Global Challenge, Global Solutions: Clean-tech Microbusinesses Empower Women

Mayan Power and Light trains wo­men to start cleantech mi­cro­busi­nesses so they can provide af­ford­able solar power and tech­no­lo­gies to rural com­munit­ies.

“Global Challenge, Global Solutions” is a series hosted on Climasphere highlighting inspiring, innovative, and creative global solutions to the challenge of climate change in the lead up to the next major climate conference, COP22. These solutions have been provided by members of the Earth To Marrakech coalition, a group of more than 50 media organizations, civil society groups, and businesses from around the world who are raising their voices in a collective call to move from words to action on climate change. Let’s send a message, from Earth To Marrakech: The solutions to climate change are out there, and they’re inspiring. 

Clean-tech Microbusinesses Empower Women


A key pro­ject of The Ap­pro­pri­ate Tech­no­logy Col­lab­or­at­ive, Mayan Power and Light’s tech­nical train­ing pro­gram educates women in electrical circuitry, solar power, sales, and marketing, and pre­pares stu­dents to in­stall solar power sys­tems and run mi­cro­busi­nesses. Part­ner­ing sup­plier com­pan­ies sell af­ford­able es­sen­tial tech­no­lo­gies to the wo­men and provide pay­ment plans and mo­bile pay­ment ser­vices, al­low­ing the wo­men to, in turn, sell, mar­ket, and in­stall af­ford­able solar solu­tions to fam­il­ies in their com­munit­ies.

Nearly one-third of the women trained by Mayan Power and Light at business workshops operate their own enterprises, serving more than 10,000 people. The mi­cro­busi­nesses sell a vari­ety of es­sen­tial tech­no­lo­gies to local com­munit­ies, from solar lan­terns and per­man­ent multi-panel sys­tems, to fuel-ef­fi­cient cook­stoves and wa­ter fil­ters.

In gen­eral, wo­men in­vest 90% of their in­come in their fam­il­ies.1 They have health­ier chil­dren who re­ceive bet­ter nu­tri­tion and are more likely to fin­ish school.2 By pro­mot­ing clean-tech en­tre­pren­eur­ship among wo­men, Mayan Power and Light helps wo­men and their fam­il­ies be­come more fin­an­cially se­cure while provid­ing needed ser­vices to local cli­ents and stim­u­lat­ing so­cial change.



Clean cook­stoves cut de­for­est­a­tion in half, and solar light­ing can re­duce CO2 emis­sions by 190 mil­lion met­ric tons per year.34

Wo­men in lead­er­ship po­s­i­tions within STEM fields help break work-re­lated gender bar­ri­ers and are im­port­ant role mod­els to young girls.

Busi­ness­wo­men trained by Mayan Power and Light earn higher wages, while their cus­tom­ers save on wood fuel, candles, ker­osene, and health.

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