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Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact

Mr. Nitol Chakma Fellow from Bangladesh Indigenous Peoples Forum

I am Nitol Chakma and I belong to Chakma indigenous community from Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT), Bangladesh. I completed my Master of Arts in English Literature from Dhaka International University and Master of Arts (International Development) with distinction and Chancellor Commendation for outstanding result from Flinders University, Australia under Australia.

I joined the fellowship program of AIPP as fellow, which was for twelve months. I worked for two months of 20 April-19 June 2019 at AIPP in Chiang Mai, Thailand and worked for the subsequent ten months in my parent organization, Bangladesh Indigenous Peoples Forum (BIPF), Bangladesh. The most valuable knowledges and experience that I gained from AIPP are understanding deep knowledge about the issues of Indigenous Peoples in Asia and different UN and international processes and mechanisms. AIPP is a place where the indigenous youths and leaders can learn and gain knowledge about Indigenous Peoples and its issues and challenges, as well as UN and international mechanisms and process through the exchange and sharing of knowledge and idea which eventually make them leaders for the advocacy works to defend their rights.

After completing fellowship of two months at AIPP, I returned to my parent organisation, BIPF with a new set of skills and experiences and that helped me move into new position of Secretariat Director where I am applying my learnings and experiences. In BIPF, my responsibility is to oversee the overall activities, programs and implement the strategic plan of the organization. The skills and experiences which I gained through fellowship has already been utilized for the developing of three years strategic plan, organizing executive council meeting, youth gathering, organizing meetings on the occasion of the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples. I also developed a proposal with a budget of USD 152200 and submitted to IWGIA which had already been approved. I am also engaged in sensitizing and awareness raising for policy makers, government bodies, civil society, media, NGOs, and other key stakeholders about IP’s issues, for the implementation of CHT Accord which has been signed between PCJJS and government of Bangladesh.

My overall feeling about the fellowship of AIPP is that this program creates a space of the indigenous youths to be future leaders through learning and gaining knowledge on IP related issues, processes, and mechanisms. This fellowship really helps me in building my capacity for the advocacy works at the national, regional, and international levels. So, considering the effectiveness for building up the leadership from indigenous youths to defend the rights of Indigenous peoples in Asia, the fellowship program should be continued and strengthened.