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Supporting Peru's diverse businesses: from bread to roofs

Discovering the impact areas of Kiva's Field Partners (FP) is the most exciting part of my job as a Kiva fellow! Kiva’s FP Asociación Arariwa in Cusco - one of their oldest partners in the region - facilitates group loans. Their clients are spread out across the different communities in the Southern region of Peru.  We started early today to visit and verify a Kiva borrower in the town of Urcos - Zona Sur or South Zone of Cusco - closer to the city of Puno. The FP’s Kiva Coordinators pointed to an interesting pattern of livelihoods followed in villages during the 45-minute drive to Urcos & how Kiva is involved in improving businesses.
The first village we passed by was the village of Huasao. It is dominated by households that are trained as shamans or fortune-tellers. They read futures of local people and tourists from coca leaves, but there are also many other ancient ceremonies that are recreated. Women are bathed in flowers and rose water to chase away bad omens. Arariwa has an existing village bank here, active for the last 5 years. 
Next we stopped at the village of Oropesa where the bread business thrives. The bread from Oropesa is famous across Perú! There are tons of bread entrepreneurs in this town. Ninoska, the Kiva coordinator explains, “The bread business has seen an overhaul in the manner in which the borrowers are now able to take on bigger loans. About 4-5 years ago, an average loan size in Oropesa was 1500-2000 soles and now the average amount is 2500-3000 soles. It means that they are becoming better businessmen and can undertake a few risks.” This village has bread festivals (see below) that are famous across the country.

The next village, on our way to Urcos was Tipón. Tipón has a majority of small businesses specializing in serving up Peru’s delicacy “cuy” or “guinea pig.” “Cuy” - as I’ve been told by more than a few Peruvians - is a national delicacy & meat with no fat! Arariwa used to manage a communal bank here.
Next, we passed through the village of Piñipampa, a village with "roof entrepreneurs." In this village, a large majority of  the households generate their income by creating artisan roofs, which are sold all across the different areas of the country. Arariwa works with at least 3 or 4 communal banks in this village.
On the last stop on our ride, we arrived at Andahuaylillas where they make and sell artisanal products, influenced by the Andean history including textiles, that are very popular with tourists. This path leads to Puno, another major town in Southern Peru and a popular route for tourists. Each of these villages, as they specialize in certain kinds of businesses, also produce "choclo" or maize. We saw them growing in fields throughout the drive. 
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About the author

Janvi Gandhi

Born and raised in Mumbai, India, Janvi is a passionate researcher who believes in making the world a better place, one small step at a time. Unafraid to follow her passion, Janvi honed her research skills while completing a doctoral degree from University of Deusto in Bilbao, Spain from the Department of International and Intercultural Studies. She has been involved in fieldwork, undertaking rigorous research assignments in conflict-ridden and underdeveloped rural areas of India during her Master’s education in Disaster Management from Tata Institute of Social Sciences. Recently, she worked as a short-term consultant on a large USAID project in Afghanistan, helping a consulting group to develop a risk assessment tool to improve their education programs. She has worked with numerous non-profit organizations in India, Spain and most recently, interned with Worldreader in San Francisco for the past year helping their teams in Ghana, Spain and India. She is excited to be a part of Kiva, and hopes that this experience will allow her to apply her skill set and open her mind to diversity, social entrepreneurship and rural development in Peru and Bolivia. Her hope is that experiencing empathy for other cultures, working with communities and taking action will help her make a difference in the world