Peru one year after the Bicentennial: Citizen initiatives that transform the country


By: Víctor Galicia Pereira, Juan Diego Linares Jaime and Gabriela Eliza Quevedo Rabanal


A year ago, Peruvians commemorated the bicentennial of our independence by living the ravages of a pandemic still active and witnessing the outcome of a polarized and violent electoral period, events that evidenced the deepest cracks in our society, marking the beginning of a new period of which we had more doubts than certainties. A year later, many of us view with concern the continuing threats to democracy by an improvised and mediocre government with a fragmented opposition and little credibility.


But perhaps the most challenging thing is the feeling of a passive and disconnected citizenry. Today, however, we want to see the other side of the coin, one that gives us back hope and inspires us. Join us to know some citizen initiatives making their way between instability and uncertainty in the axes of work, industry, and reduction of inequalities to build the prosperous country with which we all dream.


Initiatives against youth unemployment


Recently, initiatives have been presented that are aimed at closing educational gaps to benefit greater youth employment, a fundamental point of sustainable development goal number eight. In this regard, the Es Hoy movement, which is a non-profit association made up of several business leaders, has been carrying out initiatives that seek to close the educational gap to allow greater employment possibilities in the youth sector.


Ruralia is an initiative that, according to Verónica Sifuentes, general manager of the Es Hoy movement, aims to "contribute to this country being more inclusive, prosperous and sustainable" (RPP, 2022). It is coupled with closing the gaps in rural education, in such a way that it is aimed at promoting initiatives that seek to impact in that regard. In addition, through the contribution of the necessary economic resources and organizational capacities, it aims to promote educational interventions in rural areas.


On the other hand, in November of the previous year, the "Digital Talent Scholarship" was launched, which, according to the newspaper La República, allows "hundreds of young people in vulnerable situations to be able to participate in boot camps - intensive training programs in technology - to develop digital skills with high demand in the labor market" (2022).


Until May, more than 260 full scholarships have been awarded to young people to study in different types of boot camps, which allows them to specialize in specializations that are currently in high demand. Likewise, fellows can access emotional accompaniment and mentoring that allows them to strengthen their employability skills (El Comercio, 2022; The Republic, 2022).


Initiatives against industry, innovation, and infrastructure


The lack of investment in infrastructure development and the lack of interest in the creation of innovation in Peru, as well as in supporting small and medium-sized enterprises, is evident. It is also true that much of the responsibility, if not almost all, depends on the highest public officials in the country. For example, one of the reasons for the slow growth of MYPES in Peru is the limited access to credit, which largely prevents start-ups from developing and maturing over time.


Another problem is the limitation of Internet access in rural areas of the country, where although there is greater accessibility to electronic devices, it does not correlate with Internet use. (PUCP, 2020). Although in current times we do not have the right political class to take on such challenges, both public and private initiatives improve the current situation of the problem. In 2018, a website called Smart Cities Peru was created, where relevant information is shared by a community of volunteers about smart cities, a Smart City uses information, communication technologies, and other means to improve the quality of life of its inhabitants, the efficiency of services and competitiveness (Smart Cities Peru, 2018).


On the other hand, in March of this year, the Supervisory Agency for Private Investment in Telecommunications - OSIPTEL warned that by the end of 2024 it is estimated that Peru would have 4 million fixed internet connections, of which 1.6 million would be connections that use fiber optic technology to the home, thanks to the entry of new service providers and the increase in the supply of new technologies. (Andina, 2022).


Reducing inequalities through technological solutions

In a country with society as heterogeneous as its landscapes, the challenges to reducing inequality gaps are multiple, but the growing digitalization has brought with it new opportunities to face this problem. Among them, the "Redpública" initiative of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), was incorporated into the "Participa Perú" platform of the Secretariat of Government and Digital Transformation of the Presidency of the Council of Ministers, to provide citizens with a free and national platform where they can share their proposals for solutions to different problems, which will be taken into account for the elaboration of public policies. Within the framework of this initiative, on June 11 and 12, UNDP organized a large digital hackathon to promote youth proposals for the protection of democracy and human rights through technology (Peru 2021, 2022).


Just a month ago, "Kusikuy" was launched, a mobile application that connects rural conservation producers with consumers, facilitating the commercial articulation of a group of Peruvians who previously suffered the difficulties of marketing their products and today are one "click" away, from offering more than 70 natural products and benefiting more than 500 rural families, as pointed out by the Deputy Minister of Strategic Development of Natural Resources of the Ministry of the Environment, Yamina Silva (Andean, 2022).


Criticism and Perspective


While it is true, that we are still within political, economic, and social problems, finding ourselves within an instability that confuses a sustainable future, there are still initiatives that show that it is possible to develop an adequate ecological, labor, and technological management articulated with citizens in the construction of social development.


References


Citizens will be able to digitally channel their proposals for solutions to the country's challenges. (s/f). UNDP. Retrieved June 24, 2022, from https://www.undp.org/es/peru/news/ciudadan%C3%ADa-podr%C3%A1-canalizar-digitalmente-sus-propuestas-de-soluci%C3%B3n-los-retos-del-pa%C3%ADs


El Comercio Perú, N. (2022, May 18). They seek to improve the employability of young people with scholarships for specialization in technology. Trade Peru. https://elcomercio.pe/lima/sucesos/buscan-mejorar-empleabilidad-de-jovenes-con-becas-de-especializacion-en-tecnologia-noticia/


GrupoRPP. (2022, May 25). They launch 'Ruralia', an initiative that seeks to close gaps in rural education in the country. RPP. https://rpp.pe/peru/actualidad/lanzan-ruralia-iniciativa-que-busca-cerrar-brechas-en-la-educacion-rural-del-pais-noticia-1407466


Kusikuy, the application that connects conservation producers with consumers. (s/f). Andina.pe. Retrieved June 24, 2022, https://andina.pe/agencia/noticia-kusikuy-aplicativo-conecta-a-productores-conservacionistas-los-consumidores-895732.aspx


Peru, N. (2022, June 9). The UN organizes a digital hackathon in Peru, a youth technology competition that promotes human rights. Peru21. https://peru21.pe/mundo/la-onu-organiza-una-hackathon-digital-en-peru-competencia-juvenil-de-tecnologia-que-promueve-los-derechos-humanos-pnud-naciones-unidas-generacion-govtech-red-publica-noticia/


Peru will promote its best export offer in the manufacturing sector. (s/f). Andina.pe. Retrieved June 24, 2022, https://andina.pe/agencia/noticia-peru-promocionara-su-mejor-oferta-exportadora-del-sector-manufactura-896532.aspx


Republic, L. (2022, May 21). Young people from 18 to 29 years old improve employability with a digital talent scholarship. LaRepública.pe. https://larepublica.pe/nota-de-prensa/2022/05/21/jovenes-de-18-a-29-anos-mejoran-empleabilidad-con-beca-talento-digital/


Vasquez, F. (n/a). Smart Cities Peru. Smart Cities Peru; Smart Cities Peru. Retrieved June 24, 2022, from https://smart-cities.pe/


View of Peru and the Sustainable Development Goals: a look at SDG 9 on industry, infrastructure and innovation. (s/f). Edu.pe. Retrieved June 24, 2022, https://revistas.pucp.edu.pe/index.php/economica/article/view/24534/23285