POETA DigiSpark Indigenous Communities

Project under implementation


Indigenous communities across Latin America and the Caribbean face numerous obstacles when it comes to embracing digital transformation. Limited access to information and communication technologies (ICTs) and insufficient digital skills are among the primary barriers hindering the effective utilization of these technologies (IDB, 2021; OECD, 2021). In Mexico, states such as Guerrero, Chiapas, and Oaxaca are home to sizable Indigenous populations, facing higher rates of poverty (CONEVAL, 2021), and experiencing limited access to internet (INEGI, 2021).  

Through POETA DigiSpark for Indigenous Communities, The Trust for the Americas, in partnership with AMEXTRA and Celamex, and with the support of Microsoft Philanthropies, seeks to empower people ages 16 and over from Indigenous communities in the states of Guerrero, Oaxaca, Chiapas, Puebla and Mexico City through technology. Through culturally sensitive and locally adapted contents translated to Tzotzil, Tzeltzal, Chol and Tu’un Savi on 21st century skills, we seek to support the access to livelihood opportunities, incluing the creation or strengthening of entrepreneurships, among Indigenous participants. By equipping participants with digital, technical and life skills, they will be better prepared to take charge of their entrepreneurial endeavors and drive positive change within their communities. 

Also, POETA DigiSpark for Indigenous Peoples provides training to community leaders and trainers of all levels and disciplines. In turn, these educators serve as multipliers by teaching new generations necessary skills to compete in the digital economy. 

In response to connectivity barriers, our implementing partners implement an itinerant training approach, bringing the training directly to rural or remote communities.  

Finally, with the goal of boosting livelihoods in these communities and advancing Indigenous businesses, POETA DigiSpark facilitates access to seed capital to support selected entrepreneurship initiatives. This financial support aims to encourage local entrepreneurship and nurture self-reliance within Indigenous communities. 

Project purpose

Through its implementing partners, AMEXTRA and Celamex, POETA DigiSpark for Indigenous Peoples in Mexico provides tailored training on key digital, technical, and financial contents to empower participants from Indigenous communities with the knowledge and skills required to compete in the digital age and leverage technology for the benefit of their entrepreneurships.  

Project goals

Promote Sutainable Entrepreneurship Initiatives: Through training and mentorship on entrepreneurship and financial literacy, POETA DigiSpark aims to foster the creation and growth of Indigenous entrepreneurship initiatives. Additionally, by facilitating access to seed capital, POETA DigiSpark supports selected entrepreneurship initiatives, contributing to local economic growth and self-reliance within these communities.

Training Community Leaders and Facilitators as Multiplier Agents: POETA DigiSpark contributes to the sustainability of our efforts by providing specialized training to teachers, facilitators and community leaders who can act as multipliers of project contents within their communities.

Bridging the Digital Skills Gap in Indigenous Communities: POETA DigiSpark seeks to adress the digital gap that exists in Indigenous communities in the states of Guerrero, Oaxaca, Chiapas, Puebla and Mexico City. Through tailored courses on digital literacy and technical skills, the project aims to empower participants with the knowledge and skills required to compete in the digital age and leverage technology for productive purposes.

Main achievements

Three courses on Digital, and Entrepreneurship Skills translated to Tzeltal, Tzotzil and Chol.
participants (ages 16 and over) trained during 2023
teachers and facilitators trained during 2023


Our implementation process

With the support of our local partners, AMEXTRA and Celamex, we reach various communities in the southwest and center of Mexico. We provide training in digital skills, entrepreneurship, and other topics such as cybersecurity and emotional intelligence. Additionally, we offer personalized mentoring to strengthen entrepreneurial ideas and provide seed capital to selected entrepreneurial initiatives. In this process, we work closely with community leaders and regional teams to tailor our training to local needs and translate contents into languages such as Tzotzil, Tzeltal, Chol, and Tu'un Savi. Likewise, for recruitment purposes, we work closely with community leaders and educational organizations. 

Strategic partners

Success Stories

POETA DigiSpark opens Estrella’s horizons

Tepelmeme, Oaxaca

Estrella (18) lives in Tepelmeme, Oaxaca, and is a senior in high school. Despite facing several economic constraints, her parents have made sure Estrella has access to education and the services offered in their community. Estrella, in turn, has been proactive in looking for learning opportunities that might help her continue her studies and eventually secure her first job. With this in mind, Estrella decided to enroll in Celamex’s Financial Literacy, Job Readiness and Digital Literacy courses. Through Celamex's courses, Estrella gained expertise on the use of digital tools, becoming familiar with terms that were once daunting, but now completely familiar. Through her training, Estrella realized the potential such tools have to enhance her digital skills and allow her to more effectively navigate the job market. Additionally, throughout her training process, Estrella identified some entrepreneurial ideas, and so she is now facing the exciting challenge of envisioning a business venture that could provide her with an income. 

Estrella is aware that resources in her community are limited, but she also sees the potential to create products and services that positively impact her environment and fellow community members. Through POETA DigiSpark, Estrella was able to expand her vision on entrepreneurship and innovation, while also strengthening key skills for her to stand-out in the labor market and throughout her professional career. She is now eager to explore how youth from other states and countries generate innovative products, and how she could bring these ideas into Tepelmeme. 

Teacher Jesús leverages the POETA DigiSpark courses to lead the empowerment of other teachers in rural Guerrero

Juanacatlán, Guerrero

Jesús (44), or as he is referred to within his community, which means teacher, is a dedicated educator from Juanacatlán, a small community of 600 people located deep in rural Guerrero. For over a decade, he has been teaching at the local junior high school, currently taking on the role of substitute Principal. Jesús, originally from the city of Tlapa, located in the heart of Guerrero’s Sierra, shares that his parents, ethnic Nahuas who lived in the Sierra, migrated to this city in search of better educational opportunities for their children. With the support of his family, Jesús obtained a degree in History and a specialization in Education from the Autonomous University of Guerrero, showing his commitment to his education.   

During and after the pandemic, Jesús actively sought courses to develop the digital skills needed to teach under the new virtual and hybrid schemes implemented in the public school system.  Jesús discovered the POETA DigiSpark project during one of Celamex’s itinerant training outreach in Juanacatlán. Recognizing the increasing demand for digital literacy in education for teachers and students, he enrolled, along with other teachers of the Juanacatlán school, in the Digital Skills pathway. The courses on PowerPoint, Excel, Word, and basic Cybersecurity allowed Jesús to include more dynamic tools in his classes and to utilize digital tools to more efficiently keep track of his students’ assignments. He highlights the training’s empirical and practical approach. He adds that these skills did not only strengthen his teaching, but also helped him to more efficiently manage his tasks. Although his school faces connectivity and equipment challenges, Jesus is eager to secure continuous learning opportunities for him and the teachers in Juanacatlán. He has requested Celamex to provide more courses on Excel, Pedagogy, and Emotional Intelligence for Teachers to better support students. Through his commitment and proactivity, Maestro Jesús has set an example for other teachers in his community, inviting and leading other teachers to enhance their skills and empower their community through these learning opportunities.  

Which of the following SDGS (Sustainable Development Goals) this project support?