Latin America, Chile, Peru, Education

    Strengthened for the Future: Education and the Advancement of Women in Chile and Peru

    Project Number: 476.1020

    In the strategic area of education, the aim is to teach basic skills such as reading and writing, and to support people in actively participating in social and political processes. The conscious promotion of (indigenous) women and girls is particularly important to us. Their ability to have a say makes a significant contribution to the development of society and the countries in which they live into plural and socially inclusive democracies. Particularly in countries with inadequate formal education and a lack of opportunities for further education, such as Peru, the education offered by our project partners is an important supplement to the state school and education system. However, even in countries with better developed education systems, such as Chile, these measures are of great importance, as the skills to be promoted are often not included in the curricula of formal education.

    Background information

    In the field of education, our project partners in Peru work in various rural provinces in the department of Puno. Here, the poverty rate is almost 40 percent. A large part of the population is of indigenous origin. Aymaras and Quechuas in particular are strongly represented. Although Peruvian law provides for extensive citizen participation and recognizes the rights of indigenous peoples, in practice this is done inadequately. The state often continues to discriminate against and patronize them. Authoritarian and patriarchal officialdom is the order of the day. Social conflicts (including environmental conflicts) occur again and again, occasionally escalating into violent protests. Indigenous women in the highlands experience racism, discrimination and machismo almost daily. While they are in great demand as "folklore objects" and adorn tourism brochures in glossy pictures, they are perceived as disruptive in their role as active citizens who hold the state accountable for ensuring access to infrastructure, water, food and income for their families and their village community. When strikes occur, the media in Lima often portray them as ignorant and unwilling to learn, as "nonentities" or "terrorists" who stand in the way of the nation's development. Indigenous women suffer particularly from the situation, and their opinions and petitions are rarely heard by authorities and decision-making bodies.

    To make matters worse, in Puno about 16 percent of women are illiterate, and at the same time women in rural areas often take on the role of head of the family due to low employment opportunities, which causes men to leave their families for months at a time to seek work in mines or in the city. The challenges in the daily lives of many women and girls in Puno are therefore particularly high.

    Against this backdrop, Mission 21, with the help of various long-standing partners, promotes various educational programs that are primarily aimed at indigenous women and girls in rural Puno, thus empowering them for their everyday lives. However, the educational programs are also available to interested men and boys.

    The women from the poor neighborhoods around Concepción in Chile are exposed to great economic insecurity. In addition, many of them also have little schooling, have low self-esteem and are solely responsible for supporting the family. In addition, most families in the poor neighborhoods are dependent on the state health care system. This means that they have to pay up to half of the costs for medicines, which they often lack, and often have to stand in line for hours for a medical consultation. In addition, they are insufficiently informed about their rights regarding social and health insurance.

    Target group and goals


    • 50 school children from the rural area in Chupa, Puno region, receive intensive tutoring annually as part of a Post Covid-19 mitigation measure (ALFALIT).
    • 100 women from indigenous village communities in Chupa, Puno region, are literate and have basic skills to successfully manage their daily lives (ALFALIT)
    • 30 women from the indigenous women's organization "Bartolina Sisa" are being trained as leaders so that they can better advocate for the interests of Aymara women on the southern shore of Lake Titicaca (IDECA).
    • 40 leaders from the Puno region expand their knowledge in the area of leadership and actively participate in political and social processes in exchange with authorities (ISAIAS)
    • 30 indigenous women of the Women's Collective for the Protection of Lake Titicaca cause the authorities to implement effective measures to decontaminate Lake Titicaca and ensure that ethnic communities have permanent access to water and food (CBC)


    • Women from Concepción learn self-care strategies and have life skills that enable them to better manage everyday life (SEDEC)
    • About 150 people from Concepción's poor neighborhood (field of medicinal herbs and alternative medicine) know about medicinal herbs (SEDEC)
    • Around 50 people from the health sector in Concepción (SEDEC) have the necessary knowledge to promote and strengthen complementary medicine within primary health care (SEDEC)



    • Conduct literacy, self-care and life skills classes (Alfalit).
    • Support classes for children who were practically excluded from educational opportunities during the pandemic (Alfalit)
    • Implementation of multi-year training programs for indigenous women leaders (IDECA & ISAIAS).
    • Strengthening the lobby and advocacy capacity of indigenous women working for the protection of Lake Titicaca, access to water and women's rights in Puno (CBC).
    • Participation in various multistakeholder working tables for the implementation of action plans with the regional government of Puno (IDECA, CBC, ISAIAS).


    • Conducting courses on basic health knowledge and the use of medicinal herbs and other alternative healing methods (SEDEC).
    • Conduct courses on alternative medicine for health care professionals and public relations work to promote alternative medicine (SEDEC).
    • Conduct self-care and life skills courses (SEDEC).

    Project progress


    All projects could be carried out without interruptions due to Covid-19; the tutoring for school children who were excluded from classes during the pandemic is very popular and our project partner Alfalit is overrun with requests. Alfalit is looking into the possibility of expanding its tutoring services for school children from rural Chupa in the department of Puno for 2023 in order to promote the educational opportunities of even more children.

    Nevertheless, this year an exceptionally severe drought is causing great concern to our partners in the southern Andes. Due to the lack of rain, thousands of alpacas, vicuñas and sheep have already died in agony by the end of November. The central government has therefore declared a state of emergency at the beginning of December 2022. The authorities expect higher crop losses and shortfalls in alpaca wool production, which could hit households of indigenous and smallholder village communities particularly hard. Our partners are in close exchange with local authorities on the ground and are lobbying for the implementation of special measures to reduce the disaster risk of drought. We are also exploring the possibility of funding additional project activities such as the construction of water catchment basins, the installation of solar-powered water pumps and the promotion of groundwater access to mitigate the exceptional situation.


    The disillusionment and disappointment about the great social rejection of the progressive constitutional proposal (62%) is clearly felt among our partners. The project activities could be implemented as planned and reach the target population.  



    33.035 million inhabitants (2021)

    23.5% of women in rural Peru can neither read nor write


    17.5 million inhabitants

    33% of income is generated by the richest 1 percent of Chile's population


    Project budget 2024

    CHF 170'200

    jannet villanueva

    Jannet Villanueva

    Coordinator Latin America (Bolivia and Peru)

    simone dollinger

    Simone Dollinger

    Coordinator Religion & Development
    ► Email


    Jacqueline Brunner

    Responsible church partnerships;
    Responsible legacies and bequests

    Tel. 061 260 23 37
    ► E-mail

    Hope thanks to your support

    Mission 21
    Protestant Mission Basel

    PO Box 270
    Missionsstrasse 21
    4009 Basel, Switzerland
    Tel.: +41 (0)61 260 21 20

    Donation account Switzerland:
    IBAN: CH58 0900 0000 4072 6233 2
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    Donation account Germany:
    Savings Bank Lörrach-Rheinfelden
    Swift BIC: SKLODE66
    BLZ: 683 500 48
    IBAN: DE39 6835 0048 0001 0323 33
    Account No. : 1032333

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