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 71,150 people in Bolivia have benefited with improved health and nutrition, water, sanitation and education. 130 community leaders (90% women) have been trained in health promotion in 25 communities. Also, 19 communities and 435 families now have environmentally sound sanitation systems. 31 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.
All photo credits on this website go to Lisa Bontje Photography. See more of her work here.
Meet our Staff
Kathryn is responsible for the strategy, oversight and growth of Etta Projects’ portfolio as we work to address systemic health and social issues in rural Eastern Bolivia. She brings 30 years of experience in strengthening funding and administrative programs to increase service delivery and project-based improvement that address real-world need. Kathryn holds a Master of Public Administration from The Evergreen State College and a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration from the University of Washington-Tacoma. She has led successful projects in rural areas including community planning, development, and construction.
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.
Ashley is Etta Projects Accountant in the U.S. and is responsible for combining U.S. and Bolivia accounting and providing financial information to the Board and Grantors. She holds a Masters in Accounting and Financial Management from Keller University and a Bachelors in Accounting from Devry. She is also a licensed CPA in WA state and has worked with private accounting firms as well as been a Tax Accountant at a public CPA firm for 12 years. Ashley moved from WA state to Texas in 2018 with her husband James and two daughters, who keep her very busy with club volleyball. Any free time she can find she enjoys cooking, working out, exploring her new home state & reading.
Dana comes to Etta Projects with extensive experience in marketing, social media, graphic design and video production. She has worked in non-profit healthcare for 8 years and is responsible for the day-to-day promotion and communications of Etta Projects globally. Dana has an affinity for working with indigenous communities and sharing in their rich culture while brining safe and sanitary solutions throughout Eastern Bolivia.
In her Bolivia-based role, Dana worked previously as Communications Coordinator at the Community Transformation. This role focused on overall management of the Community Transformation Center, coordinator with volunteers, groups scheduled, including orientation, yoga and mindfulness activities.
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
Caterine Castro Senzano
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.
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."
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.
Volunteer Coordinator, CTC
Alzbeta "Beta" Adamova assists our Community Transformation Center as the Volunteer and Group Logistics Coordinator. Beta enjoys working with our groups and neighboring communities to bring awareness about health and sanitation to rural Bolivia. She has a knack for working with children and adults, as well as, creating delicious meals in the kitchen. Her travels have taken her from Patagonia to the Canary Islands and we are so lucky to have her professionalism on our team. Beta's warm smile greets all of our guests and makes them feel right at home.
Site Engineer, CTC
Jakub "Cuba" Zalvar is our Site Engineer at the Community Transformation Center. He became involved initially as a volunteer at the CTC, but shortly after, put his talents to work full time helping reinvent many projects that needed a facelift, including working alongside our Bolivian Staff. Cuba enjoys backpacking and exploring all corners of the globe. He and his partner are originally from the Czech Republic, but now call the CTC home.
Don Alfredo Villalba
Maintenance and Groundskeeper, CTC
Don Alfredo is a familiar face of the Community Transformation Center, and knew these lands long before we were established on the property. Having trained in the military, Don Alfredo can speak Spanish, Quechua and Portuguese, but even more impressive is his knowledge of the local plants and species. For nearly 20 years, prior to coming to Tekoati, Don Alfredo was an Amboro National Park Guard, responsible for educating citizens on respecting the natural world for future generations and confronting poachers, commonly found throughout Bolivia.
As the eyes and ears of Tekaoti, there is not a stone unturned or shrub unidentified that Don Alfredo cannot identify. Originally from the Chuquisaca in Bolivia, Don Afredo now calls Buena Vista his home and can be seen around the property helping out in many areas of his expertise.
Don Luiz is native to the neighboring community of Saavedra and began working for Etta Projects when we organized a community water project in his hometown. He was able to train and learn the skills needed to become a qualified electrician and plumber. When it became difficult to find consistent work in his village, Don Luiz became enchanted with the Community Transformation Center, after attending a workshop and quickly asked about employment. The rest, as they say, is history. Don Luiz is a proud father of 3 beautiful children. He is always curious about trying new vegetarian food at the CTC and is practicing his English with our international volunteers.