January 2018 Team Peru Program

2018 Project Summary

Agriculture extension in Peru is based off a western, top down, teacher-student model that does not consider traditional methods of knowledge transfer. The AASD is currently partnering with the community of Sacclio and a small group of identified community leaders to create a localized agriculture extension program that is specifically designed for small scale farmers. There is a need for this type of extension program because small scale farmers are becoming marginalized within the larger community of farmers and being forced to move away from traditional agriculture practices in order to compete and stay relevant. A localized extension program will offer trainings and resources for small scale farmers to organize, maintain traditional and environmentally friendly farming practices, provide agency and voice, and create innovative avenues to access markets. For this year’s JTerm students will join the AASD as stakeholders in this process. Students can expect to:

  • Participate in intensive facilitations and conversations with the AASD to build context and critical perspectives;
  • Visit farming communities with differing levels of access and connectivity as well as ecological zones;
  • Meet with NGOs, government officials and community leaders;
  • Participate in farming activities, workshops and hands on experience to build context;
  • Immerse themselves in readings, informational videos will be discussed as well as weekly reflections.

Deliverables for this practicum have not yet been decided on, but will most likely fit into the following framework:

·  A situation analysis related to a particular theme (which can be negotiated with the AASD in country)

·  The design of an initiative—probably a tweak to an existing project–that is firmly rooted in the situation analysis

·  A product that would support the initiative (which can be negotiated with AASD in country)”

Requirements: 300-level Spanish highly recommended




1 comment Posted in  Uncategorized September 15, 2017

Summer 2017 Research Practicum in Peru

Andean Alliance for Sustainable Development (AASD) Summer 2017 Research Practicum

For the summer of 2017, the AASD is seeking 12 students to participate in an 8-week intensive summer research practicum. These students will be split into two teams, each pursuing a unique research opportunity. One team will be working with the local government Office of Economic Development; the other team will make policy recommendations to institutions interested in scaling local community development projects. While these teams will be dedicated to separate projects, all students will participate in a common curriculum of research methods training, development theory and practice, and cross-sectoral collaboration.

Research Topics Education and Agriculture: An Exploration of School Garden Projects in High-Altitude Communities

The AASD has extensive experience implementing school garden projects. An important factor in these projects is the diverse climates and social structures throughout Peru, which present unique obstacles and considerations. In this investigation, students would explore specific intricacies of implementing successful school gardens, and create a deliverable to convey their findings. The AASD has worked on school garden projects with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO), Qali Warma (National School Lunch Program), and the local Department of Education Administration. These local and national actors represent potential collaborators in this research.

Supporting Development Through Local Government: Challenges & Opportunities

The Office of Economic Development has numerous projects throughout the Sacred Valley and surrounding areas. These projects largely involve capacity building and resource development across many industries, including a coffee growers initiative, guinea pig farming, and flower production. In this project, students will conduct a diagnostic of the various projects housed in the Office of Economic Development. By creating a comprehensive inventory of these projects, challenges, and opportunities the AASD will work with the Calca government to identify a significant point of intervention to be explored in future iterations of the project.

Student Experience

The context of the Sacred Valley provides a rich environment for students to learn about development, while also enjoying the beauty of the Inca Breadbasket. Students will have ample opportunity to explore the many ruins and tourist attractions in the valley, but will also have a unique experience visiting and learning from local communities that are off the beaten track. Students will advance their Spanish language skills through practical application, and will be immersed in Peruvian culture throughout their time in the program.

As members of a research team, students will participate in a complete iteration of a research project, from initial client engagement through deliverable creation and delivery. The first weeks of the program will focus on building local context, research design, and methods training. Students will gain experience in field research, data interpretation, and partner engagement.

In addition to the skills-based curriculum, the practicum offers a holistic learning experience that incorporates a strong academic component. Students will utilize advanced critical thinking skills and observations from their work in the communities to explore the complexities and challenges of community development. Exposure to diverse realities and development lenses will help students to develop a global perspective, as well as providing a reflection point for personal exploration and learning.

