Quechuas, Aymaras, Ashaninkas and many other Amazon Indigenous Peoples constitute Peru’s indigenous communities. These communities face particular economic challenges that are different from other non-indigenous demographics. In 2022, 38.5% of indigenous people were declared to be in poverty. Limited access to education, health care, discrimination and loss of lands and resources are some of the reasons leading to the increase in poverty among Peru’s native people.

Supporting Indigenous Businesses

Businesses in Peru’s indigenous economy mainly focus on agriculture, tourism and the selling of cosmetics and handicrafts like jewelry, ceramics, textiles, etc. In recent years, the Peruvian government has increased its efforts to put indigenous businesses in the spotlight. This is significant since native-owned businesses tend to be overshadowed by non-indigenous ones. For instance, in 2022 the government hosted a training program in partnership with the Australian Embassy called “Growing Indigenous Businesses Through Trade.” It was funded by Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, in partnership with Treasury and the National Indigenous Australians Agency. The program covered topics such as exports, identifying markets, intellectual property rights, innovative business models and business pitches.

Funding Women-Led Entrepreneurship

In November 2022, the Ministry of Agrarian Development and Irrigation financed 15 different female-led organizations as a part of the “Rural and Indigenous Women Entrepreneurship Strategy” (RIWES). The money spent on each organization ranged from £12,844 to £31,467, and it came from the Rural and Indigenous Women Entrepreneurship Fund, which has been approved to continue on for 2023. A few of the winning organizations include Santa Rosa Moquegache Japo Women’s Association for Dairy Produce, Native Community Palma Real’s Association of Female Artisans and the Esperanza del Bosque Cooperative. These organizations are able to boost Peru’s Indigenous Economy by providing sustainable business opportunities for producers to increase their income.

NGOs Supporting Entrepreneurs

Besides the funding of entrepreneurship, the RIWES will develop programs on business plans, technical assistance and agricultural technology management. It is estimated that 4,700 rural and indigenous female entrepreneurs will benefit from the RIWES’s continuation in 2023. Several NGOs support indigenous entrepreneurship as well. Additionally, Awamaki partnered with eight women-led, Andean artisan cooperatives to help them launch their products successfully in the global market. They offer these cooperatives training on quality control, product development, financial management and business leadership.

Peruvian NGO AIDER stresses the importance of entrepreneurship for Peru’s indigenous economy, stating that it leads to social inclusion, economic security and quality improvement. Besides, indigenous leadership can help ensure the preservation of the environment’s natural resources and sustainable development. Many communities such as Callería, Roya, Junín Pablo, Buenos Aires, Nuevo Loreto and Pueblo Nuevo have officially committed to environment-friendly practices and obtained certification from the Forest Stewardship Council. Finally, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) is an organization focused on improving the economic conditions of small-scale producers located in Peru’s northern and southern highlands region. With a total of 12 projects and an investment of 244.36 million dollars, the IFAD is estimated to have a reach of over 180,000 Peruvian households.

What’s Next?

The sustained expansion of indigenous businesses could translate into a major source of economic progress for Peru’s indigenous communities. Also, the fact that both national and international organizations, from governments to non-profits, are working to provide the necessary resources to help indigenous entrepreneurship grow suggests hope for more positive things to come.

Luciana Mena

Photo: Pixabay

Blueberry Farming in PeruBlueberry farming in Peru has seen remarkable development in recent years. In 2022, the South American country became the world’s largest exporter of blueberries for the fourth year in a row, with overseas blueberry sales generating more than $1.3 billion in national income that year alone. With the rapid development of blueberry plantations in the south of Peru, the country is experiencing an agricultural boom that is expected to continue as the global demand for blueberries rises. Here’s why Peru’s thriving blueberry industry, which took shape in less than a decade, is promising for poverty reduction and equitable economic growth.

Agricultural Poverty in Peru

Peru’s economic growth has already significantly helped to reduce poverty and promote development. In 2018, the country’s poverty rate decreased to 20.5% and extreme poverty fell from 11.2% in 2007 to 2.8%. However, there is still significant agricultural poverty in Peru, with many smallholder farmers facing more challenges to life and livelihood than urban dwellers. These include food insecurity, reduced life expectancy and socioeconomic inequalities that limit access to income and health care. Underscoring the disparity, poverty impacts 44% of Peru’s rural population yet only 15.1% of the urban population. High poverty levels in Peru’s rural regions have resulted in widespread “migration to urban centres, where market activity offers greater livelihood options.” Consequently, about 75% of Peruvians now live in or near urban centers hoping to secure a better standard of living.

