The Andean Alliance (AASD) exists to raise the standard of living for indigenous Peruvians in high-altitude communities. All projects – including our flagship greenhouse program – address a specific community need and are designed to be educational, collaborative, and participatory. We work closely with graduate students in a wide range of development studies and offer them an opportunity to incorporate AASD programmatic needs into their curriculum, allowing for a transformative, immersive learning experience.
The fundamental difference between the AASD and other NGOs is that we use the collective intelligence of stakeholders and scholars to address the unique needs of each community. Many other NGOs rely on a “one-size fits all” approach, which could, in turn, lead to unsuccessful projects. The AASD defines success through impact, and our projects are both successful and sustainable because we remain accountable to the unique needs of each community.
The AASD uses innovative solutions to alleviate the effects of poverty, marginalization, and social injustices that hinder community development and well-being. We connect motivated change agents and resources to design informed solutions to address the local problems in the highlands of Peru. We engage other social change organizations to build capacity and foster collaboration. We also partner with graduate institutions to maintain an innovative approach. Most importantly, the AASD works alongside indigenous communities to facilitate the realization of a healthy and prosperous future.
Theory of Change
The AASD collaborates with a variety of partners to creatively design impactful solutions. We utilize research and design, crowdsourcing, bridging resources, capacity building, and monitoring and evaluation. Our programs promote immersive learning and innovation. We implement sustainable projects that create economic opportunity and promote good community health while preserving unique cultural characteristics. Indicators of success include an engaged nongovernmental organizational sector, a significant reduction in malnutrition, an increase in family income, improved food security, and a significant increase in student academic performance at partner schools. These indicators signal that the community and individuals are thriving.
An Immersive Learning Experience
What started as “Team Peru” has become a movement that allows for students to make the most of their education, while simultaneously having a positive impact on people’s lives. In conjunction with the Andean Alliance for Sustainable Development, students have the opportunity to immerse themselves in a professional environment that caters to his or her particular academic area of focus. Based on each individual’s knowledge, interests, and passion, each participant is assigned to a project where, as a group, they are encouraged to take full ownership and responsibility of the planning and implementation of that project. Leaders are there to assist and facilitate this process.
The Andean Alliance for Sustainable Development does not believe in executing projects in the communities where we work; rather, we believe in facilitating that process. The most important component of our projects is that they are community driven and participatory. This is only possible once a relationship based on trust has been formed between AASD and community members. Once that trust has been established, we work together with community members to design and execute projects that cater to the unique needs and strengths of each community. This process allows for the AASD and student participants to become fully engaged in a particular project, while also allowing for community members to take ownership, which leads to successful and sustainable outcomes.
Balancing Strengths and Weaknesses
Every organization has areas in which it excels, and conversely, areas that could be improved. In order to address this imbalance and operate at the highest level of efficiency, the Andean Alliance emphasize the importance of partnerships. We believe in building relationships with other organizations in order to leverage each other’s strengths and balance out those weaknesses. These relationships allow for an exchange of knowledge, skills, relationships, and general best practices that not only allows for exponentially higher levels of efficiency but higher levels of impact as well.
I was fortunate enough to be able to visit Peru through the University of Vermont last May and it is an experience I will always be grateful for. Because of... read more Andean Alliance, we had an authentic Peruvian experience that allows tourists to visit in an immersive and educational way. Andean Alliance clearly has strong local partnerships; and for me it was important to know that they have stake in the local community, and that they truly want to have a positive impact. I highly recommend spending a day in the Sacred Valley with AASD, not only is it absolutely beautiful there, but you will have fun, meet great people, and learn a lot as well!