Peru: Voices for Justice

The Problem:

c.CHIRAPAQIn Peru, more than half of all people – and nearly 80% of Indigenous Peoples and those of African descent – live in poverty. In rural Ayacucho, where the majority of the population is Indigenous, people struggle to survive as smallholder farmers in a region in which only three percent of the land is arable. Poverty rates are almost twice the national average and over 60 percent of the population suffers from chronic malnutrition. Indigenous Peoples also suffer widespread discrimination. They lack access to media outlets and face racist representations in mainstream media.

Indigenous women face the additional challenge of gender discrimination. They are underrepresented in local government, exposed to gender-based violence and lack access to health care. Maternal mortality in the region is 185 deaths per 100,000 live births, as compared to an average of nine per 100,000 in industrialized countries. Indigenous women who seek health care often encounter professionals who do not speak their local language and cannot fully explain reproductive health information.

The Solution:

MADRE and our partner CHIRAPAQ (The Center for Indigenous Peoples' Cultures of Peru) are using radio to share information on health, domestic violence, women’s political participation, food security, climate change and more in these geographically isolated communities. Based in Ayacucho, the radio program is broadcast in both Spanish and Quechua, the predominant Indigenous language in the region.

Together, MADRE and CHIRAPAQ are training Indigenous women and men in radio production and broadcasting, providing equipment to a network of radio producers and developing programming to promote women’s human rights and collective Indigenous rights.

The Results:

  • Up to 60,000 people receive information on health, domestic violence, women’s political participation, food security, climate change and Indigenous Peoples Rights.
  • Women’s status in their homes and communities is increased as they take on public leadership roles within the broadcasting network
  • A network of radio producers is expanded from 50 to 90 people, with more than half of all positions filled by Indigenous women who are developing skills and self-confidence
  • Indigenous Peruvians gain access to culturally-affirming broadcasts in their own language
  • Rural Indigenous women and men develop an innovative new means to share knowledge, disseminate information to their community and conduct health education campaigns