Project Factsheet
Tools for » Intercultural Policies Programme for Inclusiveness and Creation of Opportunity
Project ID:00067190Description:MDGF-1829-G-CRI Culture
MDG Achievement Fund
Start Date *: 2 Nov 2007
MDGF Culture & Development
End Date*: 15 Feb 2012
Country: Costa Rica Project Status: Financially Closed
  Participating Organization:   Multiple


Costa Rica has a vibrant democratic system but the social and economic gap has been widening in the recent years. The youth are not receiving the cultural tools that allow them to use their cultural heritage and are not able to fully exercise their cultural rights. This dualism of a country with inclusive policies but without sufficient intercultural policies has been the basis for setting up the Joint Programme (JP), articulated around the promotion of inter-institutional cultural policies and strengthening the state’s capacity in this respect. The JP therefore established two expected outcomes hereunder, articulated under six specific outputs. The JP strategy recognizes the value of culture as a tool for economic development. Interculturalism is understood as a transversal process that impacts the various sectors of culture, economy, health, education and agriculture. Thus the programme supported various activities in the sectors through the development of 11 working groups (clusters) on specific thematic areas, looking both at the policy level (example Cluster 1 on Revision of Public Policies and Training in Interculturalism) and at the project level (Cluster 6 : Support to Rural SMEs, or Cluster 7:  Fairs, Cultural Diversity and Good Practices).

The two axes for implementing the programme focused one at the local level (Parque La Libertad) as a demonstrative pilot that included in one place the variety of strategic activities across the selected sectors, and the other at the national level (through institutional capacity development).

Under the first outcome, the Parque La Libertad has been used as a resource center where numerous activities proved mutually supportive in order to promote and develop the cultural assets and use the Parque La Libertad as a showcase of concrete results that can be achieved. One example is high technology cultural industry support through the Technological and Visual Arts Center that became the first in the country to train in web development and 3D digital animation (targeting economically disadvantaged youth). Other examples included promoting traditional products at the agricultural fairs, holding of traditional events such as dancing to recognize the value of cultural assets. As a result of all these activities a group of youth advocating interculturalism was created and advocate for opportunities within Parque La Libertad to other youths.

Under the second outcome capacity development through training and policy review in the Culture, Education, Health, Agriculture and Economic sectors was undertaken. Capacity development of public servants is useful to upgrade public policies. Examples include the curriculum reform (for education), agricultural fairs (Agriculture), Cultural Information System and training in Cultural Management (Culture), among others. A number of policy documents have integrated the perspective of interculturalism, for example in the new SME policy, in the National Policy of Food Security, and more.


Outcome 1:

Marginal urban and rural communities empowered in relation to their expressions of identity, their social  capital, the exercise of their cultural rights and the proper use of their cultural resources.

Outcome achievements:

  • One important element was to give life to the Parque La Libertad through the implementation of actions in the artistic, environmental, and economic spheres to serve as link for rural communities and in order to position the Liberty Park as a local reference for training opportunities, business development and other opportunities for the improvement of inhabitants living conditions.
  • A specific support was given to SMEs in cultural sectors in order to use culture as an economic development tool to generate income. This included the creation of incubators and the necessary institutional framework such as those in Parque La Libertad, as a result of inter-institutional arrangements between ministries.  There is a new dynamic created providing enabling conditions between culture and economy and creating further opportunities. Within the Park the Technological and Visual Arts Center became the first center in the country to train web development and digital animation in 3D, targeting economically disadvantaged youth.  There were vocational training events across a range of activities (dance, music, circus), and support to various cultural exhibitions and events in the Park. A youth network that share common values of interculturalism, solidarity, friendship, and group work has been created to disseminate further the opportunities offered in the Park to other youth. Another type of activities is linked to developing tourism that is based on cultural and natural heritage (two such cultural tourism routes have been designed). Also greater visibility to agricultural fairs was given by incorporating cultural promotion events to traditional events such as dancing and crafts. In two ceramic-producing communities the process of obtaining a label of origin is being sought and it is expected that such a process will be extended to other crafts. Advocacy was also made to the institutional level in the National Registry, among others.


Outcome 2:

Institutional competencies to manage intercultural policies strengthened in the fields of culture, education, health, agriculture and economies.

Outcome achievements:

  • The programme helped develop a technological Cultural Information Network (SICULTURA) that generates indicators to measure the contribution of culture into the economy.
  • In the sectors of culture, economy, health, education and agriculture, the JP played a key role in training public servants to enable them to contribute in the upgrading of the policies, but also in advocacy to include traditional cultural aspects (foods, plants, crafts, traditions, etc.) as development tool opportunities. Specific support was given to address the lack of intercultural sensitivity in public policy making, notably as regards to the National Cultural Awards and Scholarships workshop and in the preparation of the National Cultural policy. Specific efforts for training of public servants and community leaders in intercultural practices were undertaken so they would be more aware of their cultural assets and how to manage these more effectively; while for the public servants, their enhanced knowledge is useful to review the sectoral policies and ensure the integration of interculturalism in the policies.


Best practices:

  • Early and inclusive planning process to identify the key actors that will be involved in the implementation.
  • Using a dual approach with one local demonstrative pilot that includes activities across the sectors while working at the institutional level (national and local).
  • The following activities were undertaken with synergies from other programmes as a good practice to maximize the results: 1) the Seed Fair (with IOM and PAHO); 2) Ethnic-Tourism project in the indigenous territory of La Casona (private sector) ; 3) Within the business incubators in Parque la Libertad a new component of business development for youth was undertaken (YEM), 4) Linkages that the Parque La Libertad will have with the Strategy EMPLEATE (YEM), 5) Farmers’ fair (private sector).


Lessons learned:

  • Ensure that the subject matter is a political priority so that government support is granted throughout the JP’s implementation, particularly if there are changes in government.
  • Value realistically the time needed to implement the actions considering the administrative and bureaucratic lead time required.
  • Ensure high level representation at the National Technical Committee and the regular attendance of its members.
  • Establish a communications committee from the start to ensure the dissemination and promotion of the JP.
  • Promote articulated efforts, particularly from the central to the local levels, and create frequent dialogue spaces between the various JP actors in order to improve synergies.
  • Identify teams with internal and external specialists and identify early on the key social actors that need to participate in the process.


More details can be found in the project final report:

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If you have questions about this programme you may wish to contact the RC office in Costa Rica or the lead agency for the programme.

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