Peru’s Blueberry Plantations

The agricultural sector has been critical for the country’s economic growth. Seasonal exports such as avocados, grapes, asparagus and more recently, blueberries have helped Peru develop one of Latin America’s strongest economies. With the ability to now cultivate an estimated 50 varieties of blueberries, with some specifically developed to thrive in the Peruvian climate, blueberry farming in Peru has seen great success. And this success is due to the country’s long growing days, large areas of arable land and the ability to export to markets in Asia and the Americas. Applying proven crop management practices, many of the new blueberry varieties developed and grown in Peru have longer harvesting periods and classify as better-quality fruit. Furthermore, innovations have been made to develop varieties that can withstand longer shipping times and guarantee longer shelf lives without increased costs for producers.

Highlighting the rapid progress of blueberry farming in Peru, the country had only about 70 hectares of blueberry plantations in 2012, which had grown to about 14,000 hectares by 2020. The Peruvian Blueberry Growers’ Association estimated that Peru’s blueberry exports could reach 285,000 metric tons for the 2022-2023 season, marking a 28% increase from the previous year. Peruvian blueberry farmers are now beginning to invest in sustainable practices to ensure the longevity of blueberry farming in Peru.

Employment and Blueberry Farming in Peru

According to the United States Department of Agriculture, “Peru’s blueberry harvests are labor intensive,” as “all fruits are hand-picked to avoid fruit damage.” Given this demand for labor, blueberry farming in Peru accounted for approximately 135,000 jobs in 2023, with 60% of those positions belonging to women. The U.S.-Peru Free Trade Agreement (PTPA) has strengthened the potential of Peru’s blueberry industry to create jobs and help lift rural Peruvians out of poverty. By allowing Peru to export blueberries to the United States (which accounts for more than 50% of Peru’s blueberry exports) without tariffs, the PTPA is helping to ensure that more income from blueberries remains in Peru, where it can help promote industry growth and create more jobs in the future.

Looking Ahead

Blueberry farming in Peru has helped many rural families gain access to secure employment, a steady source of income and the basic resources needed to lead a healthy, fulfilling life. The South American country continues to reap the economic benefits of being the world’s top exporter of blueberries, with hopes that the growth of this lucrative industry can help reduce poverty and alleviate the social and economic disparities between Peru’s rural and urban populations.

Jennifer Preece
Photo: Flickr

Renewable Energy in Peru
Peru has excellent potential for renewable energy — its geographical landscape offers opportunities for solar, wind, geothermal and hydroelectric energy. In recent years, the Peruvian government and energy companies have shifted focus to increasing the use of renewable energy in Peru, which would provide jobs and create an opportunity for export growth.

Electrifying Peru

The government is working to provide all its communities with reliable and renewable electricity; however, this does not come without challenges. The Peruvian Amazon makes up 62% of the country and its difficult terrain means that connecting the area with the national grid is challenging. A 2020 report by Energypedia found that the Amazon region had the lowest rural electrification rate, 18%, compared to the coastal regions that are more accessible.

Access to electricity is key to poverty alleviation, economic growth and greater quality of life. Communities without electricity are isolated from society and their day ends when natural light ends. A lack of electricity also limits the availability of services and impacts the operations of facilities. In response, several energy companies are working to provide renewable energy in Peru and improve the quality of life in regions where there is a disconnect.

Facing the Impacts of a Lack of Electricity

Peru’s former minister of energy and mines, Miguel Incháustegui, stated that the largest proportion of energy in the Amazonian region in Peru comes from fossil fuels. Because this region is often isolated from the national grid, it must use generators to power its health centers, homes and educational institutes, which is detrimental to the environment. Generators are costly and use gasoline, a fossil fuel that is both expensive and scarce.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, when the nation switched to online learning, school-age children from rural communities could not access education due to the lack of electricity and internet connection. In the Amazon, 42% of children did not have complete access to education and became more isolated. In 2021, the Catholic mission Apostolic Vicariate of Iquitos provided solar-powered radios to ensure children could tune into lessons offered by the Peruvian Ministry of Education.

