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CESE supports UMIAB institutional strengthening project

 

Through the Small Projects Programme, indigenous women make progress in strategic design for the movement

The Union of Indigenous Women of the Brazilian Amazon (União das Mulheres Indígenas da Amazônia Brasileira: UMIAB) is committed to strengthening the movement for the rights of original peoples in the nine Amazon States, where they have representatives and undertake collective action.  In order to establish strategies for horizontal working and involve leaders from the entire region, the organization is carrying out strategic planning, with support from CESE’s Small Projects Programme. The planning, which takes a participatory approach, has strengthened relationships with the grassroots, and guarantees transparency and communication, outlining pathways for joint action to confront frequent violations.

Institutional strengthening also supports the working and governance structures of the union, which is linked to indigenous Brazilian women’s movements.  “This strategic planning is hugely relevant to strengthening the capacity, not only of the organization, but also of indigenous women so they can carry out political advocacy within the organization.  It brings us structure, planning, a target, so that we can move forward,” declared Telma Taurepang, UMIAB’s General Coordinator.

Taurepang explained that today the indigenous women’s movement in involved in concrete operations against violence and in favour of demarcation “in the fight for democracy in our territories, against all the setbacks of a capitalist government, of an anti-indigenous government.” Under these circumstances, and given the need to progress the rights of original peoples – and specifically in relation to the gender issues that affect indigenous women – UMIAB understands the urgent need to plan strategic action and create the conditions for the organization to continue working.  “This is also an important point for our work – the advance of indigenous women.  They have occupied, and can occupy, more arenas.  Indigenous women need to progress and have more of a voice,” she added.

To guarantee the participation of representatives from the states of the Brazilian Amazon, UMIAB is holding its strategic planning sessions remotely, in virtual workshops and meetings.  Once the phase to establish the strategies is concluded, union members will hold meetings to monitor the constructed plan, and will receive support from legal advisors.  “For us, this represents a stronger organization, a more committed one, working more authentically with our grassroots base, strengthening our organization and providing a positive process for indigenous women,” she noted.

 

The Indigenous Women’s Agenda – the agenda for the defence of the rights of indigenous populations is at the heart of UMIAB’s existence; the association was set up in 2010 and officially registered in 2013.  Since these early times, the organization has concentrated efforts on two fields of operation: discussions about, the development and negotiation of projects; and participation in the indigenous movement’s agenda for struggle. As an arena to strengthen indigenous women’s political participation, the union supports, adds to and works alongside the struggles of indigenous communities and organizations, principally in the fight for land, self-sufficiency, health and education.

“The Union of the Indigenous Women of the Brazilian Amazon is undergoing a process of institutional strengthening, in which CESE is playing a direct part.  CESE is helping us to strengthen our organization.  And, for us, this represents progress, it represents companionship, it represents the strengthening of our members,” Telma concluded. The organization works actively to mobilize partnerships, in order to ensure its activities are viable both within and outside the territories.