The Indigenous Peoples and Afro-Colombian Empowerment Activity (IPACE) is the continuation of the collaborative work developed between USAID and indigenous and Afro-Colombian communities, also known as ethnic communities in Colombia. The program contributes to the self-determined development of these communities by strengthening their self and institutional governance, improving economic opportunities, and safeguarding their cultural heritage. It respects the communities' own forms of territorial development and maintains balance in their relationship with nature. Additionally, it supports the participation of ethnic communities in the implementation of the peace agreement to advance peace-building in the territories. The program is implemented in collaboration with ethnic communities, as well as the public and private sectors, in 31 municipalities across the Caribbean, Pacific, and Amazon regions, including some major cities, from December 2021 to November 2026.


strengthening self-governance and institutional capacity 

IPACE contributes to enhancing the development of lobbying, leadership, self-governance, and natural resource management capacities of ethnic organizations and traditional authorities. The program collaborates with national, regional, and local public institutions to address the needs of ethnic communities in two priority areas: 1) institutional adaptation and public policies, and 2) organizational strengthening. 

supporting sustainable economic development  

IPACE supports the food sovereignty of ethnic communities and economic recovery post-COVID-19 by partnering with community, public, and private sector actors to promote income generation and inclusive business development in environmentally beneficial sectors. This effort includes three areas of action: 1) employability and entrepreneurship, 2) productive initiatives and food sovereignty, and 3) biodiversity conservation and environmental projects. 

promoting cultural diversity 

IPACE contributes to the preservation, safeguarding, and recognition of ethnic cultural heritage and the contributions of indigenous and Afro-Colombian peoples to nation-building. The program supports cultural enterprises and manifestations, visibility strategies, and the training, appropriation, and circulation of artistic and cultural initiatives.

addressing and preventing emergencies 

IPACE supports prevention strategies and efficient responses to natural and health emergencies. The program strengthens the capacity of community, public, and private actors, including indigenous and cimarron guards, to prevent, mitigate, and respond to emergencies, enhancing the resilience capacity of communities. It does so through two lines of work: 1) Rapid response and 2) Risk prevention and mitigation. 


  • Support 240 local ethnic organizations

  • Leverage over USD $30 million in public, private, and civil society funds to promote ethnic inclusion.

  • Expand access to new employment opportunities for indigenous and Afro-Colombian people, with 65 percent of participants accessing Jobs

  •  Award over USD $20 million in sub-awards to local organizations for capacity-building and self-determined initiatives, including USD $3 million for biodiversity conservation and natural resource management.

Contact Information
Ana Quilarque