ASIA

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May Putri Evitasari, 25, Indonesia

Strengthening People's Organizations, KPA

I'm on a mission to raise awareness and tackle the chronic agrarian problems affecting Indonesia, including issues like land inequality, land monopoly and conversion, agrarian conflicts and youth migration. With a focus on strengthening grassroots unions, particularly among women and youth, I aspire to contribute to lasting solutions. This fellowship is a beacon of hope, it is a place to learn from and share stories and experiences with my peers from across the globe. This will be my arsenal as I return to my community, better prepared to implement ARAS Education within KPA.

Beyond my passion for advocacy, I have a strong sense of curiosity that drives me to learn about different rural communities. I like to travel, share pictures on my social media and share stories with the communities, including from the Youth and Women's Movement. I am interested in understanding more deeply how different local communities can maintain their lives, and in hearing their stories and their history to also know their socio-economic situation.

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Alvir Melcior Kalzar Reynato Brazao de Oliveira, 26, Timor-Leste

Media, Education and Mobilization, Rede ba Rai

I envision a future where every individual, regardless of background, can confidently claim and protect their ancestral lands. By collaborating, advocating for policy changes and supporting communities’ empowerment, I aim to eradicate land disputes and promote sustainable development. This will contribute to a nation where equitable access to land fosters economic growth and cultural preservation.

The programme provides a transformative platform to realise my vision for Timor Leste's land rights. Through the programme's support, I will empower my leadership to drive robust land registration systems, bridge gaps, help strengthen communities and foster sustainable development, propelling equitable land access. This journey enables me to amplify my impact, creating a legacy of prosperity, cultural preservation and social harmony that aligns with my dream of a thriving nation. Among my other passions are martial arts, music and exercising.

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Khushbu Chourasiya, 29, India

Youth Coordinator, EKTA Foundation Trust

As a young leader, my dream is to build a society that is simpler and fairer. A society where the youth can express themselves freely, where justice is accessible to everyone, where women have equal rights to land resources as men, and where non-violence is highly valued by the community.

The fellowship would allow me to interact with diverse individuals and gain varied perspectives and ideas that will enrich my knowledge and observations. I envision using my learnings from various cultures, different practices, and new thoughts to build awareness and implement them toward my dream. I find my daily inspiration in travelling, exploring architecture, and watching movies, and music.

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Kristel Quierrez, 21, Philippines

Indigenous People youth member, PAKISAMA

As a youth leader in an indigenous community, my dream is to expand my knowledge and experiences to be able to help my tribe in promoting and advocating for land rights, particularly amidst ongoing issues with our ancestral land. I hope to make my voice heard despite cultural controversies and adultcentrism, and to contribute to youth’s initiatives that seek to make recognise and properly implement land rights in our ancestral homes, which are homes of biodiversity.

The programme can help me achieve my dream by offering opportunities for new experiences and relationships beyond what I could achieve alone. I recently graduated in Education and my dream job has always been to be a social worker. I am also one of the founders of the first indigenous youth organization in our area, the Save Sierra Madre Youth Volunteers Organization, and also the current Vice Chairperson of the Ugnayin National Indigenous Youth Network.

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Michelin Sallata, 26, Indonesia

President, Barisan Pemuda Adat Nusantara

I envision my country recognising the rights of the Indigenous Peoples in Indonesia, their political rights, existence, land and traditional knowledge. I would like to see more youth being involved in critical components and decision-making processes inside the community and policymaking. Youth, as frontline defenders of our territories, require a meaningful intergenerational transfer of knowledge to pass on leadership and wisdom.

I am interested in learning about youth intervention in indigenous land and tenure issues. I coordinate programmes promoting peace and pluralism for women in my community, including a socio-entrepreneurship project and an indigenous school. Additionally, I advocate for climate justice through social media, writing and podcasts.

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Dinah Ridadiyanah, 26, Indonesia

Campaigner, RMI

I dream of a good life that upholds fair rights. Not just thinking about infrastructure development but about the basic rights of every community. I dream of making socio-environmental issues, such as land rights, more heard and mainstream for young people like me. I dream of young people standing against injustices that occur in their communities.

Participating in this program will open my eyes to the issue of land rights. What is happening? What problems are being faced? These are questions relevant not only for fellows from Indonesia but from several other regions of the world. Growing vegetables became a spirit of meditation for me, as I came to understand and appreciate a slow process that young people my age rarely enjoy. Everyone wants to appreciate instants, but we forget how to find and appreciate them.

