Giving Voice To The Silenced

Promoting human rights and democracy in Lima, Peru.

Peru’s devastating 20-year internal armed conflict has been over for a number of years now, but the affects continue to plague the country. In the sprawling metropolis of Lima, widespread poverty continues unabated, and social inequality makes life a daily struggle for millions of the city’s residents.

Determined to use the power of media to shine a light on the difficult situation, Alanna MacNevin came to Lima as a Cuso International volunteer.

A Canadian librarian and community radio enthusiast, Alanna is working with the Legal Defense Institute (IDL) — an independent media organization focused on curbing corruption, and promoting human rights and democracy.

IDL publishes a monthly magazine, broadcasts a daily radio program and runs a landmark investigative journalism unit delivered via a web multiplatform. Ethics, gender equality and human rights are standard topics.

“The media is one of the most effective ways to spread human rights awareness. And the more people know — and care — about human rights, the more they are empowered to defend their own rights and to promote justice,” says Gerardo Saravia, co-director of IDL’s monthly magazine.

In her role as a Cuso International volunteer, Alanna is introducing new information and communication technology at IDL, and looking at ways to improve the quality and design of the organization’s online human rights magazine.

“Establishing a powerful web presence will allow IDL to reach a younger, broader audience, elicit more interest, share solutions and unite voices to create impact,” says Alanna. But it’s only the first step. Alana will also be training IDL’s staff to use the new tools and methods she implements, so that the organization can sustainably drive forward long after her placement is over.

“I have always been a huge supporter of independent media because it allows the voiceless, overlooked and silenced to have their say and to engage in meaningful debate,” says Alanna. “Strengthening independent media is critical to building democracy and is a major destination on the road ahead.”

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