001

The Reality of the Peruvian Amazon: Education, resources and culture

by Luis Montano

Share this post

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on print
Share on email

Peruvian Amazon: One of the largest sources of natural resources

The Peruvian Amazon is the region with the largest geographical extension in the country, representing 62% of the national territory and 13% of the total of the continent. It is considered to be one of the largest sources of natural resources on the planet due to its high biodiversity, tropical climates, and a high number of traversable rivers. Its population is characterized by its ethnic, cultural, and linguistic diversity as it is made up of various indigenous populations. About 10% of the population of Peru live in regions with some of the  lowest development rates in the country.

The main factors that influence the lack of development: Education and energy

Many locals believe the source of underdevelopment in the Peruvian Amazon is due to the neglect from state entities. Due to the cultural differences in the region, nation-wide policies that are implemented throughout Peru and in the urban areas do not have the same influence that is seen in urban areas. Education, health, energy, and water services are still developing in Amazonian communities. The education sector in the Amazon has cultural and linguistic complexities due to the number of Amazonian ethnic groups that coexist in the area. This characteristic proposes a challenge to teachers who receive curriculums developed in urban areas for urban areas with little connection to the rural population.

What motivates us to take action

Many locals believe the source of underdevelopment in the Peruvian Amazon is due to the neglect from state entities. Due to the cultural differences in the region, nation-wide policies that are implemented throughout Peru and in the urban areas do not have the same influence that is seen in urban areas. Education, health, energy, and water services are still developing in Amazonian communities. The education sector in the Amazon has cultural and linguistic complexities due to the number of Amazonian ethnic groups that coexist in the area. This characteristic proposes a challenge to teachers who receive curriculums developed in urban areas for urban areas with little connection to the rural population.

According to the National Institute of Statistics and Informatics of Peru (INEI) in 2018, 5.9% of the population aged 15 years and over in Peru cannot read or write.  Illiteracy rates are higher in rural populations at 14.9%, opposed to urban populations at 3.5%. By ethnic origin, illiteracy rates are higher in populations where an indigenous language is the mother tongue at 16.1% compared to 3.4% for the Spanish speaking populations. One of the greatest barriers for the development of quality education is access to electricity.

How Covid-19 affected the basic education of these populations

In 2020, according to the INEI, 15 out of every 100 inhabitants in rural areas do not have access to electricity. This directly impacts the educational system with limited access to resources. During 2020 according to the INEI, 79.1% of young people in Peru received remote classes due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, around 42% of children and young people between 6 and 16 years old in the Amazon couldn’t attend remote classes at all (due to the absence of electricity and connectivity) and many dropped out for the school year.

One government program introduced for the 2020/21 school year sent out tablets to schools throughout Peru loaded with educational resources to assist with the learn at home initiative. However, due to the lack of electricity, in many instances, they were not used to the capacity they should have been.  To combat this, many homes, health centers, and educational institutions use generators as an energy source, which is expensive and requires gasoline (that is often not available).  This causes many communities to spend a large portion of their small income on fuel and maintenance of the generators.

Communities are left with little to no choice but to continue the use of polluting and toxic generators. With underdeveloped infrastructure of these areas, fuel transport is often done in non-environmentally friendly ways resulting in  leakage and run-off in to land and water systems. Without the knowledge and tools to change these practices they still continue today. 

LUTW’s experience in the Peruvian Amazon

LUTW seeks to close these gaps by bringing electrical energy through solar systems, our job is to seek equal opportunities for the communities most in need. LUTW has been working for 25 years with the most vulnerable populations in several countries around the world. In Peru LUTW has been operating since 2010, and has brought electricity to thousands of Peruvians in rural areas. Starting in 2020, LUTW initiated the Light Up the Amazon project, in which a first group of 42 schools without access to electricity were identified in the provinces of Amazonas and Loreto. In collaboration with Direct TV, in the first phase, 6 schools were electrified in the Peruvian Amazon during July and August 2021, was completed. Thanks to this support more than 487 students between 3 to 17 years old and dozens of teachers in native communities of the district of Rio Santiago, Amazonas now hace access to light. We are currently looking for partners that want to join us in continuing to light up the Peruvian Amazon.

Follow along for our #LightUpTheAmazon campaign! In the coming weeks we will be sharing the stories of our solar technicians and there experience lighting up 6 schools in the Peruvian Amazon. We are sharing these stories to give you a glimpse at how far a small act of kindness can go. Each one of us can make a difference and together we can create CHANGE. We are now funding the last 2 schools in phase 1 of our Amazon projects! Support us below! 

To learn more head to our Current Projects Page.

Have a question for our Peru projects team – enter it below! We will be sharing all the answers at the end of our campaign. 

Follow us on social media!