I am interested to hear that a model called 'Targeting the Ultra Poor' ~ developed by the Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee (BRAC) ~ is being adopted and tested in Peru. I learnt about this model when I visited northern Bangladesh.
The program is offering subsidies to the ultra poor to build human capacity that will allow households to acquire sustainable livelihoods ~ although it is said that in reality these types of handouts often create dependency. Generally micro finance does not reach the ultra poor, who tend to have unstable livelihoods and suffer from malnutrition and social limitations. A study is being undertaken ~ by the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab, known as the J-PAL), which is part of MIT ~ as part of the larger “Targeting the Ultra-Poor” project to determine whether the model pioneered in Bangladesh is effective in other contexts, in this case the Peruvian Andes.
The local partner is an NGO called Arariwa, which is committed to rural development in Cusco and I am keen to go to Cusco to see for myself, but the meeting Arariwa doesn't materialise. Pity, as I would liked to have gotten my head around how the program is being administered in this country and to what degree it is replicable across developing economies. I will have to wait for J-PAL's study findings. But I am not too heartbroken. Cusco is stunning and the gateway to the famous Inca ruins of Machupichu and the Secret Valley, so I take advantage and spend the weekend investigating the rural culture from a different perspective.
The region thrives on tourism and employs a lot of people. I do not encounter any obvious ultra poor. Perhaps they are the children that run along the train and make 'hand to mouth' motions to indicate they are hungry. But even where I do, they are entrepreneurial to the core. I am being flogged everything from 'take a photo of me and my llama' to plastic ponchos and baby (maybe) alpaca products.