Current Humanitarian Projects in Cusco - Ascend Adventure Travel

Ascend Travel Current Humanitarian Projects

We are making significant strides towards eliminating poverty in the rural villages where we are currently working, but we need your help keeping these projects going. Our strategic partner, the Ascend Alliance, has generously agreed to let us use their "See the Change" Humanitarian project management software in order to upload project details and enable donors to follow along as our projects are taken from the planning stage to reality. Take a look through the various projects we are currently undertaking, and feel free to contact us with questions about our projects and how you can help out! If you click the "View Details" button, it will take you to the Ascend Alliance "See the Change" login page where you will need to create a login in order to see the detailed project information (no credit card required).

View Current Projects

Reservoir and Irrigation Project in Pisac - Simple Technology

Most of the residents of the Community Amaru live in extreme poverty, meaning less than $1.50 a day per person.  This condition of extreme poverty is caused by a lack of economic opportunity within the community.   Because the growing season is only ½ of the year, community members must seek other jobs during the dry season - keeping families apart and stalling community development.

The project’s first phase calls for constructing a 10-meter tall dam that will act to contain 70,000 to 80,000 cubic meters of water.   The dam will be constructed out of concrete and will incorporate local stones, which are plentiful in the area (thereby reducing the raw material requirement).  The outlet will be constructed out of iron. The Peruvian Government is financing the majority of the project, and Ascend Travel is organizing the project and fundraising a portion of the project budget.

The project has the following expected outcomes:
  • Double Family Income
  • Improve nutrition
  • Provide more employment opportunities within Amaru
  • Improve the treatment of women in the community
  • Drastically increase livestock and small animal production in the community (and start a small dairy industry in the community)
  • Improve hygiene (More water for bathing and cleaning)
  • Decrease emigration from community, help conserve Andean traditions
  • Improve knowledge of agricultural technology
  • Spread the vision to other communities
  • Feed a horticulture project which allows for the growing of lettuce and onions (among others)
  • Improve the education in the community (more income means more educational opportunities)


Productive Reforestation in Pisaq and Lamay - Microenterprise

Productive reforestation with native trees along with environmental education for adults and children is a recipe for success. "Productive" reforestation means that the trees being planted produce fruits for better nutrition, flowers and leaves for dying wool and alpaca, natural medicines, and wood for artisan goods. This type of reforestation helps community members earn additional income while simultaneously improving the environment. Coupled with environmental training workshops in which we teach about recycling - reducing and reusing, and install trash and recycling containers, this is a great way to fight the harmful deforestation and trash problems that plague Southern Peru while simultaneously creating new economic activities that help fight poverty.

The project has the following expected outcomes:
  • 100,000 Productive, Native Tress planted in the District of Pisaq
  • Elaborate a reforestation manual detailing information, photos and uses of the following, native trees: Sauco, Chachacomo, Queuña, Lambran, Arrayan, Tintin, Tumbo, Tayanca, Kishuar, Kolle, Mutoy, Kapuli
  • Fund a greenhouse for growing tree sprouts in increased quantities
  • Increase environmental awareness among the villagers of Pisaq
  • Spread the vision to other communities and districts
  • Plan and train for economic activities that will be provided by these trees


Business Training in Pisaq and Lamay 2012 - Microenterprise

Microenterprise training for Pisaq and Lamay is a detailed and thorough business training course with a proven history of results.  The program takes aspiring entrepreneurs and existing small-business owners, and gives them the tools to take their existing business to a new level or develop a simple business plan that can easily be put into action.  Site visits by Ascend mentors are provided to analyze existing businesses on a case-by-case basis and make sure that what is being taught is put into practice.

In this course, Ascend Travel is specifically focusing on helping Pisaq and Lamay improve their rural tourism packages. This includes site visits to rural home-stays with quality assessments, implementing customer satisfaction surveys, participating in tour itineraries and assessing the overall quality of the product, offering suggestions, training entrepreneurs in social media outreach, bringing in outside experts and providing marketing advice and implementation.

