After three years of work, eight ITM international events in 5 countries, activities on 10 Presidia and a global pandemic, the IFAD and Slow Food project “Empowering Indigenous Youth and their Communities to Defend and Promote their Food Heritage” is coming to its closure, but the results are countless.

Its main goal was to empower indigenous youth to protect and promote their food heritage. Since 2017, when the project started, more than 325 indigenous youth attended trainings and workshops organized by indigenous youth.

The project was structured into three components, each with its own outcome and outputs:

  1. Valorization of food heritage products through the Presidium model;
  2. Institutional support and capacity-building for the Indigenous Terra Madre Network (ITM);
  3. Knowledge Management, including the “Participatory identification, development and dissemination of four case studies on project experiences and best practices actively involving project beneficiaries and stakeholders based on the Presidia as ‘Living Labs’.”

The Project approach was highly relevant for the achievement of the established objectives and that implementation was highly effective.

The capacity-building events assessed have significantly contributed to:

  • empowering 343 indigenous young women and men by developing their leadership and advocacy skills and competences, as well as their knowledge and understanding of SF’s principles and goals;
  • fostering the engagement and visibility of indigenous youth within a global movement that is striving to address their common challenges;
  • inspiring and providing a boost of energy and motivation for all participants, indigenous and non-indigenous, youth and adults, to enhance the protection, appreciation and value of their food heritage and their sustainable practices;
  • developing and consolidating national, regional and global networks through which indigenous and non-indigenous youth and adults communicate, exchange views and experiences, and acquire new knowledge, inspiration and motivation;
  • providing guidance for and monitoring of the advocacy efforts and actions of active indigenous youth in their communities and beyond.


The Project was highly relevant and effective and has largely achieved most of its objectives. The experience has generated several lessons and insights that may be easily integrated into future similar initiatives and a few deserve specific attention:

  • during training events, it is important to create space for respectful but, at once, more assertive challenges to participants’ deeply-held beliefs, in particular with regards to gender roles and relations;
  • tailored measures are required to ensure that young indigenous women benefit as much as their male peers from the opportunities offered by similar interventions, particularly after the events;
  • financial resources are necessary to support participants in launching initiatives in their own communities in order to achieve stronger and more sustainable impacts of the training events themselves.

Collaboration with other organizations in the management of the regional ITMs has proved to be an interesting and enriching model for participants, who had the opportunity to learn about other entities and different approaches.

Finally, the constructive collaboration between IFAD and Slow Food has undoubtedly contributed to the successful outcome and will hopefully inform further partnerships between the two organizations.

Read the full report Case 1: capacity-building and empowerment of Indigenous Youth activities

Read the short version in English, Spanish and French 

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