This 6-month narrative report covers the period from 1st January to 30th June 2006. The financial report for the same period accompanies this report.
2. Improving Reporting and Communication
In January 2006, the AIPP Secretary General assessed the reports from the two dialogues in Malaysia and Mongolia held in 2005 and realized that the weaknesses of the reports are the lack of description of follow-up activities and what was needed to be done to overcome the gap between indigenous youth and elders. The guide to reporting was revised and groups that were interested to host the programme were asked to pay attention to this point.
The Secretariat followed-up with the organisations who expressed previously interest and circulated a call for proposal for the second period to all AIPP members and contacts in March 2006 and also contacted the groups that showed interest to host youth dialogues. Those who responded included the Shan Youth (Myanmar), the Nationalities Youth Forum (Myanmar) and IMPECT Association, Thailand. The Youth Programme Team and AIPP staff also actively promoted the programme during meetings such as the AIPP Gender Committee meeting and at the Human Rights Training for Local Trainors in Cambodia. Such direct solicitations of proposals during meetings were very positive and enabled the team and staff members to effectively explain about the concept for the Youth Dialogue.
There is a need expressed to further develop the concept paper to stress that the topics for discussion during the dialogue should relate to indigenous systems. Some of the proposals received were rejected or asked to revised as the proposed topics were not in line with the envisaged concept.
3. Youth Dialogues
During this period, two dialogues were carried out – one by the Cordillera Peoples Alliance Youth Centre, Philippines and the other by the Lisu Network in Thailand. The delay in preparing this report was partly due to the delay in receiving the report from the Cordillera Peoples Alliance Youth Centre from the Philippines, thus effort to ensure timely reporting by organizations is very necessary.
3.1 Cordillera Peoples Alliance Youth Centre, Philippines
The National Indigenous Youth and Elders Dialogue cum Youth Jam, bearing the theme “Enhance Indigenous Youth Capacity and Solidarity in Performing their Role as Vanguard of Indigenous Peoples’ Legacy” took place on March 3-9, 2006 in Baguio City, Philippines. Participants included 40 male and female indigenous youth leaders aged 18-30 from different indigenous youth organizations/community from around the Philippines and 10 distinguished elders from different indigenous communities to facilitate exchange of ideas and experiences. The organisers of the Dialogue cum Jam raised additional funds as the USD2,000 allocated from AIPP for the activity was not sufficient.
The five-day activity provided the youths and elders with a healthy exchange of insights and experiences. Topics for the Youth-Elders Dialogue included perspectives on culture and other traditional ways of life; participation of indigenous youths in governance; and impact of modern technology on the indigenous practices and ways of life. The dialogue was particularly successful in providing the youth and the elders a venue for cultural transmission.
The Youth Jam allowed cultural exchange from the different indigenous youths.
As a result of the dialogue, the youths took on the challenge to preserve their cultural heritage. Through the workshops and lecture-forum, they realized the need to perform their crucial duty alongside the elders as the protectors of indigenous peoples’ rights. (A more detailed report is expected from the Cordillera Peoples Alliance Youth Centre when they retrieve/re-do the report for the Dialogue cum Jam which was unfortunately lost when their computer hard disk crashed).
3.2 Lisu Network, Thailand
A regional Youth-Elders Dialogue focussing on the teaching of local Lisu music was held between 3rd – 6th April 2006 at Srai Ngam Village, Tambon Mae Na Teong, Pai District, and Mae Hong Son Province, Thailand. This dialogue session was the first ever to be organised where exchanges and learning sessions on various aspects of the Lisu music by local music experts from three counties namely Myanmar, China and Thailand.
More than 60 participants, consisting of local male and female music experts from Thailand (14 persons), China (2 persons) and Myanmar (4 persons); Lisu children, youths, elders and people from both host and neighboring communities; and staff of the Inter Mountain Peoples’ Education and Culture in Thailand Association (IMPECT) and Lisu Network Board of Thailand. This Dialogue was jointly supported by the Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact Foundation – Youth Programme, the Indigenous Knowledge and People’s Network (IKAP), and the Inter Mountain Peoples’ Education and Culture in Thailand Association (IMPECT).
