News and Announcement
Distribution of Stationery to IGOF Scholarship Candidates in Dolakha

National Indigenous Women Forum (NIWF) launched the Indigenous Girls Opportunity Fund (IGOF) in 2023 to champion equal access to education for Indigenous Girls. Dedicated to supporting these young learners, IGOF offers educational assistance to selected candidates from Marginalized and endangered Communities, particularly those from economically disadvantaged backgrounds. Emphasizing empowerment through education, IGOF aims to uplift and transform lives by providing essential educational support to those who need it most. 

In 2024, National Indigenous Women Forum (NIWF) selected two candidates from Ward No. 9 of Kalinchowk Rural Municipality in Dolakha district for the Indigenous Girls Opportunity Fund (IGOF) scholarship. The selection process involved comprehensive interviews conducted by NIWF staff, assessing the candidates' economic status and academic interests. The interviews included discussions with both the students and their parents. Additionally, NIWF staff visited the candidates' homes to ensure a thorough evaluation of their suitability for the scholarship.  On May 16, 2024, National Indigenous Women Forum (NIWF) traveled to Dolakha to provide necessary stationery items to the two selected candidates. The team visited the candidates' school and held a brief meeting with the teachers. During the meeting, they informed the teachers about the Indigenous Girls Opportunity Fund (IGOF) and explained the selection process for the candidates. Following the meeting, the school principal presented the students with the stationery items provided by NIWF.

Photo description: The Principal of Shree Kalika Secondary School providing stationery items to the two IGOF candidates.

Photo Description: Homes of the two IGOF candidates in Kalinchowk Rural Municipality Ward No. 9 in Dolakha District.

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2024-05-16
National Indigenous Women Forum(NIWF) at the Twenty sixth meeting of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA) of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in Nairobi, Kenya 2024

Ms. Suni Lama, Chairperson of National Indigenous Women Forum (NIWF), and Ms. Yasso Kanti Bhattachan, Vice-Chairperson of NIWF along with Government delegate Dr. Rajendra KC, Joint Secretary at Ministry of Forests and Environment, participated in the Twenty-Sixth meeting of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA-26) of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) held in Nairobi, Kenya 2024. The Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA) is a subsidiary body of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). Its main role is to provide the Conference of the Parties (COP) with timely advice related to the implementation of the Convention. SBSTTA addresses various scientific and technical aspects of biodiversity conservation, sustainable use, and equitable sharing of the benefits arising from genetic resources.

National Indigenous Women Forum(NIWF) in collaboration with Indigenous Peoples representatives of NDN Collective(Canada, USA, Mexico), IITC2, Qe’qchi People of Laguna, (Belize), Jamii Asilia Center(Africa Region, Kenya), and the Inuit Circumpolar Council submitted Indigenous Peoples’ Position Statement for the separation of the terms Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities(regularly referenced as IPLC), to prevent further conflation and undermining of Indigenous Peoples’ rights frameworks.

In the position paper, they made the following recommendations at the Twenty-Sixth meeting of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA-26) of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD): Promote respect for, recognition of, and full application of Indigenous Peoples’ Rights, Update working methods, Ensure accurate data and relevant information, Avoid Discrimination, Use the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as the minimum standard, Reform procedural rules, Adopt distinctions-based policies, Utilize distinction-based language.

This position statement was submitted to provide resolution and clarity to the conflation of Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities (IPLC) and to respond to the motion made by the Democratic Republic of Congo, at the SBSTTA26, to maintain this conflation.

2024-05-15
Historic Announcement: Official Recognition of Nepal Bhasa(Newar) and Tamang Indigenous Languages in Nepal

May 6, 2024 (Baisakh 24, 2081) stands as a momentous day for the Indigenous Communities of Nepal, marking a significant achievement in their ongoing struggle for recognition and inclusion. Amidst a vibrant gathering in Basantapur, Kathmandu, Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal made a historic announcement regarding the provincial government's decision to use Nepali, Tamang and Nepal Bhasha (Newari language) as the languages of official business across the province. To commemorate this milestone and heighten public awareness, the provincial government of Bagmati Province has declared May 6, 2024, a public holiday. This decision not only signifies linguistic diversity but also represents a significant step towards recognizing and honoring the cultural heritage of Indigenous Peoples within the region. 

