Very sad news today. The organisation that helped MIPAD to start up is closing. We have sent the following message:
|6 July 2016 at 07:55|
|To: Rebecca Adamson <email@example.com>|
I am sad to see you go, especially as I find in SE Asia that somehow
donors - who are otherwise generous with other other vulnerable groups
-keep skipping over indigenous people whose ancestral lands are being
confiscated for economic development that largely excludes them.
However, thanks to the first grant from FPW, the "Mondulkiri
Indigenous People's Association for development" was founded and is
till doing well, if not as well as we would all hope for
Our very best wishes to you.
A veritable "Hornet's Nest" has been stirred up on my old home, the tiny island of Saint Helena with a population of less than 5,000 inhabitants. It's all to do with allegations of child abuse. To many people in Cambodia, it is a "storm in a tea cup" given the scale and severity of such problems that exist here. Yet as I have postulated, Cambodia can offer lessons, and even insight in to indigenous people's culture can help. One useful basis is ScF's excellent child-friendly version of the United Nations Covenant on the Rights of the Child. You can read more here.
Traditional Healers will be very pleased by Rob Scheider's experience and praise. Please go to his blog. Rob makes a valid point: "No good comes from force, as any true healer can tell you".
We find that some media reports still confuse traditional health practitioners with "sorcerers". Even though indigenous people believe in the spirits, reporters should take care not to miscast everyone as "quacks". Input in to official Cambodian policy is set out in this presentation.
Certainly the Khmer Rouge did untold harm to the reputation of traditional healers, but their forced adoption of certain practices was not so much based on an inherent belief in their efficacy but more their irrational attempt to purge society of modern education and science. A good paper is uploaded here.
Congratulations on the formal registration of the Cambodia Indigenous Peoples Democracy Party, now registered legally as a political party in Cambodia. For more go here.
My long-time ICT colleagues Andy & Ming Price and I visited Ratanakkiri and Mondulkiri for field-work to prepare our full proposal to Development Innovations/USAID called: "Cambodia’s First Peoples in the Cyber-Age".
Great to meet these 14 Jarai ethnic minority school-girls keen to acquire ICT skills. One thing we learned from them is that they need early career guidance to know of wider opportunities for girls. Their modest ambitions, as they told me, one wants to be a doctor; four to be nurses, and all the rest teachers!
HelpAge International kindly helped me to trace some of my work from Rwanda. You can read a couple of articles here - Article 1; Article 2 Part 1, and Part 2. Also an extract from the 1996 HelpAge Annual Report that included my celebrated poster. Remember those old days of photographic film and black & white as preferred medium? You can read more about my time in Rwanda, just search "Rwanda" in my blogsite., or click here to start one.
We are pleased to announce that this site is up and running again. Please see the announcement on the Home Page. We will try to catch up on and report on important news and developments.
While we were away…..
I see that some Bunong people have formed their own political party. It is good to see that they are exercising their rights to do so. I wish them well but caution them to take care and to co-operate where they can with the other political parties and/or NGOs. There are in particular quite a number of organizations representing indigenous peoples and causes – with risk of confusion and losing clarity of the most important messages.
Unity really is strength!
Caption courtesy of: http://emilysquotes.com/unity-is-strength-division-is-weakness/
Indigenous rights are of course human rights. Unfortunately Cambodia's human rights organisations sometimes use indigenous issues to support wider issues, when it may be better for them to be kept apart and pursue constructive engagement instead. For Nomad RSI, this is always tried first. It is not the case generally where the adversarial approach is taken - as described in this paper to a major conference in Phnom Penh. (The original content was authored by my former colleague, Jeffrey C Gallup, who I still think has produced the best paper on Cambodia's elections.)
Ethnic Minorities in Mondolkiri Band Together in New Political Party
By Khy Sovuthy | September 3, 2015
Indigenous people in Mondolkiri province have joined together to form a new political party to give a voice to the country’s minority groups, a party official said Wednesday.
Sroy Khet, an ethnic Bunong and interim deputy leader of the Cambodian Indigenous Democracy Party (CIDP), said that more than 20 indigenous people had decided to create the party, adding that most of the founders had previous experience in civil society.
“We have had the intention to create the party since 2005, but we did not have the ability to create it,” he said. “We will defend all Cambodians’ identities, beliefs, languages, customs and cultures.”
Mr. Khet said the nascent party already had the required minimum of 80 supporters and the proper documentation to register with the Interior Ministry, and that it planned to do so in November.
