The National Elections Board (Jurado Nacional de Elecciones - JNE) is one of Peru’s oldest government organizations. It was founded in 1931 and, until the enactment of the 1993 Constitution that established the National Electoral Processes Office (Oficina Nacional de Procesos Electorales -ONPE) and the National Identity and Civil Status Registry (Registro Nacional de Identificación y Estado Civil -RENIEC), it was the only electoral body.
By mandate of the Constitution, its functions include the administration of justice, elections oversight, registration of political parties and proclamation of elections resullts. In addition, it is empowered by law to organize electoral civic education programs and see the cases of vacancy and removal of municipal authorities.
All its operations or registries have been automated over time (since 2001) to the extent that there is practically no activity undertaken by JNE that is not recorded in computer systems.
However, until the establishment of INFOgob, the JNE lacked a system to analyze such information, and thus add value to its products for the benefit of the citizens at large, and of our direct clients, such as the political parties and the media.
From a technical standpoint, the Governance Observatory named INFOgob (www.infogob.com.pe) is a unique make transparent the political history of Peru’s 25 regions, 195 provinces and 1,834 districts, as well as the political background of over 1.8 million persons who participate or have participated in Peru’s political life. In future, its purpose is to contribute to strengthening Peruvian democracy by allowing the analysis of the conditions for governance and political participation, with a gender and inclusion approach. For instance, it will allow us to verify compliance with and the impact of affirmative action quotas for the benefit of the women, young people and indigenous communities who are present in towns across the nation.
The use of e-government technology is one of INFOgob’s characteristics. Its architecture has been designed to allow a high-degree of citizen interaction. In this manner, the demands for greater accountability of government programs and the permanently open option to recall authorities will find in INFOgob a formidable supporting tool.
Through this free information system, it will be possible to scrutinize Peru’s political landscape, understand the political phenomena that trigger social conflicts, activate true citizen oversight and promote civic education initiatives within our society.
We list below the elements shown in INFOgob:
1. Government authorities
2. Candidates’ life sheets
3. Members of political organizations
4. Candidates and elected authorities
5. Objections to candidates
6. Candidates’ platforms
7. Promoters of authorities’ recall referendums
8. Representatives of political organizations
9. Objected authorities and results of recalls
10. Decisions regarding vacancy or suspension of authorities
11. General elections information
12. Regional and municipal elections information
13. Congress elections
14. Elections of civil society representatives
15. Elections in towns (“centros poblados”)
16. Elections of neighbors’ committees (“juntas vecinales”)
17. Results of elections (Presidential, Regional, District and Congress)
18. List of electoral processes by geographical location code (“ubigeo”)
19. Voters rolls
20. Incidents during elections
21. Directory of political organizations
22. Party committees registered by political organizations
23. General information about Peru’s towns and cities
INFOgob’s grouped and consolidated information has been obtained from various Jurado Nacional de Elecciones databases hosted in the computer system’s Registry of Political Organizations (Registro de Organizaciones Políticas - SROP); Registry of Elected Authorities (Registro de Autoridades Electas - SRAE); Electoral Processes Information System - SIPE), among others. It also uses and regularly checks information from other organizations comprised in Peru’s Electoral System, such as the National Electoral Processes Office (Oficina Nacional de Procesos Electorales -ONPE) and the National Identity and Civil Status Registry (Registro Nacional de Identificación y Estado Civil -RENIEC).
This tool has been useful in our organization not only to serve our external clients, who now have available the entire political history of Peru at the push of a button and free of charge, but also for our internal clients because the stored data allows to prepare indicators to better distribute resources and direct our activities towards sustainable and better-focused programs.
One example of the “in house” benefits INFOgob has brought is the identification of so-called “flight voters” (“votantes golondrinos”) or voters who are illegally brought by political players (candidates, representatives or promoters) from outside a voting location to favor the former in a local election. This illegal practice was almost impossible to identify before this tool was available because indications or suspicion of such illegal acts came only from requests or complaints, or a the result of fieldwork, which then triggered an oversight action.
