Growing crops and a better quality of life in Peru


Growing crops and a better quality of life in Peru

In Peru, women experience higher levels of poverty and unemployment compared to men. They receive less pay, lack access to land, and many are survivors of domestic abuse.

Local organization Hatun Willaqkukuna, an ally of Cuso International partner Manuela Ramos Movement, is working to improve women’s rights as well as sexual and reproductive health.

Fostering entrepreneurial and empowered single-parent heads of households who live free of gender-based violence (GBV) is one of their many initiatives. By raising hydroponic crops, women can achieve greater economic autonomy and secure a better quality of life for themselves and their families.

With hydroponic cultivation, plants do not need to be in soil to grow. They simply rely on water and mineral solutions. This means that mothers who are heads of household do not require large tracts of agricultural land. A space in their own home is sufficient to grow produce that is fit for consumption.

Dina is one of 20 women taking part in this hydroponic training, building the skills and tools to gain more financial independence. She faces a daily struggle to provide for herself and her four children.

“Being a single mother is very complicated, it’s very difficult in life. One has to be a father and a mother to one’s children,” said Dina. “Financially it’s not enough, you can’t provide for yourself. That’s why the project has been a help for us.”

Dina is now growing her small crop in a sustainable way. She sells her produce at the market and earns her own income. She also gets to connect and socialize with other women in the community.

“In this project, mostly we among single moms have socialized more, we help each other. Whatever problem we have, we are there, all the members support each other, we are there for everyone,” said Dina.

Dina dreams of seeing more women get involved in the project, supporting themselves with their own income. She also wants to see women succeeding at the national level.

“As a mother to a young daughter myself, it makes me hopeful to see the changes that are happening for women in Peru. They are working hard to be heard, to be seen, and to influence decisions that affect their rights, their families, and their future,” said Elena Soriano, program manager with Cuso International in Peru.

The project is one of many such initiatives supported by Cuso International’s Women’s Voice and Leadership (WVL) program in Peru. Since the program started in 2020, 1,154 women have successfully completed training schools; 520 women’s and girls’ rights defenders completed psychosocial and self-awareness programs; and 29,445, 800 people have heard of the program.

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