A lot of you have been asking about what Annie and I have been doing here in Guatemala so we've put together a quick post with information and websites.
#1 Soluciones Comunitarias
This is the organization Annie and I are working for. It is an organization based in Antigua, Guatemala and run by locals and international volunteers with branches in Xela, Solola, ,Nebaj, and Huehue. SolCom trains rural Guatemalan women how to sell products aimed at improving the overall well being of individuals in their communities. Products include solar lamps, water purification systems, energy efficient light bulbs, eye glasses (vision and solar protection), and seed packets. The organization functions on the "micro- consignment" model. Basically SolCom recruits and trains women to be salespeople for the business, free of cost, provides them with products, and helps them go into communities and start selling. The women get to keep a portion of all of the profits and the rest is reinvested in SolCom. Therefore the women take on no financial risk (a loan), receive financial benefits, become their own bosses, and start their own businesses that help them and their communities.
Annie and I are working on researching a product called Agro Drip, a small irrigation system that helps rural families with limited access to water more efficiently water their gardens. If we find the system feasable/marketable it will be added to the list of products sold by Soluciones Comunitarias. http://www.ideorg.org/OurTechnologies/DripIrrigation.aspx
#3 Good Stuff Good Works
This program, run under the same umbrella as SolCom, helps to being rural woman's handiwork and weaving to international markets. The two organizations we've worked with thus far are Lema, a woman's weaving cooperative in San Juan del Laguna and Las Mujeres del Triunfo, women's artisan cooperative in Truinfo, Guatemala