By Douglas McMeekin – Executive Director Yachana Foundation

In continuation of our goal to offer skills training to Ecuadorians impacted by the devastating earthquake in 2016, Yachana Foundation has conducted two training sessions at our training center in the Ecuadorian Amazon.

These classes were highly successful in adding to the skills-base of people in rural communities of Ecuador. The male students involved in these sessions clearly appreciated the experiences they gained and stated that they found it extremely valuable. In addition to the trainings in masonry, we are looking at the development of appropriate technology that the people on the coast could use to further develop these technologies in their own communities.

Unfortunately the first two training classes turned out to very expensive to conduct by a non-profit foundation. We have done an analysis of the overall costs and other factors, including the 17-hour charter bus trip from the coast to Yachana. Based on this analysis we are looking at appropriate technologies and have decided to modify our approach to save costs in the future. We know we need to find a way to offer subsidized prices to the residents; for example only charging for the materials used. We are also looking at how to get a few of the young people from the region to come to Yachana, but in this case, for a 40 day stay, to learn welding and other skills that they can take back home as skills to contribute to their communities.

The two technology projects we have developed so far are:

(1) a bicycle powered corn grinder,

(2) a simple, inexpensive, corn de husker.

Both are completed in a prototype form and we are now working to fine tune the details. These will be ready to offer in about a month for real-use. Since many of those affected by the earthquake live in rural settings and have chickens these two machines will help them provide food for their animals using improved, automated methods. Our goal is to continue developing additional ideas that can be used to improve life in our rural communities on the cost. We will be reporting on the results in subsequent updates.

Once again, thank you for your support to the Yachana Foundation to enable us to better train those affected by the quake.