In Peru, Mission 21 collaborates with five partner organisations to support numerous projects. The focus here is on promoting education. The aim is to enable indigenous women in particular to play an active part in social life and political processes. Agriculture and livelihood security are equally important areas of work, because the target group is hit especially hard by poverty. Geographically, our commitment focuses on the Department of Puno in the Peruvian Southern Andes. This region is particularly afflicted by climate change.
Many indigenous people cannot read or write. This is especially true of women. Achieving literacy is an important step towards participation in social life. Moreover, specific knowledge is also necessary in order to market agricultural and handicraft products. Mission 21 and its partners offer various educational opportunities in the Peruvian Southern Andes. These services empower the indigenous population at the economic, social and political levels.
Strengthening the indigenous population
Almost half of Peru's population is indigenous. Even so, colonial structures are still present and there is a strong white elite in politics and business. Peru's rural indigenous peoples have almost no access to political participation and decision-making processes. Furthermore, poverty is particularly severe among the indigenous population. Mission 21 and its partners strengthen the indigenous population in Puno by promoting education, because information and knowledge are the first steps in opening up access to political processes for marginalized groups so that they can play an active role in shaping society.
Many of Mission 21's projects in Peru are of special benefit to indigenous women, who are exceptionally disadvantaged. Family structures in this region are characterized by patriarchy. In addition, women are subject to enormous work pressure: poor economic conditions drive many men to try their luck in larger cities. The women are therefore left to cope on their own, and they have to look after the children, earn money and attend to agriculture at the same time. Another factor is that women in Peru are often the victims of domestic violence – a problem that is widespread throughout Latin America. Cases of human trafficking are also becoming more frequent in Peru. Mission 21 and its partners help the affected women to obtain information, engage in networking and stand up for their rights. By working to promote education, we aim to make indigenous women less disadvantaged – in politics, business and inside their own four walls.
Agriculture and livelihood security
The Peruvian Southern Andes are remote from the government in Lima. The state takes poor care of this region, and job opportunities are few. Conditions for agricultural self-sufficiency are also deteriorating, because the barren highland region is impacted severely by the consequences of climate change. Malnutrition is widespread. For this reason, Mission 21 and its partners help the inhabitants of the Peruvian Southern Andes to continue developing their farming methods. Our agricultural advisers adopt an approach based on organic guidelines. This enables people to benefit from a more balanced diet in the long term. In addition, surpluses are sold at local and regional markets, enabling the people to earn additional income.
Religion and development
All of Mission 21's partner organisations in Peru are faith-based organisations. Mission 21 is firmly convinced that religion and faith can have a positive impact on social processes. But not always: charismatic Pentecostal churches that propagate a conservative ideology are also on the rise in Peru. For this reason, Mission 21 supports faith-based partner organizations that take social action inspired by Christian conviction. At the same time, indigenous spirituality is respected and integrated.
Professional support from Mission 21
Mission 21 guarantees professional support for its partner organisations in Peru. A Coordination Office with an excellent network of local contacts brings representatives of civil society, the partner organisations and the authorities together at the same table to enhance the impact of their joint work. If specific expertise is required, the office calls in advisers and assists them with preliminary investigations and evaluations.