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Peru is a country in which poverty and, above all, inequality continue to be central problems, despite progress made in macroeconomic terms over the past two decades.
The economy has grown overall, mainly due to increasing exports of raw materials. This has put pressure on natural resources, violated the rights of poor populations in rural and urban areas, weakened democracy and overlooked structural problems that foster the exclusion of the majority of the population.
Of extreme concern is the existing gap in the levels of poverty between urban and rural areas. The poorest sectors continue to be concentrated in rural areas, principally in the southern highlands. The extreme poverty rate of populations with a primary language other than Spanish is three times greater than the national average and in the same rural areas extreme poverty is almost twice as high for those who do not speak Spanish as a first language.
Many business practices, above all in extractive industries, and disinterest on the part of the Peruvian State to adopt inclusive development practices contribute to socio-environmental and labor conflicts in the country and a marked discrimination towards indigenous populations.
Movements against the status quo are emerging in the region, defending the rights of people to decide about their ways of life. Indigenous peoples and their organizations have built regional networks from where they construct proposals consolidated in the notion of “El buen vivir” (Living Well). These proposals pose an alternative indigenous worldview based on community life and the respect for nature, preserving life on the planet on the basis of recognition of their “cosmovision” and the respect for cultural pluralism.
Oxfam in Peru
Oxfam in Peru is contributing to this change by fostering these movements and promoting dialogue and action through the following thematic areas:
- Economic justice: We aim to build the capacity of small farmers and indigenous populations of the Andes and Amazon to achieve sustainable livelihoods and help them attain recognition over land and natural resources through the adoption and implementation of favorable policies by the Peruvian State. We aim to secure the rights of communities affected by extractive industries by promoting consultation processes, defense of territory, access to information, and participation in decision-making spaces.
- Citizenship, gender justice and interculturality: We support women, youth, and indigenous people to become active citizens and reverse gender discrimination and violence. Through their organizations, women work to build and position proposals that guarantee their participation in the formulation of public policies affecting access and control over their resources. In doing so, they also promote the importance of dialogue among different stakeholders and respect for the diversity of identities.
- Humanitarian response and disaster risk reduction: We work with poor and vulnerable communities - with a focus on women - so that they may better participate in advocacy processes that support their right to protection against disasters and their access to effective humanitarian assistance.
The GROW campaign is very present in Peru, where multiple activities are being conducted related to food justice, which are approached from the perspective of the three themes mentioned.