Club where hundreds of people collectively donate to a new project every month.

Why did they pick us?

They visited our projects twice in two years and were wow'ed every time!

1. GlobalGiving reps interviewed our star solar saleswoman, Fatima, as she installed solar on her town's meeting hall.  

2. They participated in our volunteer solar installation project and were impressed by our community engagement in the project, how much leadership local volunteers took in wiring up the building.

3. They visited our multi-panel solar power system on the technical training center, CECAP in Santa Cruz la laguna, and our solar installation on the pre-school in Tzanjomel.  

4.They asked us tons of questions about how we work with communities and partner organizations to make sure our programs are sustainable and maintained. 

...And it looks like we passed with flying colors.

Help Mayan Power and Light rock-on in 2017.  #GivingTuesday is coming up and Matching Donations at 50%!

Our 2017 Goals:

12-15 buidings electrified with solar, includes 1-2 grid-tied systems

24 women trained in microbusiness skills and solar technology

100 people trained in Circuits and Solar 

Fatima, solar saleswoman teaches other girls
Fatima, solar saleswoman teaches other girls

Last month, ATC and our solar team installed 160Watts of solar power on the community building at Finca la Florida, a sustainable agricultural community near Colomba, Quetzaltenango.

This community of 40 poor farming families advocated for their rights to land by taking over an abandoned coffee plantation. Over the last 10 years, they have created an incredible food security system by diversifying their agriculture to produce food year round.  Miles from the nearest town, the community has no electricity and is dependent on candles and kerosene to see. 

Funded by a Canadian Interact club, the solar installation included a community Circuits and Solar workshop and engaged community members and our young Interact volunteers to install the solar system together. 

Over 336 community members now have access to charge batteries, phones, and lanterns.

Their meeting hall now has lights at night and energy for community movie screenings.

7 rural girls and 10 rural boys learned about electricity, circuits and solar power theory and practical skills. They applied their learning theory to their own 10-watt solar system and then installed the community system together. 

Another stellar example of sustainable community development through skills training and appropriate infrastructure!

Help our programs stabilize and grow! 

Committing to a monthly donation keeps our solar education program going. Fatima and 6 other solar saleswomen are almost ready to run their own workshops. Help us get them there! 

Community members hook up solar components
Community members hook up solar components
Volunteers and community members work together
Volunteers and community members work together
Solar panels going up!
Solar panels going up!
Sustainia 100 Logo
Sustainia 100 Logo

That's right!  

Sustainia 100 has chosen Mayan Power and Light over 1,500 projects and technologies to promote our innovative program to investors, business leaders, politicians, and consumers!  

                               THANKS TO YOU, GlobalGiving Donors!

We couldn't have come this far without our amazing individual donors chipping in to get our brand new solution off the ground.  

It was risky, it was hard, we faced challenges, we found solutions. As a team of go-getters and problem solvers, the MPL team in the US and Guatemala had to give it everything we had to get this ball rolling.

This is no exageration. You made it possible for us to create this award winning program to strengthen local economies sustainably, and with equal access for women.

  • Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Circuits and Solar training for 175 Guatemalan women, with specific information about environmentally sustainable appropriate technologies.
  • Kick-starting 13 small businesses in rural Guatemala since 2015.  These women entrepreneurs now serve 10,000 people, selling solar panels, clean cook stoves, and other appropriate technology at prices that are affordable for rural agricultural workers.
  • Incubating Soluciones Energeticas Apropiadas (SEA), a self-sustaining small business with six employees, providing small-scale solar panels and large solar power systems in rural Guatemalan villages.
  • Providing clean cook stoves to families in rural Guatemala.  These concrete-cast stoves burn less fuel, with significantly less indoor air pollution, than conventional models, saving money for low-income families and improving their health at the same time.


Your continued support keeps Mayan Power and Light growing.  Sign up as a Monthly Donor to keep our training program running on schedule. 


