Since getting back to Peru in February time has really flown and I have been so busy working both with Azul Wasi as well as LAFF’s new project partners here, Casa Mantay and Sacred Valley Project, which the LAFF board approved earlier this year.
We have been doing really different things with each project as LAFF responds to our partners’ needs (which are often quite different!), so here is a run-down of what I’ve been up to with each of them:
Casa Mantay – Casa Mantay already has a very active and productive workshop onsite at their home for adolescent mothers and their children on the outskirts of Cuzco. Speaking to them however, we have helped them identify areas for improvement such as broadening their market around Peru and internationally and are helping them to implement their idea of creating a new, luxury product line which they can target at the local market, enabling them not to have to rely solely on tourism which only really peaks for 3 months of the year here in Cuzco and has seriously diminished over the last couple of years due to natural disasters, the global recession and more recently through strikes and political instability. I’ve been working with them to put together a business plan to really assess how their new line will work and ensure that it will be a success, helping to put together a catalogue for their products to promote more widely and LAFF also helped Casa Mantay to attend the Peru Gift Fair 2011 to promote their products to an audience of professional buyers from all over the world. Increasing Casa Mantay’s sales and range of products will have a really positive effect on the home; enabling them to cover more of the homes running costs through income generated and will eventually open up more jobs for former beneficiaries of the home.
Sacred Valley Project – SVP is a relatively new project so has totally different needs from Casa Mantay which has been running for over 10 years. With SVP we have been helping them to equip their study centre for the project which now enables 13 girls from rural villages around Ollantaytambo to attend schools which they wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity to attend and may well instead be working the fields to support their families in their villages. We have also been investigating sustainability ideas with the project and SVP are keen to start up a small guinea pig farm which will enable the girls to have some responsibility and learn skills which are very valuable in their communities along with generating income to contribute towards the costs of running costs and tutors for the project through selling guinea pigs to local restaurants. Ollantaytambo is where most tourists catch the train to Machu Picchu so is a great place for this with lots of busy restaurants.
Azul Wasi – at Azul Wasi we have continued to help them build capacity and confidence in using their greenhouse to produce their own vegetables. Earlier this year, we refurbished the greenhouse by replacing the plastic which was quite worn and by installing a new drip irrigation system. We were impressed by their success in their use of the greenhouse up with assistance from Wilfredo, LAFF’s greenhouse trainer and expert. We have continued with training and aim to leave the greenhouse project in Azul Wasi’s hands by the end of August. Along with this, we have continued to work with the home’s director, Alcides, in order to build capacity in financial management and long-term planning.
Aside from working with LAFF’s partner projects another highlight for me is that we have been busy compiling the Annual Report which will be out soon – it’s so exciting to be reminded of all we’ve achieved over the last year and how far we’ve come as an organisation. I have also been looking at new potential partners in Peru’s two largest cities, Lima and Arequipa, which we are reviewing at the moment.