Highland communities have suffered from isolation and severe levels
of social exclusion ever since the Spanish conquest. In more recent times
the lack of modern facilities and the declining yields of subsistence agriculture
on lands increasingly sub-divided between siblings through the traditional
inheritance system has meant that young people have migrated to Lima and
other cities in search of a better life. In the 1980s and early 1990s, a
terrible period of terrorism and counter-insurgency violence when the social
fabric of communities was torn apart, the abandonment of many rural areas
As a result there was a severe weakening of local social structures and institutional capacity amongst communities which, until recent years, have been neglected by the state and attracted little effective attention from civil society organizations. Social division and conflict have reached down to the level of the family, where problems of alcoholism and domestic violence have become increasingly common. And now the same communities face growing threats from a new, unpredictable direction. Peruís famous glaciers are visibly receding and it is now recognized as the third most vulnerable country in the world in the face of global climate change.
Over the last decade peace has been restored to the highlands. And, although young people still drift away, some families have begun to return from the cities. CT is contributing to the regeneration of these areas. There is great potential here, in the land itself. It was innovation and success in agriculture that formed the basis of Peru's remarkable ancient civilizations.