Student Qualifications

The AASD is seeking students with diverse academic backgrounds, including: Geography, Latin American Studies, Food Studies, Environmental Studies, Agriculture, International and Global Studies, or Sociology and Anthropology. Students from all departments are encouraged to apply, however preference will be given to students who represent the listed fields. Ideal candidates have a desire to learn about research methods and process, and are conversational in Spanish.

Program Dates: June 5- July 28

Cost per Student: $4,400

Application Process

Interested students should submit a resume (cover letter optional), and a statement of purpose to gaelen@alianzaandina.org. Candidates who are a good fit for the program will be contacted to schedule an interview. We will contact all priority submission applicants by February 3rd (we will do our best to get back to you within one week of your submission), and all second phase applicants by April 7th .


Priority deadline: January 31, 2016

Final deadline: March 31, 2017

Guidelines for Statement of Purpose:

Your one-page statement of purpose should address the following points:

1. Why would you like to participate the AASD Summer Research Practicum? Why is this important and what are you hoping to get out of your experience?

2. How will your participation in the AASD Summer Research Practicum support your professional goals?

Your Statement of Purpose should be forward looking. While it is ok to draw on past experience for examples, we prefer that past experience and qualifications come through in your resume and (optional) cover letter.

Thank you for your interest in the AASD Summer Research Practicum- we look forward to hearing from you!

Questions: gaelen@alianzaandina.org



Add comment Posted in  BLOG February 21, 2017

Peru Practica in January 2017 with Andean Alliance – APPLY NOW!!!

The Team Peru practica will be offered in January outside of the wrap-around course. The field methods course is no longer required for participation in Team Peru.

 Below is a timeline of important steps if you plan to request financial aid or register for academic credit for this practica.

 December 1—-Deadline to contact Andean Alliance/apply (email Adam directly at adamstieglitz@gmail.com to apply)

December 1—-Deadline for to apply for immersive learning funding for JTerm

December 4—-Deadline to submit directed study (DS) proposal if you are seeking 1-4 academic credits for Team Peru (Beryl Levinger has agreed to oversee anyone interested in a directed study related to the work for this course. DS forms are available on Canvas or at the GSIPM front desk. Contact your academic adviser for more information.

December 4—-Deadline to visit financial aid office to request funding for Jterm program. Registration in directed study with Beryl Levinger required.

December 15—-Deadline to complete travel registration and secure international medical insurance if not on the student health insurance plan.

 If you are registered for another Jterm practica and would like to transfer to the Team Peru program please contact Carolyn Taylor . In certain cases we may be able to refund your deposit.

3 comments Posted in  Uncategorized November 21, 2016

Team Peru Info Session Thursday, October 15th @12pm

Screen Shot 2015-10-08 at 1.24.47 PMTeam Peru Alumni Allison Newman and Sonia Esquibel will be hosting the Team Peru info session next Thursday, October 15th in Morse B106 at 12-1pm.

Program dates: January 5-26, 2016

Team Peru is an all-encompassing experience that allows for students to apply their education and make the most out of their time at MIIS. Starting in the fall semester students will partner with the MIIS alumni-founded organization the Andean Alliance for Sustainable Development (AASD) to design a research initiative around a theme that is currently relevant for the AASD in Peru. Afterwards, students will travel to Peru and implement their research over J-term. The in-country practicum is structured as a multi-dimensional learning experience that will be educational, impactful and rewarding. Additionally, the AASD offers a wide range of opportunities for students to remain involved with the program and continue using the AASD as a live case study in their courses. Leadership opportunities are also available for returning students.

Purpose (written by AASD): “The focus of this J-­‐term is two-­‐fold: to conduct original research into the topic of climate change, and to examine how we can continue to conduct this research and utilize student partnerships to maximize the value added to both the organization and the student experience. This research will build on a previous investigation we have conducted in the area, and lay the foundation for a larger research initiative to be carried out over the next three to five years.”