National Indigenous Women Forum (NIWF) partook in a powerful march in celebration of a monumental milestone for Indigenous Communities of Nepal. The atmosphere was charged with joy and triumph as members of various Indigenous groups, joined together in solidarity, celebrating the culmination of their tireless advocacy efforts. This day will be remembered as a beacon of progress and inclusivity, a testament to the enduring spirit and resilience of Nepal's Indigenous Communities.
The photograph below captures a vibrant moment as "Tamang Jhākris" take center stage, exuberantly performing to commemorate the historic declaration of Tamang and Nepal Bhasa as official languages alongside Nepali. Their spirited performance encapsulates the joy and significance of this linguistic milestone, reflecting the cultural richness and diversity of Nepal's Indigenous Communities. 

2024-05-06
Establishment of Library for the Bankariya, Chepang and Tamang children of Musedhap, Ward No. 4 of Manahari Rural Municipality, Makwanpur district

National Indigenous Women Forum(NIWF) with the support from MADRE, celebrated the officially inauguration of a library for the Bankariya, Chepang, and Tamang children of Musedhap located in Ward No. 4 of Manahari Rural Municipality, Makwanpur district. With the primary aim of providing a safe haven for children to explore and expand their knowledge, the library's inception embodies a commitment to educational advancement. 

The ribbon-cutting ceremony was graced by esteemed figures including Mr. Prakash Thapa, the Ward Chairperson, Ms. Suni Lama, Chairperson of NIWF, and Ms. Yasso Kanti Bhattachan, Vice-Chairperson of NIWF. This marked marked the auspicious commencement of the library's official operations, signifying a pivotal moment for the Local Community's educational landscape.NIWF provided essential items such as shoes, bags, notebooks, pencils, pens, and geometry boxes to a total of 41 children, including those from Bankariya, Chepang, and Tamang Communities. NIWF also provided book cupboards, cushions, tables, carpets and whiteboards for the library. Additionally, "Room to Read," an organization, contributed 300 books for the library enriching the library's resources. Through these collaborative efforts, the library emerges not only as a physical space but as a beacon of hope and opportunity, poised to empower generations to come through the transformative power of education.Notable speakers, like Vidur Thapa from the Manahari Rural Municipality's Education Department, Ashok Sujan Shrestha, Chairperson of Federation of Nepalese Indigenous Journalists (FONIJ) Makwanpur, and Sushila Gole, Treasurer of National Indigenous Women Forum, echoed the profound significance of education in shaping the future of the younger generation.The Bankariyas are endangered Indigenous Community of Nepal with a mere population of 180 according to the 2021 Census out of which only 86 of them speak their Mother tongue. In the 2011 National Census, Bankariyas were not recorded as they were not recognized till then. Two decades ago, the Bankariyas, once nomadic hunter-gatherers, originated from Chureghanch, a remote dense forest in the Chure range. In 1995, only 12 Bankariyas were reported living a nomadic lifestyle in the area. However, following the ten-year Maoist insurgency in Nepal, their freedom of movement in the Chure forests was severely restricted. This compelled them to abandon their ancestral lands and migrate to the lowlands for refuge.

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2024-05-04
Report sharing on "A Report on the Situation of Gender-based Violence against the Chepang Women of Ichchhakamana Rural Municipality in Chitwan" and "A Policy Review of Ichchhakamana Rural Municipality’s Policies and Programmes for FY 2023/2024 (2079/2080 BS) from Gender Equality and Social Inclusion and Indigenous Perspectives"

On April 26, 2024, the National Indigenous Women Forum-NIWF, in collaboration with UNDP, hosted a gathering to share two reports:A Report on the Situation of Gender-based Violence against the Chepang Women of Ichchhakamana Rural Municipality in Chitwan, and another "A Policy Review of Ichchhakamana Rural Municipality’s Policies and Programmes for FY 2023/2024 (2079/2080 BS) from Gender Equality and Social Inclusion and Indigenous Perspectives". Hon. Kiran Kumar Sah, Chair of the Women and Social Affairs Committee of Nepal's House of Representatives, graced the event, which was chaired by Ms. Suni Lama, NIWF's chairperson, alongside Mr. Indra B. Poudel, secretary of the Women and Social Affairs Committee, and Mr. Divas Rai, General Secretary of NEFIN, as special guests. 

This gathering served as a platform not only to unveil the final findings and recommendations encapsulated within the reports but also to foster an environment conducive to the exchange of insightful suggestions and perspectives from the diverse array of participants. Representatives from various organizations, including NIWF-Federation, INOWLAG, experts, Nepal Disabled Women Association (NDWA), and the Feminist Dalit Organization (FEDO), contributed to the enriching discourse.

Through this collaborative effort, the event aimed not only to shed light on the pressing issues faced by Indigenous Women but also to catalyze actionable steps toward fostering greater gender equality, social inclusion, and Indigenous empowerment within the fabric of local policies and programs.



