Indigenous Communities

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June 20, 2016

Spotlight on Indigenous Communities

For all their immense diversity, the estimated 40 million indigenous people in Latin America and the Caribbean, these first inhabitants struggle everywhere with discrimination and poverty.The IAF began operations in the early 1970s, just as indigenous peoples in many parts of the world were rallying around their identity. Over these last decades, the IAF has supported their movements as these gave rise to many innovative approaches to development, often with a cultural dimension, to address inequities while preserving their heritage. In 2015, 37 percent of IAF investments supported indigenous groups.

Asociación Bribripa Kaneblo 

Is an association formed by indigenous Bribri in Costa Rica’s Salitre Indigenous Territory. It developed a tourism enterprise by constructing a cultural center, clearing trails, designating sites to observe animals and setting up camping areas in their community’s forests. The association also provides training in organic agriculture to local farmers.


We learned a lot implementing this project, which allowed us to grow as individuals and as an organization… and, above all, we are secure our belief that, in spite of our limitations, with a lot of effort, work and sacrifice, the future will be better for this community.”__BriBri representative

Institución Ecuménica de Promoción Social (OGUASU)

Has been working with 1,000 Mbya Paraguayans with training in beekeeping, aquaculture, animal husbandry, conservation, reforestation and the organic cultivation of traditional crops. It has set up demonstration plots for farmers and developed plans to sell surplus production. OGUASU also supports Ñogueroî Pave’i1, an indigenous association, which has formed a council that provides input into the local school’s curriculum and administration. Check out this video to learn more



In Argentina 

Traditions native to the Andes persist among the Kolla people of the northwest, which give their communities cohesion. The Kolla live mostly in small towns and rural hamlets concentrated around the Puna, a stark plateau extending through the province of Jujuy and into Bolivia. For centuries the Kolla have endured poverty characterized by high levels of infant and maternal mortality, malnutrition, alcoholism, high school dropout rates, migration, unemployment and underemployment. The IAF has made support for these Argentines a priority and, over the past decade, has invested in the ideas of those Kolla who have organized for change such as Warmi Sayajsung, whose membership spans some 80 communities, and Red Puna y Quebrada, a network of 35 grassroots groups, including Asociación de Pequeños Productores Aborígenes de la Puna (APPP). Founded in 1996, APPP aims to improve conditions for indigenous Argentines and to encourage awareness of their cultural identity and their constitutional rights. APPP sets an example through its application of democratic practices, its respect for diversity and its equitable treatment of Kolla women, who are often overburdened as breadwinners with staggering family and community responsibilities.Check this video (Spanish)