Despite an ancient cultural wealth, Peru's rural communities suffer health and poor living conditions, especially at higher elevations where agricultural production is difficult. Families typically live in crowded adobe buildings with the most rustic of furnishings, no smoke ventilation, no telephone, no lights, and no latrines. In the shadows of the some of the world's largest gold mines, rural Peruvians struggle to survive.
In San Antonio more than 300 people relied on surface water from stagnant, spring-fed pools, rivers or broken water systems contaminated by harmful bacteria. As a result, there was a high incidence of stomach infections-- no more. The recent upgrade to the water delivery system ameliorates the health of not only the young children but the entire community.
History of Involvement
In 2004, Green Empowerment expanded its network of core countries to include Peru. We teamed up with Soluciones Prácticas-ITDG and resolved to combat water shortages and low electrification rates across the country. We began with a large solar and micro hydro power project before tackling the windswept terrain in the Andes Mountains. The Andean region of Peru has some of the lowest electrification rates in the country, a disquieting 14%.
This lack of access to reliable energy contributes to the highest poverty levels in the entire country. At first, our simple solutions harness the power of the wind, sun and rivers to replace low quality alternatives like kerosene lamps and candles as a means to survive. We have incorporated biogas digesters, micro-hydro systems, wind micro-grids and solar photovoltaic systems to improve the lives of nearly 6000 rural Peruvians across the country. In 2009, we extended our reach to Southern Peru joining up with DESEA-Peru to make and install biosand filters, another low cost means to purify water.
Another major part of our mission in Peru is the diffusion of training and technical information. We believe that renewable energy, despite an abundance of solar and water resources, is largely abandoned in Latin America because of a lack of local, technical experience in renewable energy engineering. To combat this issue, we invite our working partners and other like-minded institutions across Latin America to attend annual trainings in technical engineering at the CEDECAP center in Cajamarca, Peru.