Peru – Sexual Education

Project: Sexual Education for Youth by Youth in Peru
Partner: Manos Libres
Location:Villa El Salvador, Lima, Peru
Funding Partner: Wild Rose Foundation

Teenage mothers from Villa El Salvador are the main actors in this project. These young women are often forced by their schools or their families to give up their education after they become pregnant. They live under the poverty line, often without the support of their partners or their parents. Many have trouble maintaining a steady job while caring for their babies or young children.

Within this project, however, these young mothers are neither victims nor are they powerless. With Manos Libres they create poignant scripts based on their real life experiences and share them with other youth over the airwaves. Radio is a powerful tool in Villa El Salvador where very few households own televisions. Together with specialist in theatre, psychology and health, these young mothers create stories that offer serious and accessible messages about sexual health, domestic violence and healthy childcare. These ‘radio-dramas’ also provide practical advice to young girls about continuing their education, make safe sexual choices and believing in themselves and their futures.

These scripts are acted out by a group of budding teenage actors involved in Manos Libres educational programming. The recordings are then passed on to young radio producers from Villa El Salvador who present them in a popular weekly radio program. The program, heard throughout Villa El Salvador and in other districts of Lima, combines the young mothers’ work with phone-in interviews with a variety of specialists including nurses, doctors, psychologists and counsellors. Great music completes the unique program created entirely by young people from Villa El Salvador and listened to by thousands of their peers.

Manos Libres is a small Peruvian NGO that works primarily with women, youth and children in the urban shanty communities that surround Lima, Peru’s capital city. Using creative, empowering methodology and involving young people in the design and delivery of project, Manos Libres addresses the critical health and wellbeing issue that these communities face, including: HIV/AIDS and STDs, teenage pregnancy, malnutrition, domestic violence and drug and alcohol abuse.

Villa El Salvador is a district in the southwest corner of Lima. Home to approximately 388,500 people, the district grew rapidly in the 1970s through 1990s as migrants flocked to Lima to escape political violence and poverty in the interior of Peru. The district has a strong history of participatory organization and has won awards for its efforts to provide basic services to its inhabitants. Nonetheless, the majority of residents live in poverty. Unemployment is high, educational outcomes are low and family violence is a serious problem.

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