Academic Credit: 2 or 4 units (Audit or no credit option may be requested)

Contact/More Info:

Allison Newman (program alumna): anewman@miis.edu
Prof. Phil Murphy (onsite professor in Peru): pmurphy@miis.edu
Adam Steiglitz (Andean Alliance):adamcstieglitz@gmail.com



Add comment Posted in  Pre-Peru October 8, 2015

Manage Your Expectations

Guest post by Stephanie Rosenbaum, Team Peru 2015

“You’ll want to manage your expectations.” I heard that phrase first on a Skype call during Fall 2014 Policy Analysis Class. We were talking with half of the AASD- two out of the four members of the organization were crammed onto the screen, looking quite cold and about as thrilled to be there talking to us as we were to be talking to them (background: it was 3 PM on a sunny September Thursday afternoon. Being inside a stuffy room was no one preferred location at that time). But the point was valid, even beyond the conditions of the day.

I didn’t really have any idea what to expect before going down to Peru- I had never been to the country, or the continent before. I knew it was likely going to be rainy and cold, except for when it was hot. And the altitude could be a problem, we were warned. So I packed a bunch of rain gear, hiking clothes, hiking boots, only one book and lots of socks and left my house at 3 AM to get to SFO in time for my flight hoping for the best. And really, it was the best. Not every moment but in general, and in hindsight, so much of what could have gone wrong didn’t, and most of what could have gone right did.

So what exactly could have gone wrong? In my more worry-wort moments, I thought of constant, drenching, freezing downpours; debilitating altitude sickness; other kinds of sickness you might expect in a rural Peruvian mountain town; unfriendly people not interested in taking our survey; feeling completely cut off from the research process because I don’t speak Spanish; crappy team dynamics…etc etc. I can find multiple things to worry about in just about any situation, let alone one as unknown as this was.

But…those things didn’t happen. Well, most of them didn’t. It only drenched us in rain a few times, and it wasn’t totally freezing. I didn’t get altitude sickness at all. I did get the flu but that was something that could have happened in any country. People were incredibly friendly, my lack of Spanish wasn’t a problem (and during my time there my Spanish skills markedly improved!), our team had the kind of serendipitous lack of personality clashes that make it clear that no matter how many team building exercises you do (we didn’t do any), chance will always have a say in how a group of people get along when thrown together 12 to a house, 24 hours a day at 11,000 feet.

What does this have to do with the idea of managing expectations? Because I went in expecting neither the best nor the worst, I was open to everything. When something good happened, it was a lovely bonus surprise and when something not so good happened it was eaiser to shrug off as just a part of the experience. If I’d had a set of expectations in my mind, I would not have been open to a lot of the possibilities that only became reality once we were actually in the country and I probably would have been a lot more upset by anything negative because it would have been interfering with my little mental plan, even if my mental plan had very little in common with reality.

Confession time: I’m a planner. Back home in Monterey, I plan just about every hour of my day. I mean I write down what homework I’m doing when, which hours I’m going to eat what meals and where I’m volunteering when. And in the past, when I’ve traveled I’ve leaned more towards that same system. (As a side note, I think this probably stems from spending so much time in rehearsals both at home and abroad- you need to schedule carefully to be on time when you’re a performer.) But travel isn’t a rehearsal. And I’ve been discovering the beauty in an unscheduled, and therefore expectation free, hour. And that possibility multiplies exponentially when you’re somewhere completely new. If you think you know exactly what to expect, you miss those possibilities.

So what’s the point? As I see it, there are two prongs to this point: one, that old cliché you hear about how much you learn about both yourself and the world while traveling is actually pretty true, and two, managing your expectations and being open-minded are very good things indeed.

1 comment Posted in  Guest Posts From Students ,Team Peru Reports February 15, 2015

Team Calca Experience

Guest post by Joy Mulhollan, J-Term 2014 Peru Policy Course Participant

Team Peru January 2014 was divided into four groups, studying in either Calca, Lares, Choquecancha, or Suyo. For the Calca group, our goal was to conduct ten surveys per day, so the seven of us divided into two teams. To not run the risk of surveying the same person and to cover as much ground as possible, we organized ourselves through maps and randomization.  On one of our first days we used a satellite image to hand-draw maps of the area, dividing Calca into five quadrants and labeling all the streets, with Chris’ help to identify key landmarks. We also were responsible for completing a site survey. Utilizing a smartphone application and GPS functions for mapping on a group cell phone, we documented businesses, evidence of crime, government and law enforcement presence, and various forms of infrastructure.


