Who We Are
Our Purpose and Promise
We are committed to working with rural communities in Southern Peru to design and implement self-sustaining projects in health, education, and economic development. We share experiences in Southern Peru dating back to the 1960s, including Peace Corps, agricultural and anthropological research, and community development. We share a deep and abiding respect for and understanding of Andean culture and people. Learn more about our current work »
Foundation activities thus far have concentrated on three areas: economic development, health and the environment, and education. All current projects will continue or expand as resources permit. Explore ways you can get involved...
A small donation goes a long way with the Chijnaya Foundation. The Foundation is run largely by volunteers. Your investment goes directly to projects.
Our PhilosophyWe believe in the capacity of Andean people to create self-sustaining activities that will improve their living standards and quality of life. We intentionally work with highly-motivated associations within communities, a process that leads to capacity-building in separate areas of development, expanding from individuals and small groups to the larger, entire community.
Community and Collaboration
How We Work
Our TeamThe Chijnaya Foundation Board of Trustees is a small, diverse group of volunteers who share a passion and commitment to improve the lives of indigenous peoples and villages on the Altiplano of Southern Peru.
Our HistoryThe Foundation organized its work as a 501c(3) in New Mexico in 2005, following a visit to the community of Chijnaya, Peru, by Dr. Ralph Bolton, an anthropologist who worked there as a Peace Corps Volunteer, 40 years earlier. The remarkable visit after four decades provided the opportunity to renew relationships and, at the request of the people, partner again with them to improve their lives. Dr. Bolton has been able to assemble a unique board and a growing number of volunteers to join him in establishing the Foundation and carrying out successful projects through hard work and very limited funds. The people of Chijnaya and many neighboring communities in the Titicaca Basin of Southern Peru have worked progressively to raise their standards of living and quality of life, all in just a few years.
The future of the work is bright, with many opportunities to expand projects and engage communities in their own development. We increasingly partner with public and private entities and volunteers to accomplish projects: the Peruvian American Dental Association, Suma Marka, Engineers Without Borders at the University of California-Berkeley and Utah State University, Lifeboat Foundation, Global Water Watch, Reserva Nacional Titicaca, the Loma Linda University School of Public Health, Lions Clubs, student volunteers (from eight universities in the United States thus far, University of Trondheim in Norway, and the National University of the Altiplano), the Peruvian Ministries of Health and Education, the Peruvian Navy, the Libraries Department of the Municipality of Lima, and the Municipal Council and Museum of Pucará.
To expedite the work in Peru, the Foundation has incorporated an operating arm, “Asociación Pro Desarrollo Integral del Altiplano en Peru,” to act in a fiduciary capacity in Peru. The Pro-DIA Association is led by President Dr. Javier Avila and Executive Director David Cajo. Dr. Bolton averages 100 days each year in Peru. Other board members regularly travel to Peru to work on projects with non-board volunteers who provide their expenses to participate in these endeavors. We are organized to get the work done and to evaluate our outcomes in order to become even more effective. Increasingly, we will expand fund development, to raise more resources to fund the work adequately.
Who We Are
Board Member Spotlights:
Dan F. Bauer, Ph.D.
Dan F. Bauer, PhD, Anthropology, the University of Rochester; Emeritus Professor of Anthropology, Lafayette College and Founder of the Lafayette College Technology Clinic Program. The Tech Clinic program engages interdisciplinary teams of students and faculty in solving problems for a wide variety of entities: hospitals, businesses, NGOs and communities in the United States. Dan’s introduction to anthropology came as a Peace Corps volunteer in Peru’s Aymara region. He taught English at the Universidád Técnica del Altiplano in Puno and auto mechanics at the International Labor Organization trade school in Chucuito, where he also set up a weaving cooperative. He has done extensive research through living for extended periods in rural communities in Ethiopia and México.
Ralph Bolton, Ph.D.
President and CEO
Ralph Bolton, founding president of The Chijnaya Foundation, served three years as a Peace Corps volunteer living in Quechua communities in the region where the Foundation operates. He is an applied anthropologist with a PhD from Cornell University. His dissertation was based on an additional two years of living in an Altiplano community. Bolton is emeritus professor of anthropology at Pomona College where he taught for 42 years. He has had a lifelong concern for ways to reduce extreme poverty in rural Andean communities. His published contributions to the understanding of Andean cultures and his humanitarian work have been recognized with honorary doctorates from the National University of the Altiplano in Puno, Peru and the San Cristobal de Huamanga National University in Ayacucho, Peru and by major awards from the American Anthropological Association, the National Peace Corps Association, and the National University of Trujillo, Peru.
Susan C. Bourque, Ph.D.
Jerome Crowder, Ph.D.
Jerome Crowder is a medical and visual anthropologist (PhD, U. Pittsburgh) who has worked in El Alto, Bolivia since the early 1990s, and in 2003 was a Fulbright Scholar teaching anthropology at the Universidad Nacional del Altiplano, Puno while conducting research in Aymara villages along the western shore of Lake Titicaca. His primary research interest focuses on the conceptualization of illness and help seeking behavior among urban migrants. In both El Alto and Puno he investigated how Aymara speaking migrants navigate a multitude of health options (ethnomedical and biomedical), while his work in Texas focuses on how community members trust their available health care providers. Crowder’s exhibit of photos documenting the lives of rural-urban migrants in Bolivia, Sueños Urbanos: Urban Dreams- The Search for a Better Life in Bolivia has toured the United States and South America since it opened in 2000 and was most recently exhibited in the Student Center at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs (2014-2015) . Crowder is an Associate Professor at the Institute for the Medical Humanities at U. Texas Medical Branch (Galveston) and is the President-elect for the Society for Visual Anthropology.
