A Will in Search of a Way: Philanthropy in Education in Peru

Produced by: 
Munich Personal RePEc Archive
Available from: 
November 2018
Paper author(s): 
Vicente Leon
Matthew Bird
Education - Health

The ingredients for strong and strategic institutionalised philanthropy exist in Latin America: charitable traditions, rapid wealth creation from the global commodity boom and weaker than expected state social services (Hauser Center, 2016; Johnson, 2018; Sanborn & Portocarrero, 2005). Peru is an exemplary regional case (León & Bird, 2018; Portocarrero, Sanborn, Cueva, & Millán, 2002). Due mostly to increased mining exports in the early 2000s, the World Bank reclassified Peru as an upper middle-income country, which prompted overseas development assistance (ODA) organisations, comprised of multilateral and private institutions, to shift resources outside the country and call on local entities to better channel wealth to address social issues. Local philanthropists sought to meet the challenge, with over half of the country’s philanthropic organisations founded after 2000. Still, Peru’s human capital remains that of a lower middle-income economy and its educational achievements rank low in international evaluations (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development [OECD], 2016). This lack of human capital spurred the creation of new local education-focused philanthropies, which account for the majority of the country’s philanthropic organisations and a third of the philanthropic capital, according to a national survey (León & Bird, 2018). The will exists for change in Peru’s education sector, yet clear pathways for how to scale these initiatives have yet to appear. But what new philanthropic and social investment models are emerging and what lessons does Peru offer to other countries caught in what we consider the middle-income social investment trap?


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