Conducting the household survey gave us a unique opportunity to interact with the community. One of my favorite respondents was a man in his 80s.  After we finished his survey, he invited us behind his home to see his garden, where he grabbed his harmonica and performed a short song for us. It was so great to be able to have that experience, and I know it’s something I’ll never forget. Another favorite surveying memory occurred during the first week, when when we were invited by a woman to conduct the survey in her yard. Her two children were running around the yard, and the girl picked flowers and shyly watched us from a distance.  After the survey concluded, we began our post-survey debrief, and by the time we had made it to the end of the street, we turned and saw the little girl was running after us.  She gave us the big, pink flowers she had picked, then turned around and ran back home.

Experiences like these really helped us feel welcome in the Calca community. I personally learned a lot about the Sacred Valley, details of what it’s like to work alongside the AASD, what it’s like to work with interpreters. I even gained professional experience interacting with some Calca government officials.  Although there certainly were some unexpected challenges, every day brought opportunities for learning and improving upon what we had done the day before.


1 comment Posted in  Uncategorized February 26, 2014

J-Term Policy Class Conducts Research on Poverty & Connectivity

This January, a group of 25 students from the Monterey Institute of International Studies (MIIS) traveled down to the Sacred Valley to put their semester-long theories into practice. What began as a Policy Analysis course in Monterey with Professor Jeffrey Dayton-Johnson segued into a field course that placed students in Calca, Lares, Choquecancha, and Suyo, Peru, to conduct surveys and interviews in remote rural communities. The research design was created throughout the Fall semester in the Policy class, which focused heavily on the country of Peru and issues of poverty and connectivity. Co-taught by Professors Jeff Dayton-Johnson, Fernando DePaolis, Kent Glenzer, Robert McCleery, and Phil Murphy, the Policy Analysis: Peru course brought together multidisciplinary approaches to learning about and analyzing international development policy.

Great photo of the Lares survey team in action.
The course is an exciting step for the Andean Alliance (AASD), as they have been an important partner in the process since the idea came about in the Spring of 2013. The AASD has collaborated with the class and the professors as key informants on the development landscape in the Sacred Valley as the class shaped the research study from September to December. They have facilitated the entire organization of the winter practica, preparing all the communities for the students’ arrivals, and getting the local governments on board with the research being conducted. The AASD hopes to utilize the data collected in Peru not only to inform their organization and the MIIS community, but to better inform the local and regional government.
Awesome photo of a greenhouse, skillfully taken by J-term participant Maritza Munzon (IEM/MPA)
The partnership between the Andean Alliance has strengthened over the years. The organization has served as learning partners for various MPA class research and evaluation projects, has co-taught the Community Social Change workshop, and has now been a key partner for a research design that could have deep repercussions for both policy informing and policy change at levels in and beyond the Sacred Valley of Peru. We look forward to hearing about the experiences and results of the policy students who spent this winter with the Andean Alliance on this groundbreaking research initiative!
photo (26)
What a great shot! Photo of a community assembly in Choquecancha, skillfully taken by J-term participant Ximena Ospina (IEM/MPA)
~Monica Kelsh

3 comments Posted in  Agriculture Projects ,BLOG ,Immersive Education ,NGO Network ,Uncategorized January 23, 2014

Shifting the Ideology, Redefining the Paradigm

Guest Post by Matt Jira, Community Social Change Workshop, April 2013

After two solid years of studying development at MIIS (which included DPMI, Development Economics, and Development Theories and Practices), I thought I had a firm grasp on what community development looked like, and how it should be approached. Then, this little one-credit workshop that I decided to take at the last minute in order to fill a gap in my schedule radically altered my understanding of development. I felt like I was on an episode of Community Development Myth Busters. I had originally viewed this workshop as an opportunity to refine my view on community development, but left realizing that something greater than simply my view needed to change. The view of development that I owned was shaped by the books that I had read, and the lectures and learning experiences in which I had participated. I began to realize that there is a greater power, or paradigm, that is driving a lot of the mainstream development epistemic community; and that paradigm is in desperate need of change.