Sok Ratha, provincial coordinator for local rights group Adhoc, said he had met with the CIDP’s founders and discussed the reasons they wanted to form a new party.
“They think that Cambodian politicians do not understand what they want,” he said. “They think that only indigenous people understand their difficult living conditions and their customs.”
Mr. Ratha added that the 20 founders had stressed that they were independent from any other political groups in the country.
The CIDP would be the fifth political party to be registered this year, with radio station owner Mam Sonando, former NGO director Yeng Vireak, dissident Suon Serey Ratha and ousted CNRP official Lak Sopheap all heading new parties.
Yun Mane, executive director of the Cambodian Indigenous People Organization, said that if the CIDP’s leaders could find ways to finance the party, it could be an important influence.
“I think it will give more voice for their people in the future and it also can bring more attention to their own issues,” she said. “It’s about addressing the land issues…and other challenges like education and health.”
(Additional reporting by Anthony Jensen) firstname.lastname@example.org
Mr John Lowrie, General Co-ordinator of our INGO partner, Nomad RSI vacated the post as Nomad has no more directly-managed projects. Today the work in Mondulkiri is being conducted by MIPAD with Nomad RSI represented by its two nominees on the MIPAD Board of Directors. John said “MIPAD is now sufficiently confident of going forward under its own leadership. However, I will continue to work with other indigenous groups who want my help email@example.com.”
MIPAD has the bitter-sweet news that while two donors are unable to continue funding, one new one has been attracted. How this will impact on MIPAD will be discussed at a General Assembly meeting (AGM) soon to be held.
The Khmer Times invited John Lowrie to write and article about Cambodia's Indigenous People, culture and language. You can access the online version here, or his own fuller version with references here.
Thanks fo Mr Daniels for the comment "An excellent article explaining several of the threats to the indigenous highlander culture on the northeast frontier. I've always respected NOMAD's work immensely and am thankful a few of our Bunong highlander university graduates have been able to assist your NGO in the past."
Tommy Daniels, Pres./Chairman
Cambodia Corps, Inc. (CCi)
Our reply to him can be seen on the blog as per link above:
A rather pessimistic but realistic assesssment of the fate awaiting Bunong People, partly based on their own predictions collected by MRDC.
We are members of a world wide community of endangered indigenous peoples and culture. Usually it is too late to prevent some harm as places have opened up and changes - unanticipated, not carefully-managed - have already taken place. Here, there is one exception, John Lowrie warns about the dangers.....and opportunities that the 4,000 people of St Helena will enjoy or regret.
Nomad RSI's Board Secretary, Ms Elisabeth Dodinet visited Mondulkiri and kindly lent her expertise to helping MIPAD develop its organisational policies and procedures. A special thank you to her!
The Phnom Penh Post Weekend Edition carried a feature on Bunong weddings based on MRDC's latest exhibtion:
For more on the exhibition, please see Bunthy's postings here.
A great report and superb format by Abby Seiff @instupor "With their culture near extinction, some Bunong are fighting back. Check out my story (mid-air) in Fah Thai or here": http://www.ink-live.com/emagazines/fah-thai/1715/september-2014/#68 …
We are pleased to congratulate Ms Vanny Rath on her graduation and completion of her thesis about the Health Perceptions of Bunong Indigenous People. Her profile can be seen here or as in our volunteers page. Currently she is helping our partners CIYA as she searches for employment. Rath's findings mirror those of our partners CIAI who examined maternal health issues - report may be accessed here.
Our eco-tourism project has been included in a widely-circulated article within the travel industry and child care circles, as a good example of responsible, ethical tourism through properly-organized and supervised community visits by tourists. You can access the article here called "Holidays are when children are most risk!" More features on the project can be seen on our Facebook page.
17 June - MRDC, MIPAD and Nomad RSI featured in a French newspaper, as per this link.
3 June 2014 – please see the award of funding for our project ”Sustainable Livelihoods and Natural Resources Management (SLNRM) through Winrock International here.
We are all very sad to have heard of the death of our good friend and most notable Bunong musician, Nyel Che, who of course starred for us at the opening of the MRDC. The Phnom Penh Post has given an excellent tribute to him: http://www.phnompenhpost.com/7days/tributes-pour-mondulkiri-musician-and-his-unique-art-form
The film crew has advised us that their film on Bunong Traditional Medicine will be released in May. "Watch this Space!" for more details nearer the time.
