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2019 Top-Rated Nonprofit

CARMEN PAMPA FUND

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Economic Development, Education, International, International Economic Development, Microfinance, Religion, Roman Catholic

Mission: The mission of Carmen Pampa Fund is to generate resources to assist the growth and development of the Unidad Academica Campesina - Carmen Pampa (UAC-CP), a college serving the impoverished rural families of Bolivia through education, research, production, and community service projects.

Results: As of January 2019, 802 men and women have graduated from the College. Notable data captured from the 2012 UAC-CP alumni survey include: • 95% of UAC-CP graduates were employed. • 91% work in jobs that support Bolivia's rural area. • 89% are employed in the same field of their area of study. • 72% found jobs they wanted after graduation. • 48% of UAC-CP graduates are women. • 42% of alumni have advanced degrees. • 300% increase in income reported between UAC-CP graduates and their parents' generation. In January 2017, in partnership with the Inter-American Development Bank, the College launched a new initiative focused on entrepreneurship, which includes the development of a Business Institute on campus and a plan to rejuvenate the College's on campus micro-businesses. The goal of the project is to promote small business development through academic and practical, hands-on experiences. During the 2018 academic year, the College introduced two new master's level programs: Climate Change and Coffee & Cacao. The College also offers an additional 11 advanced-degree certificate programs.

Target demographics: youth

Direct beneficiaries per year: 727 Bolivian women and men who received academic and job skills training.

Geographic areas served: Bolivia

Programs: The UAC-CP was founded in 1993 as a response to the need for affordable opportunities for higher education for rural indigenous populations. Located in the rugged Cordillera Real Mountain Range northwest of Bolivia's capital city, the Unidad Académica Campesina-Carmen Pampa (UAC-CP or the College) addresses the need of providing young Bolivian men and women of impoverished and marginalized populations with equal access to higher education, technical skill training, and job preparedness. The founding mission and vision of the College, combined with an understanding and respect for local indigenous culture, is what makes the UAC-CP's approach unique in its ability to address the social and economic challenges by transferring knowledge and skills to the young people who come from that area and are dedicated to continue living in the rural area. In 2003, a special panel working with the United Nations named the UAC-CP as one of the world's top initiatives for the eradication of poverty. After examining programs from around the world, the Sub-Committee for the Eradication of Poverty named the the UAC in Carmen Pampa as one of the top seven "best of the best." The panel wanted to honor programs that are innovative, sustainable, and effective. The UAC-CP has also been recognized by the Bolivian Ministry of Education and the United States Agency for International Development.

Community Stories

20 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I taught at the UAC for one challenging but ultimately rewarding year. There were so many wonderful people at the school and in the surrounding community -- my life would be poorer if I hadn't met them, and I'll always be grateful to CPF for bringing us together. I've had some great students since then, but none quite like those at the UAC, some of whom still bring a smile to my face. All told, my experiences in Carmen Pampa reaffirmed my commitment to education and justice, and I'll carry them with me for the rest of my life.

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I call myself a professional with experience in the field, but I have also been a volunteer at UAC- Carmen Pampa and I am also a donor... because I believe in the cause. I had the pleasure of teaching a UAC-CP on two or three trips to Bolivia. Each time provided a fabulous experience for me and it was fun to see that the students were no different than US college students, other than they were perhaps the MOST inquisitive students I have ever taught. Perhaps that was because I was from the Universidad Estatal de Dakota del Sur en Estados Unitos, but I prefer to believe that their curiosity was inherent, regardless of their instructor.

After my final trip to Bolivia, i continued to advise undergraduate research by a student via distance. I don't know how many micrographs I looked at. There were a lot. Interestingly, that student taught me more about shared folders on the Flickr data cloud than I knew previously. We both learned together.

The work done at the college is life changing for the students, for the volunteers and for the country of Bolivia. Many students go on to big things. But I'll always take away my experiences there and I still tell the stories: when a cloud rolled into the classroom as I was delivering a seminar; when a student told me that my field laboratory had helped put relevance to their classroom studies and when I got an unexpected hug from an appreciative student. UAC-Carmen Pampa is a magical place and it is having a magical impact on the local community and the country.

Martin Draper
Plant Pathologist
Associate Dean of Research, College of Agriculture
Kansas State University
former faculty member at South Dakota State University

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

I was there at its Dedication, as it was literally ''coming out of the ground," August 1993. Lucky me. Twenty six years ago this month.

What most impresses me today, looking back?
At last count [7/1/13]: 95% of the graduates were employed, 89% in fields of their study, and 72% in the jobs they sought.
More: 48% of grads are women.
More yet: 42% of alums have advanced degrees.
Finally: 62% of them were scholarship recipients.

