Context, Purpose and Goals
The motivation for this research project comes from a development challenge encountered during our first trip to Peru in 2014. At this time, we participated in a group research project focusing on connectivity and multidimensional poverty in the Sacred Valley, a region populated by historically marginalized indigenous groups. While analyzing our research findings, we found a notable discrepancy in access to governmental social programs and financial services between people living in urban centers and those who live in rural communities. In order to further explore this inequity, we have returned to Peru seeking information to better understand how to confront these challenges.
Through an extensive review of available literature, we have identified a gap in published knowledge about the financial culture and strategies of the rural poor in the highlands of the Sacred Valley, Peru. Through our current research we intend to identify the level of demand for credit, savings, and other banking services, the challenges people face trying to access these services, and to gauge the level of trust in formal service providers. We will also seek to learn what informal mechanisms have developed in the communities to address the gap in services in these areas, such as informal lenders, family borrowing, and alternative savings methods. Finally, we also identified a gap in targeting of government social programs in rural, hard to reach communities. We hope to gain a clearer understanding of this challenge.
Our goal in conducting this research is two-fold. First, we hope to contribute valuable knowledge specific to the area we are studying. There are many NGO’s active in the Sacred Valley, but very little research available that is disaggregated by region. We believe that through this project we can gain information that will be highly relevant to organizations working here. Second, through this research we hope to learn the challenges that prevent people from accessing financial services for the purpose of working with the communities and organizations already on the ground to develop a program to address these barriers.