Progress in Caldas and Quindio

After a successful pilot project that was carried out last year in 4 Embera Chami indigenous Indian communities, ICDP gained the trust and support from the community leaders who asked for more ICDP training.


The Embera governor asked ICDP not to abandon the 4 communities, Laurel Quimbaya, Buenavista, Cordoba and Calarca, but to continue and also to expand ICDP to other settlements. As a result, a new ICDP project is now forming new groups of facilitators, as well as consolidating the knowledge and practical skills of previously trained facilitators. The objective of the new project is to strengthen parents’ skills related to upbringing of their children in the Embera settlements in the Quindio and Caldas departments of Colombia.

During April 2016, in Armenia, Quindio, the ICDP trainer Carmen Lucia Andrade held refresher courses for facilitators, focusing on certain areas such as management of the ICDP agenda, use of field diaries, ability to use the ICDP evaluation tools.
In Riosucio, Caldas, a new group consisting of 15 traditional doctors and nurses, embarked on ICDP training to become facilitators. They have recently started to apply ICDP with families, as part of their self-training task.


Background information about the Embera Chami population:


Colombia has seen advances in the recognition of the rights of indigenous peoples; their right to a territory/land has been the main struggle of the Embera people for many years.  The Embera Chami history shows that they were forced to move away from their own land, which was plundered by others. The problem of land is vital, since the concept of the sacred land is central to the Embera Chami, motivating them to protect their territory and its historical and cultural legacy. The Embera Chami people are today strongly motivated to defend their territory, culture and development as a free people. 
The decolonizing perspective besides providing a territory is aimed at bilingual education to preserve their language; in this regard it is the women (mothers) who have been the cultivators of identity and who transmitted their language and values to children. The Embera community gives recognition to women as centres of the family.

Family context:
They have a non-stratified egalitarian society. The basis of their political organization has traditionally been the extended family and the relatives. The settlements are formed by several families related to each other. Ownership is communal. The family today is monogamous. The woman is in charge of food, clothing and basketry.  Women also participate in planting and harvesting. The men cultivate the land, go hunting and fishing. Before marriage, the couples live together for a period called the Amane. Chami is a patriarchal family, the married couple has to settle first in the house of the father of the husband and then later on they are allowed to gain independence. The ceremony called Paruka is female initiation and it symbolizes the transformation of the girl into a woman. Mothers care for their children and so do the older sisters, who learn when quite young to carry their siblings on their backs.

Embera Chami Quindio councils (Cabildo) govern the settlements in the cities of Cordoba, Buenavista, Quimbaya, Montenegro and Calarca that constitute a political organization.