Lima: Living Community Culture Programme


Lima is the capital of Peru, and according to the National Institute of Statistics and Informatics (INEI) it has a population of 9,674,755, representing 29.7% of the country's total population. According to INEI, 9.6% of the city’s population lives in poverty, and this number has been reduced in recent years. Lima is organized politically and geographically into 43 districts. For the purposes of this programme, these has been divided between North, Central, East, and South regions.

The urban growth in these areas and districts of Lima has been the result of political, economic, social, and cultural processes that have developed separately. These have primarily focused on the city centre and neglected the surrounding regions whose expansion has seen a reduction in basic services. Neighbourhood initiatives emerged out of this situation whose goal is to contribute to community development. They work alongside civil, private, and public institutions to implement social transformation initiatives through art, aimed primarily at vulnerable populations.

The Living Community Culture Programme (LCCP) recognized these processes and took an active role in ensuring their sustainability as well as providing greater access to cultural rights. This was an important issue considering the fact that there was 40.2% dissatisfaction with cultural and recreational activities, and a low turnout of only 24.3% of the population for cultural activities held in streets and squares in one year.

The creation of the national body, the Ministry of Culture in 2010, and the implementation of the “Points of Culture” initiative in 2011 both aided in the recognition and strengthening of social organizations. Their ongoing work in arts and culture was promoted with the aim of expanding people’s exercise of cultural rights to the community level. In 2013, the Metropolitan Municipality of Lima initiated a process that brought together over 200 representatives and members of community cultural groups LCCP, which was similar to the national programme.

The Living Community Culture Programme (LCCP) recognized these processes and took an active role in ensuring their sustainability as well as providing greater access to cultural rights.


The programme is in line with the 2012-2025 Regional Concerted Development Plan for the Lima Metropolitan Area and addresses the problem of citizens’ limited access to cultural rights throughout Lima, especially those living in conditions of instability, insecurity, crime, and mistrust, and other risk factors. It seeks to strengthen citizen organizations that use art and culture to solve these problems, and subsequently contributing to sustainability while helping the population achieve their goals.

With this programme, Lima is in compliance with the 2030 Agenda Sustainable Development Goals. First, the LCCP seeks to promote the following objectives:

  • Goal 1: No Poverty - By understanding that cultural rights are basic services, the city can focus on expanding access to cultural life for poor and vulnerable populations.
  • Goal 4: Quality Education - This promotes the idea that community gatherings can develop artistic creation and pedagogical processes aimed at children and adolescents, as well as facilitate artistic creation in public schools.
  • Goal 10: Reduced Inequalities - By viewing cultural participation as a condition and catalyst for processes of inclusion, social cohesion, and the positive recognition of diversity, the programme encourages organizations to make use of artistic expression as a potential for transformation at individual and community levels.
  • Goal 16: Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions - This uses a participatory approach that uses dialogue between groups and the municipality for decision-making processes, and a management model based on transparency and open doors.

Finally, the city shares the approach outlined in the New Urban Agenda that culture and cultural diversity are essential to achieving sustainable urban development that is centred on the needs of the population.



The primary goal is to recognize, promote, and strengthen the living community culture that currently exists in different neighbourhoods throughout the Lima Province. This is to be done through registration and projects carried out by cultural groups that use dynamic processes based on the daily life of their communities to contribute to local development and social peace.


The Living Community Culture Programme specifically aims to:

  • Recognize groups that develop community-based cultural practices by registering in the Living Community Culture Programme Database.
  • Promote participatory processes that encourage the collective construction of cultural actions between civil society and local government.
  • Strengthen the artistic, academic, managerial, as well as logistical capacities and resources of community organizations and their members so as to enhance their impacts on the populations they work with.
  • Ensure the right to art and culture in different communities across the Lima Province, with a particular focus on vulnerable populations.


