“Pro-River Basin” is an initiative arising from civil society organizations in ten municipalities along the Lurín River in the eponymous district of Lurín outside Lima This project is, first and foremost, a poverty alleviation effort. Reformers in the program strategize to influence the intermunicipal allocation of national government resources (particularly from the Ministries of Housing, Transport, Agriculture, and Tourism) to target the development of private industry in the region. This new civil initiative seeks to manage local resources to involve social development and include marginalized community members across the rural territories of the river basin. The objectives of the initiative are to increase the capability of the region in terms of development, and to generate economic development for the disadvantaged rural population.
By networking between cities, civil associations involved with the initiative have been able to raise their own clout in negotiating with local government and private sector leaders to improve resource allocation strategies. By drawing attention to budget inequities in development project planning, the initiative’s reformers have been able to introduce a degree of citizen oversight in local governance. This innovative focus on the region surrounding the Lurín, rather than on individual townships, encouraged a multi-sector agreement amongst activists to identify and prioritize municipal projects for execution.
The first stage of the program’s implementation began with the creation of the Association of Mayors of the River Basin of Lurín. As the mayors integrated their public policies with the construction projects and program implementations of civil society groups, they formed a strategic plan for the development of the Lurín region. This plan included multiple avenues of development; it was presented before the Ministries of Housing and of Women and Social Development (MIMDES). Its roots in civil society also allowed fundraisers for different development programs to seek international assistance from organizations like the philanthropic Leger Foundation.
The strength of the program lies in the strong mutual ties developed between the municipal governments (and particularly, their mayors) and civil society: where the former plans new development construction ideas, the latter prioritizes and executes the proposed projects. The initiative has mobilized multiple sectors of state and local government and civil associations to work together in the common cause of developing human and economic capital in the Lurín river basin. However, the program is not without weaknesses: the multiple actors involved in strategizing may have an unequal knowledge of the unique situation of the river basin and its possibilities for development. The primary civil society contributors are based on production, for example, associations of farmers and so on. There is not currently a wide-reaching mobilization of local community members in the planning and execution of these development initiatives. Tensions have also emerged between municipalities over perceived differences in receiving state support.
The strengths of the program, nonetheless, lie in its integration of three sectors essential to development: government, civil society, and the private sector. By facing poverty along multiple lines, reformers have been able to improve basic potable water access and transport to the central Cieneguilla-Huarochiri Highway.