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Indigenous peoples
Indigenous Peoples
Two women wearing colorful shirts. Diversity - Inter-American Development Bank - IDB

Indigenous Peoples represent almost 10% of the population of Latin America and the Caribbean, 53 million people from over 800 cultures. Despite their cultural richness, they are 2.7 times more likely to live in extreme poverty than non-indigenous people, and have less access to essential public services, quality education, formal employment, and financial services. The Bank works with indigenous communities to co-design projects and policies and facilitate dialogue between indigenous governance structures and national governments, based on an understanding of and respect for indigenous cultures and local context.  

A woman with red face paint and feathers in her hair. Development - Inter-American Development Bank - IDB

We created a work methodology with Indigenous Peoples that combines the theories and tools of Development with Identity (DCI)—an approach that values the people and culture of indigenous communities as an essential part of their own sustainable development—and the collective multisectoral work in a certain territory. It is an innovative way to work in indigenous territories.  

A group of indigenous women standing at a podium. Sustainable Development - Inter-American Development Bank - IDB

In El Alto in Bolivia, we support the integration of more than 800 young indigenous migrants into the labor market by strengthening their technical and intercultural skills. We also support firms by raising awareness and providing advisory support in implementing practices that value cultural diversity. In Panama, through the Economic Empowerment for Indigenous Women of Panama (PEMIP, for its acronym in Spanish) we include indigenous female leaders in the design of policies oriented to closing gender gaps.    

A woman holding a book and smiling. Social development - Inter-American Development Bank - IDB

We provide technical and financial assistance to ensure the cultural relevance of social services and the focus on the people and their community.  

A woman holding a baby. Health - Inter-American Development Bank - IDB

The IDB is working with the Guatemala Ministry of Public Health and Social Assistance to increase the coverage and quality of health services in areas with high presence of indigenous people (departments of San Marcos and Huehuetenango) through the Strengthening of Health Services Network Program. This program will include among other actions, an Intercultural Health Plan that will have training on intercultural health for public officers as well as the adequation of infrastructure to the needs of Indigenous Peoples. This focus on identity approach is also implemented in education programs such as JADENKÄ, an initiative with an intercultural bilingual teaching approach for children from the Ngäbe peoples in Panama.  

A close-up of a fence. Environmentally sustainable - Inter-American Development Bank - IDB

We support different public entities to ensure the cultural relevance of infrastructure services centered on the people and their community. We have implemented ethno-engineering in our projects,  a discipline that values indigenous traditional knowledge as a source of inspiration for the implementation of environmentally sustainable engineering practices. Through this methodology, infrastructure projects are adapted in a participatory manner and implemented through community agreements.  

A group of children running on a sidewalk. Social Protection - Inter-American Development Bank - IDB

In the Ngäbe-Buglé region in Panamá, the IDB financed the rehabilitation of rural roads that include infrastructure with sociocultural identity, as well as using building techniques that integrate materials and functionalities from the communities. In 2022, the IDB published an ethno-engineering guide with recommendations for the incorporation of this discipline in the road, education, health, social protection, and tourism sectors.  

Content available in Spanish

Banner de color azul Guías de etnoingeniería: lineamientos para la incorporación de la etnoingeniería en los sectores: vial, educación, salud y protección social y turismo
Banner de color azul Pueblos indígenas en Guatemala: desafíos demográficos, lingüísticos y socioeconómicos: análisis comparativo de los censos 2002 vs 2018
Banner de color azul Desigualdad de oportunidades para los pueblos indígenas y afrodescendientes
Ethno-engineering: Designing Infrastructure Through Ethnic Diversity
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Indígenas urbanos: 3 temas clave para la agenda de las ciudades sostenibles

(Content available in Spanish)

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Indigenous Peoples show the way
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Indígenas Urbanos: Los desafíos de los pueblos indígenas en ciudades
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PEMIP: Cerrando brechas para mujeres indígenas de Panamá
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Impact Chat: La primera Cacica del Pueblo Wounaan nos da claves para el empoderamiento femenino
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