LIMA — Peru has experienced steady economic growth since the early 2000s, but the poverty gap between urban and rural communities continues – as of 2014, 15 percent of urban citizens live in poverty as compared to 46 percent of those in rural areas. While working to better its cities (especially with improved water initiatives), multiple projects in Peru aim to encompass rural communities by boosting their strengths (like tourism and culture) and addressing their weaknesses (like relevant education, land development practices and protection of indigenous peoples).
Here are five development projects in Peru, each one happening right now and each one designed to improve the quality of the lives of Peru’s poor.
The Cusco Regional Development project began in 2013 through the World Bank, and is slated through 2019. The project includes four main objectives, each tailored to serve and promote Peru’s burgeoning tourism industry.
First, the project aims to increase quality and consistency among goods, services and opportunities offered to tourists. Next, it will aim to improve practices for keeping streets and public spaces cleaned up and free of litter and debris, as well as acquire better equipment for the job. Then, the project will work to create better risk management practices, especially in the wake of natural disasters – it will focus on improved resilience of infrastructure after a disaster, as well as the resilience of the local people.
Finally, through management, monitoring and evaluation, the project will concentrate on strengthening the value of the role of the governing bodies of the tourism industry.
In 1982, the World Bank approved a loan for improvements to the water and sewerage system in Lima, Peru. The long-term results were so significant that SEDAPAL, the Lima Water and Sewerage Service, is now approved to receive an additional $55 million loan to complete a second stage. Through the loan, SEDAPAL can continue rehabbing the water supply and networks; further increase their efficiency; and can better manage, follow up on and evaluate their projects.
The first stage of the project reached 158,000 citizens in Northern Lima – the second stage aims to help over 200,000 more.
3. Peru is a REDD+ country
Under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) program offers financial incentives to developing countries who reduce emissions by leaving their forests intact. Essentially, by placing these incentives, REDD+ is placing value on forests and their role in carbon capture and storage (keeping a portion of carbon from contributing to the greenhouse effect). This way, forests can now compete with the land development projects that once led to their demise.
As of 2015, Peru has received $35 million in REDD+ incentives. The country uses the money to invest in agriculture, tourism, handcrafts and agroforestry. For example, in one area of protected forest, 200 families became certified to grow organic coffee for export to the US – a sound testament to the potential of development projects in Peru.
4. Rural Education
Most standard school content in Peru is designed for young people living urban areas. 84 percent of children in cities have access to secondary school, compared to only 66 percent in rural areas. Combined with the long distances to the nearest schools and the need for children to help in the home, the lack of education relevant to rural lifestyles eventually diminishes the importance of school to rural families. Enter the Alternate Education project.
Among development projects in Peru, the Alternate Education project provides arguably the most direct impact. Through the Fundación Codespa, the project focuses on this disconnect between rural residents and standard education by creating interaction between work and school life – students live and work at home for two weeks, then attend and board at school for two weeks.
At the Alternate Rural Schools (ARS), parents and teachers are involved in decision-making for curricula, addressing practical issues for rural life as well as standard requirement of Peru’s Ministry of Education. Today, there are 40 schools in 11 regions, reaching more than 2800 Peruvian children.
5. Preventing Malnutrition Among Indigenous Peoples
Together with The Hunger Project, the Center for Indigenous Peoples’ Cultures of Peru (Chirapaq) contributes to the health of children through the project “Prevention and Reduction of Chronic Childhood Malnutrition in Quechua and Shawi Communities through Traditional Indigenous Knowledge and Biodiversity.”
The project oversees activities like cooking workshops and gathering knowledge on traditional medicine practices; it researches restoring traditional and lost crops, including several now-recovered varieties of potatoes; and it provides education on hygiene practices and house planning for the best possible health of the family, especially for children under the age of three. The project even contributes to illustrated cookbooks with text written in the local languages.
Through these and other development projects in Peru, the country is on the road to stability. In working to boost the quality of life of Peru’s poor through clean water, better education, improved nutrition and agriculture opportunities, the country can better support its people. In turn, Peru’s people will be ready and able to support Peru’s promising industries.
– Jaymie Greenway