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Megha Sheth, 27, India

Communication Associate, WGWLO

I've keenly observed the profound significance of land rights across a multitude of dimensions. Women's land rights, in particular, extend far beyond their identity as farmers in the realm of agriculture. I firmly believe that we should extend our focus to encompass the land rights of adolescent girls, acknowledging them as daughters who deserve the safeguarding of their fundamental needs. Indeed, land rights are unequivocally human rights and they hold the potential to create a more equitable and just society.

The ILC Young Leaders Fellowship Program enhances my skills and exposes me to global experts. In our pursuit of awareness, action and advocacy for land rights, it is essential to acknowledge the diversity of women's experiences. Various factors, including religion, economic status, cultural norms, the entrenched patriarchy, age and the policies that surround them, necessitate tailored approaches. My overarching goal remains unwavering: to empower women by securing their fundamental rights and enabling them to lead lives imbued with dignity and sovereignty.

AFRICA

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Kennedy Kipngeno Kipsigei, 29, Kenya

Project officer and scouts’ coordinator, Ogiek Peoples Development Program (OPDP)

As a young leader committed to advocating for the Ogiek’s land rights and the conservation of our forest, my dream is to witness the Ogiek youth finally enjoying the hard-fought land rights that our elders have tirelessly pursued for generations. I envision an Ogiek community residing within the Mau complex free from the constant threat of eviction and the scourge of marginalization.

The ILC Fellowship Programme and my peers can help me to achieve this dream. This experience will equip and empower me with the necessary advocacy skills to champion the cause of land rights in my community. I believe it offers a valuable opportunity for me to exchange knowledge and experiences with fellow indigenous youths who share similar challenges both regionally and globally. I proudly lead a group of environmental scout defenders as we work together to protect our community's forests and land tenure rights. Together, we strive for a brighter future for our ancestral land in the Mau Forest that we protect and live with.

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Aïcha Salihou, 25, Cameroon

Secretary General, MBOSCUDA

My dream is to ignite change by encouraging parents to send both their woman and man children to school. By doing so, we can empower ourselves to understand and defend our rights, both human and land-related. It will become necessary for the Mbororos in northern Cameroon to learn the strategies to restore degraded lands, to protect their land rights and the environment.

This fellowship offers me a unique chance to turn my dreams into reality. Through sharing experiences, acquiring new tools and gaining fresh perspectives, I will be equipped to be a dynamic leader in my community. My goal is to promote women's education, gender equality, and female leadership, to shatter repressive stereotypes against women within the Mbororos. My hobbies include reading, travelling, and sharing inspiring stories.

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Namuzimule Caroline Kayanja, 30, Uganda

Senior Programs Officer for Women's Land and Property Rights, UCOBAC

My dream is to support young land actors to be able to articulate land issues. I also believe that using my position to speak for women's land rights issues will impact the lives of many women. People should listen and act.

This fellowship is not just about personal growth; it is about equipping me with the skills to make a lasting difference. With the support of this programme, I believe I can learn to speak more effectively, network with experts and champion women's rights on an even larger scale. I am very passionate about speaking to people who are facing challenges. I consider myself a solution-oriented person but I also believe that sometimes it gets easy if you speak to someone.

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John Fayiah Kelvin, 32, Liberia

Land Program Coordinator, RRF

My ultimate dream is to see Liberian local traditional and indigenous communities including women, youth and people with disabilities realise their rights to and ownership of land. The injustice, imbalance and marginalisation in securing access to land for certain groups need to stop. It is time to prioritise people at the centre of land governance and work towards generational change.

Through this fellowship, I hope to learn from other’s experiences and gain new skills and insights that will enhance my advocacy work and my leadership. I also look forward to enriching my knowledge on cross-cutting issues like climate change, and to contributing to collective actions that bring positive social changes. I love writing and watching movies as a source of inspiration.

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Moses Nkhana, 28, Malawi

Executive Director, MYO

Land isn't just an issue for adults; it's a concern that affects the youth profoundly.

Youth are among the preeminent users of land; a land which they often have little say over in regards to its development or usage. Land rights for the youth is a strategy for poverty alleviation and a key to achieving sustainable development goals. Therefore, land rights for youth should not be taken as an option but a necessity. Land has more than a material or utilitarian aspect for youth.

The fellowship will allow me to learn more about different expressions of young people in the land rights advocacy and to further enrich and learn about these diverse experiences in youth leadership. When I'm not working, I enjoy exercising, particularly in martial arts, and I love playing the guitar and harmonica.

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Theresia Mashao Raphael, 28, Tanzania

Project Assistance, TNRF

I am a dynamic young leader from the breathtaking landscapes of Tanzania. My dream is to establish a global platform for young leaders worldwide to promote land rights advocacy and improve natural resource governance. I believe in the power of networking and sharing ideas to foster positive change.

