Global Reach: Grantee Partners

Centro Yanapanakusun (Yana)


EMpower has seven grantee partners in Peru, supporting work in the outskirts and urban areas of Lima, Cusco, Puno, and in Madre de Dios, with a focus on Education, Livelihoods, and Health and Well-being. Youth aged 15-24 make up 19% of Peru’s total population. Issues affecting youth include:

  • School dropout: Nearly 76% of Peruvian youth are estimated to enrol in secondary school; however, 17% fail to complete it. 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.
  • High levels of adolescent pregnancy: In Peru, four girls under the age of 15 give birth each day, according to UNFPA. Ninety-nine per cent of these girls live in poverty, and 4 out of 10 will leave school because of pregnancy. Teenage pregnancy triggers inequalities that persist into adult life, often driving girls from school, depriving them of their right to education and limiting their potential.
  • Human trafficking: Peru is a source, destination, and transit country for human trafficking. The main victims of human trafficking in Peru are women and children/adolescents. Most people who are trafficked are forced to work in informal and sometimes illegal gold mining, logging, agriculture and domestic service jobs.

Yana initiated its operations in Cusco in 1992, expanding its activities to neighbouring Puno in 2013. The purpose of this grant would be to expand Yana’s operations in Puno and initiate operations in Juliaca, where young people continue to face numerous challenges. While many attend night school (CEBAs), they receive few hours of schooling and of substandard quality. There are high rates of student withdrawal and missed class time. The limitations of night schools include poor coverage, quality, relevance and equity, because of irrelevant curricula, lack of teacher training, poor infrastructure, and insufficient equipment and materials.

Child labor is an issue in Puno and Juliaca. As early as age 10, many girls migrate to Puno and Juliaca to work as domestic workers because they have been forced by their parents, need to earn money, are escaping family violence, or believe they will have access to better education. Only 5 of 10 young people in the Puno region complete secondary education; they drop out due to the need to work.



In 1992, Vittoria Savio, an Italian volunteer who had spent much time in Peru, became interested in the problems of domestic workers. She opened her home in Cusco to girls who were battered and/or escaping from homes where they were abused. Vittoria, with Ronald Zárate and Josefina Condori, formed an NGO in 2001: Centro Yanapanakusun. Yana’s reference center in Cusco, a city of 110,000 people in south-eastern Peru, provides transitional housing for girl domestic workers as well as medical, psychological, legal support and education. Yana ensures girls’ attendance at school and helps them find work with adequate pay and where they are treated with dignity. The organization has grown and today provides 5 pillar programs: Transitional housing for girl domestic workers; Communities (with Houses of Cultures in various rural communities); Education; Communications; and Responsible Tourism. Yana’s achievements include: having improved the future prospects of youth workers; a successful radio program in Cusco (ranked second regionally) and a radio and TV program in Puno, produced by youth workers; a 35% reduction in rural-urban migration by children in the communities where Yana works, education of youth workers through public night schools, and the ability to cover 35% of program costs through its hostel and tourism program. In 2013, Yana expanded its operations to Puno.

Current Grant:

EMpower's sunset grant to Yanapanakusun will support 545 young people (396 aged 10-14 and 149 aged 15-19) from five public schools in Puno, Pucará and Lurín to strengthen their knowledge on sexual and reproductive health and rights, develop their abilities to prevent gender-based violence, improve their academic performance, and increase their professional, technical and employability skills to access employment. Program participants will also strengthen their leadership and life skills by participating in community journalism and recreational activities, and by establishing a Youth Network to discuss key social issues affecting their communities (education, environment, etc.). Yanapanakusun will document the impact of its program in Puno, after eight years of implementation with EMpower’s support, to share it with key stakeholders. In preparation for the end of the partnership with EMpower, Yanapanakusun will hire a full-time resource mobilisation specialist to bridge the resulting funding gap.

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