Acciona Provides Energy

Acciona is a renewable energy company working to expand renewable energy in Peru. The company is constructing a wind farm in the Ica region that will be fully operational by the end of 2023 and will generate enough energy for 478,000 households. Additionally, the revenue from the wind farm will go into educational programs to support environmental and social initiatives.

In 2019, Acciona delivered electricity to 400 families in the Peruvian Amazon. Acciona’s program, Luz en Casa Amazonía, has provided electricity to Indigenous communities and aims to extend its outreach to an additional 1,000 households. Acciona uses third-generation photovoltaic kits that are easy to manage and transport and remain free of harmful contaminants.

Positive Impacts

The extensive use of renewable energy in Peru has a positive impact on the environment, health and education. Old forms of lighting, such as lighters and oil lamps, generate harmful fumes that increase the likelihood of lung disease. Acciona reports that households mainly use electricity to extend study hours, prepare meals and continue daily activities after dark. Better health and access to education for more hours a day can help to alleviate poverty in rural communities.

Renewable energy is important in order to overcome poverty. A 2022 Enel report said renewable energy in Peru could make up around 81% of its power generation by 2030. A move in the right direction to make green electricity readily available to all Peru’s inhabitants would certainly help improve living conditions across the country.

– Eva O’Donovan
Photo: Flickr

Mental Health in Peru
Mental health in Peru is a topic that has gained more attention in recent years, leading to significant research findings and help from government efforts and NGOs alike. This is especially important as mental disorders are present in 20% of adult Peruvians. This number increases to 20.7% in kids older than 12 years old.

Schizophrenia, depression, anxiety and alcohol dependence were the most common disorders detected at a national level. Women more frequently receive diagnoses of depression, while alcoholism and substance abuse affect more men. Moreover, yearly suicide rates are higher than ever before, with 31% of the total number of suicides in Peru taking place in 2020, 2021 and 2022. 

Past traumatic experiences, environmental stressors and poverty are the main factors for developing mental health problems. Traumatic experiences in Peru mostly stem from domestic violence and the internal armed conflict that took place from 1980 to 2000. These issues make victims more vulnerable to developing mental health conditions, especially if these experiences are situated in a person’s formative years, as in the case of abused children.

Childhood Trauma in Peru

In Peru, 68.9% of children aged 9 to 11 and 78% of children aged 12 to 17 have suffered psychological or physical abuse at least once in their lives. Additionally, 67.6% of women aged 18 or older have suffered from psychological, physical and/or sexual violence. In a survey from 2019, 46.1% of respondents stated they believe parents have the right to physically punish their children and 33.2% of respondents stated that they agree with the statement that unfaithful women should receive some sort of punishment from their partner.

Peru’s internal armed conflict of the 1980s is a particular source of trauma for some Peruvians since an approximate total of 69,280 people died or went missing during the conflict. The loss of loved ones, fear, distrust and the resulting sense of hypervigilance can lead to anxiety disorder and/or substance abuse. Research confirms this connection by finding a higher prevalence of anxiety and alcoholism among adults in Peru’s rural areas. These outcomes are not surprising, given that 79% of the conflict’s victims resided in Peru’s rural areas.

Outside of abuse and conflict, environmental stress also has negative repercussions for both the mind and body. Noise and proximity to street residue are the main contributors to environmental stress in Lima, Peru’s capital. Lima’s lowest income districts have less efficient trash management services, putting its residents at a higher exposure to garbage on the street. On the other hand, psychosocial stressors stem from Peruvians’ fear of crime, violence, poverty and concerns regarding their health that lead to feelings of worry, sadness, anger and discontent. 

Improving Mental Health in Peru

The Peruvian government is actively working on making mental health care services more accessible for all citizens. The Health Ministry (MINSA) has 248 active Community Mental Health Centers, which are establishments specialized in mental illnesses and psychosocial problems. Furthermore, the MINSA developed Central 113, a hotline that health professionals operate to provide medical information and guidance. This hotline is accessible 24/7, and option #5 is dedicated to psychology and mental health. Both state approaches are free of charge.

