Installing a multi-panel solar power system
In 2015 we will be adding to the Mayan Power and Light (MPL) program. In addition to teaching about electricity, circuits and solar power, and in addition to starting Mayan woman owned solar businesses, we are looking to add classes and business incubation about other essential technologies.
Guatemalan indigenous women are the poorest of the poor, achieving the lowest ratings in education (only 39% of Mayan women are literate vs. 77% of non-indigenous women) and job opportunities due to cultural, economic, geographic and structural barriers.
In response to multi-sectoral barriers to indigenous women's advancement, Mayan Power and Light will utilize the Asset-Based Community Development model in a 3-Phased scalable program to empower indigenous rural women in Guatemala. In collaboration with a community-integrated campesino organization (CCDA), locally owned Social Venture Capital Businesses (SVCs), and an international Appropriate Technology organization, indigenous women will lead community development with access to training and income opportunities in the following phases. Phase 1: Awareness raising on women's rights, nutrition and sexual health; Phase 2: Technical training in solar and essential technologies (solar, clean cookstoves and water filters) business; Phase 3: Start-up of rural, essential technology micro-businesses.
This unique collaboration of a grassroots-based campesino organization with SVCs and essential technologies improves upon existing programs because it aims to 1) ally indigenous grassroots organizations, SVCs and an international appropriate technology organization to 2) grow a green rural economy led by women. MPL is designed to start a social trend in women's equal economic participation supported by essential technology businesses.
Each component of this proposal, women's empowerment, business development and the "essential technologies" of solar power, clean cookstoves, and potable water provide measurable benefits. Together they promote gender equity, health, education and financial empowerment.
We believe the combination of empowerment and essential technologies will break the cycle of poverty.
Specific Problem: 75% of indigenous (Mayan) Guatemalans live in poverty with indigenous females experiencing the lowest school enrollment rates and the highest geographic and gender-based cultural barriers to jobs. The lack of income generating opportunities for indigenous women constrains their ability to invest in their families' health and education, keeping indigenous communities trapped in poverty.
Goal #1) To create avenues for indigenous women's empowerment and equal participation in a sustainable, rural economy that provides essential services for the whole community.
Goal #2) To undergo a detailed, participatory investigation into cultural, economic and structural barriers to gender equity in Guatemalan indigenous communities and assess changing attitudes towards women's participation in income generation.
Mayan Power and Light is growing. We are a grass-roots organization that will change lives. 2015 will be an exciting year. Stay tuned!