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Social inclusion, citizenship and development for peace

Posted by Greg Benchwick Sunday, September 23, 2012

Strengthening Local Development in the Highlands and High Rainforest Areas Project will benefit 40,000 poor rural families in Peru

The Executive Board of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) just approved a new US$36.5 million poverty reduction project for Peru.

The Strengthening Local Development in the Highlands and High Rainforest Areas Project will reach approximately 40,900 families in the departments of Amazonas, Cajamarca, Lima and San Martín.

“This project looks to nearly double rural incomes, and will be key in achieving the Peruvian government’s goal of reducing poverty by 10 per cent by 2021,” said Roberto Haudry, IFAD’s Country Program Manager for Peru. “The project will scale up innovations pioneered in other IFAD-funded projects in Peru, looking toward capacity building, social inclusion, citizenship and development for peace as key mechanisms to drive continued and sustainable rural poverty reduction efforts by the government of Peru.”

Key innovations of IFAD-funded projects in Peru include public competitions to assign project resources and manage natural assets such as land and water, the promotion of rural savings accounts and micro-insurance programs for women, direct money transfers to project participants to hire technical advisors, and the development of rural-urban linkages along socio-economic corridors such as the Puno-Cusco Corridor.

“These socially inclusive mechanisms for rural development have become part of Peru’s national strategy to reduce poverty, and are now being replicated in IFAD-funded projects in countries like Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Rwanda and even Vietnam,” Haudry said.

The Ministry of Agriculture’s Program for Productive Agrarian Rural Development (AgroRural) will implement the project over five years.

“By fortifying local governments, leveraging local contributions and empowering project participants to manage their own funds, the Peruvian government has been able to improve operational costs significantly for projects like this. These efficiencies mean that more project funding gets to the project participants, themselves,” Haudry said.

Project funding includes US$20 million from IFAD, US$12.6 million from the government of Peru, and US$3.9 million from project beneficiaries themselves. Additionally, the project looks to include a US$1.5 million IFAD grant to further public-private partnerships between local communities and mining corporations to improve water management in the highlands. 

Peru is a middle-income country with a growing gross domestic product; nevertheless, the national rural poverty rate is 54.2 per cent, with 20 per cent of rural people in the Sierra region considered extremely poor.

The project will concentrate its efforts on approximately 100 districts where extreme rural poverty affects one out of 10 people and illiteracy rates among women reach over 30 per cent.

Top photo by Annibale Ferrini, Proyecto Desarrollo Territorial Rural con Identidad Cultural/Rimisp. Bottom artwork by Greg Benchwick

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