Peruvian agricultural activists, CEPES, become member of APC
JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA, 25 November 2003
CEPES (which stands for the Peruvian Social Studies Centre, you say SEH-pes) is a registered non-profit based in Lima, Peru which serves the economic and social development needs of campesinos and small farmers. CEPES' ICT for Development programme -with which APC will work most closely- aims to strengthen the capacity of the rural population to influence rural and agrarian policies through access to different media and communication services.
CEPES has broad experience in the use of information and communication technologies for development. They develop websites focused on agrarian and rural issues, including the first Quechua language website -"TINKUY"- on the World Wide Web. Their own website contains a wealth of information, resources and materials on agriculture concerns.
CEPES has been working with radio since 1980 when they began producing a daily nationwide radio programme called "Tierra Fecunda" (Fertile Earth). The programme is still broadcast and can be found on the CEPES site. They have also supported the formation of a national rural radios network of 45 radios stations.
CEPES' most significant current project is a local development project in a coastal valley -the Chancay-Huaral- near Lima. The project will eventually directly benefit 6,000 subsistence farmers through the implementation and operation of a local online agricultural information system.
CEPES have been involved with the promotion of and training in APC's free content management software, the APC ActionApps, in Peru and also use it as a central tool in their own organisation. They offered an ActionApps workshop at the Second National Telecentre Meeting earlier this year, which they told APC, was the most heavily subscribed workshop of the meeting.
CEPES told APC that they feel that there is a strong coincidence between the CEPES and the APC missions but in addition they saw the value of becoming part of a progressive network that calls for equitable access to ICTs internationally. "CEPES is convinced that to have some sort of political impact, we needed to become part of a worldwide movement which focuses on ICTs. The issue demands a global approach, because it goes beyond local and national boundaries," said Maicu Alvarado, head of the ICT for development office. "This was one of the primary reasons we sought APC membership." CEPES joined APC in October.