Students Awarded Grant for Peace Project in Peru


Notre Dame graduating seniors Andrew Masak and Caitlin Hildebrand have won a $10,000 grant for a project they designed to promote health and nutrition in an indigenous community in Peru.

The project will be funded by the Davis Projects for Peace, which sponsors grassroots projects designed by college students to promote peace. 

Peace through Productivity
Masak and Hildebrand will collaborate with a local nongovernmental group in the agrarian village of Pamparonas, Peru, to bring health education to local schools, churches, and civic groups.

Research shows that healthy communities are more economically productive and less likely to be plagued by violence, said Masak, a political science and peace studies student.

Returning to Roots
Pamparonas is one of many communities in Peru struggling to reestablish itself following a long period of centralized government rule, violence from extremist groups, and a history of discrimination against indigenous people. 

Nearly half the population of Pamparonas is malnourished. Following Peru’s economic crisis in the 1980s, Hildebrand said, many farmers opted to sell their produce and livestock to buy less expensive, processed food with little nutritional value.

The Davis-funded project includes efforts to re-introduce the high-protein Incan grain kiwicha into the local diet, implement a school health curriculum, and collaborate with local women, who, as primary caregivers and food preparers, are key to community health and to the project’s long-term sustainability.

Masak and Hildebrand, from DeForest, Wisconsin, and Marietta, Georgia, respectively, will spend the next year in Pamparomas working on the project.

Contact: Renée LaReau, (574) 631-5098,