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PFII: Good Practice Example
Projects Implemented under the Trust Fund for the Second Decade of the World's Indigenous Peoples

On 22 December 2004, the General Assembly adopted Resolution A/RES/59/174 for a Second International Decade, which commenced on 1 January 2005. One of the main objectives of the Decade is the adoption of targeted policies, programmes, projects and budgets for the development of indigenous peoples, including concrete benchmarks, with particular emphasis on indigenous women, children and youth. The Trust Fund for the Second International Decade of the World's Indigenous Peoples was established to promote, support and implement the objectives of the Decade. The Fund gives priority to projects concerning the main areas of the Second Decade: culture, education, health, human rights, the environment and social and economic development. Indigenous organizations or organizations working for indigenous peoples can apply for small grants from the Trust Fund. Attention is given to those projects that show a consistent gender balance and an active involvement of indigenous communities, in particular indigenous women.

The following are some examples of projects focusing on indigenous women that have been supported by the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues through the Trust Fund on Indigenous Peoples.


In 2009, the Trust Fund paid special consideration to projects supporting the leadership skills of indigenous women. With funding from the Trust Fund, the Organization Fundación Kalu Ibaky implemented a project on "Leadership and Participation of Kuna women in indigenous power institutions."

Objectives of the Project

The project aimed at strengthening the leadership skills of the indigenous Kuna and Emberas women, to enable them to better realize their potential to take an active role in the political and economic development of their communities. Indigenous women's leadership, creativity and innovation skills are drivers in more effectively influencing political processes and carrying out income-generating activities that will benefit not only the women themselves, but also their families and communities. Their unique way of integrating into the local and national economy is through the commerce of agricultural goods, but most of all through their innovative textile products that are well renowned (the "molas").

Main Results

Around 130 Kuna women participated in 4 capacity building workshops on a wide range of issues, which also included awareness and knowledge on the content and implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and other relevant international instruments. They were also trained on the effective exercise of leadership skills, in order to facilitate their participation in local indigenous representative institutions, as a means of ensuring their inclusion and contribution to the local and national debate on central issues of interest. The Kuna women received also capacity building on business management, with the aim of reinforcing their active participation in all actions against poverty, including in productive activities for the benefit of their families and communities such as artistic and artisanal activities related to the production and commercialization of the "molas".


The Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues supported, in 2009, a project entitled "Health Development of Women, Children, Youths, on rights perspectives with communication and participation", implemented by the organization Rural Health and Environment Development Trust – (RHEDT) in India. The project was aimed at the Irulas and Kurumbar Community Scheduled Tribes, indigenous people in Karamadai, Tamilnadu, India.

Objectives of the Project

The project aimed to train health care workers to provide culturally appropriate, indigenous sensitive health-care services. This included forming health teams among women and youth and forming children's clubs and children's parliaments to empower the protection and development of the rights of children. The project also aimed at empowering youth and women with leadership skills in order to be able to actively participate in the political processes at local and national levels.

Main Results

The project had a direct impact on indigenous communities, which are located very far from government hospitals, primary health centres and health sub-centres. Nurses have difficulties in visiting the villages due to poor transport facilities and they have to walk about three to four Kms. 25 five Health Care Providers were selected from among the indigenous girls/women from each village and were given training. A total of 100 members were given training on indigenous sensitive health development for practicing hygienic health care during menstruation, pregnancy, deliveries and anti and post natal care.

Another 100 indigenous women and girls attended training workshops on leadership qualities, with experiences and success stories about roles and responsibilities of good leaders, to train them on how to actively lead national, state and local processes. With a view to rendering the project self-sustaining, the organization has formed women and youth committees, which also include elected local representatives, in order to ensure the monitoring and further planning of the programs after the completion of the project period.


In 2009, the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues awarded a grant to a project on "Protection Of Lorroki Indigenous Forest through Traditional Knowledge Transfer From Samburu Women Elders to Girl Youths", implemented by the organization Nainyoiye Community Development Organization, in Kenya.

Objectives of the Project

The project aimed to empower the Samburu pastoralist peoples to effectively improve their livelihoods while preserving their unique traditional identity as well as safeguarding the interests of future generations. The project involved the residents of Baawa location in Samburu central district, totaling 5,000 indigenous peoples.

Main Results

The project addressed the problem of the over-exploitation of the Lorroki indigenous forest resources. The traditional land area had been reduced by 40% in 10 years. There was a resulting increase of poverty levels as 40% of the Samburu community relies on the forest and forest products to earn a living, i.e. charcoal burning, firewood collection and hunting for bush meat. The Samburu faced deforestation, where the disappearance of traditional flora and fauna destabilized the food chain and, overall, created an ecosystem imbalance. Transfer of traditional knowledge on forest conservation and sustainable use of natural resources was therefore crucial for the survival of Samburu communities and for developing effective biodiversity conservation strategies.

The project, targeted not only at women but also at indigenous male elders, enhanced the knowledge of Samburu youth on indigenous ecosystems protection through inter-generational learning. Two hundred girls participated in dialogues with Samburu women elders to gain knowledge about their forest, tree species and medicinal plants. This intergenerational transfer of knowledge was shared and replicated through exchange visits. Thirty women visited Umoja women's groups in Mt Nyiro of Samburu District. These groups managed to conserve their culture and use it to their advantage, benefiting from the creation of "manyatta", cultural villages that are self-sustaining including through revenues generated from handicrafts, in particular traditional bead work.

The participants replicated the "manyatta" experiment at the edge of the Baawa forest, to serve as a learning center for local girls as well as an income generating activity. Traditional knowledge on the value of indigenous medicinal species and wildlife was also shared with the youth through experiential learning in the forest. The project also supported the creation of spaces for intergenerational dialogue on women's rights issues, especially on reproductive health. The young women participating in the dialogues gained valuable leadership skills, became very vocal on issues that concern them and committed themselves to transmitting the traditional knowledge they acquired to future generations