01 September 2009

Highlands communities in Peru coming online

IPS reports that rural communities in southern Peru are beginning to take advantage of the internet to acquire new knowledge and increase their income. But the use of computers in rural areas faces numerous challenges, from illiteracy to fear of the unknown or questions about the sustainability of these new communications initiatives once they are left in local hands.

This initiative, which received funding from IFAD until the end of 2008, was considered by the U.N. agency to be one of the most successful experiences undertaken around the world, since it made it possible for more than 80,000 families to develop value-added agricultural production activities through the use of the internet.

"In rural areas there are many challenges, because you have to deal with illiteracy, with guaranteeing the sustainability of the project through a commitment from the local authorities, and with a lack of capacity for maintaining the service," explained Luis Andrade of the Sierra Sur project.

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