El Agustino is a district in Lima where many houses are built along the hillside. These constructions are in poor condition and there are many problems such as narrow passages and broken stairs without railings. This has led to an increase in slums.
The Social Centre SEA has been working with the local population since 1978 to promote social justice and comprehensive development processes in the neighbourhoods of El Agustino. To address residents' concerns and the need for safe construction, the Centre asked for support from the Construya Peru project. The project applies the training method of interactive exchange to raise awareness of safe housing among families.
"The main problems in El Agustino relate to the higher areas, which are the most vulnerable. There could be a strong earthquake at any moment, which would particularly affect the houses in a hillside location."
Raúl Méndez, Social Centre SEA
“Our goal is to identify vulnerable areas in this district. El Agustino is characterised by hills, which are particularly vulnerable not only in terms of the infrastructure but also socially. Thus, the Centre believes it is vital to inform the population about the safe construction of housing.”
Tania Palomino, Communications at SEA
“We want to live a calm life with our family, without having to fear that our house will collapse on us. If we build it poorly, the house will start to crack over time due to the seismic activity and may even collapse on top of us in an earthquake. We don't want to risk our lives."
Ruth Huamancaya, resident of El Agustino
In this training, the residents were sensitised to the following topics:
Exchange with the other participants is fundamentally part of the method to raise awareness for safe construction. This interaction enables learning through play and collective reflection.
For example, the residents put together puzzles through which they were able to discover the five structural elements of a safe house. Similarly, by means of a floor game and a dice, the participants followed the path of questions that led them to a "safe and robust house".
Giancarlo Gaspar, resident of El Agustino, on the importance of this exchange to live more safely in his district:
The project Construya Peru is financed by Hilti Foundation. It is part of the Swisscontact Development Programme, which is co-financed by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), Federal Department of Foreign Affairs FDFA.