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 Indigenous and Traditional Peoples Conservation Fellowship

The 2010 Fellowship recipients. © CI/Photo by Kristen Walker
The 2011 Fellowship recipients.
© CI/Photo by Regina Harlig

Creating opportunities for indigenous leaders and scholars to explore solutions to the impacts of climate change and biodiversity loss.

Strong leadership and technical skills are essential elements of land stewardship and community development, and critical to policy engagement. Therefore, Conservation International (CI) and the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (SCBD) have joined together to sponsor the Indigenous & Traditional Peoples Conservation Fellowship. This fellowship will provide opportunities for leaders and scholars from indigenous and traditional peoples communities and organizations to explore solutions to the impacts of climate change and the threats to ecosystems and biodiversity that are affecting their lands, communities and livelihoods.

It is essential to support indigenous peoples, local communities and their representative organizations in their efforts to build their capacity in these areas; increased capacity fosters the knowledge and skills required to engage in all aspects of ecosystem health and development, from local to global action.

Indigenous peoples' knowledge together with biodiversity and climate-related science can help communities face increasing threats on their lands and territories and confront the impacts of climate change and biodiversity loss. This year long fellowship aims to provide space for dialogue to respect, recognize and incorporate traditional knowledge in local efforts and take advantage of the scientific information available at many institutions and universities.

2014 – 2015 Fellowship Information

The Indigenous Leaders Conservation Fellowship creates opportunities for leaders from indigenous and traditional peoples communities and organizations in East Africa, Asia (Mekong Delta & Indonesia), and the Amazon Basin. The fellowships are co-sponsored by regional indigenous organizations: Indigenous Peoples of Africa Coordination Committee (IPACC), Asian Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP), and Coordinadora de las Organizaciones Indígenas de la Cuenca Amazónica (COICA) in the Amazon Basin. Through research and/or on-the ground activities, fellows will contribute to local solutions and all levels of policy decision-making.  This year, the fellowship will focus on the following themes:

  • How traditional knowledge can contribute to biodiversity conservation and/or climate change adaptation and mitigation
  • Gender dynamics and/or women’s empowerment within natural resource management (NRM) and traditional knowledge

Fellowship Details

This nine month-long fellowship (September 2014 – May 2015) will be offered to three fellows, one from each region (East Africa, Asia, and Amazon Basin). One fellowship will focus on traditional knowledge/climate change/biodiversity, while two will focus on gender dynamics/women’s empowerment in NRM/traditional knowledge.

Application process

How to Apply

The deadline for application is June 15th, 2014. Please include the following information in the application packet:

  1. CV or resume of the applicant with a copy of personal identification
  2. A nomination letter from the sponsoring community and/or indigenous organization
  3. A project proposal, following the proposal guidelines
  4. Proposed budge worksheet
  5. A completed application form

Selection Process

The selection committee will interview finalists by phone or skype the weeks of July 15th-31st, 2014. The fellowship recipients will be announced August 1st, 2014 and fellows will begin on or after September 1, 2014.

2012 Fellows

Last year, three fellows were chosen from more than 140 applications. They came from around the world, and brought a diversity of experience, knowledge and culture to the program. The 2012 fellows were:

Zenón Gomel Apaza, a small farmer in the rural community of Pucara, in the Puno region of Peru. He speaks Quechua and Spanish, and has a MS in Agroecology with a major in biodiversity and rural Andean agriculture, and also a MA in sustainable community development. Mr. Gomel Apaza is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in natural sciences for development with an emphasis on agricultural production systems. With the non-profit organization Asociación Savia Andina Pucará (ASAP), which he founded more than 15 years ago, he is developing measures to strengthen the capacities of indigenous peasant communities in Andean agriculture, the protection of biodiversity and the environment. ASAP is also working on generating proposals for policy guidelines based on traditional knowledge to incorporate into policies on regional and national climate change issues. For these efforts in 2006, Zenón Gomel Apaza was awarded a Rolex Award for Enterprise, under the environmental issues theme, so far the only Peruvian who has earned the award.

Ikal Angelei, an indigenous activist from the Lake Turkana region of Kenya. She speaks four languages and has a MA in Public Policy. After completion of her undergraduate studies, she was employed in the in the banking sector, but at the same time embarked on small community activities working with her ethic community on issues of education and women's education. With a growing interest in seeing the sustainable growth of her ethnic community, Ms. Angelei expanded her interest in the region to include neighboring communities and expand the focus of her involvement into natural resources and environmental justice. With this newfound passion, Ms. Angelei founded Friends of Lake Turkana, a Community Trust that was established in November 2008 and registered through the Trust Act in October 2009. Its focus is to promote Environmental Justice, Resource Rights and Community Rights within the Lake Turkana Basin. In this regard, FoLT focuses on increasing Lake Turkana basin communities' participation in environmental policy protection, sustainable management and use of natural resources as well as increased participation of communities' in the development and governance of their resources.

Diana Nascimento, a young indigenous student from the Paraná state of Brazil. She is currently completing her degree in Environmental Management, with a focus on costal environmental management. She was awarded a seat at the Federal University of Paraná-UFPR, which offers seven seats for indigenous students from all over Brazil. After graduation, she intends to return to her community with the scientific knowledge she has gained at university and work in conjunction with the traditional knowledge she and her community already possess to contribute to environmental and cultural enhancement of the Kaingang peoples.

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