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March 28, 2018

Partnering with the Government of Peru to Build Capacity for the Reduction of Poverty and Coca Production

The USAID/Peru New Alternatives Program (NAP) supports the transitioning of communities in Peru from coca dependency to licit livelihoods. To achieve this goal, CAMRIS teamed with Consultandes under the joint venture New Alternatives Venture (NAV) to strengthen the strategic and operational capabilities of DEVIDA (the Peruvian agency responsible for the fight against illicit drugs) to implement a post-eradication program together with 381 communities and over 13,000 participating households. Together with DEVIDA, NAP has provided institutional support to help a dozen municipalities, 330 JVC (community leadership committees) and 396 producer organizations to pursue their economic and social development priorities.

Working in tandem with DEVIDA throughout Peru, NAV helped DEVIDA expand into the role of implementing post-eradication activities. It has been so effective that its budget for alternative development grew from $11.9 million in 2011 to $49.1 million in 2017. Over the past five years, NAV has worked closely with DEVIDA to establish direct implementation systems for each component of the post-eradication program and keep pace with its rapid expansion. As a result, DEVIDA and NAV have installed over 7,100 hectares of premium cacao and coffee while organizing almost 10,000 farmers into producer committees, supporting community development, establishing environmental mitigation guidelines, and building its post-eradication monitoring system. We have improved DEVIDA’s program coordination at national and regional levels, improved its supervision and management capabilities, and strengthened its links with the general population.

In support of municipalities, the CAMRIS team provides technical assistance to strengthen their planning and accountability. Over the last two years, we have supported 10 municipal districts to plan and organize participatory budget activities that have led to the prioritization of over $8 million in funding for post-eradication communities as well as carry out public transparency events, supported four local governments in completing their nationally-mandated Annual Operational Plans that enable the execution of nationally funded projects, and provided technical assistance to strengthen district Local Coordination Councils.

The NAV team has helped to develop 330 JVCs and native community boards of directors, and has assisted them in developing community development plans, implementing community initiatives, and monitoring and engaging authorities on their priority public projects. We provide JVCs with leadership training and mentor them on how to apply and use participatory community assessments and community development plans. These tools allow communities to access funding through participation in district-level planning, vis-à-vis participatory budgeting, and other opportunities that state and private institutions promote. Additionally, we provide JVCs with technical assistances in developing and implementing activities from their development plans.

In collaboration with DEVIDA, the NAV team has implemented a strategy to increase the participation of post-eradication farmers in producer organizations that can improve the profitability of their ventures by providing access to technical assistance, collective bargaining power, access to markets, and tax incentives. The NAV team has emphasized the formation and training of agricultural committees as a platform for providing the benefits of associativity to small farmers. We help the organizations to establish formal structures and practical organizational processes, strengthen their management, expand their membership, and increase their productivity and sales. We also support their establishment of commercial relationships, which has led to the direct sale of over $18 million in cacao to formal traders in the last year alone.

The CAMRIS-Consultandes team continues to strengthen the capacity of DEVIDA, municipalities, JVCs, and agricultural committees, all of whom are ultimately responsible for the sustainability of the post-eradication program. NAP activities are enabling stakeholders to carry out activities and functions that contribute to the success of the transition activities. In turn, the program is helping to reduce poverty and coca production in Peru.