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"Now the sun burns the land and the rain comes irregularly!" - Interview with Inés Yanac from Wayintsik

Inés Yanac hält einen Workshop in Peru.

We work closely with the local NGO Wayintsik. Wayintsik Perú (Quechua: our home) is an independent, non-profit organisation based in Huaraz that implements environmental and socio-economic development projects in communities in the Cordillera Blanca region. The main focus is on transferring knowledge about climate change and supporting the implementation of adaptation measures in the areas of agriculture, livestock and water management.

We spoke to Inés Yanac, the director of Wayintsik, who told us how communities in Peru are affected by the climate crisis.

Inés, tell us about your background.

I come from a peasant family in the village of Pariapata in the Cordillera Blanca in the Peruvian Andes. I grew up speaking Quechua. From a young age, my grandparents and parents taught me to care for Pachamama (Mother Earth) and to preserve and protect natural resources. Everything in our environment has life, even if some people do not appreciate it enough.

How do you feel the effects of global warming in the Cordillera Blanca?

Climate change in the Cordillera Blanca is very worrying. The climate used to be stable and the cycles of rain and frost were predictable and regular. The impressive glaciers were always visible and there was enough water for agriculture. Today, abrupt climatic changes are leading to water shortages and reduced agricultural production, hitting the rural population particularly hard.

Villagers are noticing significant changes in the weather. They are worried about their future and their agriculture, which is affected by climate variability and disease. The climate used to be milder and natural resources more reliable. Now the sun scorches the land and the rains are erratic, sometimes too late or too intense, making irrigation and planting difficult. The snow-capped mountains provide less water, many natural springs have disappeared and some rivers are polluted due to glacial retreat. In addition, frequent hailstorms and frost damage crops.

What is Wayintsik Perú?

We are an independent, non-profit Peruvian organisation dedicated to promoting and generating knowledge about climate change, climate justice, water and other issues through education and research. Our goal is to improve the living conditions and prospects of those most affected by global warming.

Why is your organisation called Wayintsik?

"Wayintsik" is a Quechua word that means "our home". It represents the place where we live, the environment, the people, the world and the Pachamama (Mother Earth), who provides us with her resources, which we should care for and protect as if it were our home.

Inés Yanac holds a workshop in a community in the Cordillera Blanca.

Inés Yanac holds a workshop in a community in the Cordillera Blanca.

How do you work with the communities?

We regularly travel to communities in the Cordillera Blanca to educate them about the effects of climate change. We provide training on adaptation methods and organic farming techniques. The aim is to mitigate the greenhouse effect and build resilience to climate change through small actions.

We also run projects on family organic gardens where vegetables are grown. These projects allow us to test and evaluate different ways of adapting to climate change. They take place in rural communities such as Yarush, Llupa, Ashtu, Rivas, Ichoca, Cantu and Unchus.

How do the projects contribute to climate change adaptation?

With the initiative of the Family Organic Garden Projects in the communities, we are implementing a resilience strategy to help agricultural activities adapt to the effects of climate change: droughts, low water availability during the dry season, floods, torrential rains, increased temperatures, frequent frosts and hailstorms during certain seasons, etc.

What projects do the communities need in the future?

The villagers feel that the authorities are doing little or nothing to mitigate the problem of climate change, and that it may be too late tomorrow if decisions and actions are not taken now. The communities experience extreme changes in climate and natural resources in their daily activities and are threatened by the consequences every day. They are therefore particularly concerned about the situation.

However, the hope of the communities is not yet exhausted and they continue to hope that local, regional and national governments, NGOs and private companies will support them in the timely implementation of some climate change adaptation and mitigation projects. These could include projects for technical irrigation, construction of irrigation canals, greenhouses, dams, reservoirs or reforestation.

Presentation by the director of Wayintsik-Perú, Inés Yanac.

Presentation by the director of Wayintsik-Perú, Inés Yanac.

What are Wayintsik Perú's plans for the future?

Wayintsik Perú is part of a social responsibility platform that designs and implements multi-sectoral programmes and projects for communities and the general population, benefiting children, adolescents and adults in precarious situations, with a focus on environmental issues.

The inhabitants of the communities are demanding financial support for the implementation of many projects that they have been requesting from various institutions and organisations for a long time. We need funds for the implementation of irrigation techniques, the construction of greenhouses, irrigation channels, reforestation, reservoirs, dams, productive agricultural and livestock projects that are sustainable in the long term. We hope to be able to support vulnerable rural communities affected by climate change with some projects in the near future.

So take a look at the Wayintsik website and find out more about the organisation's work.