Defining local power in Latin America

From February 2013 to November 2014, a number of Development and Peace partners from various parts of Latin American met regularly to participate in a systematization process based on their experiences. Systematization is a practice that allows participants to carry out a collective assessment of their work through trainings, as well as individual and collective capacity building. Through this process, they contribute to building collective knowledge.

This systematization exercise focused on the theme of local power and citizen participation as core principles of development. Development and Peace works with partners in the Global South who emphasize citizen participation as part of their training and mobilization activities. Under this philosophy, popular participation should be used to create and build activities that foster coalition work and encourage work done in solidarity with others acting for change in society.

At the core of this systematization experience is respect for “Mother Earth,” where the improvement of living conditions should align with sustainable development practices that can adequately fulfill needs, without compromising the resources and opportunities available to future generations.

Several of our Latin American partners took part in this systematization process: 

  • ACA (Asociación Campesina de Antioquia) and CRIC (Consejo Regional Indígena del Cauca) from Colombia;
  • CEDIS (Centro de Desarrollo, Difusión e Investigación Social) from Ecuador;
  • CEHPRODEC (Centro Hondureño de promoción para el Desarrollo Comunitario) from Honduras:
  • CIMI GOTO (Conselho Indigenista Missionário Regional Goiás-Tocantins) from Brazil;
  • DECIDAMOS (Campaña por la Expresión Ciudadana) from Paraguay;
  • ECAM (Equipo de Comunicación Alternativa con Mujeres) from Bolivia, and
  • LABOR (Centro de Cultura Popular) from Peru. 

A video that captures the meaning of local power was produced. It features the various participants describing their experiences with local power, the role of women, land issues, and the struggles of their communities in seeking to “live well” (Buen Vivir).

It is a great tool to raise awareness on local power and to share the vision and practices of our Latin American partners in the field of citizen participation.