The Andean Alliance for Sustainable Development
Mission: Harnessing collective intelligence to support community-led development in the highlands of Peru
1)Demonstration Farm: a 1 acre organic farm in the Sacred Valley of Peru where AASD fuses traditional and modern methods for ecological cultivation.
2) School and family greenhouse intitiative in high-altitude communities
3) Women's Empowerment: traditional textiles made into laptop and ipad cases
The Andean Alliance for Sustainable Development (AASD) was formally established in Peru in August 2010 with a mission to collaborate with indigenous communities and socially responsible entities to create a positive, lasting environment that supports human development and a healthy future. However, its activities began in 2006 when Aaron Ebner, founder of the AASD, began building school desks for remote communities around the Sacred Valley. During this time, a school director approached him and asked about solutions to the prevalent malnutrition that plagued his students. Ebner began investigating and found a low-cost, local solution – simple greenhouses made out of adobes. The solution seemed simple enough, and he began investigating other community greenhouse projects. What he found was alarming. Many projects initiated were abandoned due to irresponsible planning and/or a lack of expertise in sustainable agriculture practices. The information and ability to decrease malnutrition was within arm's length, but it continually failed due to planning and implementation issues.
Affected by what he saw, he enrolled at Monterey Institute for International Studies (MIIS) to gain a better understanding of responsible international development. While there, he met Adam Stieglitz who shared his passion and interest in responsible community-run agriculture projects. The two applied their coursework and training to the situation in the Sacred Valley of Peru, and they established "Team Peru", a graduate student group at MIIS that focuses on evaluating and developing innovative solutions to issues that plague communities of the Sacred Valley.
Stieglitz, Ebner, and the members of Team Peru began laying the groundwork for a more responsible and comprehensive methodology for community greenhouses. Today, the AASD works not only with projects related to agriculture, but also women's empowerment and NGO effectiveness.
While the AASD has had the opportunity to scale up, it has decided to focus on a unique and innovative approach to development. Many NGOs measure success in numbers (number of communities they have "helped", number of greenhouses they have built, etc.), but the AASD measures success through impact rather than numbers. Our approach allows us to focus on our work, learning the intricacies of the region and communities where we work and developing replicable models. As a result, our projects are highly successful and often duplicated.
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