About the Sustainia 100

These 100 pioneering projects, initiatives, and technologies at the forefront of sustainable innovation have been selected from more than 1,500 candidates. By identifying leading solutions in ten key sectors, Sustainia100 gives investors, business leaders, politicians, and consumers detailed insights into the projects and technologies within their field of interest.

The solutions in the Sustainia100 are readily available, have the potential to scale up across markets, and impact society on the triple bottom line of sustainability: environmental, social, and economic. This year, solutions that are making a contribution to climate resilience or mitigation are also highlighted for their climate benefit. 

Sustainia has adopted a systematic approach to finding solutions in concert with a global sustainability community. Entrepreneurs from 74 countries submitted their projects to Sustainia’s call for solutions. These submissions are supplemented by extensive research carried out to ensure geographic and sector diversity.

Finally, the solutions are carefully vetted and selected using five evaluation criteria, (Readily Available, Scalable, Positive Environmental Impact, Financially Viable, Improve Quality of Life), in consultation with the Sustainia100 Advisory Board, consisting of 25 sector experts from 18 global research organizations.


The Sustainia Jury:

Acumen Fund,

Blood Orange Consulting,


Copenhagen Institute on Risk and Sustainability,

Cornell University,

Ellen MacArthur Foundation,

EPEA Internationale Umweltforschung

Federal University of Paraná,

United Nations World Food Programme,

University of California, Berkeley,

World Resources Institute,

World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF),

Yale University

Natural Resources Defense Council,

Nordic Fashion Association

Fatima, 16 year old solar saleswomen and installer
Fatima, 16 year old solar saleswomen and installer
Community Solar Class
Community Solar Class
Solar panels go up on Community Meeting Hall
Solar panels go up on Community Meeting Hall


Fatima working on a 80W Solar System at CCDA
Fatima working on a 80W Solar System at CCDA

Fatima is 16 years old. She's from a village surrounded by large coffee fincas and small-holder farmers on the slopes of Volcan Atitlan. She joined Mayan Power and Light in november 2016, just before starting high school. During the workshop, Fatima was quiet and reserved.  But once December hit, Fatima distributed solar product faster than anyone! 

How? She accepts micro-payments. With over Q5,000 of small-scale solar products and LED lightbulbs distributed in her community, Fatima is collecting monthly payments as her neighbours benefit from clean affordable lighting!

Fatima really got in the game during our volunteer-funded solar demonstration project last week. She was under direct instruction from our lead Engineer, Jose, where she hooked up a 245W solar panel and a battery bank. She taught our international volunteers how to install light fixtures and run wires. She's getting confident! 

Now Fatima is back in school, she schedules visits to neighboring towns to make sales on the weekend. What is she studying in school? Business Management.  When I asked her why, she exclaimed "I love sales!" 

Fatima's success is a collaboration of a big community of educators, program designers and donors like you. Thank you for joining our team in creating Opportunity By Design.

Please help us provide more support to 8 more microbusinesswomen farther afield in Eastern Guatemala.

Across the country from our original MPL business, SEA, our Eastern Guatemala businesswomen urgently need more training in sales strategy. Give today to Boost your donation!

Today's GlobalGiving Matching Funds will pay for 4-6 sales training visits across the country in 2016. 

That's just $2,000 to empower 8 women to provide clean energy for over 1000 families every year. And they'll keep on doing so every year from now on!

Fatima and Jose, engineer, hooking up 245W system
Fatima and Jose, engineer, hooking up 245W system
Fatima installing LED security lights w volunteer
Fatima installing LED security lights w volunteer
Fatima and volunteer hang out by their 245W panel
Fatima and volunteer hang out by their 245W panel



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Organization Information

Appropriate Technology Collaborative

Location: Ann Arbor, MI - USA
Project Leader:
John Barrie
Ann Arbor, MI United States
$85,905 raised of $100,000 goal
1,371 donations
$14,095 to go
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