Our Partners in Guatemala
ATC is proud to partner with embedded community organizations who work to improve quality of life with sustainable local solutions.
Soluciones Energéticas Apropiadas (SEA) Appropriate Energy Solutions is a Mayan, majority-women owned business that sells solar power systems ranging from 3-Watt systems to charge a cell-phone and a light, to large multi-panel systems to light homes and public buildings.
A social-venture enterprise incubated by ATC with Rotary Club funding in 2013, SEA leads the research and importation of affordable solar products to aid the distribution of clean energy to rural Guatemala. Now, the SEA team teaches Circuits and Solar and Business skills workshops to provide STEM education and income earning opportunities to more women in Guatemala. This second stage of our Mayan Power and Light Program aims to grow an indigenous women-led sustainable economy in rural Guatemala.
El Comite Campesino del Altiplano (CCDA) Committee of the Highlands Peasants – The CCDA works in 11 departments of Guatemala to promote holistic human development for rural people with respect to gender equality through social, cultural, economic and political activities to improve the quality of life for Guatemalan, respecting cultural diversity.
They run sustainable agriculture education programs, a certified organic direct-trade coffee cooperative, and a ‘biofabrica‘ that makes and distributes low-cost natural fertilizers using biodynamic techniques.
ATC works with the CCDA in:
- Mayan Power and Light rural women’s solar education and micro-business start-up. Teaching Circuits and Solar and business skills workshops, providing opportunity to 24 women to start sales in small-scale solar. Watch their video
- Installing solar panels on the Coffee Cooperative’s eco-cabins, demonstrating solar power technology to attendees of the sustainable agriculture education program and reducing energy costs to the cooperative.
- Building a fuel-efficient stove from locally available materials – adobe brick, earthen mortar and fired bricks were made on-site.
- Sustainable fish-farming. ATC is developing a water aeration device to improve oxygen levels for tilapia tanks on small family farms. This project aims to improve sustainable protein production for family nutrition and rural small-business.
- Natural Building – Reclaiming traditional methods of construction using bajareque and adobe brick.
Konojel Nutrition Center The Konojel Community Center provides a hearty vegetarian lunch every weekday to 60 of the most at-risk individuals in San Marcos La Laguna, Sololá, Guatemala. Konojel’s lunch program works to strengthen and stabilize the weakest members of an impoverished community in which almost 7 in 10 children suffer the effects of chronic malnutrition.
Konojel builds upon this basic need with nutrition workshops for mothers, organic gardens to supplement community meals and after-school educational enrichment programs.
ATC is working with Konojel on:
- Incubating “Sabor del Sol” women’s cooperative in San Marcos la Laguna, using passive solar technologies to bake cookies, roast seeds and dehydrate bananas and beef jerkies. 2014
- Supporting Sabor del Sol’s economic sustainability with training in sewing. We will be making aprons with upcycled materials to create more year-round jobs. 2015
- Design/Build a fuel-efficient tortilla stove. A collaborative process to design a locally made stove of natural materials. 2015
Oxlajuj E is a women’s organic amaranth cooperative of 110 members who grow, cook and sell amaranth, a high-protein traditional Mayan grain, to feed their families. They support their families’ from selling their grains through the cooperative bakery and export to the city. However, they must harvest the grains by hand, a tedious task that takes women and children 3 days to thresh grains what would take 3 hours with a mechanical thresher.
ATC is designing and building a hand powered amaranth winnowing machine using locally available and recycled materials. The machine is small and light enough to transport between farming communities and be shared among cooperative members. This will be the first amaranth winnower the cooperative has ever used, reducing the tedious workload of over 30 members in the first season.
The five Panyebar teachers work as a team to run this nursery school and nutritional program. After school hours, the teachers come together to make jewelry from recycled paper and fruit seeds to supplement their incomes.
Panyebar is an small rural town whose residents primarily work as day-laborers on coffee and sugar cane plantations. Their dependency on seasonal work leaves this community very food insecure, facing chronic seasonal hunger.
ATC works with Panyebar Nursery School to install solar panels on the school roof, enabling teachers to play music for classroom activities, hold evening meetings with parents, and light the building for nighttime jewelry-making meetings. (2014)
We are currently working with University of Michigan Engineering students to design a solar food-dehydrator for the highlands context. (2015)