Peruvian Military Provides Social Assistance in the VRAEM Region

By Dialogo
January 23, 2015




The Joint Command of the Armed Forces in Peru is using a two-pronged strategy to improve public safety and living conditions in the Apurímac, Ene and Mantaro Rivers Valley (VRAEM) region.

While keeping terrorist groups like the Shining Path at bay with a continuous offensive, Military forces have broadened the social programs they provide to improve the living conditions of the civilian population in the VRAEM and provide positive opportunities to youth who might be at-risk for recruitment by unlawful groups. Through humanitarian initiatives that promote security and facilitate access to basic services like health care and other social programs, the Joint Command is promoting a culture of peace and inclusion in the VRAEM.

Pensión 65 is one such program; it provides a subsidy to people age 65 or over who live in extreme poverty. The government provides about $42 every month to help them survive.

The Juntos (Spanish for Together) program, meanwhile, provides direct financial assistance to people in poverty so they can access health care, buy food, and obtain other needed goods and services.

Improving life for the civilian population


This holistic approach improves the living conditions of the civilian population while combating organized crime groups, drug traffickers, and terrorists.

“The social works in the VRAEM have been beneficial because they directly target the population in the region,” said Cesar Ortiz, president of the Peruvian Association for Citizen Safety (APROSEC). “The environment of these communities has improved thanks to these works.”

Connecting the civilian population to government services is a key component of the strategy. For example, the Military conducts outreach to ensure that families are aware of the program Cuna Más (Crib Plus), run by the Ministry of Development and Social Inclusion (MIDIS) to help parents living in poverty raise healthy children.

The Armed Forces are helping families in the VRAEM connect with the program, said Jorge Fernandez, Cuna Más Executive Director. A large percentage of the civilian population in the VRAEM benefits from this effort, since 65 percent of the population there lives in poverty, and more than 26 percent live in extreme poverty, according to the National Institute of Statistics and Informatics (INEI).

Military helps VRAEM residents obtain health care


Connecting the civilian population to health care is an important component of the strategy.

For example, in December, the Joint Command conducted a Humanitarian Assistance Operation in the recently created Villa Virgen district, in the Cusco region. The initiative assisted 5,000 residents by providing various types of health services.

Physicians and dentists from the Armed Forces and the Health Ministry provided free medical check-ups, nutritional guidance, and dental work. The doctors provided exams and treatment in the areas of gastroenterology, obstetrics, endocrinology, pediatrics, and gynecology.

Private and public institutions took part in the operation, including the Ministry of Women and Vulnerable Populations, National Office of the Interior Government (ONAGI); the Peru division of Buckner International, an affiliate of the international faith-based social service organization; the National Association of Pharmaceutical Industries (ADIFAN), and the Center for Research and Education for the Prevention of Drug Abuse (CEDRO).

Solar power and youth programs


In addition to providing medical and dental care to the civilian population, the Armed Forces are helping provide much-needed electricity.

Local officials in the Junín region, for example, recently inaugurated a modern system of public lighting powered by solar panels built with the support of the Joint Command of the Armed Forces.

Other programs that the Military has helped bring to the civilian population in the VRAEM region are specifically for children and young people.

In one such program, the Joint Command built in December five playgrounds in several towns in the area with cooperation from private companies. The new play areas brightened the Christmas season for children in these impoverished areas.

In another initiative, the Military has been active in spreading the word throughout the VRAEM region of a Ministry of Education program to provide scholarships for disadvantaged adolescents pursuing a higher education. The program, known as Beca 18 - VRAEM, offers scholarships for science and technology careers in higher education institutions as far away as France.

The Joint Command has worked with the National Program of Scholarships and Educational Loans (PRONABEC) and with several universities to conduct outreach to young people who could benefit from the scholarship initiative. One approach they’ve used has been to organize scholarship fairs, which have been attended by representatives of universities that underprivileged students could attend with financial assistance provided by Beca 19 - VRAEM.

Social programs help the Military build a rapport with the VRAEM’s civilian population


Providing health care, social assistance, and access to educational scholarships help the Armed Forces gain the trust of the civilian population. The Military has built close ties with them, which in turn, provides the Armed Forces with information to fight organized crime, terrorism, and drug trafficking.

Improved relationships between the Military, police and the civilian population “has resulted in better coordination in the fight against drug trafficking, in particular through the air, sea and river interdictions,” according to Ortiz.

“The social development initiatives also improve the relationship between the security forces and the citizens, which is essential to the continuous advancement of the area,” he concluded.



