Enabling poor rural people
to overcome poverty



102 projects approved under the Indigenous Peoples Assistance Facility since 2007

The objective of the IFAD Indigenous Peoples Assistance Facility (IPAF) is to strengthen indigenous peoples’ communities and their organizations by financing small-projects which foster their self-driven development in the framework of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and to generate lessons learned and approaches for replication and up-scaling.

The Facility invites applications from indigenous peoples’ organizations and communities, as well as organizations that work with them, for grants to fund projects, innovative approaches and partnerships that promote the development of indigenous peoples and help them fulfil their aspirations.

The Facility provides small grants of US$20,000 to US$50,000 to small projects designed and implemented by indigenous peoples’ communities and their organizations. In response to IFAD’s three calls for grant proposals, in 2007, 2008 and 2011, indigenous communities and organizations submitted around 3 000 applications from about 90 countries around the world.

The IPAF is governed by a board composed of mostly indigenous members 1.

Since 2007, IPAF and related activities 2 were financed by IFAD, the World Bank, Norway, Canada, Finland and Italy, in the total amount of US$3,570,0003.

In June 2007, the Facility approved the financing of 30 micro projects in 24 countries for a total of US$603,000.

In 2008, 41 projects were approved in 31 countries worldwide, for a total amount of about US$900,000, representing a 50 per cent increase in resources compared to the previous year.

In January 2011, 31 projects were approved in 26 countries around the world for a total amount of US$ 1,138,000.

In order to increase the efficiency of the IPAF, and to empower indigenous peoples’ organizations to actively participate in institutional processes, the management of the Facility has been decentralized at regional level, with the support of three indigenous peoples’ organizations, namely,  Foro Internacional de Mujeres Indígenas (FIMI) in Latin America and the Caribbean;  Mainyoito Pastoralists Integrated Development Organization (MPIDO) in Africa; and Tebtebba Foundation in Asia.  As co-managers of the IPAF, these organizations are responsible for:

  • Supporting the technical review process of IPAF applications
  • Channelling resources to organizations awarded by the IPAF Board;
  • Monitoring and supervising IPAF-funded projects; 
  • Strengthening the link between the IPAF small projects and IFAD country programmes;
  • Documenting and disseminating knowledge generated by the IPAF; and
  • Supporting the IPAF resource mobilization.

The experience of the first two cycles of the IPAF has been captured in the reports Learning by Working Together, Micro-projects financed through the Indigenous Peoples Assistance Facility and IPAF small projects Desk review.

The IPAF Desk review provides an overview of the performance of 53 small IPAF-funded projects in delivering results and improving the lives of their target groups. About  45,000 people directly benefited from these projects financed in 2007 and 2008, and more than half of them were women. Project services reached about 1,200 communities, and more than 21,000 people were trained, 45 per cent of whom were women.  Primary project activities were training and individual capacity-building in such topics as security of tenure, natural resource management, agricultural technologies, traditional medicine, indigenous peoples ’rights, community programming, literacy and HIV/AIDS prevention.

The projects approved under the IPAF address:

  • Management of natural resources
  • Participation of indigenous and tribal peoples in policy formulation
  • Improvement of indigenous women’s livelihoods
  • Improving livelihoods of indigenous peoples through recovery of traditional knowledge
  • Preservation, promotion, and protection strategies for language and cultural heritage of indigenous and tribal peoples
  • Protection and patenting of intellectual property rights (pharmacological, artistic, etc.)
  • Culturally appropriate and economically viable activities (agricultural, fishery, artisan etc.);
  • Culturally appropriate ethno-tourism models
  • Mapping of indigenous and tribal peoples’ territories and cultures
  • Collection of disaggregated data on indigenous and tribal populations
  • Country profiles of indigenous and tribal peoples;
  • Adaptation and mitigation to climate change
  • Awareness on the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

1/ Joan Carling, Igorot from Philippines; Mirna Cunningham, Miskito from Nicaragua; Wolde Gossa Tadesse, Gamo from Ethiopia; Kyrham Nongkynrih, Khasi from India. Jean-Philippe Audinet, Acting Director, Policy Division represents IFAD.

2/ Related activities of the Facility have included two regional workshops, one in Asia and one in Latin America, and a research study on Custodians of Culture and Biodiversity – Indigenous Peoples Take Charge of Their Challenges and Opportunities that captured the knowledge and information in the grant proposals as submitted by 1,095 indigenous communities and organizations in 2007.

3/ IFAD (US$2,273,000); World Bank (US$415,000); Norway (US$625,000); Canada (US$150,000); Finland (US$77,000); Italy (US$30,000).