also tried to deny renewal of registration to certain NGOs known for their criticism of the government
(interview with Javier de Belaunde, NGO lawyer).  This registry is not obligatory, however, and
nonprofits can and do receive direct support from external donors without submitting to SECTI review.
If the public sector does not support civil society organizations in Peru, who does? In large part, the
participants themselves. Nearly 68% of the income of nonprofit organizations for which financial data is
available is 
self generated
, through fees and charges for the services these organizations provide, as well
as membership dues.  Another 22% of nonprofit income comes from international donors and lenders,
aimed primarily at a subset of NGOs, and roughly five percent from national philanthropy.  In other
words, neither the public sector nor private elite donors make significant contributions to organized civil
Although this funding picture suggests considerable autonomy from the government, it also means
serious resource limitations and financial precariousness for the majority of organizations. While there
are numerous private foundations in Peru, and nearly 80% of major corporations claim to make
charitable donations, national philanthropy does not go to the most organized and socially influential
civil society groups. Almost none of it goes to NGOs.  Organizations of the urban and rural poor and
other disadvantaged groups tend to be the weakest, and thus always potentially subject to political
manipulation. Even large organizations with international connections often operate on limited budgets
and are highly sensitive to the vicissitudes of international donor priorities and agendas.  Clearly, efforts
to strengthen civil society in Peru need to address the longer term financial stability and sustainability of
this sector.
NGOs and Civil Society
Although in international parlance,  NGO  refers to any type of nongovernmental organization, in Peru
this term is used almost exclusively to refer to a subset of organizations that were born in the context of
the intense social and political mobilization of the 1970s and 1980s. The Liberation Theology movement,
the emergence of a grassroots based political Left, and the evolution of feminism all contributed to the
growth of this organized community. Initially, these self identified NGOs shared a common commitment
to social and political change, similar structures of internal governance, and a similar dependency on
international funding. Although there is no separate legal status for NGOs, existing directories estimate
their numbers from as low as 738 to as high as 2,000, while a USAID PACT study identified 1,614
NGOs back in 1996. NGOs account for an estimated 14.5% of total nonprofit sector employment in Peru,
which is double the Latin American average.
Although small in relation to the overall civil society, the social and political impact of NGOs is
considerable. Staffed largely by middle class professionals, NGOs today offer a diversity of services,
primarily although not exclusively to the poor and disadvantaged sectors of society, in the areas of urban
and rural development, legal services, employment generation, education, health, microenterprise
promotion and environmental protection, as well as the defense of human rights and civil liberties.  They
specialize in technical and social training (
), in scholarly and applied research, and in
technical assistance to various social groups. Their greater visibility in Peru in recent years can be
attributed to international agencies, such as the World Bank, IDB, and USAID, who have increasingly
found them to be attractive partners.
The international funding and contacts obtained by the most capable NGOs in Peru has been largely
beneficial, enabling them to maintain a significant degree of autonomy vis a vis the State and to survive
H:\INCOMING\July24\MSI Submission\Fn Email.doc

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