Epifanio Pacheco Calvimontes

Ashoka Fellow
Fellow Since 1998


This profile was prepared when Epifanio Pacheco Calvimontes was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 1998.
The New Idea
Epifanio Pacheco is reconstructing traditional forms of organization in Bolivia's indigenous communities, so that inhabitants can begin to control their own resources and create long-term development strategies. Central to his strategy is the empowerment of the ayllus, as the traditional government structures of indigenous communities are known in Bolivia, as elsewhere in the high Andes. As a member of an indigenous ayllu himself, Epifanio is well positioned to carry out this work.
Epifanio has developed a battery of techniques, including legal mechanisms and technical training to ensure maximum benefit from natural and cultural resources such as minerals and archeological sites. His first step was to unify various indigenous communities into the country's first and only legally recognized indigenous district. Next, he organizes these communities to take control of the cultural and natural resources that historically have belonged to them. He trains community members to manage these resources effectively in order to extract potential economic benefits and improve their living standards, while preserving their rich culture. In this way he adds a new dimension to the work done by other organizations which have helped indigenous groups gain property rights and reconstruct traditional forms of organization or those – including businesses and the State– which have entered indigenous lands to organize their resources and promote short-term projects in education and sanitation.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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