2024-04-26
Distribution of Stationery to IGOF Scholarship Candidates in Sankharapur

National Indigenous Women Forum (NIWF) launched the Indigenous Girls Opportunity Fund (IGOF) in 2023 to champion equal access to education for Indigenous Girls. Dedicated to supporting these young learners, IGOF offers educational assistance to selected candidates from Marginalized and endangered Communities, particularly those from economically disadvantaged backgrounds. Emphasizing empowerment through education, IGOF aims to uplift and transform lives by providing essential educational support to those who need it most.

On April 23, 2024, NIWF’s team  made a meaningful trip to Sankharapur as part of their ongoing commitment to the Indigenous Girls Opportunity Fund (IGOF) initiative launched in 2023. NIWF distributed essential stationery items and school uniforms to the two selected candidates who had received scholarships through IGOF. NIWF team held a brief yet significant meeting with the Vice-Principal of the school. This meeting served as an opportunity to engage with the school administration and gain valuable insights into the academic journey and progress of the two scholarship recipients. The Vice-Principal shared updates on the students' studies, highlighting not only the challenges they faced but also the achievements after the scholarship. This interaction not only reinforced NIWF's commitment to supporting these young learners but also allowed us to better understand the impact of their educational assistance.

Through the IGOF initiative, NIWF aims to empower Indigenous Girls by providing them with the resources and opportunities they need to succeed academically and build a brighter future for themselves and their Communities. In addition to distributing stationery items and school uniforms to the scholarship recipients, NIWF also provided ration supplies to support the families of the two candidates during their visit to Sankharapur on April 23, 2024.

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2024-04-23
Meeting with the Women and Social Affairs Committee of House of Representatives to discuss CEDAW General Recommendation No.39

National Indigenous Women Forum(NIWF), with the support of WFA, convened a discussion program with the members of the Women and Social Affairs Committee of the House of Representatives in the Ministry of Federal Affairs and General Administration, Singha Durbar, Kathmandu Nepal on the CEDAW General Recommendation-39. 

The event was facilitated by Mr. Indra Bahadur Poudel, secretary of Women and Social Affairs Committee of the House of Representatives where as Ms. Yasso Kanti Bhattachan Vice-Chairperson of NIWF-Forum presentated a paper on CEDAW GR-39.The focus of the discussion was on CEDAW General Recommendation No. 39, which addresses the rights and issues about Indigenous Women and Girls. NIWF's Chairperson Ms. Suni Lama also spoke on the challenges faced by Indigenous Peoples. She underscored the significance of CEDAW General Recommendation No. 39 in addressing the complex and multifaceted challenges faced by Indigenous Women and Girls in Nepal. By raising awareness of these issues and advocating for their rights within the framework of international human rights standards, NIWF is playing a pivotal role in advancing gender equality and social justice for Indigenous Communities in Nepal.


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2024-04-16
Advanced Climate Smart Farming and Management Training for Thami Women

National Indigenous Women Forum (NIWF), with the support from MADRE, organized an Advanced Climate Smart Farming and Management Training for Thami Women in Kalinchowk Rural Municipality 9, Sundrawati, located in the Dolakha district. The program was facilitated by NIWF team and Goma Thami, president of the Thami Women Farmers Group. Shanti Khadka served as the resource person for the training. 


The primary objective of this initiative was to empower 25 Indigenous Women from the Thami Community to actively participate in collective climate justice efforts and to enhance their economic empowerment through the commercial production of vegetables.

Indigenous Women are on the frontlines of climate change's impact on agriculture. Empowering Indigenous Women with knowledge and skills in climate-smart farming is crucial for enhancing their resilience to climate change, improving their livelihoods, and ensuring food security for their Communities. It enables them to adapt to changing environmental conditions, protect and sustainably manage natural resources, and contribute to climate change mitigation efforts. Additionally, economic empowerment through climate-smart farming can lead to increased decision-making power, improved social status, and greater participation in community and policy-making processes, ultimately contributing to gender equality and social justice. 

The agricultural strategy aims to fulfil the demand for vegetables, fruits, and crops by emphasizing the importance of local (Raithane) advanced and hybrid seeds. In alignment with the long-term agricultural development plan, the goal is to achieve economic prosperity by providing farmers with information on advanced seeds, climate-friendly farming practices, modern technological products, pest management, plant growth and development, and weed control.




 

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2024-03-31
Empowering Dalit and Indigenous Women and Girls in Nepal: Insights from CSW68
National Indigenous Women Forum (NIWF) and the Feminist Dalit Organization (FEDO) recently joined forces to host a  panel discussion titled "Advancing Gender Equality and Empowerment of Dalit and Indigenous Women and Girls in Nepal" during the Sixty-eighth session of the Commission on the Status of Women in New York City, United States.

