Empowering Santa Teresa, Solar Energy for a Village in Southern Belize
Empowering Santa Teresa, Solar Energy for a Village in Southern Belize
There are 48 villages in southern Belize; about fifteen have no electricity. One of those remote villages is Santa Teresa, located in the Moho River watershed, and its future connection to the national electricity grid is highly unlikely. Electricity is crucial for development in many ways. It helps children study with lights at night. In San Jose village, results indicate that student grades rose about 25% with solar electrification. Solar power specifically has several big advantages. It is decentralized so that each household can have its own power system, albeit small. It mitigates against climate change because it replaces carbon dioxide (CO2)-producing kerosene and candles. It also helps villages in several other ways including providing power for small appliances and the possibility of small business development. It contributes to better health for residents by removing inhalation of smoke and fumes from homemade kerosene lamps and candles.

The project fits the GEF SGP Country Programme Strategy (CPS) priorities under the Climate Change Focal Area. In the GEF SGP Operational Phase 5, Immediate Objective 3 is to promote the demonstration, development and transfer of low carbon technologies at the community level. The National Priority is ‘removal of barriers for promotion of low carbon technology among local communities.’ SGP’s niche is ‘Promotion of use of renewable energy technologies for rural electrification and to power SMEs and for social development needs.’ In addition, Low-Carbon Energy Access Co-Benefits has been prioritized as a strategic initiative of GEF SGP in OP6. Specifically, SGP ‘will contribute to satisfying global demand for energy services for people without access to electricity’.

Barefoot College of India has been empowering villages around the world by training village women to build and maintain small-scale solar energy systems. After a process of selection, Santa Teresa Village in Toledo was chosen to act as a pilot community to show the benefits of the Barefoot College solar energy system.

Goal: To promote the demonstration, development and transfer of low carbon technologies at the community level.

Purpose: to empower Santa Teresa to reduce GHG emissions by capacity-building and installation of renewable and sustainable energy systems.

Objective#1: To put the fabrication, installation, repair and maintenance of solar technology under the management, supervision, control and ownership of Santa Teresa
• Administrative system for solar energy sustainability established
• A fully equipped Solar-Energy Workshop
• A well-publicized opening ceremony for the Solar-Enery Workshop
• Reports tendered monthly to village and Rural Development Department

Objective#2: to build capacity in representatives of 68 households of Santa Teresa about climate change and solar power
• A series of 5 workshops to build capacity in the village about climate change and solar energy
• Chairman, Alcalde, and Barefoot Engineer each empowered with the three days mentorship from ED of Plenty Belize on developing, administering and maintaining solar systems.

Objective#3: to install a renewable power source in each of Santa Teresa’s 68 households
• Parts ordered for 68 households
• 68 solar systems constructed
• Every household in Santa Teresa with some form of solar energy
• Reduced use of firewood and kerosene so that less CO2 is released into the atmosphere
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Project Snapshot

Plenty International (Belize) Limited
Area Of Work:
Climate Change Mitigation
Grant Amount:
US$ 50,000.00
Co-Financing Cash:
US$ 8,550.00
Co-Financing in-Kind:
US$ 53,177.00
Project Number:
Satisfactorily Completed

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Project Characteristics and Results
Notable Community Participation
All activities of the project will target men, women, and children in an equitable manner. Solar electrification in the homes will benefit all family members. All primary and high school students will be able to complete their homework assignments and study for their classes in a more suitable environment.
Gender Focus
As a traditional Maya village, life in Santa Teresa is can be difficult for women. In this project, equal opportunities exist for men and for women to increase their capacity and to benefit from solar energy. The Barefoot Solar Engineer system specifically targets middle-aged women because they are past child-rearing. Ms. Choc traveled by herself halfway around the world and now has returned with skills. She is the only female member of the Power Board. She will train at least one assistant, a position that will be available for men or women. As an empowered woman, Ms. Choc is a powerful role model for the young women of her village, indeed for all of Toledo and beyond. All publicity about the project will feature Ms. Choc.
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Barefoot College

Grantee Contact

Mr. Mark 6645243 or 6313191 Miller
Phone: 702-2198
Email: plentybz@btl.net


Jose Maria Nunez St., Punta Gorda Town, Toledo District

SGP Country office contact

Mr. Leonel Requena
(501) 822-2462


UNDP Belize,3rd Floor, Lawrence Nicholas Building Complex ,P.O. Box 53,South Ring Road,
Belmopan, Central America