Learning from others coming from different geographies will help me shape my leadership skills and help my country improve land governance for a better future. I feel privileged to be part of the programme and happy to contribute, through it, with other young people from Tanzania, who are the majority of the population and a critical group to produce sustainable changes.

I also love cooking, volunteering in the community and meeting new people.

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Miriane Kizimini, 27, Democratic Republic of Congo

Assistant to the Facilitator, CODELT CFN-RDC

My dream is to see all the spaces taken from young people returned to them, new spaces created and the States set aside spaces in new subdivisions so that young people can fulfil their potential.

The programme will help me realise my dream. As a young leader at the international level, we're going to join forces with the other fellows for advocacy and lobbying to influence decision-makers. I am a member of several youth movements in my country and in other countries. I am President of the Kalamu Communal Youth Council, in charge of communications for Yilaa DRC, and Coordinator of the International Youth Network for Sustainable Development (RIJDD). I am also a member of several feminist movements, including the Consortium des Femmes du Moment, the Beijing 25+ Coalition and the Coalition of Women's Organisations in Kinshasa.

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Doris Wanjiru Munyingi, 25, Kenya

Programs Officer, GROOTS Kenya

As a young leader working for land rights, my dream is to spark an empowerment revolution. I imagine a society in which grassroots women and girls, as the heart of communities, have equitable access to land. I dream of a society where we raise our voices, break down barriers and effect systemic change. Moreover, a future in which land rights are more than merely formalities, but also transformative tools. This is our chance to plant seeds of equity, cultivate landscapes of opportunity and reap a world in which every individual thrives and no one is left behind.

The ILC Fellowship is critical to bringing my ambition to fruition. This program provides a forum for grassroots women and girls' voices to be heard, giving them the attention and agency they deserve. The collaborative nature of the program allows me to learn from other viewpoints and adopt novel strategies. My passion lies in encouraging grassroots women and girls globally, striving to ensure their voices and rights are at the forefront of change.

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Lucien Benga, 29, Democratic Republic of Congo

Projects and Partnerships, UEFA

I dream of a society in Congo where Pygmy Indigenous Peoples have full and equal rights, especially women, young people and other marginalised groups. I hope for strong indigenous leaders to emerge and tackle issues like the climate crisis, land grabbing, biodiversity loss and participation in decision-making bodies that influence them.

The programme will help me overcome my personal and organisational limitations and apply the knowledge gained from previous experiences. With this, I can considerably improve my capacity development in my profession and fulfil my responsibilities to the Pygmy indigenous communities, contributing to the sustainable development objectives of our region, as well as the human rights and Indigenous Peoples' declaration.

LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN

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Victoria Rocio Escobar, 26, Argentina

Referent of the Gender Secretariat, UTT

My dream for Argentina is one of regulation for the redistribution of land and equity – a country where land redistribution is a reality. This would empower women-led farming families to engage in agroecological production. While achieving this dream might be challenging, I'm determined to intervene and influence state agendas, consolidate grassroots efforts and learn from experiences across the continent and the world.

Beyond my advocacy role, I'm a producer, sociology student and writer of stories and poetry. My fascination with food extends from its production to consumption. This fellowship is my opportunity to amplify my impact, refine my skills and contribute to reshaping land rights in Argentina and beyond.

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Yeisully Tapias, 34, Colombia

Dinamizadora, ASOJE - IFAD

My dream is to transform our territory into a hub of opportunities for all, even in the most remote areas. I am a young rural woman displaced by the armed conflict in my country, an older sister and a passionate defender of human rights and nature. Together with other young people, I chart a path of resilience and commitment, inspired by the love of my family and the determination to serve others, guided by values of solidarity and sacrifice ingrained since childhood. I believe that every person deserves equality, dignity and opportunities to flourish and transform our communities into spaces of equity and hope.

I am excited to learn and exchange experiences with fellow young leaders. I aim to strengthen our collective fight for land rights, gender equality and sustainable development. As a musician, educator and nature lover, I am dedicated to preserving resources and promoting indigenous knowledge.

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Nadino Abner Calapucha Cerda, 33, Ecuador

Technical Coordinator of the Defenders Programme, COICA

My dream is that land rights of Indigenous Peoples are guaranteed and protected, and that our land and territories are respected and recognised as key to the fight against the climate crisis. I am committed to building a leadership legacy for indigenous youth.

