Colleges and Universities

The Appropriate Technology Collaborative is a US-based non-profit dedicated to designing and distributing appropriate technologies for low-income people worldwide. Our largest program is in Guatemala where we provide volunteer experiences that include installing solar power, building fuel-efficient ‘rocket’ stoves, hands-on natural building, permaculture, designing medical technologies and providing potable water.

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Biomedical Engineering and Mechanical Engineering Students

We provide students a service learning opportunity that engages local communities as equal participants on our project sites.  Students and local talent learn together to build new, affordable technologies that provide opportunity and improve livelihoods in Guatemalan communities.

All ATC service learning projects include all in-country transportation, lodging, meals, project materials and a bi-lingual project manager.

Service Learning projects provide hands-on educational opportunities:

  • All of our work and design opportunities involve significant contact with our local Guatemalan team. Many of our College teams and individuals have commented that cultural contact and collaboration is one of our strengths.
  • Learning about electronics, circuits and solar power and install solar on a small school, medical clinic, nutrition center or Cooperative.
  • Learn to design and build very low cost structures with Bamboo and clay plasters.
  • Design and build a water supply for a small rural village
  • Design, build and document a new technology for a small rural farm village
  • Build and document a high efficiency generator from recycled microwave oven parts

Note:  ATC has dozens of vetted projects where community members are organized and willing to work with our service learning volunteers to create a better future.

A typical student volunteer project is to work with our local Guatemalan team to install solar power on a community center and to learn natural building techniques.  We adapt our programs to meet the needs of specific University programs and/or student interests.

ATC has worked with groups of volunteers, students and professionals from the University of Michigan, Rutgers, Michigan State University, GE and the Ford Motor Company (among many others).  Recently we worked with the University of Mount Union Engineering Students to build an ‘extremely affordable natural house’ (an effort to demonstrate benefits of using natural materials for low-income housing on the campus of a community arts program).  Our affordable house cost about $450.00 USD.  Please check out our short video at: htps://

ATC works with local community organizations who participate in project design and implementation.  We are able to accommodate particular service learning group interests by working with carefully vetted local community groups.

We offer student groups the option of staying with local families or staying in local hostels.  If faculty and staff travel with a student group they have the option of staying in student accommodations or in hotels.

For more information on College and University Service Learning opportunities please contact The Appropriate Technology Collaborativ:  ATC Contact

Student Teams & College Programs

The Appropriate Technology Collaborative has hosted dozens of student teams from across the United States and beyond.  Student teams are primarily clubs and college sponsored activity groups such as the Engineers Without Borders, student volunteer organizations and ad-hoc groups of students with a shared interest in working to alleviate poverty.  In general terms student teams fall into three categories:

Service Learning:

Service Learning students are interested in a one or two week project experience that can make a real difference in the lives of people living in poverty.  ATC can provide service learning students an experience working hand-in-hand with local populations to improve life quality and provide opportunity in impoverished communities.  With our in-country full time staff we can provide a pre-trip dossier on your specific project and more importantly we provide  ongoing follow up to make sure your project is understood and maintained by the local community.

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Service Learning Teams – Natural Building and Solar

Student Design Teams:

Student design teams work with The Appropriate Technology Collaborative to design specific technologies that can greatly reduce poverty and provide opportunity for the world’s poorest people.  Some projects are universal in nature, such as our Solar Vaccine Refrigerator and our Treadle Pump.  Other designs are for specific local needs such as an Amaranth thresher,  aeration for micro aquaponics farms and much more.  (Note: at the time of this writing we have 24 vetted projects with significant local support that are solvable by student teams).  Design teams work on specific projects before travel and then prototype / build their technology at the ATC workshop in Guatemala.

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Student Design Teams – Solar Vaccine Refrigerator and Treadle Pump for Rural Farmers

Introduction to Social Enterprise: