Awamaki was formed in early 2009 to support a cooperative of 10 women weavers from Patacancha, a rural Quechua community in the Andes of Peru. Awamaki’s founders, Kennedy Leavens (USA) and Miguel Galdo (Peru), had worked together at Awamaki’s predecessor organization with the Patacancha weaving cooperative for two years. When that organization floundered and finally collapsed, Miguel and Kennedy formed Awamaki to continue their work with the weavers. Since then, the organization has grown to include other programs in economic empowerment, education and skills development, and sustainable community tourism.
Awamaki collaborates with the greater Ollantaytambo community to create economic opportunities and improve social well-being.
Awamaki envisions that the communities of the Sacred Valley have access to education and training in order to benefit from the opportunities provided by globalization and the expanding tourism market in an economically and environmentally sustainable way. In particular, we aim to promote social inclusion by working with women and low-income families and other marginalized groups. Awamaki envisions productive and thoughtful collaboration between local and international communities in order to foster positive, sustainable development. The members of the cooperatives that we work with will obtain stronger economic foundations through access to new economic markets, locally, nationally, and internationally. They will obtain personal development skills leading to an enhanced social well-being for their families, whilst revaluing and conserving their traditions and customs. We envision that the women we work with will gain skills to increasingly manage their own cooperatives, as well as influence the direction of Awamaki. Visitors will engage in transformative experiences through volunteering and tourism initiatives that sustain local economies and promote the region’s unique cultural landscape. We envision acting as a leader among a thriving and well-coordinated group of local community based organisations serving the public.
Awamaki believes in collaborating with the community
Awamaki strives to respond to needs defined by the community. Communities should be actors and the primary decision-makers in their own development and how they engage with changing economic, political, and social climates. Awamaki’s role is to provide the tools and opportunities to community members so that they can benefit from globalization and the modern economy in a sustainable way that maintains and promotes cultural identity, social well-being, environmental conservation, and economic prosperity.
Awamaki believes in being accountable to our stakeholders
Awamaki strives to steward financial, human and other resources entrusted to us in the most effective way possible for the fulfillment of our mission and the furtherance of the public good. We strive to be accountable to staff, volunteers, community members, donors, and the public, in our financial income and expenditure, and our programs’ challenges and successes.
Awamaki believes in transparency and open communication
Within Awamaki, and in Awamaki’s interaction with communities, constituents, volunteers and donors, Awamaki seeks to maintain open communication regarding our goals, activities and stewardship of the resources entrusted to us by the public. Awamaki constantly seeks to maintain the public trust by making relevant information about our work readily available.
Awamaki believes in sustainability, excellence, and innovation
Solutions to challenges in economic development should be as self-sustaining as possible. Sustainable and effective solutions that empower communities will arise from creative problem solving, strong leadership, and good teamwork.
Awamaki believes in women’s economic empowerment
Women deserve equal access to entrepreneurship opportunities and markets. Putting economic opportunity and income in the hands of women is the most effective way to positively impact family well-being and community development.
Awamaki believes in mutually beneficial exchanges
International service can transform participants into lifelong advocates of social justice. Awamaki strives to provide meaningful and impactful experiences for volunteers and tourists that foster their passion for community-led development. These experiences should be mutually beneficial to foreign participants and local populations.
Awamaki believes in inclusiveness, fairness, and honesty
Awamaki has respect for multiculturalism and diversity, and strives to be unbiased in situations of conflict resolution. Awamaki operates a fair and open recruitment process in our search for staff and volunteers who have the necessary skills and knowledge to help us advance in our mission. Awamaki believes in fair compensation for all staff. Awamaki is deeply grateful for the hard work of our volunteers and we strive to publicly acknowledge and appreciate this work.