To be honest, I am very impressed.

Ed Flahavan, St. Paul, MN
Charter Board member.



Volunteer

Rating: 5

In graduate school I had to find an international group where I could do a short term project in engineering and community building. I was lucky enough to find Carmen Pampa and was able to get so much more out of my experience than I imagined. Not only was able to learn about the amazing offerings at Carmen Pampa and meet fabulous students and volunteers, I also got drawn into a couple of different projects with water and biogas. I was excited to find passionate students who had found a school that nurtured and supported their talents and passions. This is a beautiful community doing amazing work in the world to support rural communities in Bolivia. Gracias a todos los que me enseñaron mucho sobre lo que significa construir una comunidad y generar confianza.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

To have the oppotunity to Volunteer at the UAC was one of the best things in my life. It’s such an important work and the People do it with so much passion and heart... thank you for everything

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Jean and I volunteered at Carmen Pampa for three years (2006-9). Since then we have been thrilled to watch our students from poor backgrounds move steadily into positions of influence in their rural areas, taking leadership in business, agriculture, education, medicine, finance, etc.
During our years at Carmen Pampa, we found the students to be exceptionally motivated learners from strong rural families without the psychological handicaps which afflict many North American youngsters in poverty. Also they carry the rural indigenous tradition of working for the common good. This tradition is still very much alive. The university reinforces it requiring every student to contribute at least four hours of work weekly for the college community. The school founder, Sr. Damon Nolan MFIC, would say to the students, “If you are here just to get ahead for yourselves like North American students, I would just as soon you left. You are here for your people, your community.” This is exactly what most of our students have done, returning to their pueblos rather than seeking the better paying jobs in the big city or abroad.
As North Americans, we like to problem-solve international issues by dispatching our experts into the troubled area to ‘resolve the issue’. Our record has not been good. The fact is that addressing problems of poverty requires local knowledge. Situations change rapidly with the political and economic winds. Solutions require the action of educated, confident, dedicated native people. For 25 years Carmen Pampa has excelled at producing such leaders
The price of educating a student at Carmen Pampa ($260/semester) is a tiny fraction the cost of a North American college education. Your small investment can train a leader who will remain in the poor area, will be invested in it beyond simple personal gain, and will continue to lead through the evolving changes in the country. The payback on your donation will compound year after year.

Becky M.3

Board Member

Rating: 5

I was a volunteer with this organization from 2000-2003, then a staff member, then volunteer again. I'm now a board member and have spent most of my professional career working in international development. The Carmen Pampa Fund is a critical support for education for rural, Indigenous youth in Bolivia. The choices and opportunities that follow this education are limitless and the graduates of the college demonstrate that every day. I'll always be an enthusiastic supporter of this organization.

Nate M.1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I volunteered at the University of Carmen Pampa from 2013 - 2015. My wife and I worked as teachers and volunteers in many different capacities. My experience as an English teacher was formational and largely influenced my decision to pursue teaching English Language in the US.
A strong culture of volunteerism has developed in Carmen Pampa due to both foreign volunteers visiting (thanks to Sister Damon and gang) over the years and a deeply rooted Bolivian culture of ayni (reciprocity, helping one another out, or community service). The life around Carmen Pampa is magical; students are improving their lives through education and opportunity, community members are contributing, professionals build their careers and do important research, and ultimately, oppressive systems of poverty are being put to an end. I am forever grateful for the time and experiences I've had in Carmen Pampa. Please support this org. through volunteering or donating!!

1 William W.1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I lived and volunteered in Carmen Pampa through the Carmen Pampa Fund for seven months in 2008. This experience was a big part of my reason to keep coming back to Bolivia off and on, and I've been living in La Paz since 2014. Over all these years, I've kept close ties with the Carmen Pampa Fund and the amazing students and administrators of the college. I still support the Fund with video and photography projects in Bolivia, and many of the relationships I have there and at the college - personal and professional - are some of the most important to me. The college continues to change lives of students all over Bolivia, and the Carmen Pampa Fund and it's dedicated staff and volunteers play an indispensable role in making that happen!
Learn more by watching the video above this review. I made this in 2018 with my friend and UAC-Carmen Pampa Agronomy graduate, Reinaldo Mendoza, who today is doing amazing things!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My time volunteering at Carman Pampa was an experience that I will never forget. My wife loves the school because they treat females equally with males. There is an equal number of females in the school as males.