Moreover, the government approved the Health Ministry’s Guidelines for Mental Health Care during COVID-19. This document expands on children’s mental health with an added focus on COVID-19 and its effects. It highlights issues such as childhood abuse (physical and psychological) as a major cause for future mental health problems and it offers advice such as respecting a child’s individuality, encouraging them to freely express their emotions and limiting the amount of information they are prone to consume through the internet. The document calls for a nationwide, multidisciplinary application of the guidelines, from health institutions to regional and local governments and even police departments. 

At the international level, Partners in Health is a social justice organization that has provided women with free mental health services. Its care plan offers therapy for trans women and in 2015, it constructed a safe house in Lima for all women living with schizophrenia. In 2022, 6,219 women received treatment through their Mental Health Programme.

Looking Ahead

Mental health in Peru has earned more attention in recent years. It is a broad topic, with mental health problems stemming from reasons that are mostly country or region specific. Thankfully, the Health Ministry is actively contributing to mental health research and providing solutions such as Central 113 and the development of the Community Mental Health Centers. In addition, NGOs such as Partners in Health are making mental health services more accessible across the country. With continued efforts from external and state organizations, hopefully more Peruvians can look forward to improved wellbeing in the years to come.

– Luciana Mena
Photo: Flickr

Period Poverty in Peru
In May 2018, the World Bank shockingly announced that more than 500 million women worldwide live in period poverty. The inability to manage menstrual health due to the expense or unavailability of sanitary products or bathroom facilities is an issue women face globally. In counties where general poverty rates are higher, the level of period poverty is high. Indeed, Action Aid estimates that in developing nations, “half of all women and girls are sometimes forced to use items like rags, grass and paper” owing to a complete lack of hygiene products. One such country that experiences period poverty at a higher rate than the global average is Peru.

Poverty and COVID-19

Peru is located on South America’s west Pacific coast and with a population of 33 million people is the fourth largest nation on the continent. The Peruvian economy experienced significant growth in the first two decades of the 21st century with the rate of moderate poverty more than halving from 42.4% in 2007 to 20.2% in 2019. However, the COVID-19 pandemic severely impacted Peru.

In terms of the number of deaths as a percentage of the population, Peru has the worst rates in the world. With a mortality rate of almost 666 deaths per 100,000 people, nearly double the U.S. percentage, Peru has suffered heavily during the last few years. The European Union accounts this high mortality rate to the “poor state of the Peruvian health system, with a lack of oxygen capacities and intensive care beds.” The country’s poor health care system is a leading cause of the high rate of period poverty in Peru as it currently lacks the capacity to produce and distribute sufficient sanitary products.

Education and Gender Inequality

The issue of period poverty in Peru is an issue of lack of gender equality in terms of education. Writing for GirlUp in May 2021, Giordana Montes and Lizandra Cañedo revealed that, in Latin American culture, menstruation is “considered dirty and something that should not be talked about in public. A taboo.” This belief accounts for reports from UNICEF Mexico claiming that a massive 43% of female students prefer to abstain from school during their cycle.

Indigenous girls, who live in rural areas and experience “the most extreme poverty,” account for “the least educated groups” in Peruvian society. This lack of education for girls causes an early imbalance between genders with the lasting implication that women receive fewer opportunities as they grow up.

The Solution

Fortunately, period poverty in Peru could come to an end. This involves both removing the stigma around periods and also providing sufficient hygiene kits and bathroom facilities to those who need them most. Other countries are paving the way with forward-thinking legislation to end period poverty. In 2020, Scotland became the first country to offer free sanitary products to all women. The same year, France and New Zealand began offering free sanitary products in schools.

While these effective yet expensive methods of tackling the issue are less attainable in poorer nations, the Peruvian government has been responding. The Peruvian Ministry of Education invested 165 million Soles to buy hygiene kits for schools which included menstrual hygiene products, helping to promote awareness and normalize the use of specific products, GirlUp reported. With this government’s willingness to act, as well as the expected global economic recovery in wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the future of reducing period poverty in Peru looks promising.

– Max Edmund
Photo: Flickr

Inca and Pre-Inca Water Systems
Peru has a mountainous landscape paired with a rich indigenous history—though many secrets were lost during the Spanish conquest, a long-forgotten practice is reemerging—and just in time to combat Peru’s water crisis. Water scarcity is common in Central and South America—in fact, Microtrends estimates in 2022, only 51% of Peruvians had access to clean drinking water. Peru is among many countries struggling with extremely dry seasons; in the city of Lima, only about 0.5 inches of rain falls annually, which is devastating to the citizens living there. With such little rainfall, one may question what the solutions are to make this water last. Additionally, one may ask what other water is available year-round aside from rainwater. The Inca and pre-Inca water systems are Peru’s future.

