PRODERM was a rural development project financed by the Netherlands, the European Economic Community and the State of Peru. The project was carried out in the department of Cusco (learn more about its history here (pdf)).
The design of the Pachamama Raymi methodology started in 1986 when Humberto van der Zel, a Dutch expert in rural development, was in search of ways to improve the parcel irrigation for a great number of irrigation systems constructed by PRODERM in the highlands of Cusco, Peru. Humberto van der Zel commissioned the capacitation of parcel irrigation to Willem van Immerzeel.
- Define which changes have to be introduced (contents, innovations);
- Determine how many persons should apply these innovations;
- Define how to introduce these, and;
- Introduce the changes, achieving the adoption of the innovations for a relevant percentage of the population.
The success of the project depends on the efficiency and effectiveness of each of these steps. This was the logic behind the design of the Pachamama Raymi tool. This reasoning was questioned and discussed in PRODERM and the discussion was continued and repeated in many project, until today. The development of Pachamama Raymi profited from these discussions, which allowed the maturation of the reasoning used by the methodology.
The first proposal was a system, which entailed the following elements:
- Demanding targets regarding the contents (innovations to be implemented).
- Demanding targets regarding the number of families which need to implement the innovations, in a short period of time.
- A combination of capacitating farmer-to-farmer (peer-learning) and providing incentives: contests between families and communities, and
- A set of “intercultural bridges”, suitable to the intercultural context in which Pachamama Raymi operates (ideological, sociological and technological bridges. See the book: Pachamama Raymi, la Fiesta de la Capacitation (pdf)).
- Project funds are distributed according to the quality of the management (implementation and execution of the innovations) as shown by the families and communities.
This element of the Pachamama Raymi system, as well as several others, were considered as rather controversial by persons working for PRODERM, and others. The proposal was rejected, and the previously used irrigation contest, which the name “Unu Kamachiq Raymi”, was repeated. Moreover, complementary contests (on vegetables and more) were organized, with the aim of implementing a set of technical innovations. Instead of integrating the Pachamama Raymi methodology in the project, the teams in the micro regions opted for the “systemic watershed approach” (pdf).
In November 1989 Willem presented the Pachamama Raymi proposal again, which was improved by the idea of Juan Nuñez del Prado to involve the mayors of the municipalities (nov. 1989 (pdf)). This time the proposal was accepted. Only one of the four micro regions was able to involve the district government (Pomacanchi, Acomayo). The first Pachamama Raymi contest was carried out in 1990, ending in August the same year.
PRODERM ended its activities in the rural areas around the same time. Willem and Juan Nuñez del Prado wrote about the gained experience in the first Pachamama Raymi book (pdf). The drafting of this book ended in September 1990, and nine months later the book was published. In the following years, the book was reprinted twice (the first time for the Rural Coordinator, the second time for the PAC-II project and Euroconsult, see photographs).
At the end of PRODERM, it was concluded that Pachamama Raymi is an instrument which had shown to have much potential in the sense that it could generate concrete results (families implementing a set of innovations within a short period of time), at a low cost and at a large scale. However, the project ran out of time. It was frustrating that it was not possible to continue the introduction of the innovations for two more years through the newly designed and tuned Pachamama Raymi tool, in order to achieve the demanding targets of development.
The first book about Pachamama Raymi