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Policy briefing: The Quipu project - Participatory story-telling can help rebuild community in post-authoritarian societies

1 April 2014

In the 1990s, the Peruvian government introduced a National Population Programme that promised to provide all Peruvian women with modern reproductive healthcare and birth control. However, the programme quickly became abusive when doctors were told they had to perform a target number of sterilisations each year. More than 300,000 women and 20,000 men were sterilised without their consent in often unhygienic, overcrowded conditions, and at least fifteen women died as a direct result.

In the 1990s, the Peruvian government introduced a National Population Programme that promised to provide all Peruvian women with modern reproductive healthcare and birth control. However, the programme quickly became abusive when doctors were told they had to perform a target number of sterilisations each year. More than 300,000 women and 20,000 men were sterilised without their consent in often unhygienic, overcrowded conditions, and at least fifteen women died as a direct result.

The Peruvian state has never taken responsibility for the forced sterilisation programme and the associated human rights violations.

The Quipu project was developed as a way for those affected by the forced sterilisation programme to share their stories and experiences. Fusing internet technology with the radio and mobile phone technology available in the Peruvian Andes, the project developed a system that enables people to record their personal testimonies, listen to the experiences of others in their community and region, and share their stories with the rest of the world.

This policy briefing (PDF, 244kB) presents the policy implications of the work of Dr Karen Tucker and Dr Matthew Brown.

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