Who are the Inca?

The Inca were indigenous people who lived in Peru, Ecuador, Argentina and Chile prior to the Spanish conquest in 1532. The Incan empire stood as the largest pre-Columbian empire in all the Americas before the death of Atahualpa, also known as the final Incan emperor. Though the Inca civilization fell, Inca’s descendants still practice their customs and traditions. This includes a practice called water planting—a brilliant ration-based method to conserve water throughout the dry season. Here is some in-depth information about Inca and pre-Inca water systems in Peru.

Water Planting

Water Planting, a method that the Inca and pre-Inca used primarily, is a timed natural water filtration system that utilizes amunas—also known as water canals. This type of filtration relies on soil and trees and vegetation to filter rainwater and river water; this process of planting water takes weeks and even months for the water to return to clean water, according to BBC. Because of this timed release, water can continue to flow long into the dry season—and current Peruvians can predict exactly where the water will be released because of an intimate knowledge of the amunas. This method also allows for the addition of more minerals to the drinking water. Once the soil absorbs the water, the water irrigates down the river to the citizens below.

People living in Lima, Peru are reinvigorating water planting—acknowledging the method as a sustainable practice for cleaning water. However, it is not just Lima; other Andean towns have also readopted this method to combat water scarcity. Early tests showed that water planting provided double the amount of water Lima needed for the season, according to BBC.


Bofedales, an Inca-utilized resource, is a natural or man-made wetland or spring found in Peru. These miracle hot spots promote microbe growth, organism growth and vegetation growth—all of which help promote clean water. The Inca recognized the importance of these year-round springs and even created their own artificial wetlands to help meet their water needs.

However, in recent years poachers have raided Bofedales for rare flowers—which poachers then sell in cities at great profit. Without these plants and trees, water does not have proper filtration and therefore it is not clean, according to BBC. This means the systems the Inca created for their own freshwater need protection from poachers. It is not too late to save these wetlands. It is not too late to save Peru.

Stopping Deforestation

Nature has a way of working symbiotically, ecosystems are reliant on all their components to function properly. Without all these components, the ecosystem fails—the Inca knew this. Their methods relied on the symbiotic nature of the environment. Part of this includes an abundance of trees with deep, healthy roots. As a result, removing those trees and vegetation negatively impacts water quality.

This was the case in Moyobamba. When farmers tore down trees and turned the land into agricultural property, the quality of water suffered greatly. A coalition of environmental organizations—both local and international—developed agreements between farmers and Peruvians. Law groups introduced tariffs, resulting in Peruvians paying a small amount for farmers to reforest their land. The environmental organizations formed education groups and conservation initiatives, which saved the people of Moyobamba and became a blueprint for other cities in Peru to follow.

When the Inca and pre-Inca created their networks for clean water, they created the future for their future children. Their work may be the hope for the nation as natural infrastructures reemerge and people utilize them. Truly, Inca and pre-Inca water systems are Peru’s future.

– Thomas LaPorte
Photo: Flickr

Telehealth System
The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) has created its own digital platform to bring a telehealth system to those in the remotest parts of Latin America and the Caribbean. “The aim of the platform is to improve patient outreach and follow-up, with an emphasis on continuity of care for people with noncommunicable diseases (NCDs),” said Sebastian Garcia Saiso, the Director of the Department of Evidence and Intelligence for Action in Health at PAHO.

Accounting for more than 70% of deaths across the globe, NCDs are the leading cause of disability and death in the world. The platform will be able to help ailing patients and allow healthcare workers to refer patients residing in remote locations before they undertake potentially burdensome travel.

The platform will be rolled out to The Bahamas, El Salvador, Honduras, Peru, Suriname, Dominica, Uruguay, Panama and Nicaragua. Below is a comparison of the PAHO telehealth system and those currently in place.

