Alumbrando el Futuro is a project to bring solar panels to families in the community who need light most. Spear-headed by the community at the behest of priorites ranked during a community analysis meeting, the solar panel group participants will fulfill activites such as community trash clean ups, environmental-themed talk series and workshops, and planting trees. Peace Corps will work to support the project alongside local government agencies.
Capira is a rural farming region in the foothills of central Panama. Access to the community is difficult, including an hour long drive on a hilly, often muddy, road with several bridge crossing. The folks there make their living by farming their own food and earning a little income by working for wealthier land owners, making 8 to 10 dollars a day when work is available. There is no electricity.
With the support of this grant, the community will purchase 37 solar panel kits from a trusted vendor, which provides both three and four light bulb systems, and the ability to charge simple USB devices.
The project goal is to improve the environmental and human health by using a clean energy source for light. Having the solar panels will allow more time for evening and morning activities like cooking, studying and socializing.
The solar panels will eliminate the kerosene lamps that many community members make from old bottles and shirts. The result is less smoke polluting the environment and affecting the health of community members. Access to more, brighter light will allow students to study longer and achieve a higher level of education.
The 3 light solar panel kit costs $130, the 4 light kit costs $239 and each family will contribute 25% to the cost ($33 and $60 respectively). The funds we are hoping to raise with your support will cover the extra 75% for each family. To support the poorer families in the community, the environmental group will be holding 5 fundraising activities.
In addition to the money they will raise, the community will contribute to the project by soliciting two environmentally focused workshops and a community service work day, which will educate and empower the community to be proactive in the environmental conservation of their community. The workshops will be given by the government agency in charge of the environment.
The project's focus is renewable energies and global climate change, specifically focused on issues regarding water. The community service project will involve cleaning the community roads and rivers of trash, creating new trash cans for central locations and making environmentally focused signs to post around the community.
The company selling the solar panels, will hold a workshop designed to teach the proper installation and care of the system. This will help avoid any misuse of the systems and ensure longer lasting technology. Because the Solar Panel group will have a direct relationship with the company, they will be able to follow up if there are specific questions and can order replacement parts like batteries and lights.
Each participant of the project will agree to save a small amount of money monthly to be collected by the Solar Group as a fund to buy replacement parts. This will ensure that when light bulbs burn out of batteries fail, the solar panels won't stand idle.