Now, INFOgob allows observing the evolution of the electoral registers in all districts across Peru from an office, and provides a way to identify unusual increases in the number of registered voters (above the 5-6% annual average). If such growth happens in the eve of an electoral process, together with other indicators, it is possible to infer such phenomenon to be occurring. Therefore, with due anticipation and better distribution of resources to accomplish specific results, we can guarantee the citizens of even the most remote and poorest areas of Peru, that only the residents of those localities will actually cast their votes there.
Another important consideration relates to the educational activities organized by JNE.
As is well known, the lack of democratic culture of our people has provided the culture medium for anti-establishment candidates, with little or no tradition of democracy. This has led to the emergence in Peru of dictatorships that had terrible ulterior consequences. The project will allow building governance indicators and thus advocating sustainable educational programs to quench anti-democratic behaviors, with an emphasis on programs to strengthen political parties and public advocacy for citizen engagement.
INFOgob is a clear example of how the use of modern technology and management principles can be used in apparently rough conditions or scenarios, such as the political political – electoral landscape. It also graphically demonstrates how a large amount of information can be used to serve citizens in a simple and friendly environment.
In the last 10 years, Peru has experienced the highest economic growth in its history since it became a republic. It has become one of the most attractive places in the world for private investment.
Coincidentally, such economic growth has gone hand in hand with a relatively stable transition to democracy. The last two administrations (Alejandro Toledo and Alan García’s) have been characterized by their democratic trends and respect for independence of public institutions and the State’s powers.
However, despite the good times, structural issues have not yet been addressed. Poverty is still very high, above 30%, and about one million Peruvians are estimated to lack an identity document and do not know how to read or write. Inequality and exclusion are two of Peru’s historical problems that remain unresolved.
In the political – electoral field, the main issues relate to the absence of a political party system, bad political practices (political party switching, corruption, disrespect for elections’ results), the lack of a State policy to strengthen the citizens’ democratic culture, and a feeble democratic tradition, linked to inefficient government (“democracy does not put bread on my table” or “this country lacks authority”).
In addition, ephemeral political participation of marginalized groups make politics an affair “of the few”, because cultural, social, discrimination, regulatory and policy barriers discourage and prevent the access of minority groups to positions of power.
All these factors have made Peru “the country of lost opportunities”, because despite its huge natural resource endowment and huge potential, it has not managed to spread out well-being, nor can it guarantee equal rights to all its citizens.
Nevertheless, as was mentioned previously, in the last decade and for the first time in Peru’s history, economic prosperity and political stability have come together to open an unsurpassable opportunity to consolidate democracy and its institutions, and create what might be called and “efficient and effective democracy” on which to build the country’s future.
Along this line of thinking, two fundamental considerations should be highlighted:
1. The need to strengthen political parties and their equality policies. 2. The need to build a citizens’ democratic culture, without class distinctions whatsoever.
In the first instance, most Peruvian political parties are only elections machines that come to life before an election and with one single purpose in mind: to win the elections. After the elections, these parties practically disappear, their leaders migrate to other political parties, movements, or congressional caucuses, and the people’s vote is defrauded, thus seriously tarnishing the citizens’ image and perception of the political system.
Such political behavior brings serious social consequences, as for instance the discrediting of institutions, such as Congress. Politics becomes synonym with corruption. Nobody believes in political parties or democracy, etc. In conclusion, people feel the democratic system does not work and, therefore, losing, hurting or undermining it is not a serious issue. In other words, a niche opens for anti-establishment or dictatorial actors to emerge and thrive.
For this reason, it is fundamental to create forums where political parties that wish to grow following democratic rules may become stronger, to become imbued of democratic principles and capable of enforcing them internally. Thus, political parties could become what they purportedly strive for, i.e. representing all citizens through and inclusive an equalitarian philosophy in sensitive areas, such as gender issues, and to build capabilities to exercise positive leadership, thus becoming the cradle of the body politic of the quality Peru deserves.
