Recently, there have been many call for grant proposals and funding opportunities for NGOs working or planning to work with indigenous communities, including women around the world. This reflects the high priority attached towards the development of policies and programmes aimed at promotion of the human rights of the indigenous people worldwide. On 22 December 2004, the United Nations General Assembly had adopted the resolution to declare the Second International Decade of the World’s Indigenous People, which commenced from 1 January 2005 onwards. Apparently, there will be flow of substantial resources for next few years for alleviating poverty amongst indigenous communities and NGOs will play a key role in delivering the services in this. To respond to this opportunity, NGOs need to fine-tune their proposals not only to compete for the available funds but also to ensure that effective participatory planning is adopted while seeking to raise grants from international donors. Below are some general tips that can be useful for those NGOs submitting project proposals on eliminating poverty of indigenous people.
1. NGOs need to highlight the participatory process adopted while researching and developing the information for writing the proposal. This context in the proposal should clearly point out the consultations undertaken with the indigenous community. The consultations can be in form of interviews, focus group discussions and other field visits. Explaining the process of these consultations undertaken, including the number and location will be very useful for the proposal.
2. Secondary information from government or other sources about the poverty-levels and other demographic details of the indigenous communities has to be clearly referred to in the context or background information of the proposal.
3. A brief paragraph with an analysis of the existing government policies and programmes on indigenous communities and how they have been (positively or negatively) impacting them and what policy-level opportunities are offered by such a situation for the NGOs to make the needed intervention. International conventions and policies and their ratifications by national governments such as the UN Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) can be mentioned and how NGOs can create awareness about them can form an important part of the proposed activities.
4. Donors have recognized the existence of positive traditional structures among indigenous communities and expect that all interventions need to respect and supplement them. Proposals should not only identify these structures in their pre-proposal research, but also should propose activities that can protect and promote them in a sustainable manner.
5. Indigenous communities may be a secluded population in a country, often lacking access to social, economic and political institutions in the public sector. NGOs can propose strategies for building capacities of both the communities as well as the public sector for ensuring equal access and proportional representation in all fields.