Reaching the Poorest in Peru

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A mountainous landscape in Peru.
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As the twenty-four month Peru Graduation Pilot nears completion, members of CGAP and Ford Foundation visited some of the communities in the high Andean region of Cusco.

Photos by Michael Rizzo 

As the twenty-four month Peru Graduation Pilot nears completion, members of CGAP and Ford Foundation visited some of the communities in the high Andean region.
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They were joined by staff from implementing partners Plan International and Arawiwa, as well as from the research organization Innovations for Poverty Action which is conducting qualitative research and a randomized control trial impact assessment of the program.

Photos by Michael Rizzo 

They were joined by staff from implementing partners Plan International and Arawiwa, as well as from the research organization Innovations for Poverty Action.
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Most of the communities are in the high altitude and indigenous regions of Peru, over 5 hours from Cusco. “Distance, geographic barriers, and language issues are some of the obstacles that are preventing the extreme poor from being able to participate in the economic growth that Peru is experiencing in the last few years,” says Mariela Greco, Director of Plan International in Peru.

Photos by Michael Rizzo 

Most of the communities are in the high altitude and indigenous regions of Peru, over 5 hours from Cusco.
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These areas have been characterized by high degrees of malnourishment among the children, alcoholism, and violence. Over the past two years, the changes among the families who participated in the program have been tremendous.

Photos by Michael Rizzo 

These areas have been characterized by high degrees of malnourishment among the children, alcoholism, and violence.
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Following the “Graduation Approach,” the pilot project provides a productive asset based on the interests expressed by the families, including guinea pig breeding and sales, dairy products production, cattle raising, and crafts. Preliminary results have shown impacts on all the productive components, especially in the production of guinea pigs. 

Photos by Michael Rizzo 

Preliminary results have shown impacts on all the productive components, especially in the production of guinea pigs.
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Juan Hernadez, who led the impact assessment efforts, states that “the food that the treatment households consume is more diverse when compared to the control families, and also the amount of food is greater.”

Photos by Michael Rizzo 

Juan Hernadez of IPA states that “the food that the treatment households consume is more diverse when compared to the control families..."
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In addition, one on one coaching and mentoring has had an overwhelmingly positive impact on the family dynamic, addressing issues such as how to manage anger, how to minimize domestic violence and how to improve household decision-making.

Photos by Michael Rizzo 

In addition, one on one coaching and mentoring has had an overwhelmingly positive impact on the family dynamic, addressing issues such as how to manage anger.
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As part of the health services, significant enhancements have been made to bathrooms and kitchens.

Photos by Michael Rizzo 

As part of the health services, significant enhancements have been made to bathrooms and kitchens.
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The Program has helped the families develop separate cabinets to store their food. Previously, many families lived with their guinea pigs in the kitchen, contaminating food and resulting in illness.

Photos by Michael Rizzo 

The Program has helped the families develop separate cabinets to store their food.
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Women seem more confident now, especially since they have an independent source of income.

Photos by Michael Rizzo 

Women seem more confident now, especially since they have an independent source of income.
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At the beginning of the program, a visioning exercise was conducted. Each household mapped out what they would like their life to look like after the program’s end. Several families have kept their drawing in their house.

Photos by Michael Rizzo 

At the beginning of the program, a visioning exercise was conducted. Each household mapped out what they would like their life to look like after the program.
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“They are making [their life plan] a reality. They are working towards it and they are walking towards it. Some of them are closer to it than others, but they now have something to aspire to,” says Greco.

Photos by Michael Rizzo 

“They are making [their life plan] a reality. They are working towards it and they are walking towards it."
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The next stage of the program is scaling up and encouraging donors and governments to explore how the Graduation Approach can be integrated into their social protection programs. 

Photos by Michael Rizzo 

The next stage is scaling up and encouraging donors and governments to explore how the this approach can be integrated into their social protection programs.
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“Ultimately, we don’t want a world with so many people living in extreme poverty. We need to try out different options. This is one that we know works,” says Sayed Hashemi of BRAC.

Photos by Michael Rizzo 

“Ultimately, we don’t want a world with so many people living in extreme poverty. We need to try out different options. This is one that we know works."