Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?
Indigenous peoples' most urgent needs involve health, land rights, employment, education, housing, infrastructure and respect for their culture and their rights. In Costa Rica's case, indigenous people were not recognized as citizens until 1992 and people have essentially been left out of Costa Rica and Central America's development process. In particular, indigenous people have consistently been denied access to financing and credit, and effectively, therefore, from the formal economy. Indigenous leaders from various groups have traditionally met with each other in long-standing fora for inter-tribal communication and collaboration. They have also long recognized the need to develop a comprehensive framework for appropriate development for the entire indigenous population in Costa Rica. But none, before now, have been able to design a viable plan of action.
Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!
As coordinator and consolidator of Sejekto, José Dualok has welded the eight existing indigenous ethnic groups of Costa Rica into a united front, and designed and developed a unique sustainable development plan for all of these groups. This plan includes financial, economic, communication, training, environmental, education, research, science, technology and legal rights issues for implementation at the national level. The long-term plan seeks to improve the standard of living for indigenous populations by offering them the opportunity to knowledgeably participate in a more modern economic system, while simultaneously allowing them to preserve their cultural values and natural resources in a sustainable manner.José is the first person in Costa Rica who has succeeded in uniting more than 22 indigenous groups from the eight main "tribes" of Costa Rica. He provides the necessary leadership and innovative approaches to address many of their pressing concerns. The chief vehicle for this unprecedented mobilization is a formal "Strategic Plan for Sustainable Development," which for the first time unites indigenous people in a new kind of "defense" against external forces and actors.