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Poverty in decline in Peru

Reporter: Dan Collyns 丨 CCTV.com

11-17-2016 14:19 BJT

Global challenges await those attending the APEC leaders' meeting, which plans to explore the subject of "quality growth and human development." The host country Peru has been widely hailed as an example of inclusive growth - turning economic progress into poverty reduction.

Over the past five years, economic conditions for seven million Peruvians have improved to the point where they are no longer considered living in poverty, nearly a third of the population.

This leap is historic, but not everyone is feeling the positive effects.

While poverty is down in many cities - dropping from 42% in 2001 to 16% in 2013

In rural areas, poverty persists and the higher you go in the Andes Mountains, the poorer people are.

Rene Ccoyori lives in remote Quehue with her husband Mario and three children.

They've struggled to improve their lives.

Their kitchen has a gas cooker, an earthenware chimney and an ecological fridge which doesn't need electricity.

But the biggest change has been the opportunity to give their children a better life:

"I've always said my children have to be better than me. They have to become professionals with futures?" said Mario Ayma, father.

With the help of a state scholarship, their eldest son Edison is studying at a boarding school for high performing students.

And thanks to a financial plan called Juntos - which means 'together' - they can add 30 dollars a month to their household budget.

"Juntos has been a great help. The money gives us stability when sometimes there's no income, and we need to buy food or school supplies, and it's helped us prioritize education and nutrition for our children," said Rene Ccoyori, Juntos beneficiary.

Speaking her native Quechua, Ccoyori explains how the program has taught them the importance of school and health for their children.

Their youngest daughter Zaida studies at the local primary school.

The success of Juntos is its conditionality - the mothers of these children only get a monthly stipend if they attend school along with the required health checks.

Newborns get regular monthly examinations.

The health checks continue until a child is five years old in addition to vitamin supplements and vaccinations.

Rosa Huamani is a Juntos manager overseeing more than a thousand families. She says Juntos has helped to break the cycle of poverty.

"We give talks to the mothers telling them that having a healthy child who goes to school and gets an education is the first step out of poverty," she said.

Combined with increased access to water, sanitation and electricity, programs like Juntos have cut in half infant malnutrition and chronic stunting in less than a decade.

Being born poor in Peru used to mean one would likely die poor. Not anymore.

And that has brought hope to millions of parents across the country.

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