The IV Rural School for Young People in Peru successfully took place this year between the months of May and August. This initiative aimed to provide its participants with knowledge on designing rural-agricultural projects that promote a more just, inclusive and sustainable food system.
The IV Rural School for Young People, as well as the previous ones, is a response to the lack of support provided in the rural areas of Peru, a sector that has been and continues to be made invisible by the state. The health crisis made it impossible not to recognize the importance of farmers, however, 43.8% of farmers remain in poverty and face food insecurity.
The IV Rural School for Young People received more than 400 applicants of which 100 participants were selected. The participants came from not only Peru but also from other countries in the Latin American region including: Mexico, Colombia, Costa Rica and Paraguay. We recognize that rural issues are not only present in Peru, but that the rural sector lacks support in the region as well. The program's objectives included learning and strengthening of capacities and acquiring knowledge in design of rural agrarian development projects, with the goal of promoting a just, inclusive and sustainable transformation process.
After four months of apprenticeships, field visits and more, fifteen projects which were proposed at the beginning of the program were presented at the closing event. Finally, projects which received the highest amounts of points and positive feedback were provided with economic support as a form of incentive. The projects highlighted during the program included: "Allin Cuy'' from Team Bora, "Guardians of the Ditch and Women of Water" from Team Uro and "Tesoro de los Andes" from Team Yanesha.
During the award ceremony, Ed Cox, Public Diplomacy Officer of the United States Embassy, commented, "I congratulate you for your ability to identify the problems in your regions and for the proposals you have designed. As young leaders you can promote the growth of your regions and I am glad that you are interested in contributing to agro-rural development"
Moreover, Luis Quirós, Dean of the Faculty of Agroforestry Engineering and Agronomic Business of the Southern Scientific University, shared the following words, "agriculture needs development, we are reengineering this area and this is what the students at the Rural School for Young People are doing. Agriculture is a noble productive activity because it works to feed the world, but it also takes care of the environment".
Lastly, Marcelita Ponce de León, YPARD Peru's country representative stated, "this is the result of working together and building bridges. That is what YPARD Peru wants from now on: to work in rural agrarian development hand in hand with partners who trust in our talented team".
We take this opportunity to thank the United States Embassy in Peru, the Southern Scientific University - UCSUR, the Alumni USA Network, the YPARD Latin American and Caribbean Regional team, and the Latin American Network of Rural Extension Services - RELASER , who have been our allies for the School of Young Ruralists - Peru Bicentennial Edition.
Keywords: Youth - Peru - YPARD - rural - agro - agrarian - IV school - rural youth - volunteers - training - Embassy - USA - UCSUR, the USA Alumni Network - RELASER.