Ancient Peru was home to the Incas, who were conquered by the Spanish in 1533. The Spanish stayed in Peru until 1824, three years after Peruvian independence was declared.
Divided into three distinct regions, (the coast, the mountains and the jungle or rainforest), Peru is South America’s third largest country. The mountain region, marked by the massive peaks and steep canyons of the Andes, is home to UNESCO World Heritage Site, Machu Picchu. The Andes are one of the world’s most unstable mountain ranges with frequent earthquakes, landslides and flash floods.
Of the estimated 29 million people living in Peru, about 48 percent of the population lives under the poverty line. While Peru is becoming a force in the global economy, some crucial social development issues--like education and healthcare--have been overlooked. In Peru, like many places, disparities in resource distribution have led to social and economic inequities that favor the wealthy.
Heifer's Work in Peru
Heifer began activities in Peru in 1963 and continues supporting urban and rural community and small-farmer organizations to improve their quality of life. Peru’s diverse cultural patterns are based on solidarity and reciprocity. Thus, Heifer’s approach to sharing resources becomes a key element to achieve just sustainable development. The program’s strategies include gender equity, recovery of traditional knowledge, agro-ecology and natural resource management. The Peru program strengthens local capacities, promotes the recovery of medicinal plants and organic gardening.
Today, Heifer Peru works in Piura, Lambayeque, Cerro de Pasco, Lima, Junin, Huancavelica, Cuzco, Apurimac and Puno and has assisted over 40,000 families.
Key Services Heifer Provides:
Sustainable agricultural production: Sustainable food systems; agroecology education and schools; organic fertilizer production
Post-harvest management and processing: Developing value chain for alpaca industry
Market development: Developing local markets; developing commercially just and economically stable networks; organic food markets and enterprises
Technology: Veterinary supplies, irrigation equipment; organic gardening, improved stoves, eco-refrigerators
Nutrition: Health services and education access to rural families
See where Heifer is working around the world to end hunger.
Two years ago, Heifer International’s partner, IDEAS, was promoting a livelihoods project in a community in Peru. The project, Building Sustainable Livelihoods in Piura's Dry Forest Community, was an opportunity that 42-year-old Maria Esmelda decided she couldn’t pass up, so she signed up. Esmelda recounts her experience as a participant...
I feed my animals; I water the plants; I work; and I cook. I never imagined I would have an improved kitchen.
At a Passing on the Gift ceremony in Peru, members of the community performed this traditional dance.
It’s cold. Really, really cold in this corner of the world.
Heifer has relocated me from the headquarters in Little Rock, where I’m from, to their office in Lima, Peru, for one year as part of a pilot development program.
Passing on the Gift: Magic