We celebrate 50 years of work in Peru, during which we have been promoting the development of millions of people in vulnerable situations and addressing the underlying causes of poverty and inequality. We know that we must place girls and women at the center of our efforts to build a world of hope, tolerance, and social justice, only in this way we can achieve the sustainable development that we long for and dream of a country where everyone has the same rights and same opportunities.
2020 has been a complicated year, there is almost no aspect of society that has remained unscathed after the appearance of COVID-19. This is reflected, for example, in the increase in the poverty rate. Monetary poverty reached 30.1% of the Peruvian population, 9.9 percentage points above the figure recorded the previous year, according to data from the National Institute of Statistics and Informatics (Instituto Nacional de Estadística e Informática INEI). Before the pandemic, 1 out of every 7 Lima residents was poor; today, it is 1 in 4. This setback has brought new challenges to serve the most vulnerable population.
In this sense, we have managed to transform our operations and digitize ourselves, not only to serve the most needed people, but also to identify problems in advance and have the appropriate tools to solve them. We have delivered more than 2,000 tablets to students in rural areas with our project “We Learn +, We Grow, and We Always Undertake”. Likewise, we included community agents in education in the strategy to accompany the education of thousands of girls and boys. Through them, we can collect the needs and concerns of our students to adjust our proposals and provide them with the corresponding support.
Similarly, a problem that goes hand in hand with the increase in the poverty rate is anemia. According to the latest Demographic and Family Health Survey (ENDES) 2020, 40% of Peruvian girls and boys between 6 and 35 months old and 20.9% of women between 15 and 49 years old suffer from anemia, CARE Peru works on projects that seek to reduce chronic malnutrition and nutritional anemia in children under 5 years old.
At the beginning of the pandemic, we created the Feed their strength initiative, with the purpose of providing nutritious and healthy lunches to thousands of families in vulnerable situations through soup kitchens. In that first edition, we were able to serve 1,200 people and deliver 125,094 food servings in 5 soup kitchens, all thanks to donations from civil society and friendly organizations. Today, Feed their strength is in its third stage alongside an important ally and accompanies the delivery of food with workshops and training for kitchen partners, so that they can become leaders of their communities and ensure the sustainability of soup kitchens.
CARE Peru focused on incorporating empowerment and education components into each of the projects. Thus, it has managed to influence more than 411,000 direct participants and more than 2,466,000 indirect participants. This year we have come out stronger and we have grown, both personally and professionally. Despite the constant fear caused by the pandemic, we have continued to work with agility, commitment, and rapid response. As the national director of CARE Peru, I feel proud and privileged of the work that we have been doing and of contributing to reduce the crisis in many families and in our communities. We know that this would not have been possible without the support of our allies and the various organizations that chosen us. I would like to thank each of them for joining the effort and work of CARE Peru to generate lasting changes in the lives of the most vulnerable people.