Student at work

Rural Schools and Smallholder Agriculture Alliance in the Andes

Lead Organization:

Fundacion para el Desarrollo Agrario

Partner Organizations:

The Fundation of Agrarian Development (FDA) and the Center for Arid Lands Research of La Molina National Agrarian University (CIZA UNALM)

Community of Practice:







In the Andean region, as in mountain regions of the world, local production systems are part of a cultural heritage of thousands of years, where small family farming is key for managing agrobiodiversity that contributes to the food security and basket not only at national but also global scale, with among 70 to 80% of food resources. This agriculture also represents local and/or traditional knowledge pools and techniques for risk management, which with biological processes keep alive seeds diversification and genetic resources in general, in a sustainable way. Therefore, it provides the opportunity for continuous generation of possible adaptive solutions developed in the face of their own socio-environmental contexts that will be important for adaptation to global changes resulted from the profound transformations of ecosystems and climate, mainly. However, the progressive loss of traditional knowledge and value system of cultures related to this productive activity and others, not only locally but around the world, is worrying, due to vulnerate their potential for future adaptations.

In this process, school plays a central role, as an institution where knowledge is transmitted to new generations and citizenship is formed. In the peruvian case, it has historically been modified as a space of cultural assimilation and homogenization, which has reproduced the exclusionary dynamics towards indigenous and peasant sociocultural subjects. On the other hand, in peruvian Andes it has been social requests and struggles to access to school, due to formal education allows breaking with subordination and being full citizens. Proposals have emerged from the State so that the education for indigenous children and peasants could be culturally relevant and respectful of their identity; however, and after several decades, the implementation of these proposals continues to be scattered and discontinuous. Some of these proposals include the Formabiap (Bilingual Teacher Training Program of the Peruvian Amazon – Alto Marañón, Amazonas) and the EDUBIMA project (New Multicultural Bilingual Education in the Andes – Azangaro, Puno), which have worked to incorporate traditional and local knowledge about the natural environment in the school, through the creation of bridges between the school and local community. However, research on educational practices in rural areas shows that there is still little clarity on how to develop intercultural proposals that will work on curricular content from different cultural traditions, without reproducing hierarchies between forms of knowledge. This represents a complex challenge, which requires deepening the dynamics of teachers, in order to formulate proposals to strengthen their capacities, aimed at overcoming difficulties and contributing to children from the Andean regions to received a culturally relevant education.

Grant Aims:

Promote an alliance among small family farming and rural schools and recognize their importance in helping to strengthen the identity and construction of citizenship of the children for the continuity of traditional knowledge on agrobiodiversity.

  1. To promote the construction of spaces for dialogue among the rural Andean community and the school, about and for the construction of an inclusive and contextualized intercultural educational system related to high agrobiodiversity family farming.
  2. Promote the process of generating educational innovations begun for children, that contribute to the continuity of teaching-learning of traditional knowledge related to agrobiodiversity, for an Andean rural educational system
  3. Contribute with recommendations for public policies that support the creation of a local and regional intercultural educational system reflecting the alliance between Andean family farming and rural schools, that valuates traditional knowledge about agrobiodiversity in a context of global change

Outputs and Outcomes:

Outputs and Outcomes 1


  • Analysis of the perceptions of parents (farmers) regarding the possibility of an inclusive school about their traditional knowledge on agrobiodiversity.
  • Diagnosis of proposals / expectations of parents about an cultural pertinent school that includes in the teaching process their traditional knowledges about agrobiodiversity
  • Research in the school classroom about the dynamics among traditional and scientific knowledge
  • Analysis of teachers’ classroom practices, related to children’s “prior knowledge” about their culture and agrobiodiversity


  • Parents (farmers) recognize an opportunity at school and provide recommendations for the development of an intercultural educative proposal that includes them in the teaching process of their traditional knowledges.
  • Strengths and weaknesses in classroom practices of rural teachers about the use and reflection about local traditional knowledge of children related to agrobiodiversity and family farming are identified.

Outputs and Outcomes 2


  • Written / oral / audiovisual resources and educational material generated with parents and teachers, and adapted to local contexts of agrobiodiversity, climate and andean agricultural landscapes
  • Childrens’ classroom products reflect the inclusion of traditional knowledge on agrobiodiversity from an intercultural approach.
  • Modular training course for teachers in epistemology and interculturality, contextualized to the rural Andean environment and culture.
  • Training course in intercultural education for primary school teachers about agrobiodiversity, the climate and traditional and scientific knowledge, remastered and applied.


  • The parents (farmers) feel themselves represented and self-recognized as part of the school teaching process of their children about plant agrobiodiversity and andean family farming
  • Children receive a more culturally relevant education that respect and values their identity and the knowledge they acquire outside of school.
  • Teachers show new capacities in the management of conceptual frameworks, strategies and pedagogical tools for classroom application of an intercultural education

Outputs and Outcomes 3


  • Pedagogical institutes/regional university education faculties promote creation of spaces of discussion about intercultural education and the importance of traditional knowledge in agrobiodiversity and family farming.
  • Proposal of guidelines for recommendations for the formulation of local/regional/national public policy proposals within the framework of the National Plan for Bilingual Intercultural Education and related to agrobiodiversity conservation and school conservation


  • Regional pedagogical institutes / university education faculties consider to include in their students’ training courses the intercultural approach and traditional knowledge about agrobiodiversity and andean family farming
  • Local and regional political authorities promote the inclusion in public policy guidelines around a proposal for an intercultural educative system that addresses the importance of the conservation and valuation of agrobiodiversity and family farming.