Mission & Vision
The ILED Network is a growing, collaborative network of organisations in support of education led by Indigenous peoples. The shared intention of these impact-first organisations is:
To harness the power of Indigenous-led education and to make Indigenous communities, especially Indigenous children and youth, more resilient for the future.
The Story of ILED
The Global Network on Indigenous-led Education (ILED) was created in 2020. The seed for an ILED Network grew when various grassroots and support organisations found each other in their shared aspirations: seeking greater recognition, visibility, support and funds for holistic approaches to community resilience, especially around community-led education.
These different organisations witnessed the various ways that formal education systems continue to marginalise Indigenous peoples across the globe. Simultaneously, Indigenous communities are facing human rights abuses, loss and destruction of Indigenous lands and territories, dispossession and discrimination. These daily challenges made it increasingly difficult for Indigenous communities to pass on their knowledge, language and culture.
Fortunately, many Indigenous communities are also responding to these challenges: by developing their own initiatives.
This is why the ILED network was created: to centre Indigenous grassroots initiatives that uphold, preserve and pass on their way of life, knowledge and language to Indigenous youth. After all, the engagement and commitment of future generations is a crucial factor for cultural resilience.
Following a series of exploratory discussions and calls, the network became a reality in January 2021.
Members of the ILED Network
Sengwer of Embobut Community Organisation (Kenya); Keystone Foundation (India); Non-Timber Forest Products- Exchange Programme – NTFP-EP (Asia); Federation of Negrito Tribes – SPNKK (the Philippines); IMPECT Association (Thailand); Fundación para la Promoción del Conocimiento Indígena, FPCI (Panama); Allianza Ceibo (Ecuador); Federación de Comunidades Nativas de Ucayali y Afluentes – FECONAU (Peru); Friends with Environment in Development, FED (Uganda); Both ENDS (the Netherlands); Forest Peoples Programme, FPP (United Kingdom); Rutu Foundation for Intercultural Multilingual Education (the Netherlands).
The ILED Team
Contact email: email@example.com
Plan of Action
1. Promote networking, knowledge sharing and exchanges – Facilitate cross-cultural knowledge sharing to build mutual support and inspiration for ILED Network members. This includes:
local, regional and international exchanges on selected topics (online and offline).
peer-to-peer learning and reviewing of each other’s initiatives and practices, sharing news, opportunities, and contacts.
regional coordinators who act as a driving force in the network: supporting existing activities and expanding the scope of the network, such as introducing new partners, donors and opportunities for collaboration.
2. Gain traction and financial support through sharing funding opportunities, networks and contacts
Administering an accessible, low-bureaucratic Small Grants Fund for inspiring Indigenous-led education initiatives.
In 2022, a total of 8 project proposals have been submitted to the Small Grants Fund. The following projects are currently being implemented:
- Costa Rica – Alí Garcia Segura of the Bribri peoples
Kṍ tchë́l tã Sibö̀ ttékã: in the Fourth Half Sibó Spoke. Because we Believe that We Are in the Moment to Talk about our Bribri Identity (2022)
- India – Keystone Foundation
Community Knowledge Exchange Hub & Museum by Indigenous Communities of the Nilambur Region (2022).
- Kenya – the Sengwer Berur women in Kabolet
Planting a Tree for my own Breath (2022)
- Thailand – IMPECT Association
Empowering Indigenous Youth on the Transferring of Mother Tongue and Intangible Cultural Heritage of the Mawakhi Community (2022)
- Panama – FPCI
Eco-Cultural Strengthening for Young Gunas at the Level of Science Clubs, in Two Schools in the Gunayala Region (2022).
Proud to be Ata - Production and Sharing of Culturally Appropriate Learning Materials with Ata Elementary Schools (2022).
Community consultations on the Indigenous-Led Education Approach (2023)
Have a look at the interactive map for more information about the different projects.
We are looking for more funding opportunities to keep supporting these ILED initiatives. Individual donations are welcome. Follow this link and mention the ILED Network in the box ‘leave a message’. The full project proposals are available upon request.
3. Raise awareness and increase visibility of Indigenous-led education initiatives. This includes:
- Engaging external stakeholders through organising webinars/dialogues and other outreach activities.
- Publishing information, including multimedia, and contribute to relevant consultations or processes related to Indigenous education.
- Celebrating successful grassroot initiatives with an annual award.
Made Possible By
The Small Grants Fund is supported by: Arcadia; The Christensen Fund; SwedBio; the Fair, Green and Global Alliance (FGG); the Global Alliance for Green and Gender Action (GAGGA) and the Elzemarieke Velthuijzen van Zanten Legacy.
