¿Por qué caminamos desde Cuncani hasta Urubamba?

Visitar y caminar desde Cuncani nos brindará un mejor conocimiento sobre nuestro Perú, nuestro país de residencia. 

No solo su diversidad natural, sino también su gente, sus tradiciones y costumbres. Además de ser una experiencia personal, ayudaría a poner en el map global una comunidad pequeña y podría construir puentes entre diversas culturas y personas, con el fin de tener un mundo que se preocupe más, que se conozca más y que sea más respetuoso hacia los demás.

Wendy and Dave Holmes (amig@s de NC)

Este setiember caminaremos 15 km desde la comunidad de Cuncani hasta nuestro hogar en Urubamba. Realizamos esta actividad por dos razones:

  • Para generar mayor conciencia del impacto del aislamiento de comunidades como Cuncani en sus procesos de desarrollo;
  • Para recaudar los fondos necesarios que nos permitan alcanzar nuestra meta de este año para nuestro proyecto de Hogares Sostenibles.

Si quieres hacer una donación, visita este link.

Why hike From Cuncani to Urubamba?

Visiting and walking to Cuncani will give us a greater understanding about the country Peru which we call home.

This will be not only in its natural diversity but also in its people with their varied traditions and lifestyles. Besides this personal experience, it will help to put a small community on the global map and could lead to building bridges between diverse cultures and people, ultimately with the goal of having a more caring, knowledgeable and respectful world. 

Wendy and Dave Holmes (NC friends)

 

This September we will be walking 15 km from the community of Cuncani to our home in Urubamba. We are doing this activity for two reasons:

  • To raise awareness about the fact that isolation has an impact on the development of communities like Cuncani;
  • To raise money that can allow us to accomplish the goal of this year for our Sustainable Homes Project

If you would like to make a donation, please visit this link.

Sustainable-Homes-Option-3-English-2

 

 

Fortaleciendo Lazos en Cuncani

Marjorie Díaz Redolfo, IDEHPUCP

¡Hola a todos y todas!

Somos un grupo de 16 estudiantes de diversas especialidades de la Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú (PUCP) que busca llegar a Cuncani para poder trabajar con la comunidad un proyecto denominado Fortaleciendo Lazos en Cuncani, que contribuya a fortalecer su sentido de comunidad y las relaciones que existen entre sus miembros. Creemos que de esta forma ayudaremos a la comunidad a identificar qué es lo que quieren lograr para su futuro y proponer alternativas a las problemáticas de su realidad. Todo esto es posible gracias a la alianza establecida con  Nexos Comunitarios.

 Credits: Miguel Arreátegui Rodríguez

¿Por qué es importante trabajar con Cuncani?

Cuncani es una comunidad rural en los Andes del Perú, que tiene que enfrentar muchas dificultades en diferentes dimensiones de su vida diaria:

  • De acuerdo a estadísticas oficiales, Cuncani figura entre las comunidades más pobres del país.
  • La población infantil tiene mayor tendencia a sufrir de desnutrición crónica porque las familias no pueden costear una dieta nutritiva.
  • Los ciudadanos de Cuncani no reciben un servicio de salud adecuado, pues el centro médico se encuentra a una gran distancia.
  • Si bien la comunidad tiene su propia organización y autoridades locales, estos no participan activamente ni demandan la mejora de los servicios públicos.

¿Qué haremos con la comunidad?

Para ello, hemos pensado primero realizar un diagnóstico social en la comunidad, que permita conocer más sobre las familias que conforman Cuncani. Indagaremos aspectos relacionados a su salud, educación y economía. Además, queremos conocer su perspectiva de desarrollo y comunidad, su vida cotidiana, y su nivel de participación en la búsqueda de soluciones a las problemáticas de su comunidad.

Posteriormente, queremos implementar algunas actividades con las familias de Cuncani, a manera de talleres participativos, que les permita mejorar sus lazos comunitarios y reflexionar sobre el desarrollo que buscan para su comunidad. Asimismo, buscamos trabajar con ellos y ellas el reconocimiento de sus habilidades para que comiencen a ejercer sus derechos en diversas situaciones de su día a día. En esta línea, también trabajaremos con los niños y niñas de Cuncani, de forma lúdica, temas de identidad con su comunidad.

Si quieres apoyar nuestra iniciativa, por favor visita esta página y haz tu contribución. Todo el dinero donado irá directamente al pago de nuestro viaje desde Lima hasta Cuncani.

¡Gracias!

Strengthening ties within Cuncani

Marjorie Díaz Redolfo, IDEHPUCP

Hi Everyone!

We are a group of 17 young students from the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú (PUCP) in Lima and are on different programs of study. We’re looking forward to arriving to Cuncani in Cusco in order to work with the community on a project named ‘Strengthening Ties within Cuncani’, that will contribute to forging a stronger sense of community and their intra-community relationships.

