CRS in Peru

Despite sustained economic growth and the designation as a middle income country, Peru still faces significant challenges in addressing inequality. The exploitation of oil resources generates severe environmental costs and impacts the health and livelihoods of many indigenous communities. With little state intervention, private interests are pitted against the indigenous peoples’ way of life and their claims to land ownership.

CRS designs projects to transform unjust economic, political and social structures and promote the dignity of all Peruvians. Long-term programmatic goals include global solidarity to foster changes in Peru through the active collaboration of the Catholic community in the United States. All our projects promote principles such as dignity, self-sufficiency, sustainability and partnership with local organizations.

Our programs serve as a conduit for strengthening the Latin American church in a united response to defend human rights in the context of socio-environmental conflicts. Our work promotes strategies of dialogue and action to create mechanisms for the analysis and protection of indigenous rights in partnership with the Peruvian Episcopal Conference, Caritas Madre de Dios and financial support from USAID. This project aims to educate the pastoral leadership in the application of International Labor Office Convention 169 and the Declaration of the Human Rights of Indigenous Peoples. More than 750 people have received training in conflict resolution workshops and have been integral to CRS’ mission to reduce conflicts over land use without violence and increase livelihood opportunities through the use of tourism, natural resource management and artisanal products. 

CRS currently promotes the formation of 50 GAAP (saving and microfinance) groups, reaching a total of 750 people. These groups demonstrate our dedication to support those who have limited access to financial services, with a significant focus on youth development. With the assistance of COPEME, a local NGO, these groups will promote saving strategies and support program graduates in the acquisition of diverse credit options.


People served: 15,224

Population: 31,036,656 (July 2015 est.)

Size: 496,225 sq. mi.; slightly smaller than Alaska

CRS' History in Peru

In 1950, CRS’ programs in Peru started by providing emergency assistance together with Caritas Peru. CRS later began to expand programs from an independent office of Caritas Peru, in areas such as agriculture, water and sanitation programs, prevention and attention to human trafficking, microfinance, strengthening of civil society organizations, conflict mediation, among others.

Between 2001 and 2004, CRS accompanied Caritas Peru in regional economic development to reduce social exclusion, advising the Caritas Diocese in strategies with market-based approaches in 3 economic corridors of Huancayo, Jaén and Tarapoto. CRS led the "Participate Peru" project with the Consorcio Procida Ciudadana. Its objective was to strengthen the capacities of grassroots organizations and communities to participate in the spaces opened up by the decentralization process. Our work also supported the Scheduled Savings Project with the Municipal Savings and Credit Bank of Ica and COPEME, promoting innovations in savings technologies that allow the poorest communities to access savings services of the formal financial system.

CRS in Peru is also committed to the prevention of trafficking and sexual exploitation of girls and young women. Between 2010 and 2013, CRS partnered with the Encuentros Casa de la Juventud (ECJ) in the establishment of work groups and operational planning to strengthen the capacities of school and civil society networks in Cusco, Iquitos and San Martin. Alongside ECJ, our projects raised awareness and response strategies for the protection of potential victims.

CRS advocates for the protection of natural resources and the resolution of conflict through projects dedicated to dialogue between communities affected by mining plans, government representatives and the extractive industry. These dialogues successfully reach communities where there are few services, limited government presence and insufficient legal economic alternatives, especially for young people.

With the aid of the Episcopal Commission for Social Action (CEAS), CRS projects helped leaders of indigenous communities and the church develop a monitoring network as a mechanism to transform and influence local government through responsible management of their natural resources.