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Promoting indigenous voices - Episode 40

© IFAD/Michael Benanav

With IFAD’s Indigenous Peoples’ Forum around the corner, we focus on native communities across the world. First up, we hear from IFAD’s Ilaria Firmian, a Senior Technical Specialist on Indigenous Peoples, before discussing gender and land rights, climate change and food with indigenous chefs, activists, and experts. We learn more about free, prior and informed consent and hear from our Goodwill Ambassador Sabrina Dhowre Elba and climate reporter Qasa Alom in Bangladesh. 

Episode contents


The importance of music

Enjoying community and music

In all cultures, music conveys stories that express joy and celebration, as well as grief and mourning. This episode opens with Green future for new generation, a song performed by the Sudanese band Egid Elgalad and created by Sawa Sudan for Development and Humanitarian Aid.


Ilaria Firmian on how to protect communities at risk

IFAD’s Ilaria Firmian

Indigenous Peoples specialist Ilaria Firmian talks to us about the importance of native communities in the battle to conserve and manage natural resources, their land rights and why their way of life is at risk.


Implementing free, prior and informed consent in Kenya

Free, prior and informed consent ensures all voices are heard in community development

Kimaren Ole Riamit, a member of the Maasai pastoralist community talks to us about how they are implementing free, prior and informed consent in southern Kenya. We hear about the organization he heads and the importance of self-determination in development projects.


Chef Mokgadi Itsweng: connecting through indigenous foods

Mokgadi Itsweng

Indigenous Peoples' unique food systems are key to their culture and their past, with many dishes dating back centuries. Mokgadi Itsweng, an indigenous chef from South Africa, tells us about her mother’s passing and why she turned to cooking to connect with her.


Mariah Gladstone on advocacy and food

Mariah Gladstone is a member of the Blackfeet, Cherokee community

Mariah Gladstone is part of IFAD’s Recipes for Change programme. She also runs Indigikitchen, a show that teaches people how to cook indigenous foods. She discusses her advocacy work and why it’s important to inform people about indigenous cuisine.


Myrna Cunningham battles to protect her community

Myrna Cunningham

Myrna Cunningham is many things – a leader, a women and indigenous rights activist, an advocate for fair education and the first woman from Nicaragua’s native Miskito community to become a doctor. She is also a member of IFAD’s Indigenous Peoples’ steering committee and will be a guest at the Indigenous People’s Forum in February.


Sabrina Dhowre Elba: Adapt or starve

Sabrina Dhowre Elba

IFAD’s Goodwill Ambassador Sabrina Dhowre Elba has a clear message: adapt or starve. Her words are severe, but she is hopeful, and urges the world to help farmers adapt to climate change so they can continue to feed themselves and the rest of the planet.


The latest from Qasa Alom in Bangladesh

IFAD provides driving lessons in Bangladesh

Qasa Alom reports on the challenges faced by rural women, while also being productive members of their families, organizations, and communities. He brings us a success story from northern Bangladesh, where a group of women have careers as drivers thanks to the support of IFAD’s HILIP/CALIP project.


The Indigenous Peoples’ Forum

Ilaria Firmian concludes this episode with her thoughts on what we can expect from the forum, scheduled to take place at IFAD on the 9th, 10th and 13th of February.


Summing up

Many thanks to our fabulous producer here in Rome, Francesco Manetti and all who participated. Your hosts for this episode have been Brian Thomson and Allison Lecce.

We want to hear from you – what do you think about our stories and the issues discussed, and who do you want us to be talking to – so please get in touch at podcasts@ifad.org.

In light of International Women’s Day, next month’s episode will focus on gender.


Similar episodes to enjoy

  • Episode 32 on insects and the future of food.
  • Episode 29: Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow.
  • Episode 25 looks at why small-scale farmers have to adapt to climate change.