Indigenous-Led Education Network

Click on the button with three dots (bottom right) to see the interactive map in full-screen!


Mission & Vision 

The ILED Network is a growing, collaborative network of organisations in support of Indigenous-led education. The shared intention of these impact-first organisations is:

To harness the power of Indigenous-led education 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 challenges and aspirations: seeking more recognition, visibility, support and funds for holistic approaches to community resilience, and especially for their work on community-led education. 

These different organisations were witnessing the various ways that formal education systems continue to marginalise Indigenous peoples across the globe. Simultaneously, Indigenous communities are facing many threats and problems such as human rights abuses, loss and destruction of Indigenous lands and territories, dispossession and discrimination. These daily challenges have made it increasingly difficult for Indigenous communities to pass on their knowledge, language and culture.

Fortunately, many Indigenous communities are responding to these challenges by developing their own initiatives. Therefore, the ILED network decided 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. 

By joining forces and working together, the different organisations hope to have a bigger impact. After a series of exploratory discussions and calls, the network became a reality after hosting its first webinar 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 





The ILED Network

Click on the button with three dots (bottom right) to see the interactive Theory of Change in full-screen!

Small Grants Fund

In 2022, a total of 8 project proposals have been submitted to the Small Grants Fund. The following 5 projects are currently being implemented:

  • Costa Rica – Alí García 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.

  • India – Keystone Foundation:

    Community Knowledge Exchange Hub & Museum by Indigenous Communities of the Nilambur Region.

  • Kenya – the Sengwer Berur women in Kabolet:

    Planting a Tree for my own Breath.

  • Thailand – IMPECT Association:

    Empowering Indigenous Youth on the Transferring of Mother Tongue and Intangible Cultural Heritage of the Mawakhi Community.

  • Panama – FPCI:

    Eco-Cultural Strengthening for Young Gunas at the Level of Science Clubs, in Two Schools in the Gunayala Region.

We are looking for more funding to keep supporting these ILED initiatives! Have a look at the interactive map for more information about the different projects. The full project proposals are available upon request. Get in touch by sending an email to:

Want to give a donation? Follow this link and mention the ILED Network in the box ‘leave a message’!

Made Possible By

The Small Grants Fund is supported by: Arcadia – a charitable fund of Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin; The Christensen Fund; SwedBio at Stockholm Resilience Centre; FAIR (Foundation Against Intolerance and Racism); the Fair, Green and Global Alliance (FGG); and the Global Alliance for Green and Gender Action (GAGGA).








News & Resources

A Global Movement in Support of Indigenous Languages


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 mother tongue education, as well as cultural and linguistic diversity. The ILED Network is also part of this commitment to support Indigenous languages globally.

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.

Coming soon! The very first ILED spotlight publication on the importance of Indigenous languages. Together with members of the ILED Network, we have created a publication spotlighting stories of Indigenous-led education from the grassroots. Indigenous languages are the overlapping theme of this publication in light of the International Decade. Expected release is in June 2022. Stay tuned.


Have a look at the resources below to keep reading about the importance of Indigenous-led education:

  • ILED fact sheet with more background information on Indigenous-led education.
  • Resources on mother-tongue and multilingual education you can find here.
  • Toolkit for Teachers: toolkit for educators who would like to create a class on promoting and celebrating Indigenous languages.
  • Our ILED partner NTFP-EP regularly publishes the newspaper Voices from the Forest, filled with stories and updates from the diverse communities that they work with. Check out their latest edition here.

Mobile Forest School

Learning how to build a 'binatak'house

On this page, you will find out all about the different activities and initiatives of our ILED partner Sentrong Pagpapalakas ng Negritong Kultura at Kalikasan (SPNKK). The mission of the SPNKK is:

“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.”

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. So keep on reading and find out more about Indigenous education in the Philippines!

Grassroot Educational Initiatives


Elementary Schools
SPNKK’s 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. This includes a pilot at the Sentrong Paaralan ng mga Agta (SPA) main school in General Nakar, Quezon. This has 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’), it 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.

Proud to be Agta - book for first gradersNew School Book: Proud to be Agta
The lack of multilingual school materials often poses a challenge for providing mother tongue education. Therefore, the SPNKK also 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!

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. Curious to learn more about the Mobile Forest School? Check out this link.

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 the opening of this historical event here. It has led to various regular and re-occurring follow-up activity programs, accessible to both Negrito and non-Negrito youth.


Get Involved!

For Indigenous Peoples

  • Interested in becoming a member of the ILED Network? 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’!