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

Thank you so much for helping start more women's micro-businesses in Guatemala.

And since you've done such a good job, The Appropriate Technology Collaborative is extending our programs in Guatemala to provide solar education and women's empowerment workshops to over 200 Mayan women in 2 years!

Collaborating with local grassroots organizations and two Guatemalan social venture businesses, we will be creating jobs for 30 rural women in solar technology sales.    

ATC wrapped up the year 2014 with:

  • 2 new women's solar businesses under incubation

  • 60 more women educated in solar power installation;

  • 6 solar panel systems installed on 6 community buildings (includes: daycare centers, coffee cooperatives, public schools)

Now, we're ready for more!  

ATC is now working with the San Pablo Youth Group's Beekeeping Cooperative to help grow their organic honey cooperative business. Boys support women's equality too.  The Youth Group took action in November 2014, raising discussion on gender equality in the home through public theater.

We are so proud to know and work with such a well-organized social changers.

Check out their story on GlobalGiving:

Or work with them! June 27th – July 5th, 2015 Learning-by-Building a Honey Extractor

For more information about volunteering with ATC, check out ATC's Solar and Natural Building Projects in Guatemala. Meet our team and associate community organizers, learn how to install solar power systems on a community building, and increase access to solar power in Guatemala's rural highlands.  

2015 Trip dates: 
May 2 – 10 (Solar and Natural Building)
June 27 – July 5 (Honey Extractor)
August 1 – 9 (Solar and Natural Building)


Wishing you and your loved ones an empowered International Women's Day,

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Installing a multi-panel solar power system
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.

Our Response:

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.

Our Goals:   

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!

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Aracely and Juana: Teachers and Entreprenuers
Aracely and Juana: Teachers and Entreprenuers

Thanks to your support, Mayan Power and Light is creating opportunity for rural Mayan women in Guatemala!

As "Circuits and Solar" Workshops and Solar Installations continue, more women are being introduced to this new technical field. Our students are experiencing their first carpentry and electrical training, using powertools and climbing on roof-tops to install solar on community buildings. The communities that recieve these panels are also benefitting!

Let us tell you about other ways Mayan Power and Light is creating income-generating opportunities for women:

When ATC installed solar electricity at the Panyebar Daycare center, 3 young women had their first experience with solar electrical work. Now, the benefits of this project are radiating outwards as 5 other women seize the power of solar electricity to extend their productive work hours and generate income creatively.

Last month, the teachers of the Panyebar Daycare Center made their first visit to the artisan market with their jewelry, handmade under ATC solar-powered lights.  These 5 teachers and community leaders run a daycare and nutrition center to feed and educate over 60 children every day. Being an isolated town inhabited by landless day-laborers, the citizens of Panyebar experience yearly 'hungry months' due to long periods between harvest-work.

Juana, Aracely, Dominga, Dolores and Maria, Full-time teachers and managers of the Daycare Center gather every night under solar-powered lights to make beautiful jewelry from recycled materials and fruit-seeds. They sell their jewelry cooperatively to supplement their small teacher salaries.  

Check out this inspiring video about The Appropriate Technology Collaborative's solar installation at Panyebar Daycare Center.

Your continued support for Mayan Power and Light is changing the lives of young women with vision.

The Facts:

- Over 68 Graduates of "Circuits and Solar" workshops

- 2 Women Mentors trained to teach "Circuits and Solar" to other women

- Our first women-owned solar business has started making sales!


Want to do more? Volunteer with The Appropriate Technology Collaborative to Install Solar in Guatemala


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Installing Larger Solar Project
Installing Larger Solar Project

June 25, after noon EST Microsoft will match your donation to ATC:

Microsoft is matching 100% all donations to ATC! With your help we can provide light to over 16,000 people every year! On Wed. June 25th after 12:00 noon EST please donate to ATC. 

All donations will help us start solar businesses owned and run by Mayan Women. From experience each business will sell over 1,000 home solar power systems per year, making money for the businesses, saving money for each household and creating a cleaner future for us all.

More information is available in the attached brochure:

Our Guatemalan team, SEA, has been working to develop a richer curriculum that uses a variety of solar panels.  In addition to providing solar lights to homes that lack electricity, there is a call for larger systems that can offset some of the cost of electricity in Guatemala.  

Guatemala has a multi-tiered system where the first bit of electricity is pretty inexpensive, but then the costs go up dramatically.  Even people with very low incomes and low electric usage end up paying the higher fees.  SEA has developed a large solar panel that offsets a significant amount of electric current and saves families a lot of money.  

We will have much more on these slightly larger systems soon.  SEA is working with a non-profit that builds houses in low income communities and they are interested in 40 - 80 watt systems.  

Here in the U.S. we are working on a second year curriculum that will reinforce what students learn in year  one plus it will add a section on transistors.  (Transistors are really easy to teach, I'm surprised we don't teach this here)

I will be back in Guatemala in July, we have a group who will be installing solar in August.  

More soon,


Installing the Voltage Controller and Inverter
Installing the Voltage Controller and Inverter


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Our next business is waiting for funding.
Our next business is waiting for funding.

We have been very successful so far with our Mayan Power and Light program.  We have taught 200 people about solar power, including over 100 Mayan women.  We have started a solar business that is profitable, 90% owned by women, and we are ready to start two 100% woman owned solar businesses in 2014, but we can only do this with your help.

Actually we have extra help on June 25th, when -- after 12:00 noon -- Microsoft Youthspark has agreed to match every grant we receive up to $1,000 per grant and up to $1,000,000 for the program.  From historic data we should have all June 25th to match the Microsoft money.

Please share this with your friends.  We want to start two new Mayan woman owned solar businesses.  This will provide income to 12 families + provide light to 2,000 families every year.  ATC will be working with the businesses for 5 years to insure they are profitable and that they can help start other sustainable businesses.  

With your help we can greatly enhance the lives of 10,000 people per year, every year for at least 5 years.

Women who earn extra income invest more in their families.  Their children receive better nutrition and with better light they do their homework in the evenings for the first time.  

Mark June 25th on your calendar.  On June 25th after 12:00 noon, Microsoft Youthspark will be matching donations to the ATC Mayan Power and Light program up to $1,000 for each donation.

We have been incredibly successful with teaching young Mayan women about electricity, circuits and solar power.  In January we started our first woman owned* solar business, Sistemas Energeticas Appropriadas (SEA).  SEA works out of Xela, the second largest city in Guatemala.  I visited SEA in May and helped install a 40 watt solar power system on a church/community center.  The transformation from no electricity to having bright LED lights is powerful, and amazing to watch a building become a very well used community center.  In the past most meetings were called off at dusk.  In Guatemala that is often around 6:00 pm.  With electric lights people can organize!  

If you ever want to see our work in Guatemala please check out travel with ATC on our website.  We take 6 - 10 groups to visit Guatemala every year.  The trips are volunteer work trips, so be prepared to get your hands muddy, learn about electricity and meet a great group of people who make all our Guatemalan projects work.  

Thank you for considering this,

Please don't forget June 25th


Mayan Women Teach "Circuits and Solar"
Mayan Women Teach "Circuits and Solar"
Wiring the Solar Control Panel
Wiring the Solar Control Panel
Learning To Install Multiple Solar Panels
Learning To Install Multiple Solar Panels


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Organization Information

Appropriate Technology Collaborative

Location: Ann Arbor, MI - USA
Facebook: Facebook Page
Project Leader:
Luis Cahuex
Ann Arbor, MI United States
$177,334 raised of $390,000 goal
2,529 donations
$212,666 to go
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