Together with the challenges both by political parties, another daunting challenge rises concerning citizens and their political – electoral role in society. In this respect, two clearly differentiated target audiences must be distinguished, namely political actors and the citizens at large.
Political actors in Peru―understood as all such citizens that have specific political interests, either because they are affiliated to or participate in a party, or because they aspire to join a political party or reach public office through elections―understand democratic play as a competition that regularly requires casting a ballot and, in many cases, after the electoral rounds, should they not win, become the opponents of the system at all levels, and sometimes turn into true enemies of the winners, seeking political revenge in any of its many manifestations, regardless of the negative impact such behavior may have in the governance of a given town, or whether the fruit of their actions will result in social conflict of unsuspected magnitude.
Conventional wisdom holds that in politics “everything goes”, and that society or part thereof, once induced or deceived by any means, may change the political scenario, bringing the defeated actors back to the front stage of politics. In sum, among most Peruvian political actors there is scant respect for the rules of democracy and the legal mechanisms for citizen engagement, coupled with strong indifference towards political manipulation of the people, making social conflicts, in particular in the country’s hinterland, a constant barrier to development and progress of Peruvian society.
However, bad political actors could not have their way if Peruvians were not by and large indifferent to politics, because of their disappointment with their leaders, political parties and, generally, democracy.
Democratic ignorance and lack of culture because of erroneous or inexistent political education led by the State has resulted in most Peruvian society lacking information about political actors and their inappropriate behavior. Peruvian society does not believe in political parties, and is even less interested in affiliating to them. Thus, it remains at the mercy of efficient elections machines geared up to capture their vote, ignoring the fact that the political parties’ electoral platforms are mostly political makeup, or hide dictatorial urges that become apparent only when it’s too late.
It would be too ambitious to think that the above scenario may change completely only through the INFOgob project. However, we are not far from thinking that, for several reasons, NFOgob may be part of the solution:
• The project makes political information transparent and puts it at the service of the citizens in two ways: at the personal level, by exhibiting the candidates, political leaders, party members and generally all those who have taken part in political life in any of its legally acknowledged spheres; in the second place, it provides the geo-referencing tool that allows grouping data to build a governance profile for each of the 1,834 districts in Peru. This will allow citizens to keep an accurate tab on their town’s elected authorities, their record of accomplishments, how the voters roll has evolved, etc.
• INFOgob uses Web tools that are within the reach of citizens all day long and all year round. If citizens previously did not show interest in getting information or did not have sufficient or friendly information, now a portal will be available providing complete, systematized and friendly information which will definitely spark their interest, either because they want to know the record of a specific politician, or because they are interested in a specific town or place, perhaps the small town where they or their parents were born, they grew up or went to school, etc.
• The National Elections Board (Jurado Nacional de Elecciones - JNE), the government agency behind the INFOgob project, has among its roles to engage in citizen civic education, a function it shares with the Ministry of Education of Peru. Never before the Peruvian State as a whole had at its disposal sufficient tools to assess and rationalize education resources and programs for the civic and democratic education of its citizens. This was done previously from a very general approach and disregarding the neediest citizens or highly conflictive areas. The INFOgob project will allow measuring the levels of governance, equality of access to public office, citizen engagement and presence of political parties, among others. (As we write this application, the respective indicators are being prepared.) This will make possible to draw a governance and equality of opportunities map that will graphically locate the issues to be addressed, and type of contents needed for civic education programs, thus improving their effectiveness and efficiency.
Project Development Stages
The Project has been designed in two stages:
The first stage (March 2008 – December 2010) included the approval of the project by the Plenary Commission of the National Elections Board. This stage included planning and designing the project prior to its launching in a ceremony at the Lima Marriott Hotel, on October 22, 2008. At present, historical data has been uploaded through 1931 (JNE’s year of inception), integrating JNE’s computer systems for automating INFOgob data uploading, and a mass dissemination campaign to socialize this initiative at all levels.
