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Children take a Leading Role in Urban Good Living


Problem analysis 

In Peru, there are more children and young people living in urban areas than living in rural communities. Overall, children living in urban areas are more exposed to the negative consequences of environmental damage. The lack of a child-rights based approach to promote the right to a healthy environment in areas at risk of environmental degradation is especially problematic and puts the local children and young people at further risk. 

Project/practice formulation 

Children strongly collaborated with the partner organisations Manthoc and Arena & Esteras. These Peruvian organisations worked by combining indigenous/ancestral knowledge and science-based/technical knowledge.

The aim of the project was to improve the living conditions of marginalised communities in urban areas by raising awareness of high-level decision makers, i.e., the national policy-making level.

The beneficiaries of this project were children and young people from 6 to 25 years of age.


Three different ‘environmental routes’ were created in the implementation phase: River Lurín Route, Lomas Route, and Conchán Beach Route. They were created by following a similar methodology developed in three stages: 

  1.     Sensibilisation towards the importance of environmental protection and conservation,
  2.     Intervention on the territory, acknowledgement of the space and the practice of ancestral conservation and rituals connected to the earth,
  3.     Direct action on the territory, with children and young people taking the lead in communicating and raising awareness on the risks for the natural environment.

As a way of increasing the engagement on the issue of environmental protection, the children also created four videos introducing the main concepts and basic information on environmental protection and on the right of the child to a healthy environment.

The following municipal protection ordinances have been approved and enacted:  

  •  In Lima, a Municipal Ordinance declared that conserving the Lurín River Basin was of importance to the district.   

  • In Ayacucho, 2 district ordinances were enacted. Firstly, the "Yakumama as a subject of rights" which recognised the Yakumama as a "Water Recharge Zone" and "Agro-biodiversity Zone." Secondly, in the district of Chuschi, there was the ordinance declaring the "Yakumama – Mother Water as a Subject with Rights." 

  • One last Municipal Ordinance recognised the Llallimayo River Basin as a subject with rights.  

Results / M&E 

This project had an impressive result: the recognition of natural resources as subjects of rights. 

Children and young people were actively engaged and led campaigns aimed to promote the right of the child to a healthy environment and environmental protection in urban living in a way that was well integrated with ancestral knowledge and indigenous practices. They were the first ones to initiate campaigns to promote environment protection activities, with a particular focus on water and water basins. They did not only advocate for their own right to a healthy environment, but took it upon themselves to officially recognise nature as a subject with rights. 

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