Ben Ruli (first from left) with some of the Indigenous People's Fellow recipients throughout the world.

Mr. Ben Ruli recently completed a year long Indigenous People’s Fellowship under the Global Environment Facility’s Small Grants Programme.

Under the Indigenous People’s Fellowship, a grant of USD 20,000 was awarded to support Mr Ruli in his endeavour to learn more about indigenous knowledge and how this can be used to further sustainable development efforts. Papua New Guinea was the first Pacific Island country to participate in this first year of the initiative.

Under the Fellowship, Mr. Ruli was able to undertake a work placement with the Small Grants Programme in Papua New Guinea. Mr. Ruli said, “The experience has expanded my knowledge of environmental and climate issues affecting local indigenous communities. Indigenous knowledge is important if we are to mitigate environmental impacts, implement programmes in indigenous communities and protect our culture. The opportunity has also enhanced my skills in researching, networking and communicating the importance of local knowledge for sustainable development.”

The fellowship aims to strengthen indigenous people’s skills in project development and management. The initiative also enables networking among relevant participants and supporting organisations who are committed to protecting indigenous cultures, knowledge and languages. Mr. Ruli has successfully completed his year-long fellowship and is currently undertaking a study program run jointly by Papua New Guinea’s University of Technology and the Binatang Research Centre to review the importance of integrating health services into tropical conservation projects worldwide.

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