In the second stage of the project (January 2011 - October 2012), the database engine will be included to create an interactive portal interfacing with citizens, while simultaneously creating a governance indicator is built allowing to assess governance conditions even in Peru’s smallest towns.
MAIN OBJECTIVE OF THE PROJECT'S FIRST STAGE:
“Improving the conditions for governance in regional, provincial and district jurisdictions througout Peru.”
The wording of the project’s main objective underscores its focus on political governance, defined as the set of characteristics and conditions for co-existence between rulers and the governed, where the characteristics of political commitment, efficiency, transparency and legitimacy by the first are subject (or should be subject) to continued scrutiny by the latter, through participation and citizen oversight mechanisms.
To assess the degree to which this central objective is being accomplished in the long term, five indicators were prepared:
1. Dissemination of citizen engagement and oversight processes
Until 2007, the National Elections Board had not formally issued any document or report aimed at disseminating citizen engagement and oversight processes. Dissemination of people’s consultation processes was limited to the publication of the calls to elections, verification of voter rolls, logistic organization of polls, processing of results and final audit of elections records.
Since 2008, the National Directorate for Electoral Oversight and Processes has issued sixteen (16) reports based, without exception, on the information hosted in the INFOgob databases, same which allowed, among other benefits, accessing historical records by location, political organization and elected authority. It also permitted the analysis of the intervening variables, such as the electoral results of prior consultations, electoral platforms, and women, young people, indigenous and originary groups, former candidates, and independent groups’ engagement, as well as the record of social conflicts and incidents of various levels of seriousness.
Disseminating citizen engagement and oversight processes aims at sensitizing the citizenry to become more strongly involved in their communities’ development, in a framework of democratic co-existence.
2. Exercise of the right to engagement and oversight
From 2003 – 2006, 209 towns carried out citizen consultations to recall their authorities. In 2007 – 2010, this figure increased by over 53%, to 320 consultations.
Subject to corroborating the impact of such phenomena using statistical and social research techniques, this figure may lead us to think that citizen engagement grows in direct proportion to present access to information. The electoral kits purchased by the proponents of these popular consultations repeatedly ground their recall initiatives in the authorities’ failure to honor their government platforms. The sources of information for their arguments are typically the government plans shown in INFOgob. It is therefore of particular interest, from an objective and impartial viewpoint, to realize that the information used to promote citizen engagement is based on official information shown by INFOgob.
3. Efficiency of citizen engagement and control mechanisms
Following the same rationale underlined in the preceding comments, the efficiency of citizen engagement and control mechanisms may be deducted from the figures resulting from the people’s consultation in 2003 – 2006 and 2007 – 2010.
For instance, we have found that the 320 people’s consultations called from 2007 to 2010 resulting in recalling of 693, while in 2003 – 2006 only 191 authorities were recalled. This significant increase of over 360% is not a positive outcome, if viewed from the perspective of social development because it evidences instability and the people’s frustrations. However, from the standpoint of the citizens’ active engagement, it unequivocally reveals a significant level of people concern for the performance of their authorities, in turn resulting from greater access to available and verifiable information made possible by INFOgob.
4. Number of electoral conflicts
In Peru, the Office of the Ombudsman (“Defensoría del Pueblo”) is the public body charged with preparing and disseminating regional, provincial and district conflict reports. This organization is related to the National Elections Board through mutual cooperation agreement that opens access to institutional information of interest. The Office of the Ombudsman reported 3,906 conflicts nationwide from January 2009 to March 2010.
Out of this total of identified conflicts across the nation, only 90 are elections related. At this level, it is of particular interest to note 24 electoral conflicts in the first quarter of 2009, at a rate of eight (8) monthly, while 54 electoral conflicts were identified in the subsequent three quarters, or six (6) conflicts per month. Between January and March, 2010, 12 electoral conflicts were identified, at a rate of four (4) per month.
