Representatives of the IPACC, the Indigenous Peoples of Africa Co-ordinating Committee, held an initial meeting with ERF, at ERF headquarters in Geneva, to assess potential opportunities for collaboration.
ERF President Sheikh Manssour Bin Mussallam noted the essential role of indigenous peoples’ associations in realising the promise of Balanced and Inclusive Education (BIE). “Like you, we seek systemic solutions to the challenges of exclusion. We must integrate our efforts – not by centralising them, but by confederating.”
“Autochtonous peoples are often forgotten peoples,” said Vital Bambanze, IPACC’s Deputy Regional Representative for the Great Lakes region. “And we are certain that education is the primary means to overcome that.”
Emmanuel Nengo, representative of Unissons-nous pour la Promotion des Batwa (UNIPROBA), affirmed principles that mirror perfectly the imperative of BIE: “In order for all people to be included in development, all people must be able to see themselves in it.”
The IPACC delegation also included Diel Mochire Mwenge, Focal Point for North-Kivu of the Réseau des Populations Autochtones et Locales pour la gestion durable des Écosystème Forestier de la République démocratique du Congo (REPALEF-RDC), and Aehshatou Manu, of the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders. While in Geneva, they also took part in a UN Voluntary Fund for Indigenous Peoples (UNVFIP) side event.