San Borja is a neighbourhood of approximately 200 families living in abject poverty on the outskirts of the coastal city of Chiclayo. Housing is adobe, without electricity, proper sewage disposal or running water. Potable water is available only one or two hours a day from a community tap.

During the past four years, a group of 16 women have met weekly to undertake small projects, provide mutual support and build community. Their projects have included a community garden, raising ducks and guinea pigs for market and furniture building to improve their homes.

In 2016, the group carried out the following new initiatives:

  • Installation of water tanks in eight homes, providing them with 24-hour access to clean water.
  • Formation of a formal women’s committee and provision of gender and leadership training to eight of their members. The committee will also share what they have learned with the larger community.
  • Workshops for the women’s children while their mothers are engaged in their own learning and development. The children’s program often parallels that of the adults’ but is presented in a playful and creative way. The children’s reading skills, which receive insufficient attention in the formal educational system, are strengthened as well, and they participate in the community gardens by planting seedlings.