Major Area: Young Child Survival and Development
Like other indigenous communities, the Awajun and the Huampis who live in the Amazonian area of Rio Santiago are amongst the most excluded groups in Peru, with low social indicators especially for children and adolescents. In order to reverse this situation UNICEF, in a joint effort with its partners, initiated a comprehensive community-based programme that produced significant improvements in indicators related to health, education and child protection.
The strategies developed and the results achieved through this programme demonstrate the possibility of progressing toward the fulfilment of children's rights, even in extremely remote and poor areas. The expansion of this kind of programme, coupled with higher public investment for indigenous areas, may help reduce the serious inequities that affect indigenous populations.
Peru faces strong inequalities in social indicators amongst the different segments of the population. The indigenous communities of the Peruvian Amazon represent the most affected social groups, such as the Awajum and the Huampis (population 12,000), who live in the Rio Santiago district of Condorcanqui Province in the department of Amazonas, one of the most isolated and inaccessible regions of the Peruvian Amazon. According to the initial baseline study performed in 2002, these populations suffer from low social indicators especially for children, adolescents and women:
Strategy & application
UNICEF – in partnership with the Ministries of Health, Education and Women and Social Development, the Regional Government of Amazonas, RENIEC, community organizations and indigenous federations – initiated a comprehensive community-based programme for the fulfilment of basic rights of indigenous children with special emphasis on health, nutrition, education, good treatment, identity and participation. The main strategies included strengthening the presence and capacities of public services in the 56 communities along the banks of the Santiago River, including health services and schools, in order to develop a network for child protection, and advocating the inclusion of these actions in local Plans and Budgets. Specific strategies include:
Significant results have been achieved through this intervention as evidenced by the progress study performed by the end of 2006:
While important achievements have been made in children’s rights in these indigenous communities, strengthening the capacities of institutions and public services of the State is a priority for ensuring sustainability. For this reason, in the next two years the focus will be on strengthening capacities of the regional and local governments in order to develop investment projects that will enable the inclusion of these activities in public budgets. In parallel, advocacy strategies will be used in order to raise the awareness of society and of government about the situation of indigenous communities and to expand this programme into other areas with indigenous populations.