We are pleased to see that the Exeter Express and Echo featured a story that included MRDC volunteers and our Putaing Traditional Dancing Group. The aim of the article was to encourage tourists and volunteers to be sure of supporting worthy causes, rather than dubious "orphanages" where children are exploited. For a larger version to read, please click here.
31 January 2014
Nomad RSI has released in French the latest newsletter. You can view it here. If you are interested in finding out more about Nomad and MIPAD, or supporting us, please go here: http://www.nomadrsi.org/Support-Nomad-RSI.html. There is also a link to Paypal.
December 2013/January 2014
The inaugural General Assembly of MIPAD took place. Please see full report here.
The new MRDC Centre is opening soon "Watch this space!"
We are pleased to ammounce the launch of our Bunong Indigenous People's Eco-Tourism venture - available through this link.
You may also want to access this video showing Bunong communities to be displaced by the hydropower project, released by NGO Forum for International Day for Indigenous Peoples:
An article about traditional medicine in Cambodia was published - it may be read here.
Sadly we did not make it with Forum Syd, as they wanted NGO partners that are more advanced than MIPAD, but the experience was very useful for learning and to help us make plans. We are fortunate though to be making good progress in co-operation with other partner NGOs that have the same interests as us.
We have decided that the first full General Assembly (AGM) with representatives from all participating MIPAD village association members will take place in November this year, after the main rains have finished. Elections will be held to appoint MIPAD leaders. We will publish details later.
We are pleased to announce the release of a Rattanakiri version to complement our Bunong “Food From The Forest” book again prepared in co-operation with NTFP-EP - see August 2012 below.
Nomad RSI and MIPAD are pleased to have been selected by Forum Syd to be eligible to become a partner of theirs. Over the next few weeks, we will explore togther scope and possibilities for mutual co-operation.
MIPAD conducted a workshop on 27 February to firm up its plans - please refer to MIPAD pages here.
We apologize for the reduced service as we have had to downsize due to financial restrictions as we await funding. We are operating now from Nomad RSI's office in Sen Monorom. Congratulations to our local organisation "MIPAD" now registered officially and operating. The federation of self-help groups is strengthening especially now that 8 new groups are being developed thanks to funding from the Kadoorie Charitable Foundation.
We are pleased to include here the research findings of the study by CIAI and Nomad RSI on health rights of Bunong people, special thanks to Eizabeth Lavoisier.
Our latest research co-operation with partners in Rattanakiri - concerning wild foods and their importance to food secuirity of indigenous peoples - is now available from us - the first 12 pages including the executive summary and rationale may be accessed here.
Congratulations to Chran Dim our first Bunong graduate in traditional health whose story features in the first edition of the new Cambodian Traditional Healer Association Newlsetter than be accessed here. Dim and his father's story are featuring in a Frenc h documentary series to be aired in 2014.
UNDP in its latest newsletter, No 35, gives important advice on rights for Indigenous People in order to be sure of voting in the 2013 National Election. For the full article go to: www.un.org.kh/undp/media/files/newlsetter35_Eng_fnl.pdf
We are still waiting for new funds and in order to downsize have moved to operate from within Nomad's centre. We apologize for any inconvenience.
There is a new book available from us called "Bunong Food from the Forest" that explains the importance of "non-timber forestry products" for our health and well-being, with illustrated traditional recipes.
A very good article was published on the Creative Industries and Services Project (CISP) that may be accessed here.
We wish all our visitors a very Happy New International Year. MRDC will try its best to serve everyone in 2012, hopefully with new projects and funding under active consideration.
MRDC is currently awaiting new funds to operate, with our friends at UNESCO and others trying to help. While these efforts take place, we are fortunate to have received a grant from Stephen Pfeiffer of Australian/US NGO "Stepsafe" to keep operations going for 5 months. A very big thanks to Stephen and Stepsafe.
Mondulkiiri was visited this month by King Sihamoni as well as Prime Minister Hun Sen and senior ministers. We hope that they heard first-hand from Indigenous People in order to take their interests in to account when planning the province's development and use of natural resources.
The Phnom Penh Post published an article that raises many important issues - you can read it here.
It also featured a general article on traditional medicine with the headline that it is in conflict with conventional medicine, and so discrediting it. Our comments have been published on the Phnom Penh Post online edition. A correction also had to be pointed out.
Please see our November newsletter and details of the major cultural event held on Monday 28th November in Sen Monorom.
The report of the event, which was well-attended and very successful, may be read here.
We have almost reached the end of the first phase of the MRDC project, thanks to our donors. We will shortly submit a final report but a draft can be viewed here, and any comments/suggestions would be appreciated.