Plenty Belize

by Mark Miller, Executive Director

Plenty Belize began our single largest project to date in August of 2011, an EU funded solar project for San Jose Village with a Mayan population of more than 1,000. The total cost of the project is $200,000 with $187,000 from the European Union (EU) and $10,250 coming from Plenty and $11,000 coming from the community (cash and labor). This project is now functional, with 19 buildings getting power from the 6,540W centralized solar system (4 public buildings: a school, community building, water board office, and health post) plus 15 private residences, including one that also serves as a shop. The recently formed village electricity board is responsible for collecting payments for the power and maintaining the system. We believe this pilot project to be among the first of its kind in the Americas.

Our GATE Program continues as our Flagship, helping schools with gardens, kitchens, water systems, and teacher education. There are now 45 schools in GATE (an increase of 5 over last year), of which 23 have graduated, meaning they no longer receive regular support but are simply monitored by Plenty staff. We have more schools that have requested to start a school garden program, and we are adding them to GATE this fall. We are on track to assist all 50 schools in Toledo by 2014. There are now 23 schools with lunch programs.