In Peru, experimentation and innovation with democratic institutions that support or rely upon citizen participation can be traced back to the mid-1980s and early 1990s, as a consequence of decentralization processes and the re-structuring of the state. Decentralization prepared the ground for an extensive process of local organization and the development of new institutions, where communal administration had to be structured from draft. In this context, left-leaning candidates widely came into office during the elections of the 1990s, strengthening the local political scene and introducing the first experiments with citizen participation.
Its most recent history, though, is marked by crisis and conflict: the long armed conflict with the “Shining Path” guerrilla and its culmination with the resignation of President Fujimori in 2000 as a consequence of human rights violations and corruption scandals. In this context, a large number of deliberative and collaborative spaces within civil society emerged as an answer to the political crisis, contributing to the process of normalization of state administration through a newly elected government in 2001.
Consequently, two primary social-political issues shape the main tensions around which the public sphere - and therefore the state – are focused: corruption and terrorism. Many of the democratic innovations beginning after 1990 are implemented by center or right-leaning governments, and are thus strongly permeated by efforts in the fight against corruption and the fight for greater accountability and effectiveness of state institutions. International organizations and cooperation agencies (in particular the World Bank, but also USAID, GIZ, BID and PNUD) seem to have had an important influence during this period, introducing their concerns about transparency and monitoring within existing institutions and invoking participatory processes as (more) legitimate means of evaluation and public accounting.
In 2009 another political crisis precipitated with the Baguá conflict. As a result of the violent events, the state and a number of NGOs have made great efforts to generate new spaces for dialogue and for the elaboration, formulation and implementation of policies for historically marginalized regions, such as the Sierra (highlands) and the Selva (jungle), where most residents are poor and indigenous. This has led to ground-breaking legislation in terms of environmental protection in connection with the management and exploitation of natural resources, where the involvement of indigenous peoples in decision-making processes has been a central pillar. In this sense, social empowerment and political inclusion became significantly more important as ends of policies, and emerged as transversal perspectives along with the left-leaning government of Ollanta Humala that took office at the national level in 2010.
More recently - since around 2014 - a number of web-based platforms and mobile apps have also emerged that are primarily concerned with allowing citizens to file complaints and inform the administration with the goal of improving everyday issues and making communication between the administration and population much more fluid.
“Glass of Milk” Committees
The “Glass of Milk” Committees is a nutrition program started in 1985, aimed at mothers of infants up to 6 years of age, and pregnant and lactating women with few ...Read more
“T´ikapapa” is a program for the planning, production and commercialization of native types of Andean potato through the Participatory Approach in Productive Chains (EPCP) mechanism. It is a process that ...Read more
Reach SOS (App)
“Reach SOS” is an app for smartphones designed by a group of young programmers collaborating for the purpose of preventing and combating crime and promoting citizen security at the individual ...Read more
Committees of Agreement for the Fight against Poverty
The Committees of Agreement for the Fight against Poverty originated as forums for dialogue and negotiation between government, ministries, representatives of civil society and citizens to design social policies and ...Read more
“Datea” is a digital platform for the dissemination of useful information to and from the community on a wide variety of topics. It operates based on crowdsourcing comments, photos, links ...Read more