Diversity and disaster
Peru’s rich and varied heritage includes the ancient Incan capital of Cuzco and the lost city of Machu Picchu. But behind the tourist attractions and cultural richness lies endemic inequality and poverty. In rural areas, half the people live in extreme poverty.
Our HQ in Peru is in the capital, Lima. It was established in 1985. We develop projects in coastal, mountain and jungle regions, in close coordination with local organisations, municipalities, NGOs and universities. We also have field offices in Cajamarca, San Martin and Cusco.
We concentrate our work in Peru on agriculture, energy access, climate change adaptation and disaster preparedness. Many communities have needs in some or all of these areas, so our projects often combine these approaches.
As the climate continues to change, we are increasing the sustainability of our work by linking programme and project strategies to local and regional government policies. As a result, we have working agreements with regional governments, provincial municipalities and other local organisations.
Peru’s spectacular scenery disguises an extreme climate, which is becoming more extreme every year. Poor people are at the mercy of earthquakes and other disasters.
Resilience that protects
Peru is at the mercy of regular disasters, including earthquakes, floods, landslides and droughts. Climate change means that disasters like these are becoming more frequent and more severe. As always, it’s the poorest people, living in the most remote areas of the country, who are hardest hit. We develop solutions that help the most vulnerable prepare for disasters and get back on their feet quickly afterwards. Read more…
Every year, thousands of Peruvian families have their lives turned upside down by disasters such as earthquakes. With a scarcity of forecasting solutions in place, they never know when the next earthquake is going to strike. In the aftermath, they struggle to rebuild their lives and livelihoods.
Forecasting systems are invaluable to vulnerable communities. They mean that people are more likely to know in advance when disasters are likely to strike. That’s why these systems are at the heart of our disaster preparedness work in Peru. The systems are owned and run locally, so they also provide employment. As well as predicting disasters, we also help people prepare for them and minimise the damage they cause.
We train people to build earthquake and flood-resistant housing. This helps people get back on their feet when disaster strikes. With our help, community elders are encouraged to make disaster plans that benefit their whole community, including the most vulnerable, such as children and elderly people.
By this time next year, we plan to work with 500 new people, companies and organisations to help them plan more effectively for disasters, including those caused by climate change. Within three years we plan to have worked with the Government to include our solutions in national planning.
Farming that works
Being a farmer in Peru is a constant struggle. Poor soil, underdeveloped markets and frequent floods and droughts mean that people find it very difficult to make a living off the land. Many farmers even struggle to feed their own families. We use a mix of planet-friendly interventions to help Peru’s farmers thrive in the face of these challenges. Read more…
Fluctuating product prices and remote locations are two more hardships facing Peru’s smallholder farmers. It’s hardly surprising that many people are deserting the countryside to look for work in the cities. This causes its own problems, with urban infrastructure failing to keep pace with migration. The farmers that remain often resort to destructive farming practices that aren’t sustainable and damage the environment.
We’re approaching this challenge with a package of interventions that add up to a holistic solution. Harnessing the power of the sun and running water is bringing electricity to remote rural areas. We’re helping to reintroduce native seeds that are well-suited to the variable soil quality.
By helping people form co-operatives and access funding, we’re able to energise businesses and make farming more profitable. And our work with local authorities and the Government mean that our work can have an even greater impact.
With our support, Peruvian farmers are able to feed their families and have enough produce left over to sell for a profit. They use the money they earn to buy more nutritious food for their families, to educate their children and to make improvements to their homes to help them withstand disasters. Importantly, our solutions are sustainable, so they don’t damage the environment, helping to preserve Peru’s unique ecosystems.
Energy that transforms
In Peru, up to 1 million people don’t have electricity. It’s not just in people’s homes that this vital resource is lacking – 30% of schools and 20% of health clinics are forced to operate without power. In these areas, people usually cook using firewood, a practice that’s damaging both to their health and the environment. We’re fighting these challenges head-on with renewable energy production. Read more…
The sustainable electricity schemes we’ve helped to develop use the power of the sun and flowing water to generate clean, renewable energy. With electricity in their homes, school and clinics, families are happier and healthier. Children can study at home in the evening, women feel safer when they’re outside at night and businesses are more profitable now that they can use power tools and computers.
Energy poverty is felt most keenly by women. They spend hours every day collecting firewood to use for fuel. They then have to cook with this wood, breathing in toxic fumes that are dangerous to their health. Children, especially girls, are often expected to lend a hand collecting wood. And their education suffers because they have less time for school and there are no reliable light sources for them to study by.
With our partners, we’ve developed improved cook stoves and briquettes made from waste biomass. In combination, these two solutions omit the need to chop down trees for firewood and mean that cooking is a faster, cheaper and cleaner activity. Women don’t have to spend ages collecting wood and instead can spend quality time with their families or spend their time on their own businesses.
We have several projects planned over the coming years that will further roll out our sustainable energy solutions to more people in rural Peru. We’re also working closely with the Peruvian Government to make sure that their own interventions are sustainable and gender-sensitive.
In 2017, we won the Zayed Future Energy Prize in the NGO category for our invaluable contributions to reducing energy poverty and promoting sustainability across the world.
Funding partners for our work in Peru include:
- UNEP – United Nations Environment Programme
- UNDP – United Nations Development Programme
- Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund
- Plan Binacional de Desarrollo de la Región Fronteriza Perú-Ecuador
- European Union
- Lutheran World Relief
- Christadelphian Meal a Day