Susana Villarán, Executive Director
Susana Villarán
In 2017, the Center for Development with Dignity (CEDED) welcomed Susana Villarán as our new executive director. She brings with her four decades of experience with local and national non-profit organizations, human rights advocacy, and government service. She was the first female elected mayor of metropolitan Lima (2011-14) and served as Peru’s Minister for the Advancement of Women and Human Development (2001-01), creating the Mesa de Concertación (roundtable of dialogue) for the struggle against poverty and the National Program Against Domestic and Sexual Violence. As a human rights activist, she was Executive Secretary of the National Committee for Human Rights, Vice-President of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights for the Organization of American States (OAS), and was elected by the UN General Assembly to serve on the Committee of the Rights of the Child. An advocate of women’s rights and empowerment, she served as president of Peru’s national network of women elected officials (RENAMA). She is delighted to join the Building Dignity community.

Ana María Mejía Huisa, Program Coordinator
Ana María Mejía
Ana María joined the Building Dignity team in 2012, bringing with her several years of experience coordinating social justice initiatives and development projects in poor neighborhoods throughout Lima. In particular, she is interested in literacy, education and health.A native of Villa El Salvador, Ana María has founded and led a number of young groups and cultural initiatives in the district. Her work with children and young people focuses on early stimulation, leadership and self-esteem. Previously, Ana María worked for the National Institute of Family Wellbeing and the Saint Martha Home in the district of Pachacamac. As Program Coordinator at the Center for Development with Dignity, Ana María coordinates our community education activities and organizes community outreach efforts. 

Jonah Watt, Program Director
A Boston area native, Jonah graduated from Bowdoin College (2018) with a degree in Latin American studies and a minor inearth and oceanographic science. At Bowdoin, Jonah conducted an honors thesis on the history of the Chilean student movement.  In Chile, he studied in Valparaíso at the Universidad de Playa Ancha and interned with an organization dedicated to science and technology education and outreach. At Bowdoin, Jonah worked with the Maine Mobile Health Program, which serves migrant and seasonal farmworkers, including many from Latin America and the Caribbean. Jonah also led his campus’s climate action group for four years, where he combined his passion for community organizing with his commitment to climate justice. He is thrilled to work in La Encantada with Building Dignity, and he looks forward to learning about social justice in Peru. 

Jesús Valencia, Community Liaison
Jsús Valencia
A native of Piura in the north of Peru, Jesús left behind the poor agricultural village of Tablazo Norte in 1990 to seek a brighter future in Lima. Beginning in 2008, Jesús served as founding director of the Center for Development with Dignity.  A widely respected community leader, Jesús's other leadership posts have included Secretary General of La Encantada, President of the Human Rights Committee of Villa El Salvador, and President of the Multisectoral Commission, which completed a water and sewer infrastructure project for 55,000 poor settlers. Jesús spends his  mornings working as the director of television and radio programming at Radio Stereo Villa, and spends his afternoons and evenings working as a community organizer. In 2007, he hosted visits by Peruvian president Alán Garcia and Bolivian president Evo Morales.

Martha Huamán, Director of Logistics 
Born in the highlands of Cusco, Peru, Martha migrated to the capital city of Lima in the 1990s where she and her husband Jesús Valencia helped found the neighborhood of La Encantada in 1996. Since then, she has helped La Encantada become a thriving community and has been a principle organizer of our annual Chocolatada project since 2001. In 2008, Martha and Jesús donated the use of their land to the Center for Development with Dignity and they now live on the second floor of the building, with their children Karina, Jean Pierre, and Rolando, and their nephew Plinio.
Henrik Mitsch, Web Designer
Henrik Mitsch
Having lived in Latin America, Henrik is Building Dignity's Master of All Things Electronic. He works on Mozilla's Open Innovation team based out of Munich, Germany. Before that he held various product management and technology roles in telecommunications, software and automotive industries. Henrik holds a master’s degree in Information Management from the University of Vienna and an Advanced Certificate for Executives from the MIT Sloan School of Management.