SOUTHINGTON, Connecticut — Due to the impact of COVID-19, several projects have been initiated or have transferred focus to strategies to support Peru and its vulnerable areas facing high levels of unemployment and 2,015,190 COVID-19 cases, as of June 17, 2021.
The COVID-19 lockdowns in Lima, Peru, and areas of extreme COVID-19 risk were lifted on February 25, 2021. However, as a result, the population of those living in poverty in Peru increased from 6.6 million in December 2019 to approximately 10 million in December 2020, or approximately 33% of the population.
Project Peru and Minka Project Peru
Since 1992, Project Peru has provided approximately 50 children in Zapallal, Peru, with food, education, housing and healthcare. Project Peru co-founder Carole Hudson told The Borgen Project that the organization has aimed “to give dignity and independence to people” through its programs.
During COVID-19, Project Peru expanded its efforts to aid vulnerable groups by providing new programs and moving existing programs online. Hudson informed The Borgen Project that the organization distributes food parcels that include rice, cooking oil, flour and sugar to emergency community kitchens and shared cooking pots near “the vast sprawling shanty towns in Lomas de Zapallal and Lomas de Carabayllo” and other communities. Project Peru initiated a COVID-19 virtual education program for the children after the separate local school closed down in December 2019.
The organization hopes to continue receiving support online to help maintain Project Peru programs as other fundraising events have been reduced due to COVID-19 restrictions. This support would also help the refuge provide vital employment to locals who help maintain a library, clean drinking water from a triple filtered water fountain and their own kitchen garden.
Another nonprofit, Minka Project Peru, has addressed extreme poverty in the Central Andes and the Mantaro Valley in Peru since 2009 by developing volunteer initiatives. The NGO’s volunteer program has worked with a focus on self-development projects that protect women and children while improving rural communities through cultural exchanges. The initiatives have prospective volunteer start dates ranging from April to July 2021 for establishing support systems for women and those in vulnerable homes, preventative health campaigns and healthy food access for children and families.
CHOICE Humanitarian Peru
As COVID-19 continues to impact Peru, CHOICE Humanitarian has worked to establish food security, gender equality and healthcare across the country. The NGO has focused on alleviating extreme poverty in Piura, Peru, through organizing projects that help with rural community economic growth and social development. Prior to COVID-19, CHOICE Humanitarian Peru Executive Director Wilmer Cruz LaMadrid established a rural poverty alleviation community project in the Cerritos region of Piura, Peru, where women raise ducks to sell. The project adopted selling ducks and raising chickens that lay eggs for sale as a strategy to support Peru during COVID-19.
CHOICE Humanitarian International Field Director Lonny Ward told The Borgen Project that the organization changed focus in Peru from development to relief as a result of COVID-19. Ward informed The Borgen Project about how the Peruvian government asked the organization to help explain COVID-19 to Peru and “distribute masks and set up sanitizing stations” while nonprofit partner Globus Relief helps provide medical equipment. The organization aims to address existing community challenges and help communities find sustainable resolution resources, like reopening farmers’ markets with protections.
Action Against Hunger and Other Strategies to Support Peru
In October 2020, rural poverty was anticipated to increase 29.5% in Peru. As a result, Action Against Hunger created Regional Appeal 2021-2023 for Latin America. Action Against Hunger hopes to impact 150,000 people with a needed €6.2 million to establish food security, sanitation protocols, nutrition and disaster risk initiatives.
The Peruvian government and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) worked to create the Avanzar Rural Project for farmers and provide $71 million in funding between July 2020 and 2025.
The Intiwawa project has been working to alleviate poverty in San Isidro, Peru, since 2007 through establishing education, healthcare, culture and parental empowerment programs. The organization is based in Germany and has an active Peruvian team. The project fundraises to support 60 team members who have so far helped 84 children and 55 families in Peru.
A Look Ahead
In March 2021, the Pan American Health Organization advocated for a quick response to COVID-19 in Loreto, Peru, and other areas of the Amazon basin states. As of April 2021, the U.S. government has contributed more than $34 million worth of COVID-19 emergency assistance resources as a strategy to support Peru. Hudson told The Borgen Project that organizations like Project Peru are lucky to have such devoted supporters of change, especially during the pandemic.
– Evan Winslow