Development that Works
  • About

    This blog highlights effective ideas in the fight against poverty and exclusion, and analyzes the impact of development projects in Latin America and the Caribbean.
  • Tag: chile

    Found 14 posts.

    Why do girls talk so much more than boys?

    By - 31 de January de 2017, 10:44 am

    Why do girls talk so much more than boys?


    A year ago, when two-year-old Ana visited her aunt Mary, she started telling her stories as soon as they met. She talked about her recent visit to the market. She talked about school. Then she talked about her little sister.

    Ana’s cousin Angel, also two years old, was visiting Aunt Mary too. However, when Aunt Mary asked him “How are you?” he just said “Fine” and turned around to go play. Aunt Mary wondered why Angel wasn’t as talkative.

    Should Aunt Mary be concerned? Should she talk to him more? Should she encourage him to talk more? She wondered if there was something she should be doing. Maybe Angel was just “born” that way, and was simply not as expressive as Ana.

    This question is at the crux of extensive discussion in the economic literature about sex differences in language acquisition and the development of social skills. Read more…

    Would you leave your children home alone while at work?

    By - 7 de October de 2016, 7:00 am

    By Claudia Piras

    Free daycare services do not ensure a significant increase in women’s participation in the labor market. Why? The results of an after-school activities program in Chile may have the answer.

    Picture: IDB

    Picture: IDB

    What is the most common reason given by women when asked why they are not looking for a job? Just what you might think: because they have to take care of their children.

    This was the answer given by almost 40 percent of non-working mothers of children under 14 surveyed as part of a study by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) study in Chile. The results can be viewed in the IDB’s Development Effectiveness Overview (DEO), an annual publication by the Bank that describes what works–and what doesn’t–in development.  Read more…

    Turning trash into light – Liter of light

    By - 8 de March de 2016, 4:20 pm

    By Carmen Fernández-Sánchez

    The simple act of filling recycled plastic bottles with water and chlorine has allowed light to enter millions of previously unlit homes around the globe. What’s more, this innovation has saved low-income families up to 40% on electricity bills.

    Liter of Light

    Moser Light Bulb

    No-one could have told Alfredo Moser, a Brazilian mechanic,  that his invention would spread across the world and be installed hundreds of thousands of homes, while he continued to lead a humble life, living in a modest house and driving a car made in 1974. Read more…

    One mestizo, one DNA test, and my origins

    By - 15 de April de 2014, 7:16 am

    Francisca Llao Pallali, A Mapuche traditional educator at Tranamán Intercultural School in Chile's La Araucanía region.

    CHILE | Francisca Llao Pallali, A Mapuche traditional educator at Tranamán Intercultural School in Chile’s La Araucanía region.

    According to Unicef there are 29 million indigenous people in Latin America.

    Indigenous peoples represent 6 per cent of the population of Latin America;  mestizos, afro-descendants, whites, and other races represent the other 94 per cent. The vast majority of us are mestizos, a mixed race of Spaniards and Indigenous.

    Indigenous people face a lot of difficulties. In countries like Guatemala, where 40 per cent of the total population is indigenous, high rates of poverty, illiteracy and low levels of schooling affect them. Ironically, as Mestizos, we don’t always know how to interact with indigenous populations. We know very little about their traditions and exoticize them as if they were characters from a fairy tale.  Sometimes we just discriminate against them.

    Read more…

    Chile Builds a New Relationship with its Indigenous People

    By - 31 de March de 2014, 11:01 am

    By Carlos Perafán

    Latin America has a long and contentious history with its indigenous population, which has often been marginalized, underserved, and unrecognized by governments and society for centuries. For the past dozen years, however, Chile took the ambitious step to try to change this historical paradigm by implementing the region’s largest program focused exclusively on supporting indigenous groups.

    The program, known as Orígenes and supported by the IDB, was unprecedented in Chile and the region for its scale and methodology to empower nearly 2,000 indigenous communities to carry out their own development projects. The ultimate goal was to establish a new relationship between the government and indigenous peoples by strengthening their identity and culture and improving living conditions.

    From the start, the implementation of Orígenes was challenging because it involved changing the paternalistic approach traditionally employed by government agencies in working with indigenous communities. Under the program, the communities themselves took the lead role in selecting and executing projects, so government agencies had to sustain an effective dialogue to help those communities prepare coherent and decentralized long-term development plans.

    “The innovative aspect of this project was that while we were provided with the resources, we ourselves had to decide how to use them,” said Zunilda Santos, a member of a community in Belén in northern Chile.

    The project developed an innovative methodology to empower indigenous communities.

    Not surprisingly, such an approach proved much more difficult to execute than anticipated because neither the communities nor the government were prepared to deal with the scale and complexity of the program. On one hand, many indigenous communities had little knowledge about project planning and execution or government processes. On the other, the government had limited understanding of how to work collaboratively with indigenous communities. For example, the government initially organized communities based on their legal status, without considering their ancestral or territorial ties.

    The result was that the project initially put too much emphasis on developing small projects to solve short-term community needs rather than planning such investments to foster the long-term development of indigenous territories. Moreover, the program suffered long delays in approving and delivering resources for community projects because, in part, third-party consultants without ties to the communities failed to incorporate local priorities and get community validation for the projects they submitted on the communities’ behalf. For their part, the communities often struggled to meet deadlines and properly report how they were spending program resources.

    To solve some of these issues, the government provided communities and their leaders training on project planning and management; began working with beneficiary communities according to family relationships and economic, cultural, and historical ties; and set realistic goals and deadlines so both the government and communities could meet their obligations.

    “Fixing the program took a lot of work, and the first step was to regain the trust of indigenous leaders with dialogue and going out to the field,” explained Karina Doña, an Orígenes program coordinator.

    The Takeaway

    Despite its initial difficulties, Orígenes established 874 long-term territorial development plans 2 and carried out more than 3,500 community development projects, ranging from the restoration of churches building community infrastructure to providing financing for nearly 9,000 families to buy productive assets such as cattle and forestry and agricultural equipment. Families that received financing to purchase productive assets in the first phase of the program reported an increase of 11 percent in their real incomes between 2003 and 2011.

    The program has led to increased self-identification of indigenous ethnicity and helped improve recognition among project communities. In 2011, 32 percent adults identified themselves as indigenous compared with 29 percent in 2003. However, some results fell short of expectations. Some of the long-term development plans lacked strategic vision to strengthen the local rural economy and failed to diminish persistent migration of community members to urban centers, the biggest threat to the preservation of indigenous cultures. One reason cited for this problem was that the program did not include traditional indigenous leaders—who are not formally recognized by the political system—in its dialogue with communities. In addition, procedures required from communities to account for project expenditures were quite cumbersome. Despite initial concerns about accounting for all expenses, at the end of the project only approximately 0.5 percent of the proceeds of the IDB loan was unaccounted for, in great part because some communities had lost receipts and delays by other government agencies in providing documentation for the funds spent. “The most important thing is that resources were not lost. We checked and the projects had been implemented,” Doña added.

    Despite its shortcomings, the project empowered indigenous communities and improved relationships with the government. The number of indigenous communities registered with CONADI, the Chilean agency in charge of indigenous affairs, increased 65 percent during the 12 years of the program. Moreover, 67 percent of communities that participated in Orígenes have accessed funds from other government agencies to carry out other development projects.