In the 2007 issue of the Grassroots Development journal, we focus on the advances and challenges of IAF grantee partners who work with people of African descent to define and develop their place in contemporary Latin America.
Letters from Our Readers
“Coming Into their Own? The Afro-Latin Struggle for Equality and Recognition”
In this article, we analyze the context framing the issues that drive the demand of present-day African descendants for social and economic justice.
“Lessons of the Elders: Juan García and the Oral Tradition of Afro-Ecuador”
Long before the National Museum of African American History and Culture opened in 2015, Juan García Salazar had contributed its first artifact–his grandmother’s canoe stool–to the exhibit on the African experience in the Americas. This article explores how his life’s work was connected to the growth of the Afro-Ecuadorian movement in the Pacific coast lowlands of Esmeraldas, Ecuador.
“More Options in Esmeraldas”
Afro-Ecuadorians in an isolated region of Ecuador attempting to access services have little time left for civic participation and little energy to fight racial prejudice. This article highlights the success of Fundación Para La Tecnología y el Desarrollo Latinoamericano-Ecuatoriano, an IAF grantee partner that works to inspire individuals to work toward short- and long-term changes for themselves and their community.
“Land and Autonomy in Quilombo Santana”
Here we learn about a community of people with African descent in Rio de Janeiro, where the residents’ greatest needs are land ownership and income generation. In part due to IAF-funded projects, this community has been able to begin the process toward land titling and improving their socioeconomic condition.
“Portobelo, Panama: Tours, Crafts and Congos”
A once-wealthy port on Panama’s Caribbean coast, Portobela has a rich history that is deeply rooted in the heritage of its mostly “Afro-colonial” residents. This article describes the work of former IAF grantee Centro de Estudio para el Desarrollo, which helped organize and train artisans, provided microcredit to support entrepreneurship and inspired renewed interest in Portobelo as the center of the country’s Congo tradition.
“Afro-Paraguayans: Identity, Synergy, Census”
Most Paraguayans would be surprised to know of the existence of communities of people of African descent in their midst. As this article describes, IAF grantee partner Asociación Afro Paraguaya Kamba Cua is working to survey conditions in three of these communities and to promote racial equality, human rights and economic development for all people of African descent in Paraguay.
“Uruguay’s Organizaciones Mundo Afro”
This article showcases how an IAF grantee partner’s approach to raising Afro-Uruguayans’ visibility has helped increase their participation in public life and strengthen their contributions in their communities and in society.
Book Review: “Mbundo Malungo a Mundele: Historia del Movimiento Afrouruguayo y sus Alternativas de Desarrollo”
“Costa Rica’s Epsy Campbell: Dedicated to Change”
Here we profile Epsy Campbell, a lifetime advocate of human rights and gender equality in Costa Rica who faced a double dose of exclusion in politics as a woman and as a person of African descendant. She became one of the few women of African descent to break into the power structure in Latin America at that time.
“A Path through the Woods: Community Forest Management in Mexico”
Mexican community forestry attracts global attention because of how unusual it is for forested territory to belong to communities. This article highlights history and current struggles in a sector that has come so far so fast to produce and market timber, generate income and integrate conservation and development practices, despite the poverty and low educational levels in the region.
“Development and Heritage in Cusco”
In this article, we discuss the grassroots revitalization of weaving in the Andes, where one of the world’s richest weaving cultures flourished for centuries. The Center of Traditional Textiles of Cusco, an IAF grantee since 2003, promotes this textile heritage and helps generate more income for weaving communities.
“Remembering the IAF: Lessons in Value”
In this reflective essay, former IAF president Deborah Szekely describes her years here as a formative experience, one that helped her to see the good that government can do with dedicated civil servants and money invested in the right place, at the right time, and for the right purpose.
Book Review Essay: “What Sachs Lacks”
- “Más allá de los Promedios: Afrodescendientes en América Latina”
- “El rol de los Esclavos: Negros en el Paraguay”
- “De Negros a Afros: Ley 70, Poder, e Identidades en el Pacífico Sur de Colombia”
- “Whispering in the Giant’s Ear”
- “Structural Adjustment: The SAPRI Report”
In Memoriam: Raúl Enrique Bidart
The IAF remembers Raúl Enrique Bidart, whose contributions to grassroots development are visible and highly valued throughout the Southern Cone–especially in his native Uruguay–and as far away as Washington and France.