Last week, the National Institute of Statistics and Informatics (INEI) presented its most recent figures on the poverty in the country. According to the report “Evolution of monetary poverty 2007-2016”, of the 6.5 million poor people in Peru, 3.5 million live in the cities and the rest in the countryside.
It is not the first time that cities concentrate poorer than the countryside. According to estimates by Javier Herrera, director of research of the French Institute for Research and Development, in 2004 (when there were more than 16 million poor in Peru), 9.2 million were in cities and 6.8 million in areas rural.
Then, in 2008, the number of rural poor exceeded that of the urban and only as of 2013 poverty in the cities returned to preponderate. This trend continues until today promoted by the urbanization of the countryside and the migrations.
Although the urban poverty of which the figures speak is notorious when one walks certain areas of Lima, several specialists consulted by El Comercio agree that historically social policies have been oriented above all to address rural poverty. The Together program, for example, of the Ministry of Development and Social Inclusion (Midis), provides incentives to families of extreme poverty especially in communities and rural populated centers.
To specifically address the drama of being poor in the cities, the Government approved in February the creation of the Prospera program. According to the head of Midis, Cayetana Aljovín, it is the first government effort to “articulate the interventions [sociales] in the cities”.
“Urban poverty had not been present on the agenda. We identified actions, but they were without focus or baselines. If Cuna Más, for example, was in Villa El Salvador, the program did not exist in El Agustino, ”Aljovín explains to El Comercio.
As proposed, Prospera has three lines of action oriented towards the urban poor: access to labor markets; access to quality basic services and social infrastructure; and access to protection networks.
How does that translate into concrete actions? According to Aljovín, the challenge is to add to the program all entities that work on urban poverty issues, from the Ministry of Housing, Construction and Sanitation to regional and local governments and private organizations such as parishes and NGOs. The objective is to take advantage of its infrastructure and resources to carry out actions coordinated by the Midis.
“If a municipal cradle is going to be created in Bellavista, for example, we can integrate it through Cuna Más. We can also strengthen the centers for the elderly, so that women can access the labor market [y no se queden en casa]”, Details Aljovin.
In its first stage, Prospera will be applied in certain districts of Lima. After one year, indicators such as dropout, access to water, malnutrition and access to work will be measured to verify its success.
-The hard life on the hill San Pedro-
How do you live with less than S / 328 per month? How do you keep a family as a single mother and selling clam cebiche for S / 15 a day? What does a child who grows up with anemia on the heights of Lima want to be when he grows up?
To answer these questions, El Comercio toured the hill San Pedro, in El Agustino. Accompanied by members of the Santa Magdalena Sofia parish, which manages three children’s shelters, we collected stories of determination and hope.