Minka (communal work)

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A modern Mink'a / faena in the campesino community of Ocra, Peru, during which a community kitchen is constructed out of Adobe.

Mink'a, Minka, Minga (from Quechua minccacuni , meaning "asking for help by promising something")[1] also mingaco or Spanish faena[2], is an Inca tradition of community work or voluntary collective labor for purposes of social utility and community infrastructure projects. It is currently in force in several Latin American countries.[3][4][5] Mink'a can have different ways of expressing community utility, such as the construction of public buildings and infrastructure, or go to the benefit of a person or family that has a labor shortage without additional funds, such as when harvesting potatoes or other agricultural products. Usually, the mink'a labor is completely without salary, such as in the public works projects of Ocra, a campesino community in the Andes. Faenas are seen as a labor tribute to the community, a cash-free form of local taxation. Mink'a is mainly exercised in Colombia, Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia, Chile and Paraguay.


In Peru, the concept of mink'a is associated with pre-Columbian indigenous cultures. It is still practiced in mestizo and campesino communities of the Andes, where the notion of reciprocity (Ayni) continues to organize community work. An example of this type of community reciprocity work is the development of agricultural activities among a dozen neighbors in traditional productive units, or the building of a community kitchen over the course of a few months with personal tools and local materials. During the epoch of the Inca Empire, mink'a was the basic way in which work was carried out within the communities ( ayllu ), but it was also practiced for the benefit of larger territories ( Mit'a ), as part of the services that each ayllu provided to the whole of the society. The families participated in the construction of premises, irrigation canals, as well as helped in the farm operations of the disabled, and cared for orphans and the elderly. Due to the great migration to the cities of the Peruvian coast, Mink'a has also become widespread in the coastal areas of Peru - mostly however within smaller communities where local "taxation" consisting of labor is more feasible than a monetary tax to realize community projects.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Katime Orcasita, Abraham A.; Sarmiento, Antonio José (2006). Hacia la construcción del derecho solidario en Colombia (in Spanish) (2nd ed.). Bogotá: Cooperative University of Colombia. ISBN 9789588205700. OCLC 752522023.
  2. ^ Diccionario de la lengua española (in Spanish) (Vigesimotercera edición, Edición del Tricentenario ed.). Madrid: Royal Spanish Academy. ISBN 9788467041897. OCLC 894591251.
  3. ^ Reeve, Mary-Elizabeth (1988). Los Quichua del Curaray: El Proceso de Formación de la Identidad. Editorial Abya Yala. p. 214. ISBN 978-99-7822-020-7.
  4. ^ Ramírez, Eduardo; Modrego, Félix; Macé, Julie Claire; Yáñez, Rodrigo (2009). Dinámicas territoriales en Chiloé central: La fuerza de las coaliciones extra territoriales (PDF). Documento de Trabajo N° 54, Programa Dinámicas Territoriales Rurales. Rimisp – Centro Latinoamericano para el Desarrollo Rural.
  5. ^ Durston, J.; Duhart, D.; Miranda, F.; Monzó, E. (2005). Comunidades campesinas, agencias públicas y clientelismos políticos en Chile. Santiago de Chile: Editorial LOM.

Coordinates: 36°24′00″N 136°53′00″E / 36.4000°N 136.8833°E / 36.4000; 136.8833