Global Reach: Peru

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EMpower in PERU

EMpower currently supports work in the outskirts and urban areas of Lima, Cusco, Puno, and in Madre de Dios, focusing on Education, Livelihoods and Health and Well-being. Youth aged 15-24 make up 19% of Peru’s total population, the majority of which are indigenous/Amerindian groups and located around urban areas.

Issues affecting Youth

School drop-out, disproportionately affecting indigenous youth

Nearly 76% of Peruvian youth are estimated to enroll in secondary school, however 17% fail to complete it. The Inter-American Development Bank estimates that the high school dropout rate costs Peru the equivalent of 17% of the country’s GDP, as the country loses the potential added value these young people could have created. Low quality education and high dropout rates disproportionally affect indigenous youth who are already highly marginalized by ethnicity, language and socioeconomic status.

High youth unemployment and low job preparedness

Peruvian youth face high rates of unemployment, particularly in urban areas, and a lack of the technical and vocational skills they need for jobs in growing markets. According to the latest National Survey of Youth, 7% of urban 20-24 year olds and 26% of rural 20-24 year olds had no income. Of young people who do have jobs, 27% of urban youth and 62% of rural youth work as unskilled, low paid street vendors and service workers with inadequate wages, limited job security and difficult work conditions. Many young people, especially disadvantaged rural or indigenous youth, lack the education or technical training they need to obtain formal jobs with better wages and job security.

Human and sex trafficking

Peru is a source, destination, and transit country for human trafficking, and it is a growing concern to Peru’s government and civil society. Most people who are trafficked are forced to work in informal and sometimes illegal gold mining, logging, agriculture and domestic service jobs. It is unclear how many men, women and children are currently victims of human trafficking, but reports suggest that 20% of those living in conditions of forced labor and sexual exploitation are youth aged between 12-17.

Our Approach to tackling the Issues

EMpower supports local organizations that:

  • Design relevant secondary school curricula to provide clear linkages between education and livelihoods, as many students drop out because work interferes with school
  • Provide training to prepare youth for the job market, including support for young women to enter male-dominated fields like STEM

Other countries in Latin America:

Our Underwriters pay for all of our administrative and fundraising costs, so 100% of your donation goes directly to empowering at-risk youth.