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The Appropriate Technology Collaborative is a registered 501(c)3 charity based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA and Quetzaltenango, Guatemala.
ATC works with groups in less economically developed countries to identify technology and program needs and then develop solutions tailored to those needs.
"Over two billion people live without access to basic infrastructure services such as clean water, sanitation and electricity. Another billion people live in slum cities, with minimal infrastructure. The great majority of these people illuminate their homes with kerosene lamps, cook their food over wood fires, and lack potable water. Living like this, with poor sanitation leads to malnutrition, disease and early death.
The Appropriate Technology Collaborative (ATC) is a 501 (c)(3) not-for-profit organization whose purpose is to design, develop, demonstrate and distribute appropriate technological solutions for meeting basic human needs of low income people worldwide. ATC works in collaboration with their clients and other nonprofits (NGOs) to create technologies that are culturally sensitive, environmentally responsible and locally repairable in order to improve the quality of life, enhance safety, and reduce adverse impacts on their environment.
ATC partners with the people and communities they serve. ATC commits to long term relationships with their client communities so that they can better understand and design for specific client's needs.
In 2016 ATC's program Mayan Power and Light was recognized as a global top 100 sustainable solution by Sustainia and the United Nations Compact for Sustainable Development.
The Appropriate Technology Collaborative is a U.S. Non-profit dedicated to designing everyday technologies for the global poor.
ATC projects are international collaborative efforts between local grassroots organizations, local engineers and designers, university groups and individuals. Projects are inspired by local needs and interest in developing or improving technologies to make life easier for low-income communities in rural or urban areas.
Some ATC Projects are open to US volunteer participation, where volunteers work as a team with local experts and community members to design and build an appropriate technology in service of Guatemala's low income communities. These projects inspire intercultural collaboration and mutual educational exchange as local and foreign participants share skills and knowledge on the work site. These volunteer trips aid in creating cross-cultural understanding while addressing issues surrounding poverty in the developing world. ATC projects empower local communities to decide what technology is needed, build it, use it and plan for maintenance.
ATC also runs a women's education and business incubation program called "Mayan Power and Light" in which young Mayan women study solar power installation, electrical circuits and carpentry to start their own solar businesses. These solar businesses can market to low-income families who purchase small-scale systems designed to charge a LED light and a cell phone. Larger systems are also available as families scale-up their solar power systems. The availability of low-cost solar lighting will reduce weekly costs on kerosene, candles or expensive electricity bills. This allows low income families to spend extra cash on nutrition, education or health while increasing their nighttime productivity. Mayan Power and Light aims to grow a new local, green economy that empowers women in business and technical fields.
In 2016 ATC's Mayan Power and Light program was recognized as one of the top 100 leaders in global sustainability by United Nations Compact for Sustainable Development's Sustainia program.
ATC shares drawings and designs of their appropriate technologies, open-source on their website. These designs have been downloaded in over 40 countries by over 7,000 nonprofits, governments and individuals. Our most prominent projects were implemented in India, Papua New Guinea, Nicaragua, and Guatemala.
The Appropriate Technology Collaborative's Previous Projects Include: Wind Energy, Solar Energy, Solar Vaccine Refrigerator, Solar Replacements for Kerosene Lamps, Squatter City Infrastructure, Water Pumps such as the Treadle Pump and Ram Pump, Hand Crank Water Purifier, Recycled home insulation using corn/rice sacks, Solar Hot Water Heating, Fuel Efficient "Rocket" Stoves, Natural Building with Earth and Lime for ecological and economical home construction
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Prototype solar vaccine refrigerator. A collaboration between Michigan State University and The Appropriate Technology Collaborative.
ATC has four primary programs: product design, product development, education and business development.
- Product Design: Choosing what to design is the most important step in creating a successful product for low income people. ATC works with local populations in low income communities to listen, learn, understand needs and communicate possibilities.
- Product Development: ATC creates collaborative design teams that include end users, local engineers, World Challenge Design Teams(tm) and professional mentors. ATC prototypes products at Colleges and Universities, and at the Maker Works facility in Ann Arbor Michigan. Once a new design is proven in the laboratory ATC will prototype the product in the country where it is intended to be used. Local talent is involved throughout the product development process.
- Education:The ATC education program provides opportunities for qualified professional mentors, high school, undergraduate, and graduate students and World Challenge Design Teams. This program promotes a free flow of information between university students and faculty, design clients and ATC's incubated businesses. Most new products developed by ATC, World Challenge Design Teams, or mentors are disseminated online for free from the ATC Website.
- Student design teams who work with ATC are invited to prototype and test the designs in one of the ATC's facilities in Guatemala or Nicaragua. Designs are tested and data is collected in ATC client communities.
- ATC provides an opportunity for student interns, workshop employees and volunteers to participate in the product design and business development process by presenting ATC designs in rural communities, rural clinics, schools, hospitals, and community centers. This outreach demonstrates the affordability, and value of ATC products and increases acceptance in target populations.
- Business Development In 2012 ATC began working with engineering and entrepreneurial talent in developing countries to create new sustainable businesses that provide income to people living in rural villages and urban slums.
- The Appropriate Technology Collaborative Official Website
- Maker Works
- Girl Scout Volunteer Trip Blog 2016
- First public Volunteer Trip Blog 2012
Resources and publications
ATC Design Library:
- Solar LED lighting - Mayan Power and Light: http://bit.ly/ATC_MPL_2Fold
- Solar refrigeration - http://bit.ly/ATC_Solar_Refrigerator
- Treadle pump - http://bit.ly/ATC_TreadlePump
- Affordable Insulation - http://bit.ly/ATC_Affordable_Insul
- Ram Pump - http://bit.ly/ATC_RamPump
These designs are on the ATC site, more to come!
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