It seems as if the term “participatory development” exists as a requisite ancillary of community development (as it rightly should). Yet, our understanding of what participatory development entails is often skewed by our Western development lens. In the vast majority of community development case studies that I have reviewed, participatory development existed by virtue of “community ownership” of the development process or project. Regardless of the extent to which a village council, self-help group, or town government is able to make decisions and hold the proverbial financial reins; whoever owns the visioning process, the timeline, and the overall definition of success, owns the project. The Andean Alliance was able to show us in three short days, just how effective and meaningful community development can be when it occurs organically. This “organic development” means that the projects are generated within the community, implemented on their timeline, and measured by their standards. The role of a development organization within this concept shifts almost entirely to capacity building and advising; a role in which fewer personnel, and greater amounts of humility, are required. For the most part, this means shifting away from what we think is right, and working with them to find effective ways of developing what they think is right.

The big shift inherent in drifting towards this type of development, is the great divorce from the results-driven Western development approach. It is impossible to embrace this slower, more sustainable style of organic development while maintaining the traditional ideology. This shift towards a more endogenous style of development does not, however, require that we divorce ourselves from the participatory paradigm. Par contre, we simply need to redefine it in the light of this new ideology. A participatory focus is still an intrinsic component of any true community development process. Nonetheless, we must redefine ownership, and our role within this participation, and allow things to progress at the pace of the community instead of the pace of the donor. However, until our ideology shifts (and all of the things influenced by it: M&E structure, project timelines, ownership, accountability channels, etc.), this move towards a more organic form of development will remain hindered on a large scale.

Add comment Posted in  Uncategorized May 28, 2013

Accountability to the Community

Guest Post by Lily Thorpe-Buchanan, Community Social Change Workshop, April 2013

Some of the most meaningful discussions we had during our weekend workshop, Community Social Change, were surrounding the idea of “downward accountability.” This, essentially, means maintaining accountability to the community you are serving. Although I’m not a fan of the phrase, the idea behind it, in my opinion, should be the idea driving all development work. We explored this idea in a number of ways during our time with Aaron and Adam, including when we mapped concepts of community social change, and in exploration of a number of case studies surrounding the Andean Alliance. This is one of the things I also appreciate most about Adam and Aaron and the Andean Alliance as a whole, as they seem to adhere to this as a key value underlying everything they do within the organization, which is illustrated by Aaron’s story of turning down a large grant because the work was not in line with what the community needed.

In considering this theme of accountability, I find myself with more questions than answers. How do other organizations maintain this “downward accountability?” It seems like much of this comes from the relationship and trust one builds with the community, but especially for far-reaching organizations, that have programs all over the world, and high turn-around rates for individuals in each location, this is a huge challenge. Should more work be trusted to smaller, grassroots organizations, like the Andean Alliance? How would this impact capacity, and the very nature of the smaller organizations?

Add comment Posted in  Uncategorized May 21, 2013

A Unique Development Process

Guest Post by Emily Patrick, Community Social Change Workshop, April 2013

Community Social Change is a unique development process that is immensely dependent on local practices and community history. The AASD has taken a very unique approach to working within, and ultimately, becoming a part of, the communities in which they operate. Their approach is based on respect and in many ways, is dependent on organic processes that emerge over time. Given their commitment to working in these communities for the long run, building relationships without specific expectations or pressures is a wise avenue to pursue. In many cases, development professionals fall into the trap of arriving to situations with a myriad of prepackaged designs and intended outcomes. With such a ridged arrival, the potential for truly organic emergence of locally relevant processes is less likely. Having a truly organic approach to development in the region may actually be a tremendously innovative approach. Understanding more about the impact of the AASD approach is something that will be revealed over time.

Working within a community, whether it is for a long or short period, is heavily dependent on power dynamics that emerge as a result of interaction approaches on behalf of the community members and development workers. The effort AASD makes to become part of the community through meaningful relationship building is powerful.  A lingering question for me is, how does the community change as relationships with ‘outsiders’ develop? How does this relationship  interact with traditional development processes and the emergence of organic processes?

Add comment Posted in  Uncategorized May 21, 2013

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Our mission is to provide and implement sustainable programs and projects in collaboration with the indigenous people of the Sacred Valley of Perú in an effort to improve their lives and reduce poverty in a culturally sensitive and appropriate manner. Furthermore, we work to support local NGOs with whom we have shared values using the skills and tools we possess.