3rd Class, 2005-2007
Field Placement: PROINPA, Southern Altiplano Region, Bolivia
Damiana Astudillo worked on the Neglected and Underutilized Species initiative at the International Plant Genetic Resource Institute (IPGRI, now called Bioversity International), which seeks to promote crops that are marginally produced and consumed but that have important income earning potential and nutritional value. Specifically, she conducted a research project on quinoa. Her main task was to assess the actual and potential nutritional contribution of quinoa and its diversity in the quinoa producing households. Damiana worked directly with about 300 quinoa farmers in 12 communities of the Southern Altiplano Region of Bolivia, conducting focus group discussions, nutritional surveys and workshops on quinoa and nutrition.
Policy Placement: International Plant Genetic Resource Institute (IPGRI), Washington, DC
In response to requests from the community members that participated in the quinoa project, Damiana developed educational material on nutrition as well as a recipe book that focused on innovative ways to use quinoa in the communities. In addition, Damiana used the data collected from the farmers to develop policy recommendations that would reconcile the cultural, nutritional and economic needs of the population. Among the proposals she worked on were the development of technology for smallholders that replicates traditional grain processing, awareness and education programs on nutrition with a focus on the use of native crops, inclusion of quinoa and other native crops in school lunches and other feeding programs, and a general social marketing of quinoa.
Damiana received a Master’s in Public Policy and International Development from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University. Her work experience included consulting for FINCAPeru (a micro credit organization) and the Ministry of Housing and Development in Uruguay, six years of workforce development programming in Syracuse, New York, agricultural research for the International Fund for Agricultural Development and policy research and environmental lobbying for Clean Water Action. She is fluent in Spanish.