National Indigenous Women’s Federation (NIWF)
National Indigenous Women’s Federation (NIWF) is a Kathmandu based umbrella organization of Adivasi Janajati (Indigenous Nationalities) specific women’s organizations. The multiple roles that Nepalese Indigenous women play contribute to maintain preserve and promote the distinct identity of Indigenous peoples. Their language and cultural skills, traditional knowledge in management of community and resources are distinct. Importantly, they are the knowledge holder to nurture mother earth, environment and natural resources, and play a vital role in sustainable management of mother earth and environment, thus they also contribute to all human society nationally and globally. Traditionally and culturally indigenous women are decision makers in family and society and often play role for peace building and reconciliation. However, their roles and contribution are not recognized by the state. Laws, policies and practices highly marginalize, exclude, deprive, and discriminate indigenous women. Despite of this fact, indigenous women retain some or all knowledge, skill, culture, decision making role and traditional institution as well. So women leaders from different indigenous organizations established NIWF as a federation in 1999 and registered NIWF in 2000 with the aim of ensuring right to participate in all state structures with their distinct identity. Presently, 43 Indigenous Women’s Organisations, 61 District Coordination Council (DCC), 7 Provience are affiliated under this umbrella organization.
In Nepal, Adivasi Janajati Women have bitter experiences of inherent structural patriarchy and dominated political systems. Social exclusion based on gender has for centuries been an important part of the Nepali milieu. Similarly, social exclusion based on ethnicity has been another reality in Nepal. Thus, Indigenous Nationalities Women face social exclusion not only because of them being women, but also because of their ethnicity. Women comprise 51.48 percent out of which 35.5 percent are Adivasi Janajati women. It is a fact that the state has not recognized the “identity” of Adivasi Janajati women, deprived them from policy making processes and has been including them under the general term “Nepali women”_ In addition, Adivasi Janajati Women are marginalized and excluded from the mainstream of national development – Adivasi Janajati Women suffer from triple forms of discrimination, First for being women, Secondly for being Adivasi Janajati and Thirdly for being Adivasi Janajati Women.
General Assembly (GA) is a sovereign body of NIWF, convened in every three years. There shall be one representative from each member organization in the GA. Federal Council (FC) comprises of representatives of member organizations and the secretariat. FC has mandates to formulate program, implementation and observation according to the resolution of General Assembly. It has further a mandate to carryout necessary work to achieve objectives of the NIWF complying its Constitution. The Secretariat comprises of eight members, out of them seven members including the Secretary General are elected by GA except the Chairperson who serves according to the rotational turn of member organization. The mandate of secretariat is to implement the decision of Federal Council and day to day work of the NIWF. The secretariat has mandate of conducting various projects and programs to achieve the goal of NIWF. The projects and programs are managed by Executive Director. NIWF previously worked with DanidaHUGOU, UNDP, CECI, WAPDCA, Asia indigenous peoples pact (AIPP) Thailand, AED, National Foundation for Development of Indigenous Nationalities (NFDIN), Nepal Federation of Indigenous Nationalities (NEFIN). and, it has currently been working on cordination with NGO-FONIN and ILO Nepal.
To ensure the IP’s rights in the constitution and laws those are enshrined political, socio-cultural, educational and customary rights of indigenous women.
To ensure the indigenous women’s representation in each sector of the state based on their identity.
To increase economic, social, cultural, political and legal empowerment of indigenous women and gender sensitivity.
To enhance institutional development and capacity of indigenous women.
To intensify the advocacy work for collective rights of indigenous people and women’s rights.
NIWF Vision, Mission & Goal
Vision: Society based on equality and equity with identity established.
Mission: Make indigenous women visible enjoyment of inclusive democracy, human rights and social justice by indigenous women & men.
Goal: Guarantee of indigenous women’s collective rights and gender equality in accordance with international laws and standards of human rights including UNDRIP & CEDAW.