CONTRIBUTING TO THE ENVIRONMENT
Our Andean environmental program focuses on community-expressed needs to restore natural and cultivated public green areas in districts throughout the valley. Activities consist of participatory research, training and action to develop concerted strategies with schools, municipalities, health workers and agriculturalists to control ecological degradation and contamination of the environment. Desired outcomes include native tree planting, planning and maintenance of public gardens, school and community vegetable patches, environmentally safe sewer systems, monitoring water quality, and the reduction, recycling and disposal of non-biodegradable waste.
Reduction, recycling and disposal of Non-biodegradable waste
The Andean community environment program is gradually taking shape due to CSW’s imperative to stimulate the concern of municipalities, schools and the Ministry of Health to prioritize the development of collaborative measures to strategically deal with the urgent issue of non-biodegradable trash throughout the valley. As recently as 20 years ago, the Callejón de Huaylas was relatively unhindered by manufactured products and their packaging, primarily made of petroleum based plastics. Traditional practices that include the use of woven wool and cotton sacks, fiber bags, gourds and baskets to carry goods to and from market, to a great extent have been replaced by the introduction of synthetic containers. While biodegradable materials safely decompose in the earth, the toxicity of petroleum products is a dangerous contaminant contributing to the deterioration of the quality of water and land in the region.
The urgency of this issue and the inquiries we receive throughout the year from people inspired to offer their time and energy to participate in efforts to improve the social and environmental conditions in rural Peru motivate us to provide this opportunity for volunteers to work together with Andean communities.
I. Education and training (environmental promoters)
A community participatory needs assessment initiates each effort that seeks to establish the following principal objectives.
1. Problem identification
Centered on collective reflection and analysis, the process promotes community awareness and prioritization of specific problems.
2. Knowledge assessment
This fundamental starting point establishes existing community knowledge of the issue, and identification of educational needs that may include content such as, how to distinguish what is biodegradable and what is not.
3. Actions necessary
Focused on required actions to confront the problem, a systematic and realistic Community Action Plan is developed that may include steps such as, training community environmental promoters, information campaigns, scheduled intersectorial meetings to communicate concerns and coordinate collaborative efforts.
II. Information promotion
Our program seeks to support public health campaigns throughout the valley to communicate the health and social implications of the issue of environmental contamination. By garnering support from neighboring municipalities, the aim is to confront the problem through orientation, information, and the creation of communication networks to share strategies, challenges and signs of progress.
III. Community Action
We aim to guide local community actions that establish concrete responses, such as:
- Garbage collection and separation
- Appropriate waste disposal and transfer
- Cultivation: plant trees, maintain public gardens
- Monitor community changes
environmental: community improvements
- social: changes in behavior
CSW maintains a vital concern to support measures that lend to program continuity through the creation of networks among environmental promoters, consistent communication by means of local radio, and regular meetings at various levels (community, district, municipal, provincial, etc.), as well as multisectorial events to share advances, recruit new districts and share effective results.
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