We believe that, in this way, we will help the community in identifying what they want to achieve for their future and that they feel they can propose their own solutions to the problems they face nowadays. All this is possible thanks to the partnership with Nexos Comunitarios.

 Credits: Miguel Arreátegui Rodríguez

Why is important to work with Cuncani?

Cuncani is a rural community located in the Andes of Peru, that has to face many difficulties within many areas of their everyday life:

  • According to official government statistics, they are one of the poorest communities in Peru.
  • The children are more likely to suffer malnutrition because families are not able to afford vegetables or fruit and provide a nutritious diet for their children.
  • They don´t have access to proper health services due to the distance between the community and the closest health centre.
  • The community has their own internal governing body and structure but community members do not actively participate fully in this structure.

What are we going to do with the community?

First, we are going to collect up-to-date information from the community so we are able to know more about the families with whom NC has been working. We will conduct research about basic topics like health, education, and the local economy. In addition, we want to know their perspective of development and community; the intricacies of their daily life and the ways they participate in their community.

After this, we want to organize some activities with the families of Cuncani. For example, workshops that will focus on strengthening the sense of community identity and the relationships between them and encourage them to think about what kind of development they envisage for the future. Furthermore, we want to help the members of the community recognize their  own inherent abilities so they can exercise their rights in different aspects of their daily life. Finally, we will work with the children of Cuncani, using playful interactive methods to learn how they identify with their community.

If you want to support our initiative, please visit this page and make your contribution. All the money donated will go towards supporting our trip from Lima to the community of Cuncani.

Thank you!

Untangling the web of malnutrition

Carly Hayes (University of Waterloo)

Malnutrition is a problem that spans multiple sectors: social, biological, environmental, and economic, just to name a few. What we have learned from interviews with community members, photos taken by school-aged children, speaking with experts, spending time with our family partners and gathering data from ministries, is that all of the causes are inherently connected and cannot be disentangled from the complex web of malnutrition.

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This pictures show the preparation of K’ispiño.  A typical dish made with alpaca blood, moraya flour, cilantro and salt. The meal was served with potatoes and uchucuta.

Malnutrition is the state of lacking adequate access to necessary macro and micronutrients in the daily diet that are required for the biological and cellular processes our bodies use to function. But malnutrition also encompasses a number of other factors, including sanitation, education, social structures, and culture. My colleague Kennedy recently wrote an article about it, and you can access it here.

The Peruvian government has sought to remedy malnutrition in the same way that it is structured – by providing programs that are multi-sectoral and address multiple problems. Through QaliWarma, the government has endeavoured to improve school attendance rates by providing school meals. Through CunaMas, mothers receive education on early childhood stimulation to improve cognitive development. In Chispitas, targeted families receive supplementation to combat anaemia in children aged from 6 to 36 months old. And finally, in Juntos, a cash transfer program, the Peruvian government has incentivized health care access and school attendance by providing conditional cash transfers of 100 soles per month.

While the Peruvian government has been praised for commitment and multi-sectoral approach to reducing malnutrition by the World Bank, this data masks regional inequalities. Last week we had an interview with the doctor of Lares Health Center (Lares was the poorest district in Peru until 2013), a centre who is in charge of 11 different communities. Cuncani is part of these communities, which are all between 40 minutes and five hours away from Lares. What came to light through this conversation is that despite this dedication to improving overall welfare, malnutrition has gotten worse in a number of ways. The statistics from this year, that were released few days ago, indicate that 37% of the children are malnourished, 22% more than a year ago.

Why is this happening? While we are still trying to answer this question, one possible answer is that no program exists to combat malnutrition, in its multiple forms, as an end goal in itself. These programs are often coupled with goals about achieving universal education, improving healthcare access, and increasing household incomes. Without a program to address malnutrition directly, the complexity of this problem gets lost among a number of other worthwhile goals. And without a direct focus on eliminating malnutrition in the most vulnerable communities, the malnutrition web will only become more tangled.

After finishing with this research, we will continue to improve our efforts and keep working on local solutions for local problems. With our work with the Lares Health Centre, and into the future, we are hoping to reinforce monitoring and evaluation efforts in order to prove that malnutrition and poverty can only be finished when reality, culture, and complexity are taken into account. We hope that the new government of Peru knows this and will take action with this in mind.

Malnutrition Facts

Kennedy Clark, Purdue University

(NC Intern)

To many people, malnutrition presents itself as an image of emaciated children with protruding bellies. However, malnutrition has many realities besides this one. It also includes the growing population of children suffering from obesity in western regions, and children in the Andes, who seem otherwise healthy, but are a bit short in nature. Malnutrition, to put it simply, is a deficiency of nutrients. This can be a deficiency of macronutrients such as carbohydrates, protein, or fats; or a deficiency of micronutrients which are vitamins and minerals such as vitamin A, iron, zinc, and iodine. In either situation, this deficiency can have devastating and sometimes lasting consequences for those affected.