Participating in the ILC Fellowship Programme will allow me to sharpen my skills, expand my knowledge and implement concrete actions in the territories. I am a passionate musician and have a music band called KAMBAK (“for you” in the Kichwa language). I also like politics very much, that is why I am studying law. Extreme sports (rafting, kayaking, mountain climbing, mountaineering) are also my passion; I also studied Waldorf education.

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Ximena Ayelén Vilcay, 33, Argentina

Youth educator and human rights champion, Colectivo de Mujeres del Chaco Americano

I want to strengthen the processes of dialogue, knowledge and experiences exchange, and building bridges and global networks with other young people around the world to fight the systems of oppression that cause inequalities and vulnerabilities.

The programme will help us enlarge our knowledge and mechanisms for the defence, reparation and guarantee of human rights in our communities, organisations and territories. It will allow the transfer of learning to young people in our territories. I am also a social worker in a regional health organisation in Argentina and work in hospitals with children and young people, using popular pedagogy, the ecology approach and gender lenses. I am also the great-granddaughter of the Cacique Quilmes from the Calchaquies Valleys in the province of Catamarca, Argentina, and day by day I seek to reconstruct my ancestral history and identity.

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Marlon Howking, 30, Nicaragua

Indigenous rights guardian and land defender, NITLAPAN

In my heart, I see a world where non-Indigenous People acknowledge and respect the human rights and communal lands of indigenous communities. Recognising and helping to publicise indigenous human rights and communal lands also helps to make visible indigenous meanings, cosmovision, episteme and philosophy about land and other natural resources.

I love my community because it is green. There are lots of trees and animals. It is the most beautiful thing to wake up at 3:00 a.m. and hear the song of the partridge or the roar of the Congo monkey. At 4:00 and 5:00 am everything seems like a concert. I hear even the ants singing while looking for food and welcoming the sun.

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Yulianis Yosanis Gutierrez Monroy, 20, Colombia

Media Maven And Youth Activist, OPDS

I dream of a future where rural communities, including women and youth, have equal access to land and are free from violence and discrimination. I want our voices to be heard and valued, creating meaningful change for generations to come. A world where we can thrive and build a better future for all in our territories is my dream.

The ILC Young Leaders Fellows programme aligns with my goals as a young leader, allowing me to enhance my knowledge and skills on land rights and connect with like-minded youths. This opportunity also benefits my community in Montes de María by addressing current challenges and empowering rural communities. Collaboration with other participants will enrich our experiences and provide us with concrete tools to advocate for territorial justice and community well-being. I am passionate about studying and influencing the social and organisational processes that are woven into our territories.

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Luis Naobil Xep Jacinto, 25, Guatemala

Rural youth coordinator and indigenous rights advocate, CCDA

As a young Mayan Kaqchikel, I have witnessed social injustices and violations of human rights. I dream of better opportunities for indigenous and peasant youth who have historically been forgotten, with social inequality, repression, exclusion and evictions. Access to land, organisational strengthening, political training and the reclaiming of our territories are necessary. To promote agrarian justice and environmental justice for the rural youth in the search for autonomous and self-determining territories for the construction of Utz K'aslemal (Good Living).

The program will improve our leadership and knowledge, strengthening the National Council of Rural Youth organised in CCDA. It is a space for learning about the struggles of youth from different countries. I love the anthropological and historical studies that we are promoting, which allow us to know our territories better.

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Wara Iris Ruiz Condori, 28, Bolivia

Member of the International Steering Committee and Coordinator, Slow Food

As a young leader working for land rights, I would like to decolonise our food systems and promote safe and accessible food for everyone inspired by ancestral gastronomy and production. Also, I would like to promote climate resilience for indigenous communities on local and international platforms through the promotion of projects inspired by ancestral indigenous knowledge.

Participating in this fellowship is an excellent chance to gain a deeper understanding of land rights. The program offers a combination of theoretical and practical projects that will have a positive impact on indigenous communities worldwide. I am excited to meet dedicated leaders whose work and mission inspire new ideas and enhance advocacy for land rights. As an Andean poet and portrait photographer, I have participated in numerous international conferences.

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Rossi Ix Jab Morales Calel, 19, Guatemala

Communication and Technical support, UVOC

I have a dream that the youth can have a say in decision-making processes. By doing so, the young generation can enhance their political involvement and make a difference in various areas. This platform will help me develop my skills and abilities while providing me with valuable insights that I can apply to the UVOC communities. Strengthening my leadership will allow me to organise indigenous and peasant youth so that we can fight to be in spaces of political participation both at community and organisational levels. There is still fear and adult-centric practices that do not allow us to do so, but there is still hope that things will change.