Building online and offline communities with Zureyka Escalante

Zureyka from Peru discovered her passion for teaching, learning, and helping others as a volunteer and mentor at Redpública. Zureyka was inspired to take up volunteering with Redpública, a digital platform fostering civic participation.

"For me, being young in Arequipa means having the interest and attitude to want to lead a better future in our city and country. Being a digital activist means being active and trusting that we can make a change through social networks by sharing information to promote social sensitivity and educate politically."

With support of UNDP and the Danish government under the Tech for Democracy initiative, Redpública leverages technology to promote the participation of young people. By engaging online, citizens and civil society organizations can share their proposals for public policies and initiatives to solve specific issues in their local communities and thereby contribute to shape a shared agenda and vision for the country.

This work is supported by a large volunteer base which is spread across 14 regions and who supports the work of democratizing and decentralizing knowledge on emerging practices and tools for social change, maps solutions and design public policies and services.

What can we learn from the experience of Zureyka and her involvement in this project?
As a volunteer, Zureyka has contributed to consolidate proposals that citizens have submitted to the Redpública platform with the aim to address specific issues in their community and worked to bring them to a reality as a volunteer. She argues that more spaces are needed to bring together young people with the same motivation of wanting a better community.

While Zureyka believes that women’s and youth participation in civic engagement in Peru has improved because of Redpública, a lot of work is still needed, “we have a lot of time left in this race to create more ideas”.

Other challenges identified by Zureyka include the digital divide due to a lack of education in the use of technology; distrust of citizens in the use of voting-based systems, since they believe that their votes will not make a difference; resistance to change and conformism; lack of citizen participation in social networks; and a lack of understanding of technological ideas. 

“Technology can be misused by (re)creating false information and old information chains, fuelling the rejection of politics. However, technology can also be used positively to tackle social polarization, as was done in 2022 thanks to the Hackathons Generation GovTech held in Arequipa and Cajamarca. Using the platform, citizens interested in participating in this activity learned to identify problems and different needs they have in their cities and propose innovative solutions using technology.”

With the challenges and distrust in mind, Zureyka advises policymakers to listen and observe the reality in each and every part of Peru, since contextual challenges and differences need to be taken into account when developing and applying digital tools. She continues to say that Peruvian public policy can benefit if platforms like Redpública continue to develop citizenship, leadership, and freedom of expression. These types of platforms can help understand the needs and deficiencies of the community.


Information Integrity E-learning

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