Global Wisdom Collective & Jamii Asilia Centre

Revitalize the Roots: Bikaptorois

Credit: Jamii Asilia Centre

USD 25.000 grant
to revitalize language,
enhance intergenerational knowledge-sharing
and preserve the Endorois' heritage.

On this page, we aim to provide a comprehensive understanding of the significance of this grant. Here, you can learn about the community served by this project and the particular challenges they face. We also offer insights into Jamii Asilia Centre and Global Wisdom Collective, the Indigenous-led organizations we proudly support, and a thorough account of the project they are undertaking. We invite you to delve further, consider becoming an ally, and discover ways to offer direct support to JAC and GWC, all detailed on this page.

The Community

The Endorois Indigenous People

The Endorois Indigenous people were the first inhabitants of a section of Baringo and Laikipia Counties in Kenya for over half a millennium. For this minority community, Lake Bogoria and the Siracho Range hold tremendous spiritual and cultural significance, as indicated in the Endorois Biocultural Protocol. According to the 2019 Kenya government census, there are over 45,000 Endorois people. However, the actual number could be higher than 60,000. This number disparity is due to the Kenyan government's lack of recognition of the Endorois as a distinct ethnic community. The Endorois identify both as Indigenous and a minority community. They have been formally recognized by the African Commission on Human and People's Rights (ACHPRs) Working Group on Indigenous Populations/Communities (WGIP) and by the UN Special Rapporteur on Indigenous Rights.

They have extensive Indigenous knowledge systems centered on ecological biodiversity and preserving nature.

Credit: Jamii Asilia Centre

The Need

Saving ancestral language, culture, identity and knowledge

In 1973, the Kenyan government forcibly displaced the Endorois people to create the Lake Bogoria National Reserve without prior consultation or consent, a direct violation of their customary rights. In a landmark decision adopted by the African Union on February 2010, the African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights (ACHPR) declared the expulsion of Endorois from their ancestral lands illegal. This Commission found that the Kenyan Government had failed to recognize and protect the Endorois' ancestral land rights and to provide sufficient compensation or alternative grazing land following their eviction, or to grant restitution of their land, and similarly failed to include the community within the relevant development processes. Nonetheless, since the African Commission's decision was articulated to the Kenyan government, very little effort has been made to implement its recommendations.

This history, compounded by the harsh effects of climate change, has threatened the Endorois's physical, spiritual and cultural livelihood. Furthermore, the eviction and disenfranchisement of the Endorois have created generational trauma, loss of elders, culture and language, and the overall erosion of identity. Additionally, the Endorois youth are at risk of permanent alienation from their ancestors' ways of life due to increased westernization at the expense of a loss of identity and Indigenous knowledge dating back many millennia to the original roots of humanity on the African continent.

We've had the chance to sit down with Carson Kiburo, executive director of Jamii Asilia Centre, to learn about the history and knowledge of the Endorois and the challenges they're facing in this episode of our Connecting the Dots series:

The Grantees

Global Wisdom Collective

GWC supports Indigenous and endangered communities in preserving the Indigenous knowledge systems of their people for generations to come. GWC serves as a bridge for native nature-based societies so that the human connection to our Earth is given voice and protected in a way that honors the core integrity of all communities. 

Global Wisdom Collective works with Indigenous and diaspora communities to build intergenerational knowledge-sharing programs and support strategic, design, and organizational advising for communities looking to protect indigenous knowledge systems. Global Wisdom Collective has worked in Sri Lanka, South Africa, Nepal, Ghana, and with Indigenous and diaspora populations within the United States. Regular activities have included program design, global advocacy, networking, and partnerships around Indigenous knowledge system preservation

GWC has partnered with organizations to create sometimes the first intergenerational knowledge-sharing programs focused on protecting cultural heritage. Examples include:
- The Palagama Village in Sri Lanka.
- The agricultural knowledge systems of Khmer refugees resettled in Washington state.
- The traditional medical systems of China.

GWC's work contributes to bringing awareness of the value of Indigenous knowledge systems to the climate crisis and diaspora populations looking to reconnect to their roots. Additionally, GWC advocates for biodiversity and wildlife voices and integrating ancient Wisdom into the modern world.

Jamii Asilia Centre

JAC is an Indigenous-led people nonprofit founded to protect and promote the rights of Indigenous Peoples in Kenya. JAC engages with Endorois youth, elders and other Indigenous tribes for human rights advocacy, cultural preservation, and combating the effects of forced displacement

Jamii Asilia Centre's experience includes audio-visual documentation of ten Endorois elders on the history of the Endorois people, cultural rites of passage, oral stories, and the impact of eviction from ancestral land. Additionally, JAC has implemented a cultural heritage protection project with Endorois Indigenous youth and women by sharing ancient Indigenous food sovereignty practices applicable to current agricultural conditions. 

JAC has made Indigenous-conscious and deliberate efforts to conserve and promote sustainable use of biological diversity in its programming. JAC's leadership contributes to Indigenous people's policy and advocacy in frameworks such as UN Permanent Forum, CBD and UNFCCC

JAC convened the first Kenya Indigenous Youth Forum in 2021 and continues to offer the capacity to conveners of the Kenya Indigenous Youth Network. JAC's work has increased the capacity and self-determination of Endorois women and other Indigenous women by facilitating training and leadership roles in sustainable livelihood programs. 

The partnership between GWC and JAC

Global Wisdom Collective first created the Revitalize the Roots Initiative to support the accelerated preservation of Indigenous knowledge systems for Indigenous communities. Subsequently, Jamii Asilia Centre became the first inaugural partner. The two organizations co-founded the Revitalize the Roots: Bikaptorois program, which will now be implemented starting in 2023.

Credit: Jamii Asilia Centre

The Project 

Revitalize the Roots: Bikaptorois

This program aims to develop and implement a cultural and language revitalization model, enhance intergenerational knowledge-sharing systems and digitally preserve Endorois peoples' cultural heritage and ancestral lands conservation for the Indigenous Endorois People. This initiative is led by Global Wisdom Collective and Jamii Asilia Centre, two siblings organizations partnered in this effort. This program will be the first of its kind and serve as an example across Kenya and Africa.

The project will work in consultation with the Endorois Welfare Council and Endorois Indigenous Women Empowerment Network.

Revitalize the Roots: Bikaptorois seeks to utilize digital methods to immortalize the Endorois' cultural heritage. This program will empower Endorois youth by employing participants to learn and lead through cultural heritage protection. Approximately forty Endorois youth will be provided structured training, mentorship, programming and digital resources to record and protect the Indigenous ecological knowledge systems of at least 15-20 Endorois elders between the ages of 60-100 years old in the Nakuru, Lake Bogoria and Mochongoi area. This project seeks to protect the knowledge systems of the elders by uploading recorded stories and activities into a digital database. Revitalize the Roots: Bikaptorois is the first cultural heritage program of this scale for the Endorois. This project will create sustainable resources and community momentum to record and apply Endorois knowledge systems.

In its first phase, Revitalize the Roots: Bikaptorois will record 15-20 of the 100 Endorois elders who are the remaining bastions of the Endorois' cultural heritage.

Below, watch the episode of our series "Voices from The Ground" dedicated to Revitalize the Roots: Bikaptorois. Dominica Zhu, the founder of Global Wisdom Collective, speaks passionately about connecting Indigenous elders and youth and preserving knowledge systems. She explains how meeting Jamii Asilia's Director, Carson Kiburo, led to focusing on the Endorois community in Kenya:

Support the Endorois and the extraordinary work of the Global Wisdom Collective and Jamii Asilia Centre:

By accepting you will be accessing a service provided by a third-party external to