The international humanitarian organization CARE is leading a project to alleviate poverty and build government capacity in northern Peru. The project targets the districts of Quiruvilca, Usquil and Sanagorán, where poverty is endemic and the average monthly income is US$54. In these three districts, located near Barrick’s Lagunas Norte mine, subsistence farming is the primary means of survival.
The Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) and Barrick are co-funding the two-and-a-half-year project, which will help local farmers improve productivity and establish new markets for their products. The project will also support the development of micro-enterprises to service the agriculture industry, focusing in particular on employment opportunities for women and youth. Agrorural, a Peruvian government agency that combats rural poverty in Peru, will also play an important role.
CIDA is committing C$1 million to the project, while Barrick is contributing C$460,000. An estimated 2,100 families in 20 communities are expected to benefit directly, while another 4,100 families in 32 communities will be indirect beneficiaries.
“Canada's extractive sector is a prime example of how CIDA can partner with the private sector to advance global development objectives,” says Canada’s Minister of International Cooperation, Julian Fantino. “The extractive sector is a key area where CIDA can be active in helping Peru meet its development objectives, promoting partnerships with all stakeholders, including communities, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and the private sector to achieve concrete results that improve the lives of people.”
CARE will become a partner in the Alto Chicama Commitment, a Barrick-led initiative that facilitates collaboration between the company’s sustainable development partners working near Lagunas Norte.
The Alto Chicama Commitment reflects a growing trend of collaboration among business, governments and NGOs to achieve better outcomes in sustainable development — a model Barrick and its partners are embracing.
As a result of partnerships already established under the Alto Chicama Commitment, CARE will work with World Vision and the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Poverty Reduction and Alleviation (PRA) project. Both organizations are engaged in complementary projects in the region.
“The CARE project’s primary focus is organizing and improving agricultural production, which fits well with the PRA project, which links rural producers to new markets,” says Alfredo Anderson, Corporate Social Responsibility Manager for Barrick in Peru.
The World Vision project, Anderson adds, provides start-up loans to small farming operations, which the CARE and PRA projects do not do. Working closely with Barrick, the three organizations will co-ordinate their activities and leverage complementary aspects of their programs, he says.
“CARE’s projects in Peru respond to needs and opportunities identified by the communities where we work,” says Kevin McCort, President and CEO, CARE Canada. “We then seek to collaborate with donors, partners and governments to implement sustainable solutions. This project with Barrick and CIDA is a great example
of how we are working together to help these communities lift themselves out of poverty.”
The CARE project will provide local farmers with better access to agricultural supplies, such as fertilizers, and medicine. The project will also train local youth in modern farming techniques, and those youth will, in turn, be paid for sharing their knowledge with local farmers.
As production quality and volumes increase, the region could attract more local investment, Anderson says. Indeed, one microfinancing company, Caja Nuestra Gente, is considering setting up a branch in Sanagorán to provide loans to small businesses, he says.
Another key goal of the project is to build government capacity to manage and invest in local economic development. Training will be provided to improve accountability, manage conflict and ensure transparency. The project will also promote regular dialogue between government authorities, local communities and private enterprise.
“We’re trying to build an understanding of the importance and value of transparency and open dialogue,” says McCort. “Part of that will involve sharing skills for dealing with conflict so the various parties have effective ways of resolving differences if and when they arise.”
For more information on CARE visit www.care.ca.