Telehealth System in Trinidad and Tobago

In a collaborative effort between PAHO and the Ministry of Health of Trinidad and Tobago, mobile medical robots underwent deployment to public health facilities in the country during the COVID-19 pandemic. This benefitted those in the community who did not want to be face-to-face with their health care provider during the outbreak.

This shows that PAHO is not unfamiliar with working in Trinidad and Tobago and its continued work to get the most vital telehealth services to those who need them.

According to Erica Wheeler, a PAHO representative in Trinidad and Tobago, “Since the COVID-19 pandemic, both patients, as well as health professionals, are more eager now to engage in the use of the benefits of telemedicine.”

Telehealth System in Peru

Compared to other countries, Peru accelerated the implementation of telehealth services in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While this was a step in the right direction, Peru’s telemedicine system was considered a hasty step because of inadequate internet access nationwide.

Peru has many factors working against the efforts of telemedicine to be effective. These include geographical concerns, costly internet prices and a high population of low-income individuals. PAHO’s “All-in-ONE Telehealth platform” will help to reach out to these people and have routine checkups to keep diseases, especially NCDs in check.

Telehealth System in Uruguay

The government of Uruguay saw the need for online health care and, in 2012, created the website “Salud.uy.” The National Agency of Electronic Government, Uruguay’s Presidency, the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Economy all collaborated in developing the platform. In March 2020, the government passed legislation to encourage telemedicine development and implementation in Uruguay. While Uruguay has made great strides in its own goals of getting telemedicine across the country, the efforts of PAHO will help those in the most remote spots.

Concluding Thoughts

The comparison of the PAHO telehealth system and those currently in place in countries across Latin America and the Caribbean revealed that many countries need help to bring the benefits of telehealth to their citizens. PAHO’s system will serve as a bridge by aiding those who need the most help.

– Sean McMullen
Photo: Flickr

Hunger in Peru
Hunger in Peru is an often fluctuating issue. With the drastic effects of inflation, challenges in accessing food and the COVID-19 pandemic, Peruvian poverty has created an unstable lifestyle for much of the country’s population. Here is everything to know about hunger in Peru including information about the country’s alarming food shortage and inflation.

Food Crisis and COVID-19

Peru is in a food crisis. More than 16 million Peruvian citizens – half of the country’s population – are struggling with food insecurity. The problem primarily lies within the country’s prices of food; since the poverty rate includes more than 25% of the citizens of Peru, many citizens cannot access nourishing meals.

The COVID-19 pandemic worsened many of Peru’s poverty-related problems. The poverty rate in Peru rose almost 6% post-pandemic because of the quick-rising inflation. The price of commonly used ingredients – such as “wheat, rice and cooking oil[,]” – now cost more than two times their original prices.

Soup Kitchens, Inflation and Minimum Wage

The number of soup kitchens in Peru has multiplied by six since 2020. The municipal government of Lima reported the registration of more than 2,500 soup kitchens in 2022, The New Humanitarian reports. In 2020, this number was only 377. Despite the fact that kitchens provide free or discounted meals for Peruvian citizens, the rising inflation has caused many to stop serving certain meats due to insufficient funds. Some soup kitchens have to serve chicken noodle soup that lacks chicken.

Peru raised its minimum wage by 10% in order to combat inflation. On May 1, 2022, Peru’s minimum wage increased from 930 PEN to 1,025 PEN. Despite its good intentions, Pacific Business School’s academic director Jorge Carrillo Acosta claims that this raise may unintentionally push informal labor, which would allow companies to continue paying their workers at the 930 PEN rate.

Organizations Combating Hunger in Peru

There are many communities working in Peru in order to help citizens reach a livable wage and a greater level of food security. These organizations are making a significant impact in reducing poverty and hunger in Peru.

The World Food Programme (WFP) is working to continue to push the trend of decreasing poverty in Peru. In 2017, WFP created Cocina con Causa (“Cooking with a Cause”), a TV show showcasing healthy ways to cook and eat. The series has amassed millions of viewers through its TV episodes, radio show and social media accounts. Most recently, WFP has backed a project in the Sechura desert to install a drip irrigation system in order for families in the area to grow a greater amount of healthy vegetables.

Action Against Hunger (AAH) is another organization improving the health system and food security for Peruvian citizens and Venezuelan migrants, while also providing more monetary opportunities for the women in the country. The organization has provided food, hygiene products and supplies in order to relieve some of the hunger in Peru.

