Electoral and Civic Education with an Intercultural Approach

In Peru, the electoral quota for native communities and indigenous peoples seeks to promote the political participation and inclusion of groups that either for cultural reasons, prejudices and ethnic discrimination, face difficulties to exercise their rights and full participation in political spaces. In light of this situation, electoral bodies in Peru face the challenge to implement permanent actions to improve the quota application through educational interventions in accordance with cultural heterogeneity. 

The search to define a methodology of educational intervention with an intercultural approach led to implementing this cooperation mission between the National Jury of Elections of Peru (JNE) and the Federal Electoral Institute of Mexico (IFE). The mission was carried out with the support of the Horizontal Cooperation Fund. Building upon the lessons learned in the interventions carried out in Mexico, the objective of this mission was to strengthen the capacities and increase the knowledge of the JNE officials responsible of educational interventions that foster political and electoral participation of native communities and indigenous peoples in Peru.
This experience was an opportunity to exchange knowledge on the conceptual approximations that both institutions use regarding the approach of interculturality for actions on citizenship education. It also allowed sharing other educational proposals that have been implemented with indigenous peoples on the topic of citizenship education, highlighting its strengths and weaknesses. Finally, it represented an opportunity to jointly elaborate useful conclusions to develop a methodology to train in citizenship that is culturally pertinent to indigenous and native communities in both countries.

As a first activity of the mission, two electoral specialists on the topic of civic and citizenship education of the JNE of Peru traveled to Mexico to visit the IFE and learn from the IFE’s specialists. Two IFE officials also travelled to Peru with the purpose of evaluating and supporting the design of strategies that the JNE could implement.

The work began in Mexico City in March, 2012 in the facilities of the IFE’s Center for Democratic Development. Personnel from the Executive Directorate of Federal Registry, the Directorate of Electoral Training and Civic Education, and the Center for Democratic Development participated in this initiative. During the meetings, renowned specialists, academics and experts in the field delivered a series of presentations that were helpful to understand the reality of cultural and ethno-linguistic diversity, and the current state of recognition of indigenous peoples in Mexico. They also presented IFE’s work in relation to programs of civic education, especially about political rights of indigenous peoples. Participants then discussed and analyzed about this topic.

In the case of Peru, the mission took place in the city of Lima in April, 2012, in the facilities of the School of Elections and Governance and in the offices of the National Jury of Elections. In the first day, JNE officials made a presentation about the work they carry out in different areas. During the next days, specialists and academics in the field presented general reflection guidelines that contributed to participants’ discussion and analysis. On the fourth day, participants reviewed Mexico’s experience in the construction of programs and support policies for indigenous peoples. Finally, on the last day, participants worked on the conclusions, and towards reaching agreements regarding the work that must continue between the JNE and IFE.

The greatest impact of this cooperation mission between Mexico and Peru, relates to the possibility of identifying binational goals that allow advancing in building a more inclusive democracy, one that fully recognizes cultural diversity. As a result of the JNE’s and IFE’s collaboration, it is expected that the documents jointly prepared, as well as the results from the research to be developed in 2013, evince the lack of information on the topic of electoral participation by indigenous peoples.

The mission contributed to increasing the capacities of Peru’s JNE to include the approach of interculturality in the electoral educational work to promote the political and social participation of native and indigenous communities in the country. Methodologies of educational intervention through an interculturality approach were enhanced, with views to promote better levels of political and electoral inclusion of indigenous peoples through an educational approach that acknowledges previous knowledge, shared meanings and community knowledge. JNE staff also increased their capacities to develop intervention projects that include an interculturality approach, which will contribute to expanding educational interventions and electoral studies.

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