Indigenous knowledge, Grassroots/marginalized indigenous women and climate change/justice
Mugal Indigenous Women Upliftment Institute, Nepal
My presentation is focus on indigenous knowledge, grassroots/marginalized indigenous women and climate change. An overview of present condition and practice of Indigenous knowledge, indigenous women, climate change and justice. Nepal is also on great risk (4 th rank) of environment and climate change, due to this reasons we are raising its impact on crops, trees, herbs, shrubs and livestock as well as livelihood etc. Grassroots and marginalized indigenous women are most affected by the climate change. Their lifestyle is totally depending on the forest and natural resource. Climate change is a issue of social justice. The ones who are already poor and vulnerable living in the rural areas are more prone to the impacts of climate change. Their poor economic condition, lack of education and indigenous way of life ( not acknowledged by the government and policy makers ) increases their risk of losing lives and livelihood. Ethnicity, class, caste and geographical region further exacerbate the vulnerability of women to adapt with the changing climate. Indigenous women are also the agents of change to fight climate change. As they do most of the agricultural work, collecting fodder, water, saving seeds, natural resource management skill, women have vast knowledge of the changing environment and can interpret their meaning and take action often relying with their indigenous knowledge. Indigenous women who had never heard of climate change before though were suffering its impacts had been adapting to the changes with their own knowledge and resources however their knowledge and contributions are not acknowledged by the policy makers. I am as a founder president of MIWUI. I would like to share, MIWUI’s programme regarding the climate change activities. MIWUI is working with indigenous and grassroots women in remote areas of Nepal. Since 2013, MIWUI has been working in a Climate Justice Feminist Participatory Action Research (CJ-FPAR) programme. Its main objective is to document the impacts of climate change on the Mugal indigenous women and their adaptation practices. Before During the process of research and advocacy plan has been developed to pressure the policy maker at local national and regional level to put the most marginalized people - indigenous women in any kind of development plans with a goal of making equality and equity in the access of every community despite their gender, ethnicity and location. the implementation of the project, Mugal women had never heard about climate change although they suffer daily from its impacts: changing temperatures, landslides caused by the melting of glaciers, erratic rains, decrease in food production, etc. The programme also supported Mugal women to organize in the communities and to engage with local decision-making bodies to design climate policies.
I am an indigenous woman from the Mugal community. Mugal is a marginalized indigenous community of Nepal. Mugal Indigenous peoples are living in the remotest region of Nepal called Mugu district, Karnali zone, in the Himalayas.
I have been working on gender and climate justice issues for over eight years. As the founding president of the Mugal Indigenous Women Upliftment Institute (MIWUI), established in 2007, I work on “Climate Justice-Feminist Participatory Action Research (CJ-FPAR)” programme including the focal program on climate change and adaptation practice of Mugal indigenous women. I have studied on “Climate Justice-Feminist Participatory Action Research (CJ-FPAR)” with Mugal indigenous women of Mugu district, which is also vulnerable indigenous women group of Nepal. It was the first research on climate change in Mugu district. MIWUI is also affiliated with the National Indigenous Women’s Federation (NIWF) and is a member organization of the Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development (APWLD). I am a member of the Organizing Committee of APWLD Climate Justice programme. As a president of MIWUI, I have a leading role and I am managing all the organization’s activities.
Other programs that I have been working on include activities focused on women empowerment, awareness raising, indigenous knowledge and skill, media as well as advocacy for indigenous women’s issues at the national and international levels. I have experience with past United Nations conferences and negotiations including Rio +20, APFSD, UN EMRIP, COP20 and UNFCCC (ADP 2-11).
I have been working as a Project & International Affair-Secretary at the NIWF during four years. I was in charge of the advocacy programme for indigenous women's rights at the national level. As part of my job, I coordinated with INGOs and NGOs to develop the advocacy positions.