The declining trend in the number and frequency of electoral conflicts confirms the great benefits that can be derived from monitoring social and political behaviors and patterns thanks to the information provided by INFOgob.
5. Political responsibility of regional and local authorities
Since 2006 regional and local electoral platforms are formalized in government plans. No legal rule punishes the failure to honor an electoral promise but the citizen engagement and oversight law in place allows calling a people’s consultation to recall regional and/or local authorities.
Government plans (until April 19, 2010) were submitted in a free-style, informal and therefore non-standardized format. Since April 20, 2010, starting with the sensitization and “Informed vote” campaign, using INFOgob data, the National Elections Board has standardized the format for submitting government plans. This standardized procedure is expected to sensibly increase the candidates’ political responsibility to honor their elections’ promises. Such improved performance can be measured through the smaller number of recall petitions, greater accountability exercises and higher approval ratings of elected authorities.
Impacts can be measured using INFOgob data derived from the performance of government (regional and local) administrations. We will monitor these outcomes closely.
MAIN OBJECTIVE OF THE PROJECT'S SECOND STAGE:
“To increase the citizens’ trust in the national political system through appropriate effective engagement channels.”
To accomplish the objective of INFOgob’s second stage it is imperative to fully upload the political and electoral data for each district, province and region, and to analyze each geographical jurisdiction’s political landscape based on such information.
The project has allowed establishing strategic partnership between the National Elections Board (JNE) and the Office of the Ombudsman. This agreement contributes to the Ombudsman’s task of identifying social conflicts thanks to the mapping of political actors made possible by INFOgob, which provides the data for the monitoring task. To date this monitoring had proved insufficient because the Ombudsman identified only the location of and reasons for the conflict but could not explain it or identify the underlying political causes, if any, nor who were the political leaders of such demands. Reaching harmonious solutions and mitigating social conflicts is now possible.
The tool also provides some certainty about “who is who” in Peruvian politics. Moreover, the tool’s geo-referenced view, which establishes a link between the data and specific communities, permits to map significant issues in political representation, citizen engagement, democratic practices, and others. All the above will provide direction and a sound foundation to our educational initiatives and, based on specific outcomes, link those efforts to behaviors that should be redirected.
For instance, if a community is identified in Peru where there are no active political parties, elections are won narrowly, or winners get under 20% of the votes, and if in addition electoral campaigns are characterized by violence and disregard for legal provisions, if civil society is not organized or is indifferent, if the community lives in extreme poverty or the population is sparse, if government officials are frequently removed or authorities recalled, all that is clear evidence of an ongoing governance crisis that requires an immediate civic education campaign.
This preventative identification task, through strategic alliances with government bodies such as the Office of the Ombudsman, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Chief of Staff’s Office, the Ministry of Economy and Finance, among others, will allow paying prompt attention to social demands that are presently dismissed and which are a breeding medium for a feeling of disappointment with democracy that may lead to eventual instability.
INFOgob is web-based. It can be accessed from any location in Peru with Internet connectivity. The Web application is built on a 3-layer architecture developed in .NET, using an Oracle database and the IIS web server. JNE had already acquired licenses for all these products.
The main project beneficiaries are the citizens themselves who will have within their reach a unique information tool developed in a friendly and easy-to-browse environment, given the huge amount of data it contains. It will in addition permit to follow up not only ongoing political campaigns but also compare data from past elections and scrutinize the candidates’ record or refer data from a given electoral jurisdiction, no matter how small, thus strengthening the basis for equality of people before the State.
For instance, a search for the district of Tumbaden, in the province of San Pablo, in Cajamarca region, in Peru, shows the town spreads over 242 km2 and has 2,144 voters, of which 1,125 are men and 1,019 are women. It has elected one mayor and 5 councilmen. Its highest authority (the mayor), as well as 4 of its 5 town councilors, is affiliated to the political party led by Alberto Fujimori, former president of Peru and recently sentenced to 25 years imprisonment for human rights crimes.
