15 October 2021
Category : Reportage
Ana María Yunpanqui is one of the few women mayors that Peru has. And the first in the history of its municipality, Pomata, in Puno, whose lake represents one of the most significant basins in South America.Ana María Yunpanqui
Ana María Yupanqui did not have it easy. Belonging to the Aymara ethnic group, which she herself considers “very sexist”, she was one of the few rural women who managed to continue with their education. She managed to finish high school and study outside her municipality to graduate as a Contadora (accountant) in Puno. “I wanted to do something for my community, and although basically not even my family supported me, I was confident I could do it, even if I was a woman and a young one“, explains the mayor of Pomata, a municipality of around 20,000 inhabitants.
At 33 years old, she is one of the 19 women who has managed to become mayor in Peru, the first in the history of her municipality. She believes that she won the elections because people, tired of corruption, chose to give a woman the opportunity to exercise another type of leadership. “There are leaders who can’t accept being governed by a woman. But the peopleput their trust in us and as a woman I can’t let them down, because I can serve as an example for others in years to come”, she stresses.
“We have many problems, our population earns their living purely from agriculture, livestock and fishing, and gender violence has a very significant impact on the lives of our women. The pollution of the lake is also a key issue”, explains the mayor.
Ana María Yupanqui comes from a rural area and knows all about the needs of rural women who, in this COVID-19 crisis, have been among the hardest hit. As she points out, in remote villages, especially the most marginalised ones, measures are needed to ease the burden of care and share it out better between women and men. Sufficient basic services and infrastructures are also needed to support women’s domestic and care work that is unpaid, which is exacerbated by the crisis. “We have to empower rural women so they can stand up for themselves”, says Pomata.
The EUROsociAL cooperation programme, financed by the European Union and managed by the FIIAPP, is working to improve the governance of Lake Titicaca and meet the demands of the main environmental and social challenges of its population, the majority of which are from Aymara and Quechua indigenous communities that live at an altitude of 4,200 metres, with little State presence and high rates of poverty and marginalisation.
Specifically, the Democratic Governance area of the EUROsociAL+ programme, managed by the FIIAPP, through its Territorial Development line, has accompanied the Binational Autonomous Authority of Lake Titicaca (ALT) in the implementation of a strategy for coordination between various levels of government that also incorporates other non-institutional actors. The ALT has also taken lessons learnt from the European experience, for better management of water resources and sanitation projects that reduce inequality, vulnerabilities and social exclusion.
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