Paul L. Doughty, Ph.D.
Paul L. Doughty, PhD, Anthropology, Cornell; Emeritus Distinguished Service Professor, University of Florida; a co-founder and 6th President of the Latin American Studies Association; recipient of the Malinowski Award from Society of Applied Anthropology. He studied, worked and lived in Peru (over 10 years) between 1960-2004, first with the Cornell-Peru-Vicos land reform project and dissertation research; he conducted studies in Lima, Mantaro valley and Ancash. In 1962-4 he both helped train and later directed the evaluation of the first Peru Peace Corps volunteers. He also evaluated 3 USAID programs and studied Lima’s migrant organizations. In addition, he worked in development programs Mexico and El Salvador 1952-55 and in later years, evaluating and participating in development programs in Ecuador, El Salvador and Guatemala.
Robert O. Frost
Robert O. Frost (University of South Alabama with BS in Biochemistry). Robert Frost is a US Navy Veteran, and earned a Physicians Assistant degree/License from the Navy School of Medicine. He worked in medicine in the early years of his career; he now has over 35 years of hospitality work and hotel ownership experience. Robert Frost is a founding member of the Chijnaya Foundation and has served as its Treasurer since 2005.
Elizabeth Klarich, Ph.D.
Elizabeth Klarich is an anthropological archaeologist (PhD, University of California, Santa Barbara) who has directed research projects in the Lake Titicaca Basin for nearly two decades. Her primary research focus is Pukara, which was an early population centers during the Late Formative period (200 BC- AD 200). Pukara is located in the town of Pucará, which remains an important center for regional markets and pottery production and also hosts daily tourist groups visiting the archaeological site and museum. Liz’s newest project is a study of pottery production, which features a community-based investigation of modern practices and a digital archiving project. In 2009, Liz joined the anthropology department at Smith College where she teaches archaeology classes on South America, food, and museum studies. In 2019, she joined the board of the Chijnaya Foundation and looks forward to working with the education program and efforts to support local potters.
Roland S. Moore, Ph.D.
Roland S. Moore, PhD, Anthropology, University of California, Berkeley, Senior Research Scientist. With over twenty-five years of National Institutes of Health-funded research among diverse populations, he works as an applied anthropologist at a multidisciplinary public health non-profit, the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation’s Prevention Research Center in Berkeley, California, which he has directed since 2016. His research in rural Greece and the Western US has focused on economic change and social, cultural and policy influences on health-related behavior, especially among youth and young adults.
John Rouse, M.S.
Vice President of the Board
John Rouse, MS in agricultural economics from The University of Wisconsin, Madison. Following two years active duty as an Ensign and Lt(jg) on an LST in the Mediterranean and Caribbean, John Rouse joined the Peace Corps in 1968 and served as rural community development volunteer in Colca River Valley, Peru, an unforgettable experience that changed the course of his future career. In 1971, he rejoined the Peace Corps as a staff member serving as a regional representative in Cuenca, Ecuador 1971-72 and then as a cooperative program officer in the Dominican Republic from 1972-74. From 1977-83, he joined the World Council of Credit Unions supporting rural credit union development activities in Latin America and Africa. In 1984 he joined the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) as a Cooperatives and Rural Organisation officer, retiring after 20 years service to the FAO in 2004. In 2005 he made his first return visit to Peru and in 2011 he joined the Chijnaya Foundation Board, and now serves as Vice President.
Important Facts About The Chijnaya Foundation
- Members of the Board of Directors of the Foundation are all volunteers who pay their own expenses to attend Board meetings and when working on projects in Peru.
- All administrative expenses of the Foundation are covered by donations from Board members; all private individual donations are devoted exclusively to projects in Peru.
- The Foundation spends less than 2% of its revenues on fundraising.
- The operational arm of the Foundation is our legally-constituted Peruvian counterpart, the Pro-DIA Association (Dr. Javier Avila, President). Pro-DIA has a full-time paid Project Director, a young anthropologist (Jhuver Aguirre), and two part-time employees, including the dentist in charge of the oral health program (Dr. Maria del Carmen Aragon) and a young woman responsible for our savings programs (Rosmery Montesinos). Executive Director of the Pro-DIA Association, David Cajo, is instrumental in organizing and supervising projects “on the ground” and aiding communities as they form associations to accomplish projects. All of these staff members are Peruvians.
- The work of the Foundation is carried out in a limited set of communities, 24 at the present time. We believe that to be effective it is necessary to focus on a limited geographical and cultural area, and that all work must be based on deep understanding of the local culture.
- Once a community becomes a partner and member of our network of communities, we work with the community long term to develop a comprehensive development strategy and on-going collaboration to meet the goals of the community. We do not engage in hit-and-run humanitarian work. We emphasize self-help and sustainable development.
- All projects must emerge from the community itself and be based on the perceived needs of members of the community. To assure success, our Board members and the Pro-DIA staff serve as consultants, assisting the community in planning the implementation of approved projects.
- The Foundation receives no government funding for any of its projects.
- The Foundation was started by a group of returned Peace Corps Volunteers and social scientists who have done research in Peru, plus their friends. The current Board of Directors includes Peruvians as well as members who reside in the United States, Australia and Italy. Please contact us if you are interested in participating in our work in any capacity.
- We gladly welcome donors and potential donors to visit Peru and to observe the work we do. Visitors may participate in our community meetings and talk to the beneficiaries of our work. Contact us if you are interested in arranging a visit.
- We employ no fundraising gimmicks: no free address labels, no pictures of starving kids intended to tug at your heartstrings. We explain the need. We appeal to your desire to help those in need, but to do so in a way that respects the dignity of all persons, those who give help and those who receive it.