Living in Peru Article – Prevent Gender-Based Violence in the Amazon

The World Bank has awarded the healthcare NGO DB Peru and the University College of London a grant of US $150,000 for Gender-Based Violence Prevention in the Amazon of Peru (GAP) Project

DB Peru is an NGO in Peru and in the USA, both being founded in 2003 to provide healthcare and education to remote communities of the Lower Napo River in the Loreto Department of Peru.

DB Peru has run successful health programs in the areas of perinatal care, midwife classes, community health worker classes, family health treatment, breast and cervical cancer screening and treatment, infectious disease, and dental health. Their continual presence has been essential because healthcare access is one of the major problems for the people who live in the Amazon River basin.

Their mission is to partner with local communities to facilitate sustainable access to healthcare and education for the people of the Amazon.

When DB Peru was doing research about women’s health in 2015, it was discovered that there were more incidences of family violence than previously thought. Meetings with local health workers confirmed that violence was a problem for many villages.

However, lack of resources and education about the law and about human rights, and lack of access to authorities were major blocks for initiating solutions.

Partnering with the University College of London (UCL), DB Peru developed the GAP Project. It is the first primary prevention strategy for gender-based violence in the region of the Lower Napo River, and the first community mobilization project of its type in Peru.

In April 2017, Renzo Peña, Vice President of DB Peru went to Washington DC to receive the grant award from the World Bank to provide funding for this project.

Dr. Geordan Shannon, Medical Director for DB Peru and Dr. Jenevieve Mannell of UCL will be using a participatory action approach, which means that the health workers themselves will be the leaders of and for the solutions within their own communities, with DB Peru providing resources, guidance, and advocacy. To their knowledge, it is the first project to use this research approach to gender-based violence prevention in a low-resource, isolated rural settings.

The objective is to design and implement a pilot gender-based violence prevention intervention in 27 communities in the Lower Napo River and evaluate it for effectiveness.

This region represents about 6,000 people, with approximately half being women and girls. The project began November 1, 2017, and will continue through March 2019.