Bitter poverty prevails in the central highlands of Peru. This is the location of the Millennium Village of Riberas del Huallaga. Eight out of ten people living here do not know where their next meal is coming from. Their fields do not provide enough food; they are situated on steep inclines and the soil is leached of all nutrients.
Climate change is making poverty more acute: During the rainy season, torrential rainfall washes out the fertile soil, whilst the increasing dry spells dry out seeds. With the support of Welthungerhilfe and its local partner organisation Instituto de Desarrollo y Medio Ambiente (IDMA), the inhabitants of Riberas del Huallaga are now changing their lives.
Improving circumstances together
They have formed groups, are replanting the forests and are laying irrigation systems. When it comes to work in the fields, they are combining their traditional expertise with modern farming methods and are now practising organic farming.
Children and youths are learning about natural protection and crop diversity through their work in environmental groups. After school they help plant saplings or build walls to help protect the soil against erosion. The curriculum also includes trash recycling as well as health and cookery courses. Teachers are trained and thus become important disseminators of information.
Education and participation are important
Education and civic engagement play key roles in this process – sustainable development for the village can only be achieved if the small farmers recognise their own potential, get together and assert their interests on the political level.
With that in mind, Welthungerhilfe and IDMA are working together with the local population to develop long-term strategies for land and water management as well as disaster management. The aim is for the people to be able to stay in their homes and lead dignified lives.
The aid measures are financially supported by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development.