The United Nations General Assembly declared the period of 2022-2032 as the International Decade of Indigenous Languages (IDIL 2022-2032). The aim of this decade is to protect, support, revitalise and promote Indigenous languages. By creating a joint global movement, the goal of this decade is to put a halt to the gradual decline of Indigenous languages globally.
The Rutu Foundation is also part of this global movement, as a fervent supporter of cultural and linguistic diversity in education.
On this page, we will gather resources and tools for the promotion of Indigenous languages. We hope you join us in celebrating and protecting Indigenous languages, and that this place offers a useful starting point.
ILED Network Publication: Pass it on! Stories of Indigenous-Led Education from the Grassroots
In light of the International Decade, the ILED Network created a publication highlighting the importance of language in passing on indigenous knowledge. Check out the full publication here (version en Español aquí).
Have a look at the resources below to keep reading about the importance of Indigenous-led education:
Learning how to build a 'binatak'house
The Mobile Forest School is an initiative of ILED partner Sentrong Pagpapalakas ng Negritong Kultura at Kalikasan (SPNKK) in the Philippines.
“To serve as a platform for collective action where empowered Negrito communities work toward the elimination of discrimination, protection of their ancestral territories, full recognition of their rights and cultural identity, and development of leadership potential within the framework of Negrito decision-making and political systems." - Mission statement SPNKK
'Negrito' is the collective term to refer to the Filipino Indigenous peoples with a hunter-gatherer background, including the Agta, Aeta, Ati, Ata and Batak peoples. The Negrito peoples represent the most ancient civilization in the country, dating back more than 50.000 years ago.
The Rutu International Advisory Board member, ethno-ecologist and award winning anthropologist Jenne de Beer works closely together with the SPNKK. He is also the founder of the Non-Timber Forest Products-Exchange Program (NTFP-EP) in Southeast Asia. Based in the Philippines, De Beer provides technical and monitoring assistance to the organizations. He has worked for over 30 years with indigenous forest communities in many parts of Asia, including the Negritos of the Philippines. Together with the SPNKK he aims to improve the situation of the Negrito peoples, as they face ongoing marginalization. An important part of this is guaranteeing the right to mother tongue education.
Grassroot Educational Initiatives
SPNKKs first activities included the creation of various collaborations with elementary schools to provide education that does not alienate Negrito children from their rich heritage and communities. A pilot project at the Sentrong Paaralan ng mga Agta (SPA) main school in General Nakar, Quezon resulted in the creation of a film by young Agta leaders (as part of a series of 5), assisted by Jon Corbetter of the University of British Colombia. In October 2012 (around ‘Tebewen’), the film was released during the first Negrito Cultural Revival Festival and Development Forum. Since the film’s release, great progress has been made with incorporating traditional knowledge and skills through learning activities in, around and outside of school. See more examples here: Culture in Education in the Philippines.
New School Book: Proud to be Agta
The lack of multilingual school materials often poses a challenge for providing mother tongue education. Therefore, the SPNKK creates educational resources that specifically target Negrito children. In October 2014, as part of the curriculum overhaul, a bilingual workbook for first graders was released about the Agta forest-oriented culture and way of life, their history and ancestral domain. It also includes beautiful drawings made by students of SPA school. This book and other tools are now being shared with other Negrito schools in the area. Click here to see the full book! A follow-up project is supported by the ILED Small Grants project and is currently being implemented.
Mobile Forest School
The Rutu Foundation supports the SPNKK through its Mobile Forest School project. This project arose out of the need to disrupt the harmful effects of mainstream education and environmental changes. It aims to provide Negrito children with an alternative by offering culturally-appropriate secondary schooling, rooted in Negrito worldviews and ways of life. Check out the full details of this program here.
Cultural Festivals & Revival of Negrito Food Traditions
SPNKK also organizes cultural festivals (such as the Mam-eh Aeta Forest Foods Festival), traditional food revival activities and other cultural revival initiatives. It actively involves the youth in these activities. The SPNKK and associated Negrito communities work together with different partners to realize this:
- Collaboration for the revival of Negrito food traditions with the People & Plants organization: see the full details here.
- Collaboration with the National Museum of the Philippines to open a permanent exhibition on the knowledge, history and culture of the Negrito peoples. Read more about this historical event. It has led to various regular and re-occurring follow-up activity programs, accessible to both Negrito and non-Negrito youth.
For Indigenous Peoples
- Get in touch and see what the ILED Network can mean to you!
For Supporters & Allies
- Inspired by our work? Want to see how you can support us or collaborate? Get in touch!
- Want to give a donation? Follow this link and mention the ILED Network in the box ‘leave a message’!