National level training of Indigenous women on capacity building, advocacy and engagement

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Nepal Federation of Indigenous Nationalities (NEFIN) is an umbrella organization of 59 Indigenous nationalities in Nepal. NEFIN currently has 71 District Coordination Councils (DCCs), more than 2100 Village Development Coordination Councils (VDCCs), 7 affiliated national level organizations across the country and 13 international affiliations. NEFIN has been continuously and effectively working for social, cultural, linguistic, and economic rights of the Indigenous Peoples of Nepal since its establishment in 1991. NEFIN is working on Climate Change and Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation(REDD) program along with NEFIN implements program activities in the national, regional and local levels in partnership and coordination with NEFIN DCC, NEFIN VCC, affiliated organizations, and Indigenous Peoples Organizations (IPOs) in Nepal.

This training was essentially a required approach for underlining the crucial role that indigenous women can play in the many climate change and REDD+ related activities including advocacy and lobbying with the government. At the same time, the training sought to strongly build the skill and understanding of indigenous women on the concept and several undertakings of climate change and REDD+, thus creating a pool of competent indigenous women who in turn can impart their knowledge and understanding at the community level. With the support of DANIDA and in partnership with AIPP and IWGIA, NEFIN organized 3 day training in Godavari for 37 indigenous women from 12 districts of Nepal.

2. Objectives

I. To enhance comprehensive understanding of indigenous women on national and international climate change and REDD+ activities
II. To emphasize essential role and contribution of indigenous women in climate change related activities
III. To improve indigenous women’s skills and capacity in advocating and disseminating climate change and related issues at the community level
IV. To raise awareness on Climate Change and the rights of IPs in REDD Plus Program

3. Methodology

 Slide Presentation
 Video Show
 Group Exercises
 Group Discussion and Presentation
 Open Discussion Session
 Official Opening and Ending Session
 Role plays

4. Proceedings

The program was officially commenced under the Chairmanship of Mr. Nagendra Kumal, Chairperson of NEFIN central committee. Introduction of the participants and consensus on house rules were facilitated by Kamala Thapa, NEFIN followed by highlights on program objectives of by Tunga Bhadra Rai. A short documentary on climate change and its impact set the context of the program. Then Ms. Thapa highlighted the general concept of climate change and REDD+. The presentation conveyed important information on green house gas, the concept on climate change, its effects and causes, and REDD Plus. She also stressed on the IPs customary practices on forests, land and water, and how IPs are most vulnerable to the effects of climate change and how their rights are ensured in the State’s design and implementation of many policies and programs relevant to climate change and REDD plus. Next, concept behind Safe guard policy, how it ensures the protection of IPs rights and identity and the fundamentals of safe guard policies like SESA, and FPIC were presented. Similarly, the status of REDD+ in Nepal including the Government’s effort in formulating National REDD policy and strategy and element of the process like R-PIN, R-PD, ER-PIN, and RPP etc. were also highlighted.

The second day of the program started with a review of the first day followed by a documentary show on ‘our forest, our life’. A reflection and informative discussion on SESA and about the effects of National Parks were conducted. Next, Tunga Bhadra Rai facilitated session on the difference between weather change, climate change and seasonal change, and forest related policies and strategies and its impact on IPs customary practices and traditional livelihood. An intense and interactive discussion on the positives and negatives of the forest policy was also held. This was followed by international updates and information by Kamala Thapa Magar on UNFCC, Cancun agreement, CoPs, and the different actors and stakeholders working in REDD related issues at the global level. Similarly, the session included information on FCPF, carbon Trust Fund and the institutional structure, role and objectives of the UN-REDD. After lunch, Tunga Bhadra Rai showed a short film on forest degradation and quizzed the participants on the difference between UNFCC, FCPF and UN-REDD. This was followed by group work where participants were divided into 4 groups and were each given a question related to climate change and REDD+. The groups then shared their responses and discussed them thoroughly.

The third day started with a documentary show on mountain communities and forest which was followed by a reflection session of the previous day. After that, Tunga Bhadra Rai reiterated the importance of including Safeguards (SESA/ESMF) in the process of REDD. He emphasized the need of a clear role of the concerned stakeholders and rightholders in ensuring equal benefit sharing, effective participation, and rights over land and resources in the making of REDD+ policy and strategies. Next, Roshani Meche, Vice Chairman of NEFIN briefed about advocacy and lobbying. She stressed that fact that both these are process and discourse to eventually accomplish one’s rights. She further highlighted the ways, the effects and the importance of advocacy and lobbying in influencing policy change and amendments. The next session was on the role of media in REDD+ and climate change in relation to IPs, presented by Mohan Singh Lama. He explained the essential role of media in disseminating correct information on climate change and REDD+ in relation to IPs among the IPs themselves. He talked further on how the 23 community radio programs run by NEFIN climate change program is supporting to spread current national and international issues and updates on climate change and REDD+ to diverse IPs communities, local stakeholders in 22 districts all over Nepal. After this, the last technical session of the whole program was conducted by Shambhu Rai on facilitation skill. Mr. Rai delivered a meaningful and in depth information on the role and significance of a facilitator and the necessary tools and material support to make a facilitation skill more effective.

5. Outcomes

• A better understanding on the concepts and elements of Climate Change and REDD Plus process and mechanism
• Raised awareness of the participants on the National and International instruments and international actors and stakeholders in REDD like UN-REDD, UNFCCC, FPIC, FCPF, SESA etc.
• Participants gained knowledge on essential facilitation skills for ToT
• Participants became aware on the importance of media and information dissemination and advocacy and lobbying

6. Suggestions

• The training should provide more extensive session on REDD and safe guards topics since they are extremely critical issues at hand
• Sessions should be little more interactive and less lecture based
• More reference materials should be provided to the participants
• More relevant trainings should be conducted for indigenous women since awareness trainings like these are crucial in enhancing the knowledge and capacity of indigenous women

7. Conclusion

The two day program was effectively conducted with the active participation from indigenous women participants from different districts of Nepal. The participants felt that the subject matter imparted essential issues and concerns that all indigenous peoples including women should be aware of. They also expressed that the resource persons created a friendly environment, making both the delivery and the learning more effective. With the new knowledge at hand, they resolved to reach more women in their respective communities and impart what they learnt in this training.

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