The Jamii Asilia Centre (JAC), a Swahili name for Indigenous Peoples Centre is an Indigenous-led NGO founded in 2019 to protect and promote the rights of indigenous peoples in Kenya. Key amongst its target areas are their issues relating to socio-economics and sustainable, culturally relevant development.
The JAC has set up an operations office in Nakuru which is the central location to many of the target indigenous groups who are settled in the following counties, Turkana (Turkanas), Trans Nzoia (Ogiek of Mt. Elgon), West Pokot (Pokots), Elgeyo Marakwet (Sengwer), Baringo (Ilchamus and Endorois), Samburu (Samburus), Nakuru (Ogiek and Nubians), Kericho(Ogiek) and Narok (Maasais). The JAC aspires to provide a voice for the target groups and a unifying umbrella body to champion for inclusion and equity as espoused in both domestic and international laws towards a coordinated and systematic front to address constant violations which include inter alia forceful and illegal evictions, dispossession and displacements and underrepresentation in political spheres.
One of the founders of Jamii Asilia, Carson Kiburo, began advocacy work by filming the Endorois oral traditions, writing about his people and in community volunteerism, interviewing members of the society on socio-cultural issues. The idea was borne after a landmark ruling by the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR) in which the Endorois won a precedent-setting case against the Government of Kenya to restitution and compensation to the Endorois for loss of land and other attendant economic benefits tied to the land. The urge to step up—certainly envisioned picking up the cue from those who came before us. Global advocacy of Indigenous Peoples issues gave us space.
Jamii Asilia envisions a world that respects Indigenous Peoples’ rights, identity, self-determination and self-governance as entrenched in the United Nations Declarations on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).
Jamii Asilia Centre aspirations: Vision, Mission and Core values
Our Mission is to promote and protect the rights of the Indigenous Peoples in Kenya. The JAC has adopted three broad approaches to work, these are themed as follows;
- Public education and training.
- Indigenous rights research and reforms.
- Partnership and networking.
“A state that recognizes, promotes, protects and fulfils indigenous people rights”.
The Core Values
JAC’s core values are based on the internationally recognized principles and practices of inclusivity, participation, rule of law and FPIC:
We believe that we can achieve better results with effective teams that consist of individuals who work together to achieve a common goal or purpose and who hold themselves accountable for team output. We ensure that the team has a common purpose and clear goals, it has the necessary skills and resources and a common approach to work, the willingness to share information, have trust and support in each other, the ability to work through conflict and willingness to take responsibility for team actions.
JAC believes that there has to be justice exercised within a society, particularly as it is exercised by and among the various social classes of that society. A socially just society is based on the principles of equality and solidarity, understands and values human rights, and recognizes the dignity of every human being. We believe in the fair and proper administration of laws conforming to the natural law that all persons, irrespective of ethnic origin, gender, possessions, race, religion, etc., are to be treated equally and without prejudice.
We shall uphold professional excellence by making sure that we produce high quality technical work through attention to detail in the work we do, and the refining of our technical skills by interaction with professional colleagues and, at times, by specific training. We will strive to communicate our work clearly. We shall keep to agreed schedules. We will recognize our professional limits in our work. There will be deliberate efforts to invest in furthering the human rights profession. We will ensure affirmation of co-workers for better growth and ensure each staff enjoys the worker and helps others to-do so. When errors and misunderstandings occur along the way and our goal must be to learn from them, leave them behind, and move forward in our quest
JAC team will not affiliate itself in political activities or align itself to any ideals of a political party or personality. JAC will therefore remain politically neutral and work with indigenous persons without considering their political views and/or persuasions.
This includes humility; transparency; accountability and professionalism. The organization is fully accountable to all stakeholders, from its members of staff to the public, government, civil society and development partners. JAC will be guided by transparency and professionalism which is enhanced by a competent and results-focused team with a strong work ethic; a team that is committed to human rights principles, including the principle of equity and fairness, and that is guided by internationally accepted human rights instruments.