Swift Foundation Newsletter – March 2018

Dear Karen,

Nicaragua Trip - Pawanka Fund

Pawanka Fund Guiding Committee members and participating funders outside of CADPI Nicaragua’s office

I have recently returned from a trip to Nicaragua where I participated in the annual meeting of the Pawanka Fund, an Indigenous-led fund supporting Indigenous Peoples’ initiatives engaged in promoting and protecting traditional knowledge, well-being, rights and self-determined development. Swift has been supporting Pawanka Fund since 2015. Please click here to watch a short video about Pawanka Fund and its activities.

Many of the meeting participants mentioned that the biggest success and innovation of the Fund is the use of the cultural due diligence process. The aspect that excited me the most about the Pawanka Fund is the choice of their themes, which are very specific to Indigenous ways of knowing, learning, and living. More about the themes and the Fund’s cycles can be found here.

Our meeting took place in the beautiful town of Granada on Lake Managua, followed by a site visit to the town of Bilwi (Puerta Cabezas) in the North Caribbean Coast Autonomous Region. Our site visit to Bilwi was a lifetime opportunity to witness self-governance by Indigenous Peoples in action. The Region managed to harmonize both state and traditional systems of governance, which was a result of decades of hard work and dedication by indigenous leaders such as Myrna Cunningham, the Pawanka Fund guiding committee chair.

We had many in-person meetings with community and municipal judges, healthcare professionals, and local traditional healers, in which we learned how they built their judicial and healthcare systems grounded in the traditional laws and customs of the local Indigenous Peoples. I came away feeling even more inspired and hopeful by the work that Swift Foundation and our grantee partners are doing.

In Solidarity,
Galina Angarova
Program Officer

Swift Partner Survey
Deadline March 26th

Dear Swift Partners (current and past),

As part of our ongoing effort to reflect the foundation’s work, we are requesting your feedback in this seven question, 10-15 minute survey.

In April, the Swift board and staff will meet to discuss our strategic direction. As part of those discussions, we will reflect on our programs and would appreciate your feedback. Rosemary Hitchens will be collecting the data that will be compiled anonymously. Please contact us in case you have any questions.

We greatly appreciate your filling out this Survey Monkey by March 26th.

With gratitude,
Jen, Galina, and Karen

Good News: Ethiopian Indigenous Anuak Leader Okello Akway Ochalla is Free!

After nearly four years of unjust detention, the Oakland Institute is thrilled to announce the release of Okello Akway Ochalla. Since Mr. Okello’s abduction in South Sudan in 2014, the Oakland Institute has worked tirelessly with his family and lawyers, launching a public campaign, mobilizing international media and NGOs, and advocating for his release with the Ethiopian, Norwegian, and US governments. Read the press release by Anuradha Mittal here.

Global Environments Summer Academy 2018: Call for Applications
Deadline March 15th

The Global Diversity Foundation is pleased to announce GESA 2018: the sixth Global Environments Summer Academy, to be held in collaboration with the Environmental Change Institute and the Interdisciplinary Centre for Conservation Science of the University of Oxford, between 25 July and 11 August 2018. Click here to learn more and to apply.

Art, Seed Sovereignty and Activism: Weaving New Stories

The relationship between art, seed sovereignty and activism offers a platform for both artists and activists to reach new audiences and foster powerful solidarities. The national Seed Dialogue and Celebration, hosted by Swift grantee ACB, held at Constitution Hill, Johannesburg in December 2017 was an opportunity to explore these potentials. Read more here.

Land grabbing: An urgent issue for indigenous peoples around the world

About 2.5 billion people around the globe, including 370 million indigenous people, depend on land and natural resources that are held, used, and managed collectively. This means that one third of the world’s population is vulnerable to dispossession by more powerful actors. Read more here.

Stand in Solidarity with the Sengwer Peoples!

The Sengwer Peoples are facing increased violence and forced evictions in Kenya. Read the Land is Life newsletter here for more information.

The Making of Never Alone

Watch this inspiring 12-minute video about the making of the Never Alone video gamecreated in collaboration with the Cook Inlet Tribal Council and E-Line Media. The game shares and celebrates the culture and traditions of Native Alaskan Indigenous Peoples. Click here to watch.

If you know of anyone who would benefit from this type of content, please feel free to pass along this newsletter or send me their contact information and I will add them to our list serve. In the meantime, you can unsubscribe at any time.

All The Best!

Karen Mehringer
Executive Assistant & Grants Administrator
Swift Foundation

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