In cities and villages across Peru, basic information that was once nearly impossible to obtain – about municipal budgets, public services and elections – is now accessible through a few simple clicks of a computer keyboard. Comun@s, which stands for Municipal Communication at Your Service in Spanish, is a project designed by AED and implemented in cooperation with USAID and the government of Peru to bring more transparency and public accountability to municipal government through information and communication technology.
AED teams based in Peru travel to the municipalities to install computer equipment located in public kiosks, called Modulos Ciudadanos, and provide training on how to use them, including how the community can tap into new online systems established by Peru’s government. In addition, AED helps local officials create municipal Web pages with useful information for their citizens. The project provides training on the importance of transparency to officials and residents in 84 municipalities that are scattered across seven regions of the country.
“Through this project, people can actually approach their government, become involved in their government and feel empowered to take part in their government,” said Maria Victoria Pascual, AED’s chief of party in Peru. “They become a part of the future of their community.”
Information on the modules is available in three of Peru’s languages—Spanish, as well as Quechuan and Ashaninka. The most popular feature so far, Pascual says, provides users with information on how to obtain basic documents, such as driver’s licenses, national identification cards, and marriage certificates—and what those documents should cost, so that people trying to buy them aren’t taken advantage of at the local level.