The Joint Command of the Armed Forces in Peru is using a two-pronged strategy to improve public safety and living conditions in the Apurímac, Ene and Mantaro Rivers Valley (VRAEM) region.

While keeping terrorist groups like the Shining Path at bay with a continuous offensive, Military forces have broadened the social programs they provide to improve the living conditions of the civilian population in the VRAEM and provide positive opportunities to youth who might be at-risk for recruitment by unlawful groups. Through humanitarian initiatives that promote security and facilitate access to basic services like health care and other social programs, the Joint Command is promoting a culture of peace and inclusion in the VRAEM.

Pensión 65 is one such program; it provides a subsidy to people age 65 or over who live in extreme poverty. The government provides about $42 every month to help them survive.

The Juntos (Spanish for Together) program, meanwhile, provides direct financial assistance to people in poverty so they can access health care, buy food, and obtain other needed goods and services.

Improving life for the civilian population


This holistic approach improves the living conditions of the civilian population while combating organized crime groups, drug traffickers, and terrorists.

“The social works in the VRAEM have been beneficial because they directly target the population in the region,” said Cesar Ortiz, president of the Peruvian Association for Citizen Safety (APROSEC). “The environment of these communities has improved thanks to these works.”

Connecting the civilian population to government services is a key component of the strategy. For example, the Military conducts outreach to ensure that families are aware of the program Cuna Más (Crib Plus), run by the Ministry of Development and Social Inclusion (MIDIS) to help parents living in poverty raise healthy children.

The Armed Forces are helping families in the VRAEM connect with the program, said Jorge Fernandez, Cuna Más Executive Director. A large percentage of the civilian population in the VRAEM benefits from this effort, since 65 percent of the population there lives in poverty, and more than 26 percent live in extreme poverty, according to the National Institute of Statistics and Informatics (INEI).

Military helps VRAEM residents obtain health care


Connecting the civilian population to health care is an important component of the strategy.

For example, in December, the Joint Command conducted a Humanitarian Assistance Operation in the recently created Villa Virgen district, in the Cusco region. The initiative assisted 5,000 residents by providing various types of health services.

Physicians and dentists from the Armed Forces and the Health Ministry provided free medical check-ups, nutritional guidance, and dental work. The doctors provided exams and treatment in the areas of gastroenterology, obstetrics, endocrinology, pediatrics, and gynecology.

Private and public institutions took part in the operation, including the Ministry of Women and Vulnerable Populations, National Office of the Interior Government (ONAGI); the Peru division of Buckner International, an affiliate of the international faith-based social service organization; the National Association of Pharmaceutical Industries (ADIFAN), and the Center for Research and Education for the Prevention of Drug Abuse (CEDRO).

Solar power and youth programs


In addition to providing medical and dental care to the civilian population, the Armed Forces are helping provide much-needed electricity.

Local officials in the Junín region, for example, recently inaugurated a modern system of public lighting powered by solar panels built with the support of the Joint Command of the Armed Forces.

Other programs that the Military has helped bring to the civilian population in the VRAEM region are specifically for children and young people.

In one such program, the Joint Command built in December five playgrounds in several towns in the area with cooperation from private companies. The new play areas brightened the Christmas season for children in these impoverished areas.

In another initiative, the Military has been active in spreading the word throughout the VRAEM region of a Ministry of Education program to provide scholarships for disadvantaged adolescents pursuing a higher education. The program, known as Beca 18 - VRAEM, offers scholarships for science and technology careers in higher education institutions as far away as France.

The Joint Command has worked with the National Program of Scholarships and Educational Loans (PRONABEC) and with several universities to conduct outreach to young people who could benefit from the scholarship initiative. One approach they’ve used has been to organize scholarship fairs, which have been attended by representatives of universities that underprivileged students could attend with financial assistance provided by Beca 19 - VRAEM.

Social programs help the Military build a rapport with the VRAEM’s civilian population


Providing health care, social assistance, and access to educational scholarships help the Armed Forces gain the trust of the civilian population. The Military has built close ties with them, which in turn, provides the Armed Forces with information to fight organized crime, terrorism, and drug trafficking.

Improved relationships between the Military, police and the civilian population “has resulted in better coordination in the fight against drug trafficking, in particular through the air, sea and river interdictions,” according to Ortiz.

“The social development initiatives also improve the relationship between the security forces and the citizens, which is essential to the continuous advancement of the area,” he concluded.
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