Above a small Andean community in northern Perú rests a beautiful glacial lake known as Laguna 513. For years, it has been an underutilized tourist resource, resulting in lost economic opportunities for the community members that already rely on so few resources. In this project between the Peace Corps, the Provincial Municipal Government, and the community’s Association of Natural Pastures, there are two main components: 1) To strengthen the capacities of the people that would be affected by an influx of tourists doing trekking up to Laguna 513 and 2) Improve the path up to Laguna 513 and the surrounding spaces to attract tourism to the province. The workshops will include trainings in customer service, intercultural competencies, financial management, sanitation of goods and environmental care. Signage will be installed up to Laguna 513 as, in its current condition, the path to the lake is difficult to find. Additionally, the project includes a little bit of reforestation. Both components are incredibly important and closely linked. Without the installation of signs on the path to the lake, we would not have sufficient tourists interested in visiting these natural tourist attractions. Without the workshops, the community members will not be able to properly manage an influx of tourists nor will they understand the type of experience they can offer to tourists. This project comes from the same community where we’ll work. We hope to see the growth of the community members so that they become competent entrepreneurs in the areas of marketing, financial management, environmental care, and recreational activities. At the same time, we would love to see Laguna 513, Laguna Rajupaquinan and Laguna Cochqa become a well-recognized tourist circuit so that other nearby communities receive an economic benefit. We are excited for the possibilities!
In reality, this is a project the community has wanted to realize for a long time. As with many other projects, they simply lack financial support. With the potential financial support and the provided trainings, they will be able to achieve their goals. For this reason, they signed what is known as an “Acta de Compromiso de Trabajo” – a Work Commitment Certificate. The president of the Association of Natural Pastures and the mayor of this small community have been important parts of the decisions and plans we’ve made up to now. They participated in the initial meetings and keep contributing their desires and ideas for the project.
Since we want to improve what already exists in the community, we hope they get the most important information they need from the workshops and they can hopefully start growing their business and income generating activities. The plan is that the people see the potential of what they can achieve. We are going to train local community members on economic activities that they could implement. Grant participants will monitor the activities and give suggestions so the community can keep advancing this project's goals.