The participants expressed that the atmosphere throughout the sessions was very conducive, making the exchanges easy thus fostering good relations among the participants who came from diversely background. Each morning, the sessions were held outside under big trees close to a stream, while the afternoon sessions were held within the village area where members of the community can participate. Very much encouraged by the Dialogue, the participants not only discussed about gaps in intergenerational transfer of knowledge, they also learned about traditional musical instruments such as the Fhu Lhu (Reed Organ), Chyu Byu (Northern Guitar) and Jvu Lhu (Flute); traditional songs and dances; and build a closer relationship with other Lisu in other countries.
Among the recommendations for follow-up of the Dialogues were:
1. To continue learning about Lisu traditional knowledge, particularly music;
2. To continue similar exchanges;
3. To increase cooperation between men and women, and that responsibility for transmission of knowledge are not left to men;
4. To further develop knowledge-transfer methodologies and approaches, especially learning methods and approaches that are interesting for the youths;
5. Requested the Inter –Tribal Education and Culture (ITEC) project to provide Lisu musical instruments to children in this project;
6. To seek support for cultural revival action plans to communities such as stimulations from outside experts to enhance awareness in this subject in order to motivate the youths so that they would eventually encouraged to learn traditional Lisu music themselves;
7. Establish learning centres and Lisu musical schools, leading to systematic learning and teaching;
8. Encourage the Lisu Network to use the musical culture as a link among Lisu people as a whole and build strong relationships;
9. Request parents to keenly observe their children’s preference for musical instruments and for the parents to support them in continuosly learn traditional music;
10. Establish the processes involving Lisu music such as registers of Lisu musical experts (experts of songs, productions and playing), produce Lisu songs and dances using audio-visual recordings for distribution to Lisu youths and the public;
11. Hold Lisu youth camps specifically for music lessons during school vacations;
12. Increasing male, female and youth participants in proportion;
13. Study musical capabilities of females and how to further promote the transfer the musical knowledge from elder women to younger ones; and
14. To improve learning atmospheres and establish a learning process where youths can build their confidence.
Thus far, the four dialogues have shown that the dialogues (two in 2005 and two during this period) have tried to achieve more than just an exploration of the gaps in inter-generational transfer of knowledge. All four dialogues have demonstrated the keenness among both Youths and Elders to discuss solutions and ways forward. Upcoming dialogues are likely to follow a similar trend.
5. Financial Report
The balance of funds brought forward to 1st January 2006 was Baht 210,102.37. Of this, a total amount of Baht 160,012.50 was expended for the 2 Dialogues in the Philippines and Thailand, and the balance as of June 30, 2006 is Baht 50,089.87 (please see attached Financial Report).
Some problems were encountered by both AIPP and the Cordillera Peoples Alliance Youth Centre, Philippines is sending the Financial Report and the amount reflected (B 80,150.00) represents the amount transferred to the Cordillera Peoples Alliance Youth Centre bank account. A more detailed and audited financial report is expected at the end of 2006.
6. Upcoming Dialogues and Follow-up
The team sent another circular to AIPP members and contacts about the dialogue and also followed-up with organizations which have expressed interest to hold dialogues in the community. In February 2006, the SG also promoted the idea of an all-women youth and elder’s dialogue during the Gender Committee meeting. The Naga Women’s Union of Manipur (NWUM) found thisan interesting proposal and have now confirmed such a dialogue in September. The SG is also working closely with the Chin Women Organisation (CWO), a group of Chin refugees in Malaysia to hold dialogues on the issues faced by women to pass knowledge to younger women while in another country. The challenge is also to have different activities for women who are unable to read or write or are shy to talk in a group, so that the dialogues can be fruitful and realistic.
Four organizations have submitted proposals recently, namely Shan Youth (Myanmar), Nationalities Youth Forum (Myanmar), Meghalaya Human Rights Organisation (Northeast India) and the Inter-Tribal Youth Education and Culture Project (ITEC) under IMPECT, Thailand. The Youth Programme Team had to discuss and ask the NY Forum and Shan Youth to revise their proposal to ensure it complies with the concept paper before it was approved. The Youth Programme Team rejected the proposal from Meghalaya Human Rights Organisation as it mainly focusing on human rights training for youths. Two other proposals from NWUM and CWO are expected soon. During a recent discussions with the AIPP Indigenous Economics Committee, three Youth-Elders Dialogues were suggested.
Within AIPP itself, the Executive Council and staff will further discuss to ensure that this Programme is given more attention.
AIPP Secretary General