Malnutrition mainly stems from issues falling under one of the two categories or primary and secondary malnutrition. Insufficient intake, for example, is considered primary malnutrition, in which adequate nutrients are not actually provided in the diet. On the other hand, diseases, such as diarrheal conditions, are an example of secondary malnutrition in which, though adequate nutrients may be provided in the diet, the body cannot correctly absorb them.

Malnutrition is extremely threatening to the body’s ability to maintain life. This is because nutrients provide the necessary fuel to drive metabolism, the collection of processes that keep us alive. Metabolism is divided in to two types of processes: catabolism and anabolism. In catabolism, the body breaks down matter in order to obtain energy. In anabolism, energy is consumed in order to synthesize material needed by the cells such as proteins and nucleic acids. Both of these aspects of metabolism involve complex systems of interaction between proteins already present in the body, and external nutrients introduced into the body through the diet. Thus, without adequate nutrients, the body cannot carry out these necessary processes.

Upon consumption, macronutrients are broken down from their more complex states of carbohydrates, lipids, and proteins, to create the small molecules of simple sugar, fatty acids, and amino acids, which serve as fuel or building blocks for various structures in the body. For example, the simple sugar, glucose is the brains sole source of energy. The phospholipid formed from fatty acids, makes up the outermost layer of most human cells, protecting it from being too permeable to outside pathogens. Furthermore, the amino acids come together to make proteins such as cortisol receptors that allow our bodies to react when faced with danger.

Micronutrients play a different, yet equally vital role in the process. They are often key players necessary for carrying out cellular processes. For example, iron serves as an important component in maintaining the structure of heme groups which are part of proteins found in the red blood cells that help with oxygen transport throughout the body. Iodine, another micronutrient, is similarly important in metabolic processes. It plays a role in the processes in the thyroid. Without the presence of iodine, the thyroid cannot produce its hormones, a number of which are responsible for growth and development throughout the body.

Be it insufficient intake of macronutrients, or of micronutrients, malnutrition can prove to be incredibly, and sometimes irreversibly harmful for those suffering from it. Adequate nutrition is essential for our existence, as without it, we do not have the ability to carry out the number of metabolic processes that take place in our bodies as efficiently as possible; and therefore, cannot function to our fullest potential. This is especially important when it comes to discussing developing regions, such as Andean communities like Cuncani. For them, the gravity of the effects of malnutrition is more complicated than it seems. With poor health outcomes in physical and mental development, the community can be set back in their ability to sustain themselves in their development process.

 

A meeting to remember

Daniel Baptiste (Nexos Comunitarios)

As a student of International Development I have always taken what I now view to be a somewhat naïve view of grassroots development initiatives. I was under the impression that NGOs worked with their host communities in relative harmony. I thought that while finance could be a perennial difficulty for NGOs, the work itself would be straightforward and universally rewarding. Halfway into my time with Nexos Comunitarios, I can honestly say that I was right about the rewarding nature of the work, trekking up a mountain to visit Cuncani, knowing many of the families and their children by name, and seeing familiar yet otherworldly sights is rewarding. Being part of  an organisation with a proven record of achieving and implementing development roles is also rewarding. There are however, huge challenges associated with working in communities like Cuncani.

Cuncani Nexos ComunitariosOn June 23rd I was had to go to Cuncani to participate in a meeting with the community to discuss about the next steps of our work together. After arriving in the community I found myself in a room with many  community members. As few of them speak Spanish, Saturnina, our local coordinator, was there to talk to the parents too, and to translate. Quickly, I realised that the meeting would not go as I expected. I explained everything as planned, but people just did not seem interested. At least, that what I thought that time.

After my relatively brief outline of our activities in Cuncani, the school director took over the meeting. I was not expecting the changes within the meeting after his participation. After hours of discussions, participation from parents, another teacher and the principal I understood he was upset and frustrated due to the fact  that the government was not paying on of the teachers in the school, to the poor test results of students. The feeling in the room became tense, there was yelling, screaming, arguing, it disintegrated fast. Perhaps I was shielded from the events as the entire meeting was in Quechua, and aside from what my limited Quechua skills could ascertain, the translations to Spanish from our local coordinator were all I could understand.

When the meeting was over, I came back to Urubamba and had a meeting to reflect on what just happened. There were many things to take into account! The dynamics between the principal and the parents, as well as the impact this could have on the initiatives we are developing concerned me. This was not simply because the the PhotoVoice Project takes place in the school, our Lunch Program and the future initiatives.

Cuncani NCDespite the gravity of the issues at hand, and the difficulties posed by these, I wittness through it all, there remains a palpable desire by community members to keep working together to effect positive change. Last week we had our first walk as part of the ‘Participatory video’ we are working on, together, it was a great sucess! Maybe we all need to remember that, We, at NC, believe that ever challenge leads to a great success!

This meeting was a very important lesson to me, one that I didn’t learn from a book or a class, but one that I learned from the field and won’t ever forget.