WIPO launched its first program on IP for indigenous women

In the light of the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples (today), the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) launched its first project-based training and mentoring program on Intellectual Property for women entrepreneurs from indigenous peoples and local communities. 

WIPO highlighted that projects based on traditional knowledge (TK) and traditional cultural expressions (TECs) strengthens the sense of identity and belonging of indigenous peoples and local communities, as well as generates incomes that benefit their communities. 

Given the important role that IP may play for indigenous peoples and local communities to avoid the misappropriation and misuse of their TK and TECs, WIPO will provide training and mentoring regarding “how to make strategic and effective use of IP rights in support” of the selected projects. 

Thus, WIPO may “assist creative and innovative entrepreneurs to sustainably brand and commercialize TK and TCEs-based products and services; help identify and manage the IP issues that can arise in the context of TK and TCEs documentation and digitization projects; and help folk, art and cultural festival organizers, but also artists, performers and exhibitors at such festivals, to monitor and manage the use of IP rights in that context”. It should be noted that these are merely examples. 

The program is addressed only to women due to the role they usually play as custodians of TK and TECs as well as the challenges faced in relation to unequal access to education, funding and support services. 


Women entrepreneurs from indigenous peoples and local communities who are planning or have started a project that involves TK and/or TCEs may apply, including but not limited to “artisans, designers, traditional musicians and dancers, researchers, healers or small-scale farmers”. 

Up to 20 women from the seven regions of the United Nations Permanent Forum will be selected; if possible, at least two applicants per region: Africa; Asia; Central and South America and the Caribbean; the Arctic; Central and Eastern Europe, Russian Federation, Central Asia and Transcaucasia; North America; and the Pacific. 

The participants must be able to communicate in English, French, Spanish or Russian. 

The program

The program consists of two phases. The training phase will take place in Geneva from 11 to 15 November 2019 and involves a practical workshop in which the participants will learn the basics of the IP system and “how to make strategic and effective use of IP rights in support” of their projects, as well as “meet potential partners for their implementation”. 

The participants’ costs for attending the Geneva-based training will be covered by WIPO. 

The mentoring phase will take place in 2020, principally, through email and phone. In this second phase of the program, the participants will receive support from their mentors in relation to the IP aspects for the implementation of their projects. WIPO will not provide financial support for this stage of the program. 

Once the mentoring phase ends, the participants will inform WIPO about the results in relation to the implementation of their projects and reply to a brief questionnaire. 

It is expected the program will enable sustainable prosperity in the participants’ communities, and reduce the inequalities of gender and poverty by encouraging innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship of women from indigenous peoples and local communities. 

Applications duly filled, signed and scanned must be sent to grtkf@wipo.int before 30 August 2019. More information here

UPDATE: Read the message from WIPO Director General Francis Gurry on International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, here.

Credit: picture from WIPO's account on Twitter

WIPO launched its first program on IP for indigenous women WIPO launched its first program on IP for indigenous women Reviewed by Verónica Rodríguez Arguijo on Friday, August 09, 2019 Rating: 5

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