The Indigenous Women's Fund of the International Indigenous Women’s Forum
As the economic and philanthropic arm of the International Indigenous Women's Forum (IIWF/FIMI), the Indigenous Women's Fund (IWF) is a grantmaking body that will provide long-term and flexible funding for Indigenous women's organizations.
The IWF was mandated in March 2007 by the IIWF/FIMI Board of Directors to "support the capacity of the Indigenous women's movement and Indigenous women's leadership, and to strengthen the institutions that advance Indigenous women's rights." The IWF was officially launched in April 2008 at the IIWF/FIMI-sponsored First International Forum of Indigenous Women, in Lima, Peru. Access to these financial resources is not only important for individual organizations, but also for strengthening Indigenous women’s roles in broader Indigenous movements. Beginning in 2009, the Fund will support the Indigenous women's movements and organizations, build Indigenous women's leadership and strengthen institutions that advance Indigenous women's rights.
History of the Organization:
The 1995 Fourth UN World Conference on Women in Beijing was one of the first times that Indigenous women had the opportunity to articulate our distinct identity at the international level. Indigenous women gathered to issue a declaration, which articulated our concerns as women from an Indigenous perspective.
After nearly five years, many of the Beijing participants gathered in 1999 at the fourth meeting of the Continental Network of Indigenous Women of the Americas in Lima, Peru. Based on the need for an organization to continue this work, the International Indigenous Women’s Forum/Foro Internacional de Mujeres Indígenas (IIWF/FIMI) began as an organization to champion the specific concerns of Indigenous women at the international level. IIWF/FIMI organized the First Forum of Indigenous Women in New York at the Beijing +5 Conference under the new leadership of its Steering Committee in 2000. Following this meeting, IIWF/FIMI successfully organized other such international gatherings including the Second Forum of Indigenous Women in correspondence with Beijing +10.
As a part of the global Indigenous movement, Indigenous women advocate for gender equality and increased political participation of Indigenous women as essential aspects of Indigenous Peoples’ human rights. International Indigenous women activists lobby for a rights-based approach to meeting the UN Millennium Development Goals and the implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Known for its commitment in the Indigenous women’s movement, IIWF/FIMI facilitates networks of Indigenous women’s organizations from Asia, Africa, and the Americas under the guidance of Indigenous women.
The IIWF/FIMI mission is to bring together Indigenous women leaders and activists with human rights promoters from different parts of the world to coordinate agendas, build unity, and develop leadership and advocacy skills. IIWF/FIMI fosters Indigenous women’s participation and leadership roles in international decision-making processes by ensuring the consistent and serious inclusion of Indigenous women’s perspectives in all discussions of human rights.
Vision and Goals:
IIWF/FIMI envisions a world free from all forms of discrimination where we, as Indigenous peoples, can exercise our human rights, access economic justice, and participate fully and effectively in decision-making processes that affect our lives at local, national and international levels. IIWF/FIMI strives for a new paradigm that overcomes racism, social exclusion and inequality where all women can fully enjoy their fundamental human rights.
- Develop a core group of Indigenous women to provide individual and collective leadership based on the principles of respect for the seventh generation and complementarity between men and women at the local, national, and international levels;
- Ensure that both international and national public policies incorporate the perspectives of Indigenous women in alignment with the objectives of the Second UN Decade of the World’s Indigenous Peoples;
- Promote recognition and respect for the role of Indigenous Peoples and Indigenous women in the contemporary world.
- Provide Indigenous women with concrete advocacy skills to increase their number and active capacity at the international level, particularly within the United Nations system;
- Mobilize the financial resources needed for the Indigenous Women’s Fund.
Indigenous Women & Political Participation
- Increase the role of Indigenous women in international decision-making processes
- Advance women’s human rights and ensure that Indigenous women’s perspectives are consistently, seriously included in all discussions of human rights
IIWF/FIMI allies with the global women’s human rights movement and promotes the systematic participation of Indigenous women in broader social movements. In correspondence with the Second Decade of the World’s Indigenous Peoples Plan of Action, IIWF/FIMI facilitates the participation of Indigenous women in monitoring UN processes, especially issues related to UN reform. Through shadow reports, position papers, and other media outreach, IIWF/FIMI raises awareness about Indigenous women’s rights.
Indigenous Women & Capacity Building
- Increase social, cultural and political capacities of Indigenous women at local, national and international levels.
- Develop Indigenous women’s leadership skills through training sessions.
The goal of this program is to empower Indigenous women leaders and promote Indigenous leadership in decision-making capacities at all levels. IIWF/FIMI sponsors training sessions and workshops at UN conferences and other international gatherings. Through cross-regional dialogues and international collaborations, IIWF/FIMI actively engages local and international Indigenous women parliamentarians. In addition, capacity-building trainings are a critical component of IIWF/FIMI work at the community level. Through these educational initiatives, IIWF/FIMI seeks to increase global communication between Indigenous peoples while strengthening both the leaders of today and tomorrow.
Institutional Strengthening of Indigenous Women’s Organizations
- Increase visibility and organizational capacity to carry out programs.
IIWF/FIMI fosters and solidifies relationships among activists and organizations by advancing the communication technology available to Indigenous women and strengthening the regional focal points. Currently based in Lima, Peru and in New York, IIWF/FIMI launched a global strategic plan and is facilitating regional consultations to develop of regional plans of action.