The project has the following expected outcomes:

  • Improve the quality of all rural tourism activities - measured by tourists booked and duration of stay (Goal is to improve for current average of 1 day with no rural home-stay to 2 days, 1 night)
  • Implementation of a social media campaign that gets 500 likes on facebook and has Peruvian entrepreneurs feeding and uploading content to sites like Facebook
  • Implementation and analysis of a new and improved customer satisfaction survey
  • Outside experts teach at least 5 workshops about housekeeping, cooking, tour guiding, etc.
  • Site visits to home-stay houses and quality checklist completed by Ascend Staff - so each individual family knows how they can specifically improve their product


Health Clinics in the Cusco Region 2012 - Health

In 2012, Ascend Travel is organizing and supporting several rural health clinics with medical professionals, equipment, medicine and health training. We work together with the OPC (Office of Citizen Participation - Peruvian National Police), the Regional Hospital, and others to provide healthcare to communities that have little or no access.

Medical campaigns are employed to meet immediate health needs, but also include educational workshops focused on empowering community members to improve their own health. Medical teams work in communities, health fairs, clinics and hospitals serving the needs of people without resources. Teams offer training to local doctors, medical students and/or community health workers. Surgeries and health/dental campaigns may also be part of the mission.

The project has the following expected outcomes:

  • Free, portable medical clinics in 10 rural communities - organized with local and international doctors(General attention, dental focus, and optometry focus)
  • Health Fairs at schools in Pisaq, Lamay and the Margin Derecha of Cusco
  • Health education through puppets delivered by interns at all clinics
  • Basic First Aid and nutrition training at all clinics
  • Community health worker training workshops at all clinics


Eco-Latrines in Pisaq - Simple Technology

In the rural communities in Southern Peru, most bathrooms are little more than a hole in the ground surrounded by four pieces of pleated tin. This setup, besides general discomfort, leads to ground water contamination as well as diseases that are spread through lack of hygiene. Many children in the communities we serve are perpetually sick and weak due to poor hygiene - and our answer to this problem is eco-latrines! Eco-latrines are inexpensive and they recycle human waste and use no water. Human waste becomes fertilizer that is used for crops. Also, we install electric showers and sinks as part of our effort to improve hygiene and stop the spread of disease. In rural communities, this project can be the catalyst for a bright and healthy future!

The project has the following expected outcomes:
  • Install eco-latrines for 50 families in the Communities of Pisaq (2012)
  • Include hygiene and disease prevention training for families that construct an eco-latrine
  • Instruct villagers on eco-friendly waste disposal techniques
  • Each unit will include a sink and an electric shower
  • Each family will provide adobe bricks and wood for the construction
  • Spread the vision to other communities and districts


Improved Ventilated Stoves in Pisaq - Simple Technology

Something as simple as better kitchen ventilation can have a big impact on an individual's health. Peruvian families in rural areas have traditionally cooked over open fires using coal or firewood, generating a great deal of smoke, ash and carbon monoxide. Often, food preparation and cooking take place in small areas with poor or no ventilation. These conditions lead to respiratory, skin and eye issues and illnesses. The World Health Organization estimates that 1.5 million people in the world die prematurely each year from exposure to indoor smoke as a result of burning solid fuels. Our answer to this problem is improved ventilated stoves. We build improved stoves that save firewood (thereby decreasing deforestation), ventilate almost all emissions, and are easy to maintain.

The project has the following expected outcomes:
  • Build 100 improved ventilated stoves in the communities of Pisaq
  • Include hygiene and disease prevention training for families that construct an improved stove
  • Instruct villagers on how to build, use and maintain an improved stove
  • Each family will provide adobe bricks and wood for the construction
  • Spread the vision to other communities and districts


Elementary Education in Rural Villages and Orphanages 2012 - Education

Education and life-skills mentoring are keys to sustainability. Our staff, service expeditioners, volunteers and interns assist school-aged children to develop skills that foster self-reliance and open doors to a better life. In 2012, we are focusing on helping schools and orphanages (Schools in the Sacred Valley districts of Pisaq and Lamay, and Cusco boys orphanage, girls orphanage, and Sacred Valley "Girasol" orphanage) enhance their curriculum with one-day classes taught by Ascend Staff, interns, and Expedition Team Members.

Classes and workshops that are taught in local schools and orphanages to children by Ascend Staff and Expedition Team members are as follows:

  • Goal Setting
  • Environmental protection workshops (Proper waste disposal, recycling, river cleanup, etc.)
  • Computer literacy and typing
  • Leadership training
  • Family violence prevention
  • Drug, nicotine and alcohol abuse prevention (Through Puppets)
  • English classes