tta Projects works in Bolivia, the poorest country in South America. In rural areas of Eastern Bolivia, our current service area, the majority of families live without adequate water, sanitation and access to health care. In 2012, only 24% of rural Bolivians had access to improved sanitation. Studies show that the provision of safe water coupled with proper sanitation facilities can reduce deaths from diarrhea and water-related illnesses by 65%, and improve overall childhood mortality by 55% (2014, Unicef in Bolivia, Unicef).
Through our work, over 64,500 people in Bolivia have benefited with improved health and nutrition, water, sanitation and education. Over 100 community leaders (90% women) have been trained in health promotion in 19 communities. Also, 17 communities and 380 families now have environmentally sound sanitation systems. 21 villages now have clean water systems and water committees to manage them. All this is done with a budget of under $500,000 annually.
tta Projects was created in 2003 to honor the life and legacy of Etta Turner, a teenager who believed in the power of the individual to effect meaningful change. Though Etta Turner's young life ended tragically in November 2002 while she was in Bolivia as a Rotary International Exchange student, her inspiration lives within us.
Her charisma and energy continue to guide our projects, encouraging us to engage in open dialogue, harness community participation, and validate the ideas and opinions of all people. Etta stirred us to transcend poverty by creating true friendships and to find joy as we make a positive difference in our world.
Meet our Staff
Debbie Ranniger, Ph.D.
Debbie joined Etta Projects in 2014 with over 20 years of leadership experience including vice president for advancement at Clover Park Technical College, executive director of two college non-profit foundations and president of the Kent City Council. Debbie is a member of the Passport Club of Pierce County, serving as co-chair of the RI Foundation/World Community Service committee. She has a B.A. in art and landscape architecture with a focus on sustainable practices and environmental design. Her masters and Ph.D. are in the field of speech communications with emphasis on small group process and decision-making, group and organizational leadership, and strategic planning.
Pennye Nixon, M.A.
Founder, Director of Operations
Pennye trained and practiced as a Child, Family and Marriage Therapist before founding Etta Projects. Pennye holds a M.A. in Psychology from Pacific Lutheran University and a B.A .in Human Services from The University of Tennessee. In the summer of 2009, she was awarded the RESULTS Kitsap Peninsula Global Humanitarian Award for her work with global poverty issues. In March, 2008 she was awarded the International Woman of the Year Award by the city of Montero, Bolivia. In April, 2017 she was awarded the Greater Tacoma Peace Prize. Her goal is to help build communities where everyone can be safe and healthy. Her role as Etta's mom has been one of her greatest honors.
Director of CTC
Amanda brings to Etta Projects two decades of international development experience. She offers an extensive background in program development, management, supervision, and evaluation at a director level. Amanda has worked to benefit agriculture, micro-finance, education and health projects in countries such as Bolivia, Columbia, Guatemala, Thailand and the U.S. Amanda has two masters' degrees (in public health and social work) in addition to being a Peace Corps Fellow at the University of South Carolina. She is a Rotary Peace Fellow (Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand) with a professional certificate in Conflict Resolution and Peace Studies. Amanda began her work with Etta Projects in Bolivia at the start of 2014 as the Program Director
and is now beginning a new initiative as the Director of Etta Projects' Community Transformation Center, in Bolivia. Amanda continues to work with Bolivian staff to plan and develop future projects.
Dino Macarri joined Etta Projects in March of 2017. He is Italian but has lived in Bolivia since 2014, where he previously worked at the Comedor Etta Turner (the first initiative undertaken by Etta Projects. He has a master’s degree in economic development and international cooperation. As Program Director he oversees all project activities carried out by program staff. This includes community needs assessments, monitoring and evaluation of past and present Etta Projects Programs, and the development of new projects and relationships with local authorities and partner communities
Coordinator of Health programs
When Caterine's uncle got sick with cancer and her family could not pay for his treatment, she decided to become a nurse. She followed her calling, attended nursing school, and later received a scholarship for a master's degree in Intercultural Community Family Health from USAID. Since 2010, Caterine has been practicing medicine and facilitating classes to nurses and doctors at a local hospital where she was awarded lifelong tenure. She also serves as Coordinator of Etta Projects' Health Program, teaching first aid, community health, health rights, and community organization for improved healthcare to local villagers.
Monitoring and Evaluation
When Jorge joined Etta Projects' team in 2014, he brought more than 22 years of community development work- including supporting WASH programs in Bolivia as well as homeless services in the U.S. Today, Jorge leads monitoring and evaluation efforts, facilitates workshops and designs new programs. Jorge studied theology at the Catholic University in Cochabamba and English at the University of Washington.
Construction Coordinator and Health Programs Facilitator
Gumercindo Claure joined the EP team in April 2017. He brings to Etta Projects 27 years of experience in nursing and community health work. Introduced to community health in 1982 as a Health Promoter for 9 communities in Saavedra, Bolivia, he went on to receive his bachelor’s degree in Nursing and has broad experience working with the local health centers and NGO’s. Additionally, he has worked in the construction and oversight of dry composting latrine projects.
Rosa Caballero Quiroga
Rosa Caballero Quiroga is trained as a nursing assistant, and has completed part of a bachelors degree in nursing. As part of the EP team she coordinates programs in healthy families/domestic violence prevention and sanitation, hygiene, and health. She has more than 17 years of experience in the areas of violence prevention, basic sanitation, environmental management, leadership formation, and numerous Intercultural Community Family Health programs. Outside of work, Rosa is also a leader in her hometown of Saavedra. She is currently, and has been for several years, president of her community's leadership board. She says she began working at Etta Projects because she recognized it as an opportunity where her expertise could contribute to reaching the organization's goals. She most enjoys spending time in the communities where she contributes to improving the quality of life in the communities where she works.
Elizabeth Coronado Saavedra
Office Manager / Accounting
Elizabeth Coronado Saavedra is the accountant for the office in Montero, and has been with the team since 2015. She has experience working in finances for large businesses and private institutions in Santa Cruz, Bolivia. Elizabeth describes her experience with EP by saying: "When I first started working with Etta Projects I didn't even know what the organization was about
– and like many people I thought the work for a non-profit would be easy. Today I realize how much effort each person here does to make sure each project is carried out well. We all depend on the good will of those who give, allowing us to serve families here and help them improve their quality of life. I'm very happy to work with Etta Projects, and hope that people continue to join us in helping those that most need it to achieve their dreams."
Assistant to the Director, Community Transformation Center
Dana comes to Etta Projects with extensive experience in marketing, social media, graphic design and video production. She will assist the Community Transformation Director, Amanda Martin, in the marketing, promotion, and overall managment of the Community Transformation Center. She will also work with volunteer groups and help with the coordination of center activities.