Economic development for rural communities is at the heart of the Chijnaya Foundation mission. Our greatest success has been in the area of agricultural microlending. While many global nonprofits have expanded banking services aimed at low-income clients in the last two decades, less than 10 percent of call lending to the poor is aimed at borrowers in the countryside. We have pioneered community-level lending to food producers whereby communities themselves help establish how loans are structured, keeping our costs low, our losses near zero, and our coverage in the communities we work near universal. We believe that our small-scale success can help expand much larger efforts by many nonprofits and governments in coming years.
Health and the Environment
The fortunes of families and communities are closely tied to basic health care access, clean water, and native plant and aquatic ecosystems. The Chijnaya Foundation has focused on prevention of disease through best practices in sanitation and water source protection, health education, appropriate technology, and partnerships creating community-based water quality monitoring teams.
The Chijnaya Foundation has responded to the overwhelming demand of rural families for access to higher education by establishing a university scholarship program. This corps of young scholars hailing from rural communities creates a generation of Puno-based professionals who are likely to stay in the region and employ their skills in medicine, engineering, business, tourism development and the social sciences for the benefit of future generations. Our education projects also have included scholarships and program support for special-needs students, including Braille and computer education for students with sight impairment and properly-equipped wheelchairs for students with mobility impairments.