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Since Daniel became the mayor of Pillpinto, he has worked tirelessly to shape the community out of the will of the people. Photo: Cedep Ayllu

Peru: From retired policeman to mayor

Daniel had just retired when his neighbours urged him to run for mayor. After participation in a programme with Diakonia's partner organization Cedep Ayllu, he used his new knowledge to win the election.

1/12/2012 Publisher: Julle Bergenholtz

Never before politically involved

Since the 1st of January 2011, Daniel Rosa Delgado holds the position as the mayor of his mountain village Pillpinto, a couple of hours away from Cusco. Through his job as a policeman, he had extensive experience talking to large masses of people and working with authorities. But it was not until his neighbors convinced him to run for the mayoral seat that he became involved politically.

"After people were recommending me to run, I realized that I had something slumbering inside of me; the ability to become a leader of my district," says Daniel.

Cedep Ayllu provided the tools

Even though Daniel had the will to lead, he felt that he lacked knowledge regarding laws, transparency and participatory processes. It was then he heard about the leadership project that Diakonia and our partner organization Cedep Ayllu ran, that aimed to strengthen participation and the ability to make a difference for the Andean people living in mountain villages.

One of the project’s 20 activities was a leadership academy, where several mayoral candidates, including Daniel, attended to gain knowledge about society and how to lead sustainably. This was a decisive factor in Daniel’s upcoming election campaign.

"The most important thing I learnt at the course was to identify which were the main problems in Pillpinto, and putting forward propositions to solve them."

Results of the project: Through Cedep Ayllu and Diakonia’s project, 147 participants and future leaders have been attending courses on local participation and leadership, with special emphasis on political leadership. A direct result visible through the project is that 26 people or 17 per cent of the participants won the elections in their respective district, creating the starting point of transparent leaderships in the Andean districts of Peru.

Winning the election

Shortly after he finished the course, Daniel began his election campaign, which was different from other campaigns. While other candidates made big promises that were pretty much impossible to live up to, Daniel’s campaign instead focused on the extreme poverty in the village, child undernourishment and young people’s constant escape to the city.

And the result didn’t wait. In the end, Daniel got 37 per cent of the total votes, which put him way ahead of the other candidates and secured him the spot as mayor.

Strengthening civil society and people’s participation

As acting mayor, Daniel has not been laying low. Instead, he has initiated dialogue with civil society, and presented new ideas regarding participation and communication in Pillpinto, taking much inspiration from Cedep Ayllu’s courses and activities. Daniel highlights that it is very important to increase the public participation and getting feedback from the people to secure that the leadership is transparent.

"My service can never be perfect, I can never please everyone in the village. But I can try," concludes Daniel.