Rural Youth’s Lives Are Changed Forever As They Become Nationally Certified Income-Generating Solar Technicians
The TecAp Youth Solar Technician Education Program trains low-income youth in Nicaragua’s rural fair trade coffee growing communities to diagnose, install, repair, and maintain solar powered systems in homes, farms and cooperatives that have no access to electricity. Every year, newly trained youth solar technicians assist hundreds of families to have renewable energy and consistent water access for the first time in their lives.
Previously unemployed or under-employed, youth’s lives are changed forever as they become nationally certified; income-generating solar technicians empowered to make huge difference for their energy poor neighbors.
Since 2010, because of TecAp, solar energy has been brought to new families and continues to improve their standard of living and basic household conditions. To date, IDEAS has trained 76 youth solar technician graduates in its five-week basic course on solar installation and repair. These youth are now working and making income with their new skill.
TecAp has also trained over 85 women micro-franchisees who work with the youth technicians. Together, they have reached over 20,400 new families (102,000 individuals) with education on how solar products can save money, improve health and improve their family well-being.
Over 36% of Nicaraguans live far away from the nation’s electricity grid. Even those who are close to electric wires suffer “energy poverty” as do some 1.75 billion others on the planet. Nicaragua is the second poorest country in the Western Hemisphere.
WHY YOUTH SOLAR TECHNICIANS?
Rural youth are vulnerable and threatened by severe competition for employment in traditional trades and a low chance of success if they sell unskilled manual labor. To address this need, TecAp was launched in order to create long-term economic development opportunities for youth and women in Latin America while ending energy poverty in a sustainable way.
The TecAp Youth Solar Technicians program addresses two major challenges:
- Lack of employment opportunities for at-risk youth in rural coffee growing communities in Nicaragua
- The lack of trained installers and technicians to install and maintain increasingly popular and much needed solar technologies.
NATIONAL HISTORY-MAKING CURRICULUM
In 2013, TecAp designed the Solar Technician curriculum, and since there had never been such a course in the Nicaragua. After a rigorous approval process, TecAp won national certification to demonstrate to employers and clients the graduates’ proficiency. The Nicaraguan governmental Technical Institute (INATEC) certifies all TecAp graduates. Government representatives also work closely with TecAp to supervise the classes.
SECOND PHASE: YOUTH LEARNING TO INSTALL SOLAR WATER PUMPING SYSTEMS
The Youth Solar Technicians program provides rural youth with in-demand skills plus on-going income that benefits their families. In the second phase of the program, youth will be receiving advanced training to install solar water pumping systems to provide for irrigation, watering livestock, and getting clean drinking water into rural communities.
During the recently launched second phase of this program, youth are learning how to use renewable energy technology for water pumping, irrigation, and supplying drinkable water in local agricultural communities. Youth are being trained to install advanced solar-powered water pumping systems and irrigation systems in poor rural farming communities that desperately need safe drinking water and increased food production.
ALIGNMENT WITH U.N. SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS
The TecAp program align strongly with IDEAS’ mission to promote sustainable renewable energy in poor countries, furthermore this pioneering work in Nicaragua also interlocks with several of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s), including but no limited to: Goal 1 – No Poverty, Goal 7- Affordable and Clean Energy, Goal 8 – Decent Work and Economic Growth, Goal 9- Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure, Goal 3 – Good Health ad Well-Being, Goal 6- Clean Water and Sanitation, and Goal 10 – Reduced Inequalities.
WILL YOU SUPPORT THESE YOUTH?
By supporting these youth solar technicians, your foundation will be helping to assist hundreds of families to have electricity and consistent water access for the first time in their lives and forever increasing the income potential of the youth involved in the program.