The curriculum was designed so that the students obtain degrees skills that will benefit their home community; Education, Nursing, Veterinary Medicine, Agronomy and Tourism. All students take Spanish and English and are computer literate.

Every student must pass a test to ensure they are ready for college. If they don’t get a satisfactory grade on the test, they are required to take an extra year to bring them up to college level. They are also tested before they graduate to ensure that they have obtained the knowledge to deserve the degree in that field.

Carmen Pampa is an excellent university. They take their job of educating every student very seriously. I was very impressed with the level of dedication by the university and the students.

Norm B.

Donor

Rating: 5

I have been privileged to have visited the Unidad Académica Campesina (UAC) in Carmen Pampa, Bolivia on two occasions, and have supported the Carmen Pampa Fund for several years. I am a strong believer in education--it works! And I've seen it firsthand, the school and its supporting nonprofit are doing exactly what they state: transforming the lives of people in Bolivia through education. Everyone involved in this effort cares, and the results speak for themselves. Go to their website and see. Support this cause!

Catherine Grace M.

Donor

Rating: 5

I volunteered in Carmen Pampa in 2008 and 2009 and witnessed first hand what a difference even a relatively small amount of money makes in the education and lives of the students and communities in Bolivia. I believe in the mission of the Carmen Pampa Fund so much that a decade later I still donate, make sure I give through Amazon smile, and ask friends and family members to donate on my birthday through Facebook.

Sheila M.4

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

When one talks and dreams about changing the world (or even a piece of it) the UAC-Carmen Pampa immediately comes to mind. Having been involved with the UAC from the beginning, I have seen the lives, individual and community, that it has touched and changed through education. Students that would never have dreamed of being able to pursue higher education have had the opportunity to not only receive their degrees, but many to return to their communities and become leaders in raising the standards of health care, education, agriculture and much more. It is the through the generosity of donors and very well managed funds of the UAC that so many young Bolivians can not only dream but participate in changing the world.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My experience in 2006 in Carmen Pampa as a volunteer math teacher at the University was so rewarding that I returned yearly to contribute what I could to this remarkable educational venture. Working with the students (including some of those in the video) has expanded my horizons and enriched my life enormously . The University runs on a shoestring and deserves generous support for the work it does to transform the lives of impoverished Bolivians.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My work with the UAC Carmen Pampa was life changing. There is a palatable buzz on campus and in the community. The students, staff, community, and Carmen Pampa Fund staff know there’s something incredibly special happening and all are so proud to be a part of it. My work with the students and Carmen Pampa Fund team is a source of inspiration that I still draw on today. The students desire to learn, the faculties passion for teaching, and the communities engagement is unlike any I’ve ever seen in other developing countries and similar projects. Myself, extended family members, and colleagues continue to support the Carmen Pampa Fund through charitable donations and I can’t imagine that we will ever stop. Seeing success stories coming out regularly only fuels our desire to continue supporting in any way we can.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

The UAC at Carmen Pampa won a UN award for poverty-reduction. The UAC evolved from a high school in Carmen Pampa when the community realized that its graduates left for the city. The response was to create a college offering programs such as nursing, agriculture, and education that are useful in rural areas, so that graduates stay to help local people. This was a brilliant response to rural poverty and is the basis of the UN award. Your donation to this university will directly alleviate the poverty of its students and the community.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been involved with many non-profits over the years, but never one as successful at poverty eradication for rural people as Carmen Pampa Fund. They use education as their main tool to help young students achieve skills which the students then promise to bring to their communities, so that all in the village can benefit. They are extremely efficient with the money they raise to help these students with their tuition for the college in Bolivia, relying heavily on volunteers who are more than happy to contribute their time and hearts to this amazing mission. Carmen Pampa Fund is the most successful and efficient poverty eradication organization I have ever encountered.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

This is a wonderful organization where your money works to efficiently and effectively provide a college education to Bolivian students. Its a great bang for your buck!

Miguel Z.1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

very, but very succesful in terms of number of undergraduates continuing their education in the US and coming back to help their school and their country. As a bolivian I strongly recommend this nonprofit and appreciate those who help it.

Heather Joffe R.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have had the opportunity to see their outstanding work first hand in Bolivia since 2008 when I supervised a U.S. government-funded grant made to the organization. (I work for a federal contractor that was in turn making federally-funded grants to NGOs.) Based on my personal experience and opinion, I can state that this is a well-run, responsable, ethical organization doing outstanding work to improve the lives of rural Bolivian families. Now that I’m no longer involved in federal grant-making, over the years I’ve been pleased to follow their work and make small donations in a personal capacity.