The ILC Fellowship 2023-2024 is a global 15-month programme for young Indigenous and local community leaders from ILC members and partners from around the world
It seeks to strengthen the role and leadership of Indigenous youths within their own organisations and communities. We put special emphasis on promoting women’s leadership.
The programme connects youth from around the world; provides tools, knowledge, and opportunities; and helps build action that comes from People’s organisations and moves from within the next generation of leaders. It also incubates ideas. Fellows can experiment and learn by exploring concrete solutions to local challenges. ILC provides seed funding for such actions.
Join us in celebrating Aicha Salihou, an inspiring youth fellow with the International Land Coalition (ILC)! Through her journey, she's learned invaluable lessons in time management and self-leadership.
Your journey as an ILC Youth fellow
Can you share insights into your journey as an International Land Coalition (ILC) Youth Fellow?
My journey as an ILC fellow permitted me to understand how to manage myself and my time.
What have been some of the defining moments or experiences thus far?
The defining moments thus far are the group work, the coaching sessions, and the discussions.
Becoming involved and motivated
What inspired your involvement with the ILC, and what personal motivations drive your commitment to advocating for land rights, particularly from the perspective of youth?
What inspires my involvement in ILC is the ambition to become a land rights defender in my community. My motivation that drives my commitment is the fact that Mbororos are known as speechless people because of their ignorance of laws and as the most educated in the community, this pushes me to advocate for youth’s land rights.
Passionate Causes in Land Rights
Could you elaborate on the specific community or cause within the realm of land rights that resonates deeply with you?
The specific community I am advocating for is the Mbororos.
What aspects are you particularly passionate about?
I’m passionate about advocating for youth’s land rights, and women's empowerment of this community.
Challenges in Land Rights:
Youth Perspective Challenges:
From a youth perspective, what key challenges have you encountered in your advocacy for land rights? How do you navigate and overcome these challenges?
The challenges are; limited participation of youths in decision-making, lack of awareness and education, and inheritance laws and traditions.
I overcome this by; doing capacity building and civic education, advocating for Youths’ inclusion and participation, and the use of legislative reforms.
In promoting land rights, what strategies do you employ to address resistance or obstacles, especially when advocating from the unique standpoint of youth representation?
The strategies are; sensitization campaigns, the use of law mechanisms, and strengthening alliances.
Engaging with Local Communities:
How do you actively engage with local communities to understand their specific land-related issues and concerns? What methods or initiatives have you found most effective?
My engagement was by asking questions to understand better, taking notes, and recording what was said, the most effective method for me is the inclusion of all layers (men, women, and youths).
Impactful Community-Driven Initiatives:
Could you provide an example of a community-driven initiative that you have been involved in, which had a positive impact on land rights? What were the key elements that contributed to its success?
An example of an initiative is the project of land restoration in the northern region of Cameroon.
The key elements were; planting trees, securing land, and fighting climate change.
Policy and Advocacy:
Role of Policy and Advocacy
From your perspective, what role do policy and advocacy play in achieving equitable land rights? How do these elements contribute to lasting and meaningful change?
The role of policies and advocacy; monitoring and accountability, advocacy for inclusion, and awareness and inclusion. If the policies are respected there will be a just and equitable future for youths land rights.
Collaboration and Partnerships:
Collaboration is often key to amplifying impact. How do you collaborate with other organizations or individuals to enhance the effectiveness of your work in the field of land rights?
I collaborate by; developing mutual agreements, sharing of experiences, and establishing common goals.
Can you share a specific example of a collaboration that you believe contributed significantly to positive change in land rights? What lessons were learned from this collaborative effort?
Importance of Youth Involvement: Why is it crucial to involve youth in discussions and actions related to land rights? What unique perspectives and strengths do young advocates bring to the table?
It's important because; youths represent the future and are touched by questions of land rights, they ensure sustainable management of natural resources to promote equality, they build their capacity to contribute to the economic, social, and environmental development of their community, and because of their direct experience, youth contribute to identifying innovative solutions to promote land rights for the young and the future generation.
Encouraging and Empowering Youth: How do you encourage and empower other young people to join the cause of advocating for land rights? What strategies have you found to be effective in mobilizing youth participation?
I have empowered them through; network creation, mentorship, and capacity building, and civic education.
The strategies I used are; leveraging social media, creating networks for youth, and conducting awareness campaigns.
Reflecting on your on for land rights, could you share a story or achievement that you are particularly proud of? What made this accomplishment stand out for you?
I am an actor of change. The Mbororos have also secure land rights, thanks to my involvement in building their capacity.
In the communities you have worked with, how have you witnessed tangible improvements or positive changes resulting from your efforts in advocating for land rights?
The improvements are; that the community can now send their children to school, they can defend and advocate for their land rights, and they know the different methods of land restoration.
Education and Awareness:
How do you actively contribute to raising awareness about land rights issues within your community and beyond? What methods or initiatives do you employ to promote education and understanding?
I raise awareness by; training and capacity building, advocacy, and creating awareness campaigns.
Methods used were; the media, involvement in community initiatives, and the use of new technology.
In your view, how crucial is education in creating lasting change regarding land rights? How does it contribute to building a foundation for sustainable practices?
Education is crucial in lasting change because they can now stand on themselves and the land injustice, they can equally secure their lands.
Looking ahead, what changes or developments do you hope to see regarding land rights, especially concerning increased youth involvement? How can the landscape evolve in a more inclusive manner?
Regarding land rights, I’m looking to see the youths of the Mbororos community more involved in advocating for their land rights, fighting against climate change, and women more included in decision-making regarding land rights.
Lastly, how do you envision the long-term impact of your work? What lasting positive changes do you hope will be realized regarding land rights and community empowerment?
I’m dreaming of an empowered community where they can advocate, and fight for their land rights, a green world filled with plants and grasses, a world where women and girls are empowered and independent.