The Future of Peru’s Population in Poverty 

WFP has reported that Peru’s levels of poverty and food insecurity have decreased within the past 10 years. The implementation of programs to fight hunger, alongside economic gains and increased funds towards a more secure framework for combating the price of living, gives many – Peruvian citizens or not – a good feeling about the future of Peru and reducing its levels of poverty.

– Aspen Oblewski
Photo: Flickr

Fragility and Rule of Law in Peru
According to the latest report by the Freedom House Index, Peru has successfully upgraded from a partly free country to a free one in 2022. These improvements are mainly due to the country’s ability to carry out an election for a new president and Congress which managed to ease political tensions in the short term. However, problems regarding fragility and rule of law in Peru have reappeared throughout the year, triggering the detention of Pedro Castillo, the Peruvian president, in December 2022.

Political fragmentation and corruption have severely damaged the public trust in the government, which is worsening the economic situation in the country. Peru was making a positive comeback from the crisis that the pandemic generated. However, recent political instability created a slowdown, which is having very negative consequences.

Political Instability in Peru

Back in 1992, former president Alberto Fujimori carried out a coup d’état which surprisingly increased his popularity and helped his reelection in 1995. Despite his third reelection in 2000, his numerous accusations of committing crimes against humanity, his atrocious sterilization policies and the cases of corruption and favoritism finally had consequences and Fujimori resigned from office and subsequently faced imprisonment.

An attempt to escape the Fujimori “dictatorship” has marked the political reforms that have taken place in Peru since the beginning of the 21st century. A closed and centralist political system that limited citizens’ participation apparently characterized the Fujimori era. Therefore, in order to “democratize” the electoral system, the reforms incentivized the creation of numerous informal political organizations which lacked institutionalization. This has led to the deficient functioning of the electoral system, due to the absence of stable, lasting and serious political parties and the consequent lack of confidence in the electoral system.

Six Presidents Since 2018

This situation has transformed the present Peruvian politics into a polarized arena that leaves little space for consensus and forces voters into extreme political ideologies in an attempt to achieve durable solutions. Since 2018, Peru has had six different presidents. This instability is due both to the political polarization that does not allow for a real absolute majority, as well as to the 1993 Constitution, which allows Congress to remove the president from office for “lack of morality.”

This peculiarity worsens the political fragility of the country, which has become even worse after the detention of Pedro Castillo for a failed coup d’état. The former president decided a coup d’état was his only way to escape his serious accusations of corruption. However, what happened is quite the opposite, because he now faces accusations of rebellion and could spend as long as 20 years in prison. Dina Boluarte has replaced Castillo, making her the first female president of Peru.

Corruption and Rule of Law

Added to the constant corruption of politicians, a corrupted judiciary often debilitates Peru’s well-functioning of democracy. Peru’s judiciary is one of the most corrupt institutions in the country, according to the Freedom House. This adds to the problem that the constant tensions generated between Congress and the Executive caused. In 2018, a huge corruption scandal emerged after audio recordings revealed Parliament members, business elites and members of the Magistrates Council as responsible for at least favor-trading activities. After this scandal, the country dissolved the Magistrates Council. Its new replacement is the National Board of Justice which focuses on a more transparent selection of members in an attempt to avoid future corruption.

Fragility and rule of law in Peru are major problems for certain groups of society. COVID-19 has brought clarity to the fact that indigenous Peruvians suffer discriminative treatment regarding health care. The country needs to urgently include health care policies that include indigenous groups in order to reduce inequalities in morbidity rates.

The Effects on Poverty and Job Creation

Peru is currently going through a political situation that threatens the country’s economy to fall into recession. The good news is that according to data from the Central Reserve Bank in Peru, in 2021, the country’s GDP grew by 13.2% and unemployment dropped from 7.2% in 2020 to 4.8% in 2021. Despite the economic collapse that the pandemic caused, it is true that Peru has recovered especially fast compared to other countries in Latin America. Therefore, the permanent political instability which causes constant changes in power positions and lack of reliability has a relatively low impact on the country’s economy. In fact, Peru is a rare case in Latin America because, despite the poor performance of the Executive, the economy has remained relatively strong throughout the years.

