We believe the participation and representation of minority and indigenous voices is essential for a well-functioning society.
Minority Rights Group Africa (MRGA) was established in 2003 in Kampala, Uganda, as an independent organization under the wider Minority Rights Group family. An Advisory Committee guides us with members from Cameroon, Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda, and we are currently considering new members from West Africa and Southern Africa. We aim to promote and protect the rights of minorities and indigenous peoples, mainly across Sub-Saharan Africa.
Our work addresses the marginalization of primarily ethnic, but also religious and linguistic minority and indigenous communities by amplifying their voices to influence policy change and advocating for their access to education, health, water, housing, income and decent work, and their inclusion in society. Our work falls within five thematic areas: education and health, land rights and legal empowerment, conflict prevention and peacebuilding, climate change, and capacity and institutional strengthening. Additionally, we operate with an intersectional lens, paying particular attention to how multiple and intersecting identities shape the lives of minorities and indigenous peoples in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Since 2003, our accomplishments include supporting over 1,000 minority and indigenous rights activists in developing their capacity, successfully litigating the landmark land rights of the Ogiek of Mau, investigating human rights violations against the Batwa of Kahuzi-Biega, producing authoritative publications and continuously advocating to secure long-lasting changes for minority and indigenous communities. We led the establishment of the Indigenous Minority Group (IMG), a coalition of Ugandan organisations working with indigenous peoples and in constructive engagement with government departments. We are also members of the International Network for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ESCR-Net) and the International Land Coalition.
As our work expands, so does our presence. We are closely connected to regional and international human rights mechanisms. To maintain a dialogue with influential actors, our work is supported by colleagues in Gambia close to the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, in Brussels close to EU institutions and in Geneva close to UN agencies. Our network of regional correspondents also includes a Southern Africa advisor based in Namibia.
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Our current programmes
Lydia Liyio, an Ogiek activist speaks at a bootcamp for activists from the Ogiek of Mau and Elgon and the Endorois from Baringo on social movement building for minority and indigenous communities in Elementaita, Nakuru County in Kenya. Credit: Billy Rwothungeyo/MRG
Journalists from Ghana, Senegal and Sierra Leone (participants of the EMMAP programme) interviewing in Casamance, Senegal. Credit: Karol Grygoruk
Journalist Gerald Matembu (right) interviewing two Benet women— Rael Kokop (left) and her daughter, Scovia Chelengat (middle), in Kween district, eastern Uganda. Credit: Billy Rwothungeyo/MRG
Christine Kandie (right), director of the Endorois Indigenous Women Empowerment Network talks to Annamari Tornikoski (left), a representative of the MFA Finland, at a meeting under an MRG programme. Credit: MRG
MRG team members Zoubida Berrada, Geoffrey Sabiiti and Anna Alboth on a field trip in southern Senegal. Credit: MRG