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Technology brings clean water and nutrition to Central America

Guatemala is a Central American country with enormous opportunities for innovation. Despite natural resources such as rivers, lakes and mountains, a large proportion of the population lacks sufficient water resources. The source is not reliable and in most cases the water is not clean. The aggravating factor is pollution.

Another challenge for Guatemala is nutrition. According to UNICEF statistics, 43.4% of children in the country are chronically malnourished. Chronic malnutrition is the most serious blow to indigenous children. These children usually live in rural areas and account for 80% of the undernourished population.
Guatemalans have developed technologies to address access to clean water and malnutrition. These are Guatemalan-made solutions that solve problems around the world, but in this lush Central American country, these problems are very serious.

Founded in 2012, Bici-Tec is a social enterprise focused on designing and implementing “bici-tecnología” (bicycle-related technology) to solve everyday problems. Bici-tecnología is a humanized technology that saves energy. It is mainly used in rural areas. Some designs include pedal-driven pumps, corn harvesters and coffee pulpers.
“Bici-máquinas” (bicycle machines) are produced to order. The most popular are pumps and corn shellers. The main advantage of bici-máquinas is that they work without electricity, they have a life span of six years or longer, and they are easy to use.

Ecofiltro is a ceramic “pot” water filter used primarily for homes and schools. The filter is made of clay, sawdust and colloidal silver. The company of the same name, Ecofiltro, uses an innovative social business model that offers different filters from plastic to ceramic.

In the 1950s, INCAP (Instituto de Nutrición de Centro Américay Panamá) developed a nutritional supplement called Incaparina to address malnutrition in Guatemala. Incaparina contains corn flour and soy flour containing vitamins A, calcium and riboflavin, as well as other vitamins and minerals. It can be prepared in powder form at home or as a liquid ready-to-drink beverage. In 1959, INCAP launched the product and sold the mass production license to Corporación Castillo Hermanos. A longitudinal study was conducted from 1969 to 1991, demonstrating that children who ingested Incaparina from conception to third year were taller and heavier than those who did not.

Kingo is another solution-oriented company founded in 2013 by four entrepreneurs to improve human resources by providing off-grid power at a low cost. Users can purchase energy by hour, day, week or month in the same way that they buy the phone, making it easier to access. Users can purchase points directly from local salespeople or designated stores. They buy energy from solar power systems (called Kingos) and deliver them to end users using a cloud-based software platform. By 2021, Jinnuo’s mission is to illuminate 1 million families.

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