To achieve these goals, the main actions to be implemented include:

  • Meetings with the LCCP groups, which are continuously carried out to foster collective construction of the programme’s actions and activities
  • An Annual Competition for Arts and Community projects that provides funding to ensure the sustainability of projects for over 30% of the registered groups
  • Community workshops, which help host arts training in the various neighbourhoods
  • The Living Community Culture school strengthens knowledge and promotes training for cultural managers in these groups.
  • The culture tour helps facilitate artistic creation in public schools.
  • Cultural festivals are a meeting point for groups within the programme, and serve to make their work visible to citizens.

The Living Community Culture Programme works in cooperation with public sector partners such as:

  • The Ministry of Culture through the Points of Culture Programme
  • The sub-directorates of culture from different districts throughout the Lima Province
  • Internal departments within the Municipality of Lima (Education, Youth, Environment, Social Development, Neighbourhood Participation, the Lima Parks Service (SERPAR), and others)




The Living Community Culture Programme is the first local initiative of its kind in Peru. Applying specific policies to the region was inspired by a movement that has swept across the country and Latin America, providing many lessons that can only be understood through local approaches. First, collaborative work has been set up based on openness and willingness to meet the diverse needs that arise from the experience of groups and their communities. The language and mechanisms of the public sector have been adapted to the dynamics of particular groups, and thereby avoid distorting their focus.

Organizations have also been recognized as the protagonists in their own processes, and as partners in the democratization of cultural rights. The outdated conception that citizens are mere passive recipients has been eliminated. Culture is not brought into neighbourhoods—they already have their own culture. The city must reinforce these independent and autonomous processes that reflect the city’s cultural diversity in and of themselves. With these tutorials, the programme establishes a public policy model that can be applied to all local governments.


Across the sector, the Living Community Culture Programme has made it possible to institutionalize technical approaches as well as the management of cultural centres, cinemas, theatres, museums, and galleries. Over the past six years, the programme has established relationships and mutual responsibilities between local government and civil society. This has strengthened the skills and resources within different groups so they are able to exercise their right to political participation. As a result, these groups are having a real impact on their communities, and are therefore able to demand that the programme be replicated in other districts.


At the municipal level, the Living Community Culture Programme is the only cultural policy with a scope that encompasses the entire greater metropolitan area. Currently, 19 districts are involved. By dividing Lima into four sectors, it has helped to ensure an equitable distribution of financial and physical resources.

With respect to the population, open participation in cultural and educational activities has been made available to nearly 60,000 citizens with an emphasis on vulnerable children and adolescents. Together, this has helped strengthen their identity, awareness, empathy, self-esteem, and general well-being. Likewise, the programme has proven its ability to strengthen the social fabric by financing specific activities, highlighting connections between cultural, neighbourhood, social, and school organizations, among others.

The programme ended 2019 with 53 registered groups. During the first quarter of 2020, it reached a total of 64 groups that were part of the database. This clearly demonstrates the impact that the programme has been having, and the interest these groups have in receiving further support for their community work.

The outdated conception that citizens are mere passive recipients has been eliminated. Culture is not brought into neighbourhoods—they already have their own culture. The city must reinforce these independent and autonomous processes that reflect the city’s cultural diversity in and of themselves.


Through a municipal ordinance, the local government of Lima has ensured that the Living Community Culture Programme will continue. This is clear particularly given its short 6-year lifespan under three municipal governments. In addition, this provision establishes the City’s roles and responsibilities around the groups within the database. It also outlines the requirements that must be met by groups that wish to join the programme and take advantage of its benefits. The annual budget has been increased by 36% in order to continue developing more cultural actions in various neighbourhoods across Lima.

To support the programme’s continuing efforts, some standardization and evaluation initiatives have been planned for 2020. These will help to measure the technical ways that the expected objectives and impacts of the Living Community Culture Programme are being achieved.


This good practice was written by Fabiola Figueroa, Director of Culture for the Municipality of Lima.

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