I am writing this blog from Huancayo, Peru, a city with 330,000 inhabitants, located only 280 km south east of Lima (though the drive takes nearly 8 hours). Nestled in the Andes, Huancayo sits at an altitude of approximately 3,300 meters and is the center of commerce for the Mantaro Valley, which is know for its fertile agricultural lands. The many villages throughout the valley are almost entirely dedicated to farming, with the exception of a few that have artisanal traditions. Everyday people travel to Huancayo to sell their harvest in the many markets that can be found in each district of the city.
I am here conducting research on the Vaso de Leche milk subsidy program. The program was initiated in 1984 under the government of Fernando Belaúnde as the direct result of popular protest from women in the Villa El Salvador district of Lima. These women marched and protested on the premise that each child in Peru has the right to one glass of milk per day. Since then, the Vaso de Leche program has spread to all regions of the country and has changed dramatically from the way that it was originally conceptualized.
In order to conduct my research I have been visiting various villages throughout the Mantaro Valley and speaking with mothers who participate in the program. As well as, women who are hold seats on the executive committees of their Vaso de Leche group. In the next few weeks I plan to shift my focus to more urban areas in order to have some comparative information.
Maria Trimble, MA Candidate, CLACS