Director, Kawari Fund , Re:wild
B.S. Biology at the University of the Philippines
Minnie is an indigenous Kankanaey-Igorot from the Cordillera, Philippines. She is Director of the Regranting Fund for Integrity in Forest Carbon Markets at Re:wild, working with Indigenous Peoples and local partners, NGOs, donors and governments to support jurisdictional initiatives to achieve high integrity emissions reductions.
She studied B.S. Biology at the University of the Philippines intending to take up medicine but she found a different way to serve her people.
Minnie is a life-long Indigenous rights activist. She has participated in various forms of advocacy, from actively participating in street demonstrations to call attention against the injustice being done to Indigenous Peoples, conducting community education activities and working with other Indigenous Peoples at the global level to draft the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. With the adoption of the UNDRIP, she then focused in helping develop policies and standards on IP rights for inter-governmental agencies, such as the Asian Development Bank, GEF and GCF. Her passion to promote Indigenous Peoples rights led her to work with conservation organizations to ensure that the rights of IPs are safeguarded in conservation work. Prior to joining Re:wild, Minnie was with WWF and then Conservation International.
She believes in the power of dialogues and has represented IPLCs in different multi-stakeholder platforms, such as The Forest Dialogue, Free Prior Informed Consent Initiative, PEFC and FSC, to name a few. She has advised private companies on their engagement with Indigenous Peoples – all with the aim of providing space for constructive dialogues.
Aside from sitting down with community elders to listen to their stories, Minnie’s favorite activity is going to the beach, even if she does not know how to swim! She loves having discussions with the youth on the traditional knowledge and value systems of her community.