High adolescent pregnancy rates and lack of access to comprehensive sexuality education continue to be a challenge in Peru, particularly in rural and remote communities such as Pisac, where Kusi Kawsay is based. In 2016, the Peruvian government approved a National Curriculum for Basic Education, which addresses sexuality education and gender equity. According to the Committee on the Elimination of Violence Against Women, the National Curriculum for Basic Education has not been fully implemented, particularly in terms of teacher training and access to information. Adolescents still have limited access to age-appropriate information on sexual and reproductive health and rights, including on responsible sexual behavior, prevention of early pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. Additionally, and for cultural reasons, unequal treatment and opportunities for men and women are considered “natural” in rural areas such as Pisac, and are transmitted to children from an early age.
Founded in 2008, Kusi Kawsay promotes access to intercultural, bilingual, and quality education for young indigenous people living in Pisac, in the Sacred Valley region of Cusco. Kusi Kawsay runs a private school that serves 109 indigenous students between the ages of 3 and 17 (grades K through 9). Kusi Kawsay was founded by five local families that were dissatisfied with the way in which local public schools treated students of indigenous descent. Public schools failed to respect students’ indigenous heritage, cultural context, and history, and regularly resorted to discriminatory disciplinary methods that left many indigenous children behind. Before starting Kusi Kawsay, several of the founding members tried working within the public school system, but the rigidity of the system made it impossible to achieve change. For that reason, they decided to start a private school for indigenous children, with a significant degree of autonomy in programming, teacher selection, and training.
EMpowers 5th grant to Kusi Kawsay is helping 45 indigenous girls and boys from rural Cusco, aged 10 to 17, access age-appropriate comprehensive sexuality education, gender equity training, and advocacy training with the goal for the youth to be able to effectively advocate for their sexual and reproductive rights with key community members.
Primary Location: Pisac
Funded Since: 2015
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