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At MAPA Translations, we love to partner and collaborate with organizations, businesses, municipalities, K-12 schools, colleges and universities and other members of the community that strive to make this world a better place for everyone, no matter what language they speak or where they call home.  

This week, we interviewed one of our amazing nonprofit clients, All In Energy, and talked about the important work that they do.

1. What has been your biggest challenge/obstacle and how did you overcome it?

One of the biggest challenges we as an organization encounter regularly is the lack of accessibility to clean energy programs for non-English speakers. While access to these clean energy programs are widely available in English, non-English speakers face barriers beyond our control. As an organization, we have English, Spanish, and Portuguese capabilities. We do outreach and create materials in those languages for our constituents to educate them about energy efficiency programs and affordable renewable energy options. 

However, many of the providers of these products do not have staff who speak languages other than English, which makes the full process difficult for non-English speakers. Oftentimes residents have to engage another family member such as a teenage child, to translate in the moment and the vendors depend on families having someone in the household who speaks English. 

This is not a sustainable solution and does not give the non-English speakers an equitable opportunity to fully understand and access the programs and services in the way offered to English speakers. In order to overcome these obstacles, we have been working to ensure we have staff and materials in the primary languages of the communities we serve and that we can support as much of the process for these families as possible. 

At the same time, we are working with the clean energy and energy efficiency companies we partner with to change their practices to create pathways to connect non-English speakers to the appropriate language resources and encourage them to hire multilingual talent. This challenge has not yet been fully overcome but is a work in progress that we can continue to work on with help from services like MAPA Translations.

2. Have you recently helped someone (or the community) overcome a challenge/obstacle? If so, what was it and how did you help them?

As an organization, All In Energy has helped many individuals across several communities in Massachusetts access energy efficiency and renewable energy. Our residents often experience literary and language barriers, as well as income barriers. We have assisted many of our residents in receiving a no-cost home energy assessment for the first time, but our work does not stop there! While we work with many individuals and communities, the process is not one-size-fits-all and we recognize that we must approach every situation with this in mind in order to face any obstacles that may get in the way of working towards an inclusive clean energy economy. 

We are dedicated to working with our residents from beginning through end. Our dedication to individuals can best be understood through the situation of Essie, a resident who took part in a no-cost home energy assessment and faced several barriers in order to see completion. The energy assessment recommended home insulation, but Essie was concerned that she would not be able to pay for it. Luckily, we were able to assist her in qualifying for the moderate-income residential program that would cover the costs of weatherization. 

However, before moving forward, her boiler needed to be repaired to regulate carbon monoxide levels and Essie was not receiving consistent safety recommendations across providers. We were able to find an HVAC company that could make the appropriate adjustments and regulate the carbon monoxide levels in her home and once again, find a program that would cover the cost of this repair. With our support, Essie was able to insulate her home for no cost, making it warmer in the winter and lowering her heating bills! 

This is just one example of the ways our team helps residents overcome barriers to access energy efficiency and renewable energy.