The vision of the Joining Hands network Red Uniendo Manos Peru (JH-PERU), is to be a movement of solidarity dedicated to improving the quality of life of the most economically disadvantaged and vulnerable sectors of the population in the face of all forms of exclusion and oppression.
In the context of a widening gap between the wealthy and the poor, and a growing number of social conflicts in the country, JH-PERU also envisions itself to be a network which contributes to the construction of alternative models for sustainable and harmonious development and to the empowerment of civil society, as we work together globalizing our solidarity.
Towards this end, JH-PERU is an ecumenical and democratic network formed by 12 organizations and churches distributed all over Peru. Four churches, two community-based groups, and six non-governmental organizations (NGO's) make up our membership. Among its members are institutions which work exclusively with women, indigenous populations, rural farmers and herders, and urban youth.
The mission of JH-PERU is to improve the quality of life of the most economically disadvantaged and vulnerable sectors of society.
We do this by identifying root causes of poverty and injustice and addressing them through advocacy campaigns and the promotion of human and environmental rights at the local, regional, national and international levels, all the while weaving among ourselves a shared spirituality that sustains us and guides us.
To carry out this mission JH-PERU has established three commissions in order to define and articulate impacts upon quality of life from different vantage points:
- Commission on Solidarity Economics: focused on local economic development through the practice of fair trade with local artisan groups in the Andes and in Lima, as well as evaluating the impact of the free trade economic model upon local communities;
- Commission on the Health of La Oroya: focused on the impact of environmental responsibility within the extractive industry as well as access to adequate health care for affected populations, using La Oroya as the principle case study;
- Commission on Water: focused on sustainable management of water sources and adaptation to and mitigation of global warming and resulting climate change, using Andean farming communities as the principle case study.
Through our collective experience shared through our initiatives in these three commissions we have identified three root causes to poverty, inequality and injustice that affect Peru´s most vulnerable families and thus shape our advocacy campaigns:
- Environmental Degradation from the Extractive Industry: The Network is working with other civil society groups to bring pressure upon the mining industry to reduce lead, cadmium and arsenic levels in the environment of La Oroya, while also pressuring the local, regional and national governments to secure adequate and specialized health care for the affected populations, especially women and children.
- Unjust benefits and protections provided to Foreign Investors: . In cooperation with other civil society organizations in Peru, as well as with our Presbyterian partners in the U.S. we continue to advocate through our ¨No Greater Rights for Foreign Investors¨ campaign for more transparent negotiations of the Trans Pacific Partnership Free Trade Agreement (TPP), towards the end of eliminating unfair advantages for foreign investors at the expense of human and environmental rights and democratic process.
Also, as an alternative model of trade, the network facilitates the Bridge of Hope fair trade program which has established a ¨fair trade corridor¨ not only between Peru and the U.S. but around the globe, in order to raise awareness about the terms of trade and to provide a market for impoverished Peruvian artisans.
- Climate Change: Peru continues to be considered one of the three most vulnerable countries in the world to climate change, particularly as it affects rural farming communities and leads to growing water stress upon urban populations. JH-PERU is coordinating with local civil society organizations, our JH partners in Bolivia and our Presbyterian partners in the U.S. to develop strategies to advocate for effective climate change policy to be adopted by the global community by the end of 2015, as well as promote alternative lifestyles that facilitate a more sustainable co-existence with the planet we all share.