This report summarises an evaluation of the project for Indigenous Voices in Asia (IVA) that was conducted by the Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP) with support from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) in 2012-4. In partnership with indigenous organisations in the participating countries; Cambodia, Indonesia, Nepal, Philippines, and Thailand, the project conducted training and workshops to build capacity among indigenous journalist and activists to report on the adverse conditions faced by their communities, and to publish their accounts in the national media. It also strengthened the development of indigenous media, notably community radio, as well as created networks of indigenous activists and media representatives, both nationally and across Asia.
The IVA project trained more than 500 indigenous individuals with media skills; ranging from writing for local and national print media to radio broadcasting. In doing so, it has fostered mutually supportive networks of indigenous citizen journalists and activists and media representatives that continue to report on issues of concern to Asia’s Indigenous Peoples. This has resulted in an increase in the amount and frequency of media reporting of indigenous issues, which in some instances, has been seen to contribute towards modifications in development policy and professional practices that are more favourable to Indigenous Peoples.
In evaluating the project activities, it has become apparent that media that is owned and operated by Indigenous Peoples themselves shows considerable promise for allowing them greater voice within public debates around decisions that affect them, and that new media and social media have a role to play in this. Whilst traditional media remains crucial to exposing issues of indigenous concern, training indigenous citizen journalist continues to be a winning strategy, but the process can be strengthened in several ways.
Recommendations are offered to AIPP for future project conduct that target; building the capacities of country partners to carry out similar interventions, a focus on gender dimensions, further cross-border networking, increased application of communication principles to other programmes, a structured approach to advocacy, more intensive use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs), and more effective creation and management of media materials. Additionally, further training should be augmented with digital approaches, needs assessments and longer term effectiveness evaluations. The IVA network needs to be invigorated with contributors who are more active. Academic linkages would expose young people to indigenous issues as well as promote greater use of research to increase knowledge on the innovative use of ICTs and methods of advocacy. Finally, more can be done to motivate indigenous reporting through award schemes and community visits.
General recommendations are offered to the country partners targeting improvements in the training process, networking among indigenous and mainstream journalists, and greater use of community radio and social media. More specific recommendations are offered for each country partner.
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