The town council is comprised of five men (including the mayor) and a 22 year-old woman who simultaneously fills the affirmative action gender and young people quota. Of the other members sitting in the town council, four are older than 45 years and one is 38 years old.
Tumbaden is a rural district living in extreme poverty (it lacks basic services such as electricity, water and sanitation). There is no party caucus operating within its jurisdiction belonging to any political organization (at present, 16 political parties have valid registration). The last municipal elections were annulled after the voters rose against the outcome of the election. New elections were called six months later with the results described above. The main argument put forward by the demonstrators was that many voters did not belong to that jurisdiction, and were the so-called “flight voters” illegally brought by the former mayor who wanted to be reelected.
If we look at the evolution of the electoral roll, we may clearly see there are disproportionate “growth peaks,” precisely at times of municipal elections. In the year before the elections held in 1998, the Tumbaden electoral roll grew 14.38%; before the 2002 elections, it expanded 19.47%; and before the 2006 vote, it grew 31.9% (vis-à-vis a 5-6% annual national average electoral roll growth rate).
This analysis gives citizens a comprehensive view of their district and explains to a certain extent emerging political phenomena.
It goes without saying that the usefulness of this data for government authorities who are in charge of deciding State policies is enormous and can have great benefits for the people.
Political parties are another direct beneficiary of this technology. INFOgob will allow parties to lay down their strategies and build structures based on what is actually happening on the political ground in each community and as a function of their own political interests, with all parties playing on a level ground.
INFOgob provides sufficient data to appreciate and size the capacity and infrastructure of each party, as well as the electoral support for, or the result of, their activities, in addition to showing their political offering (government plans) to the people. In sum, parties are given sufficient information to make them compete on a level ground, and to assimilate the need for representation of all Peruvian districts, right from their desktop computers.
The project’s contribution is evident at various levels. From the design phase, this tool was shared with the citizenry at large, as well as with public personalities from various backgrounds and import. They all agreed that this tool was highly innovative but, mostly, was particularly useful in making political information more transparent.
The main project beneficiaries are the citizens themselves who will have at their reach a unique, friendly and easy-to-browse information tool, given the huge amount of data it contains. It will in addition permit to follow up not only ongoing political campaigns but also compare data from past elections and scrutinize the entire record of candidates or refer data from a given electoral jurisdiction, no matter how small, thus strengthening the equality of people before the State.
Political parties are another direct beneficiary of this technology. INFOgob will allow parties to lay down their strategies and build structures based on what is actually happening on the political ground in each community and as a function of their own political interests, with all parties playing on a level ground.
In addition, other beneficiaries are government agencies such as the Ministry of Women and Human Development (as concerns gender issues), the Office of the Ombudsman (to monitor social conflicts), the Ministry of Economy (to oversee the participatory budget cycle) and generally all government and private organizations involved in enforcing or supporting State policies and which need official figures and data to explain political and social phenomena and to support their reform initiatives.
• John Carey, Professor, Governance Department, Dartmouth College. John.M.Carey@Dartmouth.EDU
• Julio Cotler, Researchers and Political Analyst, San Marcos University, Lima, Peru.
Both experts agree that all political research and analysis professionals inevitably require data to support their theories and hypothesis and that having them in one single portal with a chronological and historical view, will significantly contribute to their research.
Cotler points to the insufficiency of research tools in Peru, to the extent that not even the physical archives held by government agencies can be trusted. Oftentimes because of their sorry condition, or simply because of the scant importance organizations pay to the documents they hold. Because INFOgob supplies abundant official data in a particular environment and approach, it can “change the way in which political research is conducted in Peru, and university students in the fields of political science, sociology and, generally, any branch of the social sciences, will be more than thankful to have this tool available.”
Professor Carey underscores the contribution to the transparency of information the project would provide: “Congratulations for launching your website. The academics interested in political transparency are grateful for the project’s impressive accomplishments”.
