Reclaiming Society: The Role of Communal Organizations and INGOs in Public Goods Provision in Peruvian Peasant Communities


Lamothe, Herrissa D. 2012. “Reclaiming Society: The Role of Communal Organizations and Ingos in Public Goods Provision in Peruvian Peasant Communities.” In Wcfia Undergraduate Thesis Conference. Cambridge, MA: Weatherhead Center for International Affairs. Copy at

Date Presented:

10 February 2012


Communal organizations play an important role in the sociopolitical structure of peasant communities in Peru. Not only do they act as a source of organization within these communities, but they also play a critical role in managing interactions between peasant communities and formal institutions from both the state and society. The existence of these communal organizations is crucial not only to the management of local resources, but also plays a key role in bringing much needed public goods and services to rural communities. The impact of communal organizations on public goods provision, however, is limited in both its scope and effectiveness. Even when their interactions with formal state institutions are successful, communal organizations are only able to bring resources to their community members, or at best, to only a small segment of the rural population. Overall, they are unable to affect public goods provision at the regional or even municipal levels. Ethnographic observations and qualitative interviews conducted in two non-governmental organizations (NGOs) education projects in rural regions of Peru finds that NGO interactions with these internal communal organizations can play a critical role in bringing about larger scale impact. This impact is greater than would have been possible through the work of either party alone, affecting municipal and regional state institutions’ involvement and investment in education.

See also: 2012