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One Week Appropriate Technology and Sustainability Course in Mexico

Mexico City, Puebla, and Santa Cruz de Juarez, Oaxaca Mexico

August 11-18th, 2012 - REGISTER HERE

This summer IRRI is offering a one-week course on appropriate technologies for a sustainable development. This course is a unique cultural exploration where students will gain a range of valuable knowledge on diverse solutions to today’s problems as well as receive a first hand experience of Mexico’s cultures and traditions. The course starts with an introduction to IRRI in Mexico City and continues into a cultural exploration in the mystical mountains of Oaxaca. Students will learn from IRRI-Mexico, and other associated organizations that are innovating sustainable solutions in areas such as biogas, rainwater catchment, solar energy, composting, improved cook stoves, rural organic agriculture and education.  Students will not only have discussions and readings, but hands on experience installing their own appropriate technology systems with community leaders to bring about a complete understanding of sustainable solutions.

Course itinerary:

Day 1: The course begins with an introductory course to sustainable development in Mexico City and IRRI’s response to the global water crisis. Students will visit Isla Urbana, a program under IRRI that provides access to clean, safe drinking water throughout Mexico through the installation of rainwater harvesting systems. Students will have the opportunity to visit sites of installations in Mexico City.

Day 2: Students travel to the state of Puebla and get an introduction to the amazing work that is being done by Sistema Biobolsa, IRRI’s biodigester project. Students will learn about rural waste management, anaerobic digestion, biogas production and organic fertilizer use in farms. This day will end with on-site visit of systems along with interviews from local beneficiaries. Then we drive to Oaxaca!

Students will spend 4 days in the mystical mountains of Oaxaca learning about Bioescuela, IRRI’s educational program and technology transfer platform that promotes the adoption of sustainable technologies that improve the living conditions of rural indigenous communities. This will give students a unique opportunity to stay in the homes of the community members for a deeper understanding of Mazateca culture. In Oaxaca students will gain hands-on insight on the issues surrounding rural development and lack of basic infrastructure. IRRI staff will lead in-depth discussions over the theory of Bioescuela. An educational and technology transfer model for the community to adopt appropriate technologies. In addition, students will be lead in sustainable development discussions covering organic agriculture, improved cook stoves, and solar photovoltaic systems.

Days 3: The first day in Oaxaca will begin with an orientation to the Bioescuela model, system demonstration, an introduction to Mazateca culture, and finally a lecture on “The Challenges of Poverty” that will discuss the following subjects:

  • Issues affecting accessibility to mechanisms that improve quality of life.
  • Introduction to innovative sustainable technological Solutions.

Day 4: Introduction to rural Rainwater Harvesting and the role it plays in that specific community. Students will participate in a rainwater catchment system installation in one of the houses in the community.

Day 5: IRRI’s partner organization, Sierra A.C., will give workshop on rural organic agriculture and the power of indigenous farming knowledge in creating self-sufficiency and sustainability in indigenous communities. Topics covered include:

  • Terracing
  • Greenhouses
  • Edible mushroom harvesting
  • Compost
  • Seed bank and distribution.

Day 6: Students will participate in an introductory class to alternative technologies: improved cook stoves and solar photovoltaic systems.

Day 7: Travel back to Mexico City and visit the water museum in Tehuacán.

Day 8: Students depart Mexico City.

Cost For Course

The total length of the course is 8 days and the cost is $800 USD. Once in Mexico all costs are covered by IRRI. However, the cost does not include the flight to and from Mexico or personal expenses. To apply for the course REGISTER HERE, and send your resume, and cover letter to orit@irrimexico.org. IRRI will offer one need-based/application-based scholarship.

For more information about the cost and logistics please contact Orit at orit@irrimexico.org. Please register for the course HERE or visit IRRI’s website at www.irrimexico.org.

Appropriate Technologies- Topics Covered

Urban Systems- Mexico City and Puebla

  • Sustainable and economic development in Mexico City.
  • Rainwater harvesting system in Mexico City, a practical solution for the global water crisis.
    • Basic principles of biogas and fertilizer production through anaerobic digestion, using animal waste to produce an efficient source of energy.

Rural Areas- Huatla Oaxaca

  • Principles of traditional organic agriculture through an educational approach of IRRI’s Bioescuela.
  • Benefits of improved cook stoves for women, children, and the environment.
  • Fundamental concepts behind solar photovoltaic systems including site analysis, different PV systems, and the role of solar energy in rural areas.





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