IDEAS is committed to combatting climate change with solar and other renewable energy sources. We created the first microfranchise in Nicaragua called TecAp. We trained 100 women sellers of solar powere products. We spent many years teaching and then supervising 76 youth to install solar systems on rooftops and to use solar energy to pump water. To see them in action and hear them tell their stories, see YouTube videos on TecAp.
High quality coffee is grown in the mountains, often far away from Nicaragua’s national electrical grid. Low-income women and their families who have bought solar systems found three major types of benefits.
- Benefits to the family: Family health improves by replacing kerosene lamps that produce toxic pollution and soot in their house. It allows the family to study at night and makes household tasks and care of the sick easier. New electric appliances, like blenders, save labor and time.
- It saves the family money each month on batteries, fuel & long trips to charge cell phones. These savings can be used for better nutrition.
- Solar helps women generate money in their microenterprises. Women who have home-based grocery stores say that neighbors are attracted to their stores at night. Some may come in to watch a show on the new solar-powered TV and end up buying their food there. Solar energy can pump water for the house, animals and to irrigate crops. This allows women to diversify their sources of income. For the poor, saving money and increasing income create a higher quality of life and provide more choices.
IDEAS newest economic program, TecAp, is a microfranchise providing solar energy. It helps create a better quality of life by creating a source of income for poor women microfranchisees while they sell solar-powered products. It helps vulnerable farm families’ access loans to buy solar rooftop systems to generate electricity. We also provide vital training for rural women and the youth to learn how to install and repair solar systems while earning needed income in places with no formal employment.
All this is being done in Nicaragua, the second poorest country in the hemisphere.
- With solar energy, families are able to move freely in their home at night or in the breakfast prep in the early morning without danger of fire from open lanterns.
- Their children do their homework and study at night without ingesting toxic kerosene fumes.
- People are able to charge their phones at home rather than spend up to a full day round trip to the nearest place with electricity.
- Having light means that they have the freedom to run their home-based business at any hour.