• Juan Paredes Castro, Opinion and Political Editor, El Comercio newspaper. firstname.lastname@example.org
• Diana Seminario Maron, Political Page Head, El Comercio newspaper. email@example.com
• Aldo Mariátegui, Publisher, Correo newspaper. firstname.lastname@example.org
• David Pereda Zavaleta, Journalist, Caretas Magazine. email@example.com
As clear evidence of the project’s impact on the media so far is provided by 372 articles or mentions in 55 national written, radio, television and Internet media.
Prestigious journalists and media in Peru have written encouraging editorials. In El Comercio, Peru’s oldest daily, the newspaper’s Opinion and Political Editor wrote: “Thanks to the INFOgob Website, the National Elections Board has pushed internal democracy in political parties. Its secret lies in having become the public eye that scrutinizes in depth our political system, to reveal both its external surface and inner core. It certainly does not aspire to become a political oracle, but it does seek to perform a function in bringing greater transparency to political parties and alliances, the exercise of public office and the accountability of elected representatives” (underlined by the author).
• Cho, Hai Ju, The Chief of Planning Coordination Office, National Election Commission, Republic of Korea. Tel: 82-2-502-6846
• Bertha Santoscoy Noro, Organization of American States Representative in Peru, firstname.lastname@example.org
• Kristen Sample, International IDEA, Peru Program, Head email@example.com
• Luis Nunes Bertoldo, National Democratic Institute, Peru Country Director (NDI) firstname.lastname@example.org
• Stephen Brager, Democratic Initiatives Office, Assistant Head, USAID. email@example.com
• Sobeida Gonzales Valencia, Democratic Initiatives Office, Project Coordinator. firstname.lastname@example.org
International officials who reviewed the project agreed in underscoring its innovative features. None of them could identify similar tools in their own countries. They also pointed to the project’s contribution to make information more transparent and open the door to the comprehensive analysis of Peru’s political scene.
In this respect, it is worthwhile underscoring the opinion of Luis Nunes Bertoldo (NDI’s Director in Peru), who said that “undoubtedly (INFOgob) is a state-of-the-art tool that will be extremely useful to many users, who, for many reasons, require updated and timely information. My limited experience in working with elections commissions from different countries is not an obstacle to say the (Peruvian) National Elections Board is a pioneer in these types of projects and activities.”
The contributions from these experts was fundamental in improving and consolidating the tool and, as has already been mentioned, each of them underscored the usefulness of INFOgob in their respective specialization fields.
1. INFOgob was awarded the prize for “Good Government Practices 2009” in the Transparency and Access to Information category by the “Ciudadanos al Día” non-governmental organization. This is an annual contest that publicizes and acknowledges successful good practices in government aimed at improving services to the citizens. The award was sponsored by the Office of the Ombudsman of Peru and El Comercio newspaper, the oldest in the Americas.
2. Likewise, INFOgob was a runner up in the “Business Creativity 2009” contest in the government category. This competition is organized annually by the Universidad Peruana de Ciencias Aplicadas, to recognize attitudes, disseminate achievements and encourage examples in the public and private sectors.
3. Since the launching of the portal, numerous institutions have approached the National Elections Board to join strategic partnerships for information exchange and disseminate the results of the project. They include the Controller of the Nation, the Office of the Ombudsman, the National Democratic Institute, Caretas magazine, El Comercio newspaper, and others.
4. Relevant foreign organizations, including the Embassy of the United States of America in Peru, have recognized the importance of the project and are regular portal users. A result of this recognition was the invitation sent by the US Department State to the project leader to join their International Leadership Program, which shared information about elections in the United States, and to have a closer look at the political campaign that took President Barak Obama to office.
5. Spain’s Generalitat Valenciana, through the Coydeal Foundation, supported the project by providing a subsidy totaling 160,135 euros. We are currently negotiating an extension of the subsidy given the new objectives the project has set itself.