The event, which convened esteemed panelists and dignitaries, including Honorable Radhika Tamang, Member of the Bagmati Provincial Assembly, and Mr. Suman Raj Aryal, General Secretary of the Ministry of Women, Children, and Senior Citizen of Nepal, aimed to shed light on the challenges faced by Dalit and Indigenous women and girls in Nepal and catalyze actionable change.

Dr. Rabina G Rasaily, Executive Director of FEDO Nepal, expertly moderated the discussion, guiding conversations among panelists Yasso Kanti Bhattachan, Vice-Chairperson of NIWF - Nepal; Durga Sob, Founder President of FEDO Nepal; Queen Bisseng, UN Programme Specialist for Africa for GFOD; and Sushmita Lama, Indigenous Women Programme Coordinator at the Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact Foundation (AIPP).



Key topics explored included advocating for policy reforms to address gender-based violence and discrimination within marginalized communities, promoting inclusive representation in decision-making processes, ensuring equitable access to resources for empowerment, and fostering collaborative partnerships to advance the Sustainable Development Goals.



The event underscored the urgent need to elevate the voices of Dalit and Indigenous women and girls, who often face intersecting forms of discrimination based on ethnicity, caste, socioeconomic status, and cultural background. By centering their perspectives in policy discussions and interventions, policymakers can develop more targeted and effective strategies to address their unique needs and challenges.

One significant challenge highlighted during the discussion is the criminalization of traditional skills and practices of Indigenous Women and Girls, leading to their displacement from ancestral lands and further marginalization within their communities. This suppression of Indigenous knowledge perpetuates cycles of poverty and disempowerment among these women and girls.

Moreover, it is crucial to recognize that women are not a homogenous group; rather, they encompass diverse experiences and identities. Acknowledging this heterogeneity is essential for designing inclusive policies and programs that cater to the specific needs of marginalized women and girls, including those from Indigenous and Dalit communities.


Despite these challenges, grassroots movements and community organizations have emerged as key actors in amplifying the voices of marginalized women and girls. By mobilizing communities and advocating for systemic change, these grassroots initiatives play a vital role in empowering Indigenous and Dalit women and girls to claim their rights and shape a more inclusive and equitable society in Nepal.

In conclusion, the panel discussion served as a beacon of hope and progress, highlighting the importance of collaborative efforts to advance gender equality and empowerment for all women and girls, particularly those from marginalized communities. By centering their voices and experiences, we can collectively work towards a future where every woman and girl in Nepal has the opportunity to thrive and realize her full potential.
2024-03-14
"Ecological Justice and Indigenous Identity" at the World Social Forum

The World Social Forum (WSF) is a testament for Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and grassroots movements worldwide that "Another World is Possible". Since its inception in Brazil in 2001, WSF has served as a counterpoint to the narratives of globalization promoted by events like the World Economic Forum in Davos. It has quickly become a space where diverse voices converge to advocate for social, economic, and environmental justice.

During the recent World Social Forum, the National Indigenous Women Forum (NIWF) hosted a compelling panel discussion under the theme “Ecological Justice and Indigenous Identity.” Moderated by Ms. Barsha Lekhi, this event served as a crucible for critical conversations, addressing the urgent challenges faced by Indigenous Communities in their struggle for ecological justice.
The discussions delved into various facets of the Indigenous experience, ranging from land rights and resource management to cultural preservation and climate resilience. Each topic sparked impassioned debates and illuminated perspectives, shedding light on the complexities of Indigenous struggles worldwide.

One of the central themes of the discussion was the critical role of Indigenous communities in environmental protection. Panelists showcased the efficacy of traditional knowledge in land management, highlighting its value alongside contemporary scientific approaches. This fusion of traditional wisdom with modern techniques underscores the importance of incorporating Indigenous perspectives into environmental policymaking and resource management practices.


Moreover, the panel highlighted the unique challenges faced by Indigenous women in accessing resources and asserting their rights. These challenges underscored the importance of collaboration between governments, Indigenous communities, and stakeholders. By fostering stronger partnerships, we can work towards achieving ecological justice and ensuring equitable outcomes in natural resource management.

The event at WSF was more than just a panel discussion; it was a platform for amplifying Indigenous voices and advocating for meaningful change. It emphasized the need for solidarity and mutual respect in addressing the interconnected challenges of environmental degradation, cultural preservation, and social justice.





As we reflect on the discussions and insights shared at the World Social Forum, let us commit ourselves to supporting Indigenous communities in their quest for justice and sustainability. By standing in solidarity with Indigenous peoples, we can build a more equitable and sustainable world for future generations.

2024-02-17