Project information

Empowering Minority and Indigenous Women

Support minority and indigenous women and the organisations representing them to get their voices heard and gain the relevant skills and knowledge in the areas they need most. This work also challenges discrimination faced by minorities and indigenous women as well as the higher poverty they face.

3 years

Charity information: Minority Rights Group International (MRG)

Minority Rights Group International (MRG) logo
  • Need


    Continuing our targeted gender work with Batwa women in the Great Lakes region of Africa and Dalit women in India and Nepal, MRG seeks to support our partners as they confront discrimination against minority and indigenous women, both on account of their gender and as members of minority or indigenous communities. In particular, our work addresses issues of minority women's political and social exclusion and economic dependence.


    Building upon initial advocacy and research, Batwa partners have now decided to work in conjunction with development stakeholders in order to focus on sustainable development and economic empowerment. Dalit partners have decided to focus on improving access to justice and have designed a strategy to increase Dalit women’s leadership within the legal framework.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    Enhance the skills and knowledge of Batwa women and their representatives


    » Produce an assessment of Batwa women leaders’ capacity building needs.
    » Train Batwa women leaders to become well-informed focal points in Burundi, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Rwanda and Uganda.
    » Train girls and women on rights, confidence building, and participation in development processes, life skills, and management of small businesses.

    Success will be when Batwa women and their representatives gain the necessary skills and knowledge in order to advocate for the implementation of their basic human rights.

    Aim 2

    Promote tolerance and respect for Batwa women's basic human rights


    » Train police officers and government officials on women’s rights and sensitivity towards the particular needs of Batwa women.
    » Conduct advocacy with government to raise awareness of violence against Batwa women.
    » Hold community meetings with Batwa men and members of majority communities to highlight the rights of Batwa women.

    Success will be when a greater degree of tolerance and respect for Batwa women's rights are observed at the local, national, and international levels.

    Aim 3

    Strengthen leadership of Dalit women in India


    » Support Dalit partners to develop advocacy strategies to improve access to justice for Dalit women based on their previous research.
    » Continue supporting partners to strengthen Dalit women’s leadership, specifically regarding the legal system.

    Success will be when Dalit women leaders display an increased capacity to advocate on behalf of their communities.

    Aim 4

    Encourage local, national, and international stakeholders to address Dalit women's marginalisation


    » Enhance cooperation and dialogue among Civil Society Organisations, Human Rights Institutions, and government officials
    » Promote capacity-building of governance structures and use rights based legislation to ensure Dalit women's rights
    » Better address the multiple forms of discrimination through cooperation with international institutions (e.g. UN Women).

    Success will be when local, national, and international stakeholders display a greater willingness to address Dalit women's marginalisation

  • Impact


    Indicators of success include strengthened capacity of Batwa and Dalit women and the organisations representing them to get their voices heard and advocate for the implementation of their basic human rights by attaining the necessary skills, organisational development, and effective collaboration. The project also aims to challenge discrimination faced by minorities and indigenous women and draw the attention of decision-makers at all levels to their needs.


    Risks include fieldwork and community based activities jeopardised by civil/political unrest, outbreak of disease, or major environment disaster. However, MRG has a contingency plan that would be put into place and would encompass this project.


    Reporting to donors will take place on an annual basis, in conjunction with our main donor’s reporting guidelines.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £186,403

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      Amount Heading Description
      £47,248 Personnel programme coordinator, administrative staff, head of advocacy, recruitment
      £30,914 meetings project planning meeting, exchange visits between states, attendance of women at the UN Forum
      £57,198 local partners' costs costs of local leaders and partners
      £17,200 research on key issues grants to partners to carry out research, printing, advocacy on results
      £10,334 monitoring including external evaluations
      £11,020 training training of local women by leaders, capacity building of leaders, training materials
      £12,489 MRG management internal organisational costs
  • Background


    Batwa women in the Great Lakes region of Africa and Dalit women in India (Maharashtra, Orissa, Bihar and Haryana states) and Nepal.


    Women belonging to the Twa community (also known as Pygmies or Batwa), a small minority of an estimated 70,000–87,000 people, making up between 0.02 and 0.7% of the population in the four countries (Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, and Uganda) they inhabit.
    Dalits are positioned at the lowest position in the social hierarchy of India. Almost 90% of Dalits live in rural areas but economic exploitation remains a major problem. Women face further discrimination because of their sex.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    There is no other NGO with MRG’s broad mandate on minority issues, nor its high reputation among minority communities, governments and UN human rights bodies. MRG has consultative status with the UN Economic & Social Council and observer status with the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights. Furthermore, MRG and partners in Africa have slowly begun to build up experience around minority rights and development, and are trying to link their communities into national development processes

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Navsarjan Trust

    Navsarjan Trust will bring to this particular initiative their expertise of the situation of Dalit women and the marginalization they experience.