Since the last weekend of sobering revalations, people have been busy in Cusco. Tuesday morning dawned and I stumbled down the stairs to find Lou staring slightly confounded at her laptop. She was coming to terms with the fact that she had just recieved a very generous donation from some UK business contacts, a fairtrade sales and distribution company called Peros. If you want to know how much, check out the JustGiving link, and while you’re at it, please leave a few quid yourself…
Now to anyone, a donation of this size would be a marvellous godsend. That is, until you realise that you have to navigate the tricky waters of how to spend a large amount of money and make sure that you get every ounce of value possible. With small donations, the logical route is to chip away at relief effort, but a large sum opens up long terms options; how can the money be invested to really benefit communities in the long term?
Options pop up for the coming months, including:
- Debris clearance, relocation and reconstruction projects for affected communites
- Investment in small businesses to diversify income from farming, which has been seriously affected by the distruction of the crops
and of course, right now
- Ongoing relief aid; people need food, water, clothing and shelter, and in many cases are still not being provided with it
How do you balance the immediate need for aid and the sustainable investment of donations in longer term projects? And just as importantly, how do you choose the right partners for the long term options? There are a lot of community projects, NGOs and government schemes, but the waters are muddied with the mistrust between locals, government and foreign interests founded on a long history of corruption.
Rest assured the connections that are already forged with the communities of the Sacred Valley allow for a diverse range of perspectives about choosing the right options for development, and the right partner to do them with. It’s just a matter of time…