Guateca Appropriate Technology Field School

  • CA


San Luis Obispo
United States

About Us

Vision Statement Guateca will become a model for cross-cultural collaborative education emphasizing sustainable enterprises and fostering international community and local well-being.

Mission Statement Guateca is a collaborative education program between Cal Poly and San Pablo students, faculty, and citizens in San Pablo, a village of 800 in the Guatemalan mountains. This co-developed education program:

  • Builds cross-cultural community with the needs and interests of both communities in mind.
  • Fosters technological and social development by encouraging curiosity and empowering innovation.
  • Advances language and cultural fluency, while studying energy and innovation of sustainable enterprises.
  • Develops sustainable technologies to meet the needs of San Pablo as well as generate income locally.

We will work openly together, sharing resources and ideas, embracing new challenges, goals, and resources.

Brief History

California Polytechnic State University (CP) and the community of San Pablo (SP), Tacana, Guatemala are collaborating in multidisciplinary classes culminating with a two-month Appropriate Technology summer school, “Guateca”, for 20 CP and 25 SP students in SP. In summer 2010, we began co-developing the Guateca program with SP community leaders with the following objectives: (1) to develop an experiential education program (2) to co-design, improve, and prototype sustainable technologies, and (3) to create student-lead businesses in SP. Our primary goal is to create, finance, and commercialize appropriate technologies on the microenterprise level in such as way as to contribute to the economic and social development of Guatemala, creating wealth and services for people. Equally important is to provide a strong education for North American and Guatemalan students and community members, thus empowering them to leverage technologies and infrastructure to their advantage.

At CP, we have initiated interdisciplinary service learning, team-oriented, project-based classes to serve as the foundation of Guateca in San Luis Obispo California. Throughout the academic year, teams at CP and SP co-develop the jointly proposed sustainable technology projects. The program is now organizing for its second summer school session, in which CP students will travel to SP and live with host families from July –September. CP and SP students will study energy, society and the environment through the development of sustainable technologies and enterprises, and Spanish-English language exchange.