IDECA, Andean Cultural Studies Institute


The abbreviation IDECA stands for "Instituto de Estudio de las Culturas Andinas". As an institute, IDECA researches Andean culture, promotes critical reflection, openness to diversity and decolonisation, and advocates intercultural dialogue.
IDECA was founded in 2007 by committed individuals from Catholic progressive circles. Co-founder was the Belgian Benedictine monk Simon Pedro Arnold, who led the institution during its first years. Today, Boris Rodriguez Ferro, a young Peruvian lawyer with an indigenous background, heads IDECA. Most of the staff are also Peruvians with indigenous roots. In addition to education, IDECA is also active in supporting communities struggling with the negative impacts of the mining industry.
The Puno region has a high proportion of people of indigenous origin. The Quechua and Aymaras are particularly well represented. Although the Peruvian government today recognises the rights of indigenous peoples on paper, this is only partially done in practice. A good example of this is the state-sponsored mining activities in Aymara- and Quechua-speaking areas. The state does not recognise them as indigenous communities, thus denying them their right to self-determination, collective ownership, use and control of their land. Indigenous communities should (according to UNDRIP)* be allowed to give their voluntary and informed consent when planning projects that affect their property or territory. These often lead to environmental conflicts, social tensions and great mistrust of the indigenous population towards state authorities. The latter have a lack of interest in the concerns of the indigenous communities and therefore fail to enter into a genuine intercultural and interreligious dialogue with the indigenous population.
Mission 21 supports the IDECA project "Kullakanaka Sartawipa" (the walking of the sisters), which targets members of the Aymara indigenous women's organisation Bartolina Sisa, OMABASI. Bartolina Sisa is now considered one of the few female heroic figures in the Andean region, honoured in many communities in Peru, Bolivia, Argentina and Chile for her efforts to gain independence under Spanish colonial rule. Mission 21 supports IDECA with a project that strengthens the cultural identity, political participation opportunities and self-confidence of indigenous Aymara women of the rural provinces of Puno.
* United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

Website of IDECA