However, the apparent economic recovery has not been beneficial for all Peruvians. Unfortunately, Peru is the most food-insecure country in South America. More than half the population in Peru lives in a food insecure situation, double the amount compared to pre-pandemic figures. From these figures, more than 6 million people live in extreme conditions in which food is unavailable for days.

Having access to clean water is also a struggle for many Peruvians. Almost 8 million people in Peru have no access to drinking water. Peru is a country rich in water, however, its distribution is unfavorable for those who need it most. Those who do not have direct access to water receive it through tanker trucks for twice the price. This forces many families to ration water which often doesn’t meet the minimum sanitation standards, which can lead to major health problems.

The Protests and the Future of Fragility and Rule of Law in Peru

The country has yet to discover what to expect after the detention of Castillo. However, the country has already plunged into chaos which the protests caused. The protests originated as a result of built-up tension due to the executive’s inability to govern and the new presidency of Boluarte. Many citizens have rejected her because Peruvians did not elect her and are now demanding proper national elections.

The future will show the extent to which these developments have affected the Peruvian economy. What is certain is that such an unstable and changeable government is incapable of prioritizing the problems of the most vulnerable and that is something that has to change.

– Carla Tomas
Photo: Unsplash

Virtual Education in Peru
“It feels new, well, very new, but we are adapting to the situation,” said the Peruvian child when the CGTN America reporter asked him about his experience with Peru’s I Learn at Home virtual education program. For a country in which only 24% of households have consistent internet access, virtual education is certainly a new experience. Peru launched the Aprendo en Casa (I Learn at Home) program shortly after the Peruvian government closed down schools in 2020 in reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ever since the program has consolidated various low and high-tech solutions to broadcast an interactive learning environment on multiple media. Here is the story of Peru’s Ministry of Education’s promotion of virtual education in Peru.

Pandemic Challenges

The COVID-19 pandemic hits hard around the globe and Peru is one of the worst-impacted countries in the world. In response to the pandemic, the Peruvian government imposed the strictest shutdown in South America since March 2020. However, the shutdown, compounded with Peru’s low connectivity, imposed a particularly harsh challenge.

Among the many challenges is the challenge in education. Under the shutdown, switching to virtual learning was not as simple as moving classes online. In response to Peru’s particular challenges, Peru’s Ministry of Education launched the I Learn at Home virtual learning program shortly after the lockdown, according to OECD.

In response to the sudden COVID-19 shutdown, the Ministry of Education launched the program with equal rapidity only 12 days after the shutdown, OECD reported. To ensure the constant improvement of the program, Peru’s Ministry of Education collaborated with Innovation for Poverty Action which uses machine learning to survey the needs of hard-to-reach students. The Ministry then used this data to develop the program to ensure maximum outreach and maximum classroom engagement, in the shortest possible timeline.

About I Learn at Home

To ensure the maximum outreach of the program in low connectivity regions, Peru’s Ministry of Education strives to diversify the channel of access to learning materials. According to OECD, the Peruvian government teams up with major private telecommunications companies to produce and broadcast the learning materials on TV and radio, in addition to the internet.

To maximize internet travel to the I Learn at Home webpage, Microsoft and Amazon help design the web page with “web-light” and “mobile-responsive” technologies so that people can access the webpage through smartphones and from areas with slower internet. For parts of the country that lack household electricity access, loudspeakers at community centers broadcast learning materials so kids can hear their teacher giving lectures in their homes.

Through the multi-media platform, the virtual classroom brought children back to an interactive learning environment. Teachers and actors go back and forth on the learning materials with actors asking questions during classes and doing learning activities making it look like a classroom. According to OECD, WhatsApp helps organize teachers and parents into classroom groupings. Teachers distribute homework materials either online or through mailing in print materials. Teachers and families then communicate feedback through those channels.

The Impact of Virtual Education in Peru

The result of Peru’s Ministry of Education’s promotion of virtual education in Peru is significant. OECD has indicated that after a month of the debut of the I Learn at Home initiative, 95% of children reconnected to their education through one channel or another and that another month after that, 82% of the kids expressed happiness about the learning program. According to UNICEF, the innovative joint initiative reached 145,628 children living in hard-to-reach areas. As Peru reopened its schools in March 2022, its precious experience in virtual education showcases how innovation and technology can help education to reach those who are at a material disadvantage.

– Peiyi Yu
Photo: Flickr