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Photo of the Week: What is democracy?

Photo of the Week: What is democracy?

By Inter-American Foundation on Comment

“What is democracy? How do we get it?” These were the two main questions guiding IAF Fellow Amanda Fulmer during her field research in a small community in southern Peru. Pursuing her Ph.D. in political science, Amanda examined the participatory rights of communities when facing extractive projects in their own backyards. “Consultation,” as it is known, was established by Convention 169 of the International Labour Organization in 1991 and requires that communities be consulted on legislation and projects that could affect them.

In the case of a proposed mining project, Amanda observed voters who signed their names or made their mark with an inky finger during a Consultation in Cocachacra, Peru. In the end, all voters exited the polling places with their index and middle fingers stained purple showing that they had voted. More importantly, each person was afforded the opportunity to express a preference about the project.

The IAF Fellowship Program supports dissertation field research throughout Latin America and the Caribbean on grassroots development topics. Since 1974, our fellowships have supported doctoral students, post-doctoral researchers, master’s degree candidates and a handful of outstanding grassroots leaders conducting independent study.


Photo credit: Amanda Fulmer

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