Member highlight: International Indigenous Women’s Forum


The International Indigenous Women’s Forum (FIMI-IIWF) is a global network of Indigenous women leaders and organizations from the seven socio-cultural regions in the world.
FIMI was created in 1995 at the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing China where Indigenous women from around the world gathered to share experiences, demands and proposals. The need for global coordination became visible and since then, FIMI has been working towards building a global network of Indigenous women.
FIMI’s mission is to bring together Indigenous women leaders and human rights activists from different parts of the world to coordinate agendas, build capacities and to enhance leadership. FIMI encourages Indigenous women’s participation and leadership roles in international decision-making processes by ensuring the consistent and serious inclusion of Indigenous women’s perspectives in all discussions regarding human rights.
FIMI envisions a world free from all forms of discrimination, where Indigenous peoples can exercise their human rights, have access to economic justice, and where they can participate fully and effectively in decision-making processes that affect their lives on a local, national, regional and international level. FIMI fights for a new paradigm that overcomes racism, social exclusion and inequality so that Indigenous women can fully enjoy all fundamental human rights. FIMI works for a future where Indigenous girls can achieve their dreams and Indigenous women can participate in equal conditions regarding the development of their communities.
FIMI has an interdisciplinary and intercultural team of professionals devoted to achieve their mission. Since its start in 1995, FIMI has consolidated as an international leader, positioning the perspectives and priorities of Indigenous women.
Their work is guided by 8 principles:
  1. Self-Determination
  2. Traditional Knowledge Systems
  3. Free, Prior and Informed Consent
  4. Solidarity and Alliances Building
  5. Complementarity and Reciprocity
  6. Participation and Promotion of Democracy
  7. Respect for Diversity
  8. Empowerment
Global Leadership School of Indigenous Women
Training and building capacities is a key priority in the Global Indigenous Women’s Movement. The Global Leadership School of Indigenous Women is a process that has been underway for several years. It gained strength in 2013, with the first edition of the International Program on Human Rights and Advocacy Strategies. The program comprises 10 months of intense work through virtual modules, classroom seminars at Columbia University and the United Nations, personalized mentoring and participation in the sessions of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. After this immersive experience, participants improve their knowledge on international human rights instruments and their implementation through the design and development of concrete advocacy strategies for social change.
The selection of participants is made by Academic Council of women with extensive experience in training processes and / or impact at the global level.
On the Program’s Second Edition, 26 Indigenous women leaders from Africa, the Americas, the Arctic and the Pacific took part in the face-to-face stage last month in New York, USA. As a group, they formulated recommendations regarding Indigenous women at the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, including two interventions in plenary. They also organized and convened a side event where each related their experiences, progress and challenges on two basic topics: good governance and violence against Indigenous women. Furthermore, the group arranged a meeting with UN Women Deputy Director, Lakshi Puri, where they discussed the need for an overall institutional policy to guide the agency’s work with Indigenous women in the world.
Participation and Political Advocacy
Participation in advocacy spaces has been one of the priorities expressed within the Indigenous women’s movement. The International Indigenous Women’s Forum is committed to facilitate and enable effective political participation for the empowerment of Indigenous women through four strategies:
  1. Advocacy at international and regional spaces for positioning Indigenous women’s perspectives.
  2. Monitoring compliance with international agreements on the rights of Indigenous women globally.
  3. Strengthening and coordination of Indigenous women’s networks and their partnerships with other social movements.
  4. Visibility of Indigenous women’s leadership in key areas of participation.
These strategies are implemented in coordination with United Nations system agencies and networks of Indigenous women partners of the Americas, Africa, Asia, Pacific and the Arctic. FIMI facilitates dialogues and consensus globally.
The Indigenous Women’s Fund – AYNI
AYNI: Quechua/kichua word synthesizing reciprocity, solidarity and equitable and fair collaborative work both among humans and between humans and other beings in the cosmos (animals, plants, stars, etc.)
AYNI FUND AsiaAYNI is the very first fund for and by Indigenous women. Since its beginnings, AYNI has been setting new trends in philanthropy and social investment. The Indigenous Women‘s Fund – AYNI strongly believes that Indigenous women are active agents in the fight against poverty, racism and social exclusion. When empowered, Indigenous women are active agents of change and produce a multiplying effect in various spheres of the lives of other women and children.
AYNI’s main purpose is to invest material, financial and human resources for the fulfillment of individual and collective human rights of Indigenous women. The Fund is the economic and philanthropic arm of FIMI and works as a facilitating channel to support Indigenous women in their economic empowerment, in leadership building and in strengthening their organizational processes.
Who can apply?
Communities of Indigenous or tribal peoples, or organizations / associations / groups of Indigenous women.  For mixed organizations or Indigenous tribal peoples, the proposal must be submitted by a section, secretariat or group of women. Projects submitted by organizations or communities who have NOT previously received funding will be prioritized.
The AYNI Fund maintains that contributions made by Indigenous women in their own communities for the development of their projects are essential. This is why FIMI considers quantifiable contributions and non-quantifiable contributions (i.e. traditional knowledge, practices, spiritual resources, etc.)
1st Grant Cycle 2010
AYNI funded 13 projects to Indigenous women’s organizations in 13 countries worldwide for a total of $65,000. Each project received co-financing of $5,000.  Among the funded countries of origin were Peru, Mexico, Argentina, Colombia, Canada, Nepal, India, Maldives, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Ghana and Cameroon.
2nd Grant Cycle 2013
After the release of the second call for proposals, AYNI Fund received 203 projects from America, Asia, and Africa. In this cycle, AYNI funded 18 projects awarding $90,000 in total.
Indigenous Women’s Watch against Violence
Violence against women is a priority area of work for FIMI. Their first step is to reflect on a conceptualization of violence from the perspective of Indigenous women, to describe its recurrent manifestations, identify good practices and develop guidelines for action for its prevention and elimination.
Since 2010, they have been continuously building the Indigenous Women Watch Against Violence, a proposal raised by Indigenous women, as a mechanism to monitor and visualize the situation of violence against Indigenous women in all its forms and levels, promoting compliance with international human rights commitments. Given the lack of data and information on the situation of violence against Indigenous women, the Watch promotes research processes, implementing a participatory and interactive methodology for the preparation of studies, diagnosis and documentation of cases locally.
For the preparation of studies, FIMI has developed a Toolkit of Intercultural research and trainings in order to share strategies and skills with Indigenous women’s organizations that lead the entire research process locally. So far, in coordination with women’s organizations at the local level, the Watch succeeded in developing participatory assessments in Mexico, Guatemala, Panama, Honduras and Nicaragua.