Peru

What We Do in Peru

Freedom from Hunger plans to reach more than 200,000 families through partnering with 33 institutions in Peru by 2014. Our focus is on supporting our 12 current partners to expand Credit with Education as well as incorporate new partners in regions where our services have not yet reached. One of our principle projects in 2011 is to launch a microfinance and health initiative with 4 partners as well as to build a community of practice for health and microfinance for the Andean region. We also aim to launch Saving for Change in the Amazonian region, which is an area poorly covered by traditional microfinance institutions. 

About Peru

  • Area: 496,220 sq mi
  • Capital: Lima
  • Population: 28,674,757
  • Ethnic groups: Amerindian 45% - Mestizo 37% - White 15% - Black, Asian, or other 3%
  • Agricultural products: potatoes, wheat, seed, cotton, coffee, maize, rice, beans, sugar cane, fishing
  • Average life expectancy at birth: male: 68.33 years - female: 72.04 years
  • Fertility rate: 2.46 children born/woman
  • Infant mortality rate: 29.96 deaths/1,000 live births
  • Religions: Roman Catholic 81%, Seventh Day Adventist 1.4%, other Christian 0.7%, other 0.6%, unspecified or none 16.3%
  • Languages: Spanish, Quechua, Aymara, many indigenous dialects
  • Gross Domestic Product per capita: $6,600
  • Population below poverty line: 54%

As the third largest country in South America, Peru shares its border with Ecuador and Colombia to the North, Brazil to the East, Bolivia to the Southeast, Chile to the South, and the Pacific Ocean to the West. Peru is constituted of 24 regions, called departments, and the constitutional province of Callao.

Geographically, Peru is divided into three main regions boasting some of the most spectacular scenery in South America. The narrow, lowland coastal region is known for its arid and dry land but also for its beautiful beaches and fertile valleys. The central high sierra is a part of the spectacular mountain range, the Andes, which stretches down the length of the continent. Its climate can be both dry and pleasant, allowing for a wide variety of crops to be grown there. The dense forest surrounding the Amazon is highly humid year-round but shows some of the most beautiful mix of tropical vegetation and serves as Peru's largest natural reserve.

Peru is a country rich in ethnic diversity. The Spanish Conquest brought along the 'mestizaje', or mix of races, that Peru is now known for. Among its approximately 28 million people we can find Amerindians, Mestizos (mixture of Indians and Spaniards), Whites, and people of African, Asian and other descents. The main spoken language is Spanish, although some native languages such as Quechua and Aymara are still used mainly in the Andes region.

Known to many as the heart of South America's greatest civilization, Peru is also home to one of the newly designated Seven Wonders of the World: Machu Picchu. This old Incan fortress is the best representation of the wonderful Incan architecture and the cornerstone of Peru's archeological importance. Along with Machu Picchu, other attractive sites include the Incan fortresses of Sacsayhuaman and Pisac, the Nazca lines, and the highest peak in Peru, the Huascaran.

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