Over the past decade, hunger and poverty have significantly decreased in Peru, thanks to consistent economic growth, investments in infrastructure, education and health, and an expansion of social programmes.
One of the country’s greatest achievements was the halving of chronic child malnutrition, currently at 13.1 percent. However, rates still vary widely among regions, reaching peaks as high as 33.4 percent in remote rural areas in the Sierra and Amazon regions. Among indigenous people, especially in the Amazon, stunting rates have not decreased in the past ten years.
Almost one quarter of the population (22 percent) still lives below the poverty line and in rural areas deep pockets of food insecurity remain. Limited access to nutritious food is at the root of widespread nutritional problems. These include anaemia, which remains pervasive and affects disproportionately the poorest regions and sectors of society, as well as overweight and obesity.
Despite these challenges, Peru is well positioned to become one of the first countries to achieve Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 2 on ending hunger and all forms of malnutrition.
The World Food Programme (WFP) believes that this will be possible through the concerted effort of all the main actors in Peruvian society, including government institutions, the private sector, the media, opinion-formers and the public at large. For this reason, in a shift from its traditional role, WFP is now focusing on bringing these actors together to generate awareness and action on food security and nutrition.
As food traditions and gastronomy play a crucial role in Peru’s national identity, WFP is leveraging their convening power to create new partnerships between government entities, private companies, professionals – including chefs – civil society groups, the media and international agencies.
This innovative approach – which could show the way for WFP’s work in other middle-income countries as well – in 2017 resulted in the production of a 13-episode reality show to raise awareness on nutritional issues. Filmed in locations across Peru, the show features a group of young celebrity chefs promoting healthy eating habits. WFP facilitated this initiative through the collaboration of all 19 government ministries, seven UN agencies, 20 private companies and Peru’s national television.
Alongside communications activities, WFP’s work includes activities to strengthen the capacities of government institutions at different levels to tackle malnutrition.
As Peru is one of the most disaster-prone countries in the world – with more than half its population living in areas that are highly vulnerable to natural disasters and climate change – WFP is also providing technical and policy support to enhance the capacity of government institutions to manage and respond to emergencies.
What the World Food Programme is doing in Peru
Advocacy and communication campaignsWFP works with the whole of Peruvian society to build a well-coordinated movement to eradicate hunger and malnutrition by 2030. This includes placing food security and nutrition firmly on the political and public debate agenda.
NutritionWFP supports the government in the generation of behavior change communication strategies on nutrition-related issues, and the implementation of innovative and inclusive nutrition intervention models that are adapted to specific regional and cultural contexts.
Disaster preparednessWFP provides support and advice at the policy and operational level to enhance the capacity of government institutions to manage disaster risks and to prevent and reduce the impact of shocks on food security and nutrition, including through social safety nets.