BENEFITING: POWER TO THE PEOPLE
EVENT DATE: Jul 27, 2013
In July 2013, Power to the People volunteers will install solar panels on an elementary school and cafeteria in the town of Santa Ana, Nicaragua.
Santa Ana is a small community with has approximately 50 families, located about five kilometers from the Panamerican Highway. The community is located inside a private, protected reserve called “Reserva Silvestre Privada Domitila” – the first private protected area in Nicaragua established in 2001 and comprises 300 hectares on land owned by Don Roberto Mejia. Santa Ana does not have access to conventional grid electricity because its remote location.
The current land ownership situation in Santa Ana is reminiscent of colonial and post-colonial latifundios. Community members do not own the land upon which they reside or cultivate crops. The community cultivates corn, squash, cucumber, rice, beans, watermelon, yucca and plantain, which are then sold in the markets in Nandaime, Granada and Managua. They carry all of their harvested crops by horse to the main road where they can take a bus.
Like most communities without electricity, the families in Santa Ana use flash lights and candles when they need light. In many cases, families get most of their chores done early during the daytime and go bed early. Some families use kerosene lamps which can cause serious burns or long-term respiratory problems when the fumes are inhaled.
In July, 2013 Power to the People volunteers will install a 920W photovoltaic system on the roof of the Santa Ana elementary school, bringing reliable electric power to the school. The school currently has 51 students of different ages and three teachers. The PV system will provide the school with LED lighting and AC electrical outlets so teachers can use more advanced teaching aids like educational videos and laptops. Residents of Santa Ana will also be able to charge cell phones and radios, which helps them keep in touch with people outside of the community.
Volunteers will also install a battery charging station at the school for residents to charge lead-acid batteries in order to use lights and small appliances at home. The battery charging station provides a small income for the school’s energy committee which is used to buy distilled water, light bulbs, and other necessary items to maintain the solar system.
Children's Wellness Fund (CWF), a private operating foundation that supports several communities in the Granada areas, has been working in the community for the last seven years providing medical attention and educational support and supplies for the school. The school was built by MINED (Ministry of Education) as a two-room concrete-block schoolhouse. CWF built the playgrounds and helped improve the infrastructure. The school also has a preschool cafeteria and kitchen that was built in coordination with the mayor of Granada, Don Roberto and CWF. The government and CWF provide part of the school meals and CWF is supporting Power to the People’s work of installing the solar system on the school and cafeteria.
To sign up for this trip, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. The trip fee is $1,600 plus airfare which covers all lodging, meals, taxes, entrance fees, transportation, tips and snacks. Space is limited.