Sunday, 9 March 2014



Edna Kaptoyo is a member of the Pokot Tribal Nation of Kenya, she came to New York for the 2013 Project Access Tribal Link training; held for the 12th Session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.Edna is the Programme Officer and Strategy Advisor for the Indigenous Information Network (IIN) - which has as it's main purpose: "To create, maintain, promote, strengthen, enhance and build the capacity and the Socio-Economic opportunities and development; of the indigenous minority peoples of Kenya".

Edna has been involved with the IIN for over five years at a local and national level in policy processes, to ensure that indigenous peoples issues are taken into account. She has also engaged and contributed in multiple United Nations Conventions, forums, and other processes related to indigenous rights and issues - locally and globally.

Education is an issue near and dear to Edna's heart, literacy levels for both children and adults in her community are very low - compared to other indigenous communities. In an entire village you may find a single woman with a tertiary level education.
70% of girls drop-out of school due to cultural or financial causes. Cultural - because many girls are married off at a young age, or their fathers consider it more important to educate their sons instead of their daughters.....and financial - because it can be quite prohibitively expensive to pursue a Secondary and even moreso - a Tertiary level education for the average poor indigenous person in Kenya.

Other serious problems include the continuing practice of female genital mutilation/circumcision, high infant mortality rates, lack of maternal health education; and a lack of mobile health services. Currently, only for National Vaccination campaigns do mobile health services reach the often remote indigenous communities. It is a lost cause to expect a poor indigenous person to travel long distances in order to reach a well staffed and well-equipped hospital or clinic in a town or city....and which will usually be provided in a foreign language to the average indigenous person.

Edna is trying to encourage the National Authorities in Kenya to offer mobile health care service - and in a culturally sensitive and appropriate format as well; which may include indigenous languages.
Edna is also promoting Climate change awareness, women's empowerment, youth affairs, food security, alternative livelihoods, National response strategies - seeing what communities need to be tailored to their own situations - and coming up with Culturally appropriate action plans. Also, community based disaster risk reduction at the local, regional and national level.

Edna considered her 2013 Project Access Tribal Link Training was incredibly useful, and she went on the say: "Without this training I would not have known how to make and submit statements and interventions to the United Nations, nor would I have been in the position that I am now - to be able to understand the real mandate of the Permanent Forum. I also met potential donors, learned how to utilize the UN system; and was able to network with other indigenous peoples from around the world...and this was a very important added benefit. What I have also noticed here by talking to other Indigenous peoples that did not benefit from this Project Access Training, is that they do not really understand what the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues is for, and as a result they are quite lost here....I think it will be good if Tribal Link could also train the Voluntary Fund delegates who are coming to the UNPFII for the first time; so that they too can make full and effective use of their time here at the United Nations.

Damon Gerard Corrie
Founder & President of the Pan-Tribal Confederacy of Indigenous Tribal Nations, Co-Founder and President of the registered non-profit Caribbean Amerindian Development Organisation (CADO) - which was itself created as a direct result of 2012 Project Access Training - the motto of which is "Dedicated to the Preservation and Promotion of Amerindian Cultural Heritage, and the Hemispheric National Implementation of Internationally recognised Rights of Indigenous Peoples"
He is also the CARICOM Commissioner on the Indigenous Commission for Communication Technologies in the Americas (ICCTA), a member of the Working Group on the American Draft Declaration with the Organisation of American States (OAS) since 2000; and a registered participant of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) since 2008, and Chief of the Barbados chapter of the United Confederation of Taino People (UCTP).

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