The Peru Hub ‘Cuyay Wasi’ is located in Vilcacoto, an Andean peasant community in the Mantaro Valley. Making videos in a participatory way has supported community movements by reaffirming their cultures. Having produced beautiful videos in which they see themselves they reflect upon what they can do with their own material resources and cultural ways.
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The main hub ‘Cuyay Wasi’ is the name of the adobe and wood house where Maja Tillmann Salas, Senior Associate (InsightShare), grew up until 1984. In 2006 she returned to the village and began to facilitate a Participatory Video process with participants from the communities of Vilcacoto, Cochas and Lircay, Huancavelica.

In March 2009, Maja and three Quechua farmers (Irma, Rosio and Balvino) trained three communities in Participatory Video as part of the Conversations with the Earth (CWE) project. Their video is called ‘Indigenous communities of the Peruvian Andes and climate change’. The Participatory Video process motivated the communities involved to find solutions and activities to reduce the effects of global warming and other environmental issues.

The outcome of these training courses have been 5 videos on climate change dealing with the perceptions of Quechua women, young men and elders about rain, hail, frost, sun, snow and sacred mountains. The videos reflect community visions regarding the origin and possible solutions on climate change which is an issue affecting everybody in this planet.

In Cusco the community members of Karhui engaged in the PV process decided to reforest their sacred mountains with native trees to nurture Mother Water. They also tackled the problems of plastic waste by documenting the associated problems, distributing waste bins, instigating a ‘plastic-free zone’ and lobbying the district mayor to provide waste collection services.

The community in Huancavelica have suffered hail, frost and rains which damage their plants and cause disruption to the harvest. Through a PV process of reflection and action the community decided to start the new cultivation year with all the traditional rituals related to the climate, bringing about a proper conversation with the sacred mountain Tambraico, which is in charge of the local climate.

In Cochas the first Participatory Video on climate change gave the Irma’s family a sense of pride regarding their culture. In the making of the second video more people participated enthusiastically having felt the importance of recuperating their rituality. The video project also encouraged the communities to reaffirm themselves in what their ancestors have always done and retrieve ancient knowledge and wisdom that seem to be disappearing among the youth.

The first three videos came out as part of the DVD ‘Conversations with the Pachamama’, which was shown in the Microcines of Peru (around 20 small community cinemas showing Latin-American productions), and the last two videos are part of the DVD ‘Conversations with the sacred mountains’.

Using PV in the frame of Conversations with the Earth has made flourish in all of us the importance of doing conversations with our Mother Earth and our Fathers the sacred Mountains. We are very thankful for this!

“My vision is to continue having conversations with the elders who are still alive so that they can teach us how to take care of Mother Earth”
Irma, Hub Facilitator and Quechua farmer


Action plan 2010

In October 2009, the Peru Hub team (Maja, Irma and Angelica) joined their fellow Hub Representatives from our other Peoples Video Hubs at the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen. During the three weeks they spent in Denmark the representatives peer reviewed one another’s progress and developed and agreed specific action plans for 2010. Here are some of the Peru Hubs key objectives for 2010 as identified by Irma and Angelica:

Giving thanks: undertake a ritual on Huaytapallana (sacred mountain) to celebrate first anniversary of CWE project

Local screenings: translate videos from other Hubs into Spanish and screen to local audiences

Youth PV: undertake a further Participatory Video process in Cochas with young people

Old ways: reintroduce traditional farming methods without pesticides using pepper water

Cultural heritage: undertake an inventory of 1,000+ medicinal plants known by Quechua

Documenting problems: use the video to expose problems with waste management & dumping

Spreading PV: undertake Participatory Video projects with communities in Titicaca and Bolivia

The Peru PV team is working hard on putting these plans into practise. Irma is leading the production of a video on medicinal plants while Rosio is in charge of a video about rituals around water issues. Besides these two PV projects they are also planning to make a video on the wisdom of Andean shamans. 

In April 2010 Maja, and community video facilitators Balvino, Primitivo, Irma and Rosio participated in the exciting People's Forum on Climate Change and Mother Earth Rights, in Cochabamba, Bolivia that was attended by 35,000 people. CWE coordinator Claire Greensfelder was also with the group. CWE was profiled through an exhibition and a well attended side event where the Peru PV team - that have called themselves 'Los Sallqavideastas' - presented their video ‘Derechos de la Pachamama’ (Rights of Mother Earth). A highlight for Irma was seeing Evo Morales and receiving coca leaves from the Bolivian Army. Bing Gong, a trustee of the Lia Fund recorded two special interviews with Maja, Rosio and Balvino which can be heard online: click here for the first interview; click here for the second interview. The video that 'Los Sallqavideastas' shot during the People's Forum will also be available online soon.

After the production of the inspiring 'Rights of Mother Earth' video- which was a joint project between three communities – the Peru hub has been expanding its network of communities in Peru and even across the border in Bolivia. In July 2010 Maja and Irma facilitated a PV training at the 'mother hub' Cuyay Wasi in Vilcacoto. This training brought together representatives of communities in Cusco, Ayacucho, Chaski (Peru) and Bolivia to learn PV and develop their own video action plans. Through the Food Sovereignty Programme 3 Aymara communities near Lake Titicaca are also involved in CWE.

