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BIPA

Bunong Indigenous People's Association [1] Introduction

The Bunong Indigenous People's Association (BIPA) is the latest local NGO to partner up with us.  Founded by Mr Neth Prak, it like CCi supports students to advance to tertiary education, and in addition it seeks to develop constructive engagement in land disputes.  The aim is to conciliate and reach agreement between authorities and developers on the one hand, with indigenous communities on the other, instead of total conflict. In this regard, Mr Neth Prak has worked with and acquired skills with the UN Center for Human Rights.

Neth with Mr Ngy San, Cambodian consultant on NGOs; disability and indigenous people's issues.

Please see CV and formal registration. We have extensive galleries of pictures on Google Cloud - please let us know if you would like to see them.

2   Latest News and Messages

A message from Neth:

I would like to introduce you to another new documentary film we have made recently reflecting more on our Bunong Indigenous people situation in Mondulkiri province and I am sure that it is also reflects the similar situation as for other indigenous people elsewhere.

Thank you to all supporters for your good work to protect us as uindigenous people. Please remember that, without your hard working for us we as Indigenous people would had been disappeared from this globe.

If any one is interested in this latest film please contact the producer in Switzerland by following contact detail from this link. I believe that this film is the best tool to show what is happening today.

Best regards,

Neth"

3   About BIPA

Neth and John Lowrie with some of the Bunong Indigenous Students studying and staying at the BIPA residential centre in Phnom Penh, August 2017.

BIPA is not typical of most NGOs in Cambodia nor of most of those working with indigenous people. We share the same aims as them to promote and protect our interests and rights. We also carry out similar development activities especially our educational sponsorship and support scheme. There we nurture more of our boys and girls to complete schooling, graduate from university, then enter professions and return home to help improve lives and build communities. However, we are unique in not being too closely tied to conservation and human rights organisations. We work with them but sometimes our interests and priorities, those purely of indigenous people, are different from theirs. This is why we have pioneered and have succeeded in conducting constructive negotiations with developers, instead of just confronting them and the authorities backing them, in order to find mutually acceptable solutions. Our efforts and success are building mechanisms for future co-operation. Even if it would be naïve to believe we could accomplish this everywhere, for those communities and development companies now existing happily side-by-side, it is worthwhile.

Our hope is as more of our graduates return home, with their greater education; skills and knowledge, the more they will be able advocate effectively, and prove that we are indeed much more capable than was once believed in the past.

The plight of Cambodia's indigenous people is far from unique, so we join up with our peers around the world. We must also take our message to international bodies, like the United Nations. European Union, etc. As in this case at the Bolores Group in Paris we can also receive better receptions with constructive outcomes for all concerned.

4   Mission and Values (coming soon, awaiting English translation.)

5   Our Students

We support students at school in Mondulkiri and in higher education in Phnom Penh at modest low-cost accommodation.  Despite the modesty, they make it "home-from-home" as we operate like a club where everyone takes turns to take responsibilities like doing the shopping and cooking; the chores and most importantly observing the rules through self-discipline. We find that not only is this motive enough for our students to try their best as they study but it sets in-place their commitment to return home to live and work after they graduate. Our record in this regard is excellent.

Currently in Phnom Penh we have 8 boys and 2 girls. They study Law and Administration (3); Nursing; Economics; English, Marketing, Agriculture, Primary School Teaching and International Relations.

Their profiles can be read here with photographs too - Set 1 and Set 2.

6   BIPA's conflict resolution work

We are pioneering resolution of land disputes by organizing meetings of all parties and stakeholders.  Shortly we will write up more about our experiences.  In the meantime, please see Neth's CV or contact him for more information on +855 99 98 451 or by email.

One good way to solve problems especially conflict is to start at the lowest level; local down-to-earth consultations, with shared hospitality to build up relations with each other.

7  Community Forestry

BIPA, because of the variety of subjects studied by its students, has a flexible mission often conveying and contributing to wider issues of importance to Bunong Indigenous People. This picture captures the challenges of one – helping community patrols of our forests. Instead of an over-loaded motor-cycle struggling to take four people, here the four struggle to take it through the rugged undergrowth in a dense part of the jungle where illegal loggers are operating.

8 Agricultural Extension and Supplementary Income Activities

BIPA not only promotes new skills and knowledge of indigenous people but builds on our core abilities. Farming is of course one. We were self-sufficient in the past. Now we must be more productive on less land and more diversified in crops for nutrition and cash income. It is not only in Kampot where excellent pepper trees can grow.


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