Indigenous communities organizing for self-determination
Social Empowerment Educational Program (SEEP) is a social justice centered organizing network focused on Indigenous communities (Itoukei) in Fiji. They were formed in 2000, in a post-coup era that necessitated widespread civic participation to reclaim the leverage for community led development. In 2014, a democratic parliament was established, yet Fijians continue to face challenges in leveraging their own development agendas due to government priorities to utilize land for revenue generation through private investment. In order to promote community self-determination, SEEP’s priorities are to:
- Engage rural communities to increase local practices of democracy and leadership, including gender equality and collective agreements.
- Assist community based organizations led by women, and agricultural programs by youth
- Support communities targeted by private developers, particularly land owning units
- Organize allies throughout civil society
- Establish agroecology and slow food practices in rural and urban setting that promote local knowledge of traditional food preparation
In the last year, SEEP has focused on five sites for agroecological production and education, including one grade school. They are working to build local leaders in many sectors of civil society in Fiji – the women and youth movements, the development sector, the anti-mining movement, and the environmental justice sector. It is also a member of the Slow Food Network and Rethinking Development. The organization operates with 12 full-time staff, and 10 community-based organizers in rural areas.
Read more about Social Empowerment Education Program here.
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