The Darrell Posey Fellowship Program also awards Small Grants to support Indigenous and community groups addressing traditional resource and other rights issues. The incorporation of Small Grants into the Fellowship Program reflects the widespread need for small, strategic sums to fill gaps in funding, respond to crises, or catalyze resource management change or institutional development. Small Grants are $5,000 per year for two years.
Dzomo la Mupo unites seven minority indigenous clans in Venda region, in rural Limpopo Province, South Africa. This small, community-based movement was established in 2009. It is formed mainly by women elders, makhadzis, who are traditionally custodians of the sacred sites and responsible for cultural practices for their protection. The domain of the makhadzis also includes the gardens or muse, and the knowledge of planting, harvesting and seed saving. Dzomo la Mupo was established in 2009. Already the local communities have improved food production, recuperated lost seeds, and started a tree nursery for income-generation and to reforest the riverbanks and degenerated sacred sites. Dzomo la Mupo is especially concerned for the protection of Venda’s network of sacred forests. This has taken them court, in their efforts to protect Phiphidi sacred waterfall and forest. With the Darrell Posey Fellowship small grant they will help document cultural knowledge and establish the traditional boundaries of three sacred forests, so that these sites may be registered under the South African Heritage Resources Act.
Ponlok Khmer is a tireless, however under-funded local non-government organization based in Preah Vihear province of Cambodia. The team, lead by its director Ang Cheatlom has been doing mostly voluntary work in support of communities; and were threatened with closure this year due to their work in supporting indigenous communities to defend themselves against economic land concessions (ELC). Their examination of government policy/laws has shown that some ELCs are in fact in violation of the Cambodian law. The Darrell Posey Fellowship small grant will support mapping and tagging of community resin trees in ELC-threatened communities (Pou and Prame communities and others in and surrounding Boeung Per wildlife sanctuary) as their first line of defense – to stake customary ownership and use of resin trees, which is in fact recognized under the forestry law. They will also use this grant to establish a resin harvest monitoring system as part of community NTFP management plans. Building and demonstrating evidence of effective community management of the resin forests would be a strong argument for communities vis a vis the government for securing these areas as priority for community management and not permitting them to be handed over to ELCs.