More needs to be done to alleviate the poverty risks of the indigenous population; support efforts include numerous federal and local initiatives. The most important among these are schemes to improve education and employability, often targeting women more specifically: Programa de Infraestructura Basica para la Atencion de los Pueblos Ind^genas; Programa de Education Initial y Basica para la Poblacion Rural e Ind^gena; Programas Albergues Escolares Ind^genas and Programa Organization Productiva para Mujeres Ind^genas.
However, access to these programmes remains extremely limited, particularly in remote areas where their effectiveness is hindered by the low quality and scarcity of basic infrastructure and services, including transport.
around one-quarter of Mexico’s population lives in sparsely populated communities lacking access to a wide range of basic public services. The Strategy for micro regions, introduced in 2001, has improved ministerial co-ordination efforts to assist a selected number of rural regions characterised by high levels of marginalisation. The strategy involves a mix of measures that combine social emergency relief; improvement of the infrastructure of public and basic services such as health, education, electricity and water; housing improvements; and support to the competitiveness of local activities. Particular emphasis has been placed on the 125 poorest municipalities of the country, many of which have a high share of the indigenous population. The Programme for the Development of Priority Zones (Programa para el Desarrollo de Zonas Prioritarias) has been the main initiative of the micro region strategy. Estimates of the overall impact of the Programme are not, however, very positive. Further investments are needed to improve the infrastructure of isolated populations.