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Summary

Problem:  Artisan women in Guatemala earn less than $2.00 per day weaving textiles. Solution:  Women weave textiles and then form them into high efficiency wind turbine blades.  High value turbine blades create good paying jobs and clean renewable energy.    University of Michigan BLUELab Engineering students are working with a local Guatemalan womens weaving coop to pioneer this new empowering technology.    Guatemala has the wind, the need and the capacity to support up to 8 wind co-ops.

 

Challenge        

Thousands of women in Guatemala make their living by weaving textiles and selling them to "middle men" who then sell textiles in regional markets.  Women often make less than $2.00 per day.  This level of poverty leads to malnourished children and lack of opportunity for children, particularly girls, to get an education.    By creating new technologies and new markets for women artisans we are breaking the circle of poverty and creating new clean technology jobs.

Solution

Our collaborative design team of University of Michigan Engineering students and a local womens weaving cooperative in Nueva Santa Catarina Ixtahuacan, Guatemala are working together, hand-in-hand to design a new high value technology based on traditional practices.  We provide opportunity through new technology where none existed.

Long-Term Impact

Women bear the brunt of global poverty.  Of the 1.2 billion abject poor (less than $1.00 / day) an astonishing 70% are women.  We need to create new opportunities for women to take control over their financial destiny.  To help thousands of women, we will publish the Woven Wind Turbine online along with instructional photos and video.  From our previous projects we expect dozens of nonprofits (NGOs) around the world to use our designs to help create new income for poor women worldwide.

Other projects

Sustainable Development Projects at the Grassroots

AWARDS

U.S. Department of Energy prize
2021 Energy Globe Winner Guatemala
Sustainia 100 2016