By APCNews LIMA, Peru, 29 January 2004
In late 2003, CEPES, one of APC’s newest members, trained participants in a rural-urban information service to set up a portal and exchange agricultural information from six telecentres in remote rural locations in the northern Peruvian sierras. A replication of the course is being organised for staff at the Peruvian Ministry of Agriculture’s offices in the same region. The technology of choice is APC’s free software, APC ActionApps.
Project SIRU (which stands for Rural-Urban Information System) is an partnership initiative established by eight local governments from the department of Cajamarca and six development agencies. Cajamarca is a province in the highlands of North Peru. It is one of the most impoverished areas of Peru, 75% of its population lives in rural areas and a high percentage of them are forced to migrate to cities for work.
The goal of Project SIRU is to create a new space for information-exchange in order to improve the decision-making capacity of farmers, small businesses and local governments in Cajamarca and so enhance opportunities to find employment locally. The SIRU portal will publish information provided by all of the beneficiaries
connecting to the portal from telecentres and the project partners.
SIRU produces online newsletters and works with eight information centres located in different parts of Cajamarca. "SIRU needs to administer the site contents remotely and in an orderly fashion using
tools that are easy to use," CEPES’ coordinator, Maicu Alvarado told APCNews. SIRU coordinators became interested in using APC ActionApps to administer content on their site after hearing about its flexible content-management functions during the Second National Telecentres Meeting co-organised by CEPES last year.
CEPES has been a firm advocate and user of the ActionApps for building content-rich sites since they attended a workshop given by APC’s Colombian member, Colnodo, at the Fifth Workshop on Networking and Internet Technologies in Latin America and the Caribbean (WALC) in early 2002. "From the start we saw ActionApps as really useful to our work," said Maicu. "The versatility of the construction of ‘channels’ of information and the fact that they make the work of anyone adding content to the web very simple are the advantages that we most liked. Besides, for us, it’s really important that it’s developed as free software and that the code in which is it written is open."