Peru
Development and Implementation of a Health Alert System for Peruvian Indigenous Peoples Amid COVID-19

Contract: August 2020-December 2020

Funds: USD $30,400

Project Implementer: Asociación Interétnica de Desarrollo de la Selva Peruana (AIDESEP)

Beneficiaries: 11 regions of the Peruvian Amazon

Project summary 

RRI worked with the Inter-ethnic Association for the Development of the Peruvian Rainforest (AIDESEP) and Peru’s Center for Planning and Information to collect and report Covid-19 data in Indigenous communities in real time.  By compiling and reporting this information, the organizations filled a critical gap left by the Peruvian government, representing a trend in divesting from the health systems of Indigenous communities worldwide.

Context

Around the world, from Navajo Nation to the Machiguenga community in Peru, Indigenous communities were left acutely vulnerable to the Covid-19 pandemic. With severely underfunded health systems, many of which are cut off from domestic support, Indigenous communities had to fend for themselves as coronavirus descended into their communities.

After the Peruvian government ordered a national state of emergency in March 2020 due to the spread of coronavirus, the Indigenous Peoples of the Peruvian Amazon were left exposed and vulnerable to the virus. Communities applied the carachupa strategy, which involves shutting down the area and its surroundings, barring movement into or out of the communities. Despite the communities’ efforts, coronavirus eventually made its way to the at-risk communities.

Faced with the added challenges of isolation and lack of domestic support, Indigenous communities were in dire need of reliable information about the virus, how it spreads and how to contain it, its impact on their community, and resources for those affected by it. AIDESEP aimed to create a program to fill the deadly information gap through collecting, analyzing and sharing local data to create real-time alerts and information. 

How did we help?

AIDESEP successfully collected and disseminated a diverse array of pandemic information, including through radio news, social media, and paper handbooks in nine languages, on the progression of COVID-19 infections in Indigenous communities in Peru. Through a WhatsApp group called Regional Communication AIDESEP, it became possible to get daily reliable and localized information from the association’s regional offices.

The network of health data increased the association’s organizational structure at all levels, as well as its nine regional organizations’ ability to create direct communication with their federations and Indigenous communities. Additionally, the information collected not only supports Indigenous communities in combatting the virus and staying safe; it also aids Indigenous advocates in clarifying, expressing, and fighting for their needs to be met.