Indigenous groups represent 2.5% of Costa Rica’s population. They are the most marginalised members of society and are almost completely excluded from political, social and economic developments made in the country.
Across Costa Rica, indigenous groups experience higher infant, child and general mortality rates as well as higher rates of malnutrition and disease than the rest of the population, often these diseases are preventable.
Schools in indigenous territories have the worst coverage and level of facilities in the country. Children from indigenous groups have the highest levels of drop-out from school, as well as the lowest levels (39.4%) of those graduating from secondary school. It is no surprise then that the illiteracy rate for people living in indigenous territories is improportinately high at 30.2%, compared with 3.5% of people in the rest of Costa Rica.
We have been working in Costa Rica since 2001, covering all seven provinces of Costa Rica including the most remote areas in the indigenous territories located in the south, border with Panamá and deep in the jungle of Chirripó, the highest region of the country. We work with these communities to increase the provision and use of education and healthcare services.
Read more about our work in Costa Rica on our blog.
Find out about volunteering opportunities in Costa Rica.