Network Of Indigenous Women In Asia (NIWA)
Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP) initiated Regional Indigenous Women’s Exchange in 2014 and has been continued it as an institutional intervention. Over past 5 years, the Indigenous Women participants of the Regional Indigenous Women Exchange have realized the need of platform for Indigenous Women at regional level to create space for Indigenous Women Organization and Networks for better visibility, stronger voices and solidarity, collective advocacy and cope with fund/raising challenges in long run. The 4th Regional Exchange Visit held in Nepal explicitly discussed as a pertinent issue and critically analyzed both pro and cons of the Regional Platform. They decided a step towards formalizing the regional platform for Indigenous Women. Different bi-lateral and multilateral discussion among Indigenous Women leaders representing different countries followed in between. The 5th Exchange Visit in Phnom Penh, Cambodia also prioritized the Regional Indigenous Women Platform based on formal and informal consultations among Indigenous Women leaders, Indigenous Women Organizations and networks. These Indigenous Women leaders who participated in the exchange endorsed the key decision of the 4th exchange visit including focal person’s nominations from each country and recommended few key strategic action points including coordination for nomination of focal person nomination from remaining countries, organize focal persons’ meeting and conduct strategy development workshop for concretization of Regional Indigenous Women Platform with request to AIPP Indigenous Women programme for coordination role for the transitional period.
Network of Indigenous Women in Asia (NIWA), established in 2019, is a member-based network of Indigenous Women’s Organizations and Networks across Asia. It covers 14 Asian Countries with four sub regions namely East Asia, South East Asia, Mekong and South Asia. It envisions ‘Indigenous women are empowered, capable and self-reliant fully enjoying their rights fostering inclusive and sustainable development in Asia’.
Objectives of the NIWA
Support and facilitate the establishment of Indigenous Women’s Networks and Organizations at country level where there are not such orgs/networks
Strengthen Indigenous Women and its network in the different countries
Build solidarity among indigenous women and their organizations and networks
Raise the voices from all the member countries at regional and global level
Build collective and common strategies and engage to advocacy and lobby together with concerned stakeholders at all levels
Social, economic, political and cultural empowerment of Indigenous women
Protection and promotion of Indigenous knowledge, culture, and language including traditional indigenous products (to support economic empowerment)
Inclusion and representation of women youth at all levels
Value and Principle
The key strategies and approaches of NIWA is capacity building, institutional and network strengthening, Research and Publication, Advocacy and lobby at different level for the full realization of Indigenous Women’s rights, Collaboration and synergies with likeminded organizations at different level with participatory bottom up approach
Key Thematic Focus:
- IW movement building and strengthening
- Land rights and Natural Resource Management (including climate change, Indigenous Knowledge, biodiversity conservation)
- Indigenous Women in Decision Making
Rights to self-determination as CROSS CUTTING issue.
NIWA’s Organizational structure
NIWA, in the future will be autonomous organization, is constituted with 15 founder member organizations representing 14 countries from Asia. Each organization will be represented by focal persons and focal persons are accountable towards their respective organizations. Founder member organizations through focal persons are responsible for consultation and coordination among other Indigenous Peoples as well as Indigenous Women’s organizations in their respective countries.
Country Focal Persons
The steering committee is composed of 6 members that includes 4 sub-regional representatives with one each from each sub regions (namely- Seangrawee Wongyai from Mekong, Chini Maya Majhi from South Asia, Kakay Tolentino from South East and Lin Lin Su From East Asia), AIPP’s Executive Council member (particularly Indigenous Women Programme Committee Convener- Maslah Rompado), Indigenous Women Programme Coordinator from AIPP Secretariat (Pragyaa Rai).The tenure of the steering committee is 3 years. The secretariat for the NIWA is currently hosted by AIPP.