In May 2010, the Peru Hub welcomed two Steering Committee members' to the InsightShare team: Angelica Canchumani and Hippolyto Peralta Ccama. Angelica – a Huanca Quechua shaman from the Andes of Peru became our spiritual guide for CWE and InsightShare, by speaking the words “As long as I have the energy I can help to harmonise the world." Angelica carries out rituals to harmonise life between humans, deities and nature and has been part of the Peru hub team since 2009 when her daughter Irma involved her in the making of participatory videos. Angelica will work together with Hippolyto Peralta Ccama- a Quechua teacher who is also learning to be a shaman. He is very interested in using video to recover shamanic wisdoms and to create educational material to transmit these wisdoms to children:
“so that they can help to construct a new world in which humans can live in harmony with our Mother Pachamama.” To get familiar with the participatory video methods, Hippolyto participated in the PV training that took place in ‘Cuyay Wasi’ in July 2010. During this training Hippolyto and Angelica met each other to make a ritual at Huaytapallana (local sacred mountain)- to celebrate the start of their cooperation.

During the course of 2010 the videos that have been created by the Peru PV team were screened at various events. In April, the two Peruvian productions 'Conversaciones con la Pachamama' and 'Conversaciones con los Apus' were shown at a film festival in Mexico City organised by Voces Contra El Silencio, which is a nonprofit civil association whose mission is to produce, promote and disseminate Hispanic
documentaries on social themes. A month later the 'Conversaciones con los Apus' video was also screened at the 4th International mountain film festival in Domzale, Slovenia. In the beginning of June the 'Derechos de la Pachamama' video was screened at a film
festival in Bonn- that was organised as a side-event of the conference Towards a new justice triptych: "Development, Climate, Opportunity".

In August 2010 Maja and Raymundo from the Asociacion Qolla Aymara (in Puno, Peru) travelled to northern Mexico to facilitate a PV training in Vicam, Sonora with the participation of representatives of the indigenous Yaqui and Seri communities. To read more about this training visit the Mexico Hub page.

Finally, during the meetings of the hub representatives in Copenhagen it was decided that the Peru Hub team would take the lead on Coordination and Communication of the hub network up to 2011 (rotating role). The Peru team will therefor also organise the next hub gathering which will take place in Peru in June 2011.


Part of Conversations with the Earth

Through the Conversations with the Earth (CWE) partnership, InsightShare works with Indigenous communities to identify, train, and equip local videographers to enable them to record the impacts of, and responses to, climate change at the local level. Creating and sharing these video stories enables Indigenous peoples to contemplate and present their own perspectives on the effects of climate change to inform the global discourse. This has also created an opportunity to share local adaptation strategies and build donor support for community-based adaptation. Indigenous videographers are training people from other communities, helping to create a regional and a global network of Indigenous communities working on these issues. Communities participating in CWE are creating their own media and linking up through the emerging media hub network.

A CWE media hub is currently a space where video and audio equipment is stored and editing can take place, and is usually based in an Indigenous community or village. It becomes a focal point for communications, empowerment and cultural resilience. If possible, it is connected to the web and has electricity or renewable power source available for charging batteries and laptops etc. Local facilitators, who are paid a small stipend, provide support, resources, and equipment and reach out to include new local groups through developing participatory video projects. In some cases an InsightShare trainer is based here and organizes regional and international trainings and mentoring local indigenous trainers. A hub is envisioned as a catalyst for action in local communities but has a global reach as well. In 2010 the hubs will have the opportunity to broaden their media and communications skills further training by CWE partners and allies.


Latest content from the hub

See Video

Cochabamba: Cumbre de los Pueblos (Cochabamba: Peoples Summit)

In April 2010 InsightShare's Latin America Director Maja, and community video facilitators Balvino, Primitivo, Irma and Rosio participated in the exciting People's Forum on Climate Change and Mother Earth Rights, in Cochabamba, Bolivia that was attended by 35,000 people.

Ritual Visit to our Father Huaytapallana

One Quechua family follows their grandmother and local shaman to the top of the sacred mountain. Ritual, deep respect and love are shown to the local mountain deity in order for us all to enjoy pure water and a beneficial climate for growing crops. Beautiful imagery combines with direct commentary from Angelica, local shaman, showing us the way to perform the rituals to nurture our Mother Earth.

See Video

Conversations with the Apus (Sacred Mountains)

The Apus, or sacred mountains are the guardians of the climate and the source of all pure water and thus have the power to protect or devastate communities living on them. The clip was made as part of a campaign to resist evangelical authorities and this video has resulted in local people taking up again traditional practices to nurture Mother Earth.

Peru Conversations with Mother Earth

'Peru Conversations with Mother Earth' is a powerful film relating the Andean cosmovision.  Quechua videographers documented seasonal changes, hail, melting glaciers, christian fundamentalism, and other threats to their culture, livelihoods and landscapes.

See Video

Los Derechos de la Pachamama (The Rights of Mother Earth)

'Los Derechos de la Pachamama' is an emotional and inspiring video that was created as a joint project between five indigenous communities in Peru with the message: 'We wish from out hearts that these rights we are proposing will be added to and that people across the world recover their harmony with our Mother Earth.'