grantees » Marina Juthi

Marina  Juthi, Bangladesh

For more than ten years, Marina has been involved in people’s initiatives to address burning environmental issues in the ecologically vulnerable area of the south-west coastal region in Bangladesh. Her nominator, Zaved Pasha (Initiative for Right View -IRV), described her as a person with “self discipline, accountability, and a high degree of commitment towards oppressed humanity, the organizational mission and vision for the community”. Marina says that the lack of community participation in projects is a great weakness for organizations. However, thanks to her communication skills and dedication, she is always trying to raise the voice of the community and engage the local people. She believes that “indigenous communities are the sons of the soil – they are the main conservators of the environment”. As the team leader of the research group at IRV, her work mainly aims to address the adverse effects of climate change among the indigenous Munda community, while at the same time keeping close contact with different networks, forums, and donors at grass root, national and international levels. As she says, “I think honesty, commitment, efficiency and perseverance are essential qualities for a perfect leader”.

The JWH initiative grant helped Marina complete a wide range of activities – from a Master’s in Business Administration to a wide variety of environmental trainings – that increased her leadership capacities, her management skills, and most importantly, her communications skills. About her training in biodiversity management, she noted that it “improved my capacity for building up intra- and inter- community linkage, and immensely helped me mobilize social forces in favor of indigenous rights in order to create an environment of social security for them and to help conserve the threatened ethnic diversity of Bangladesh. Through this process, our national and international networks including India and Nepal have expanded and institutional linkage has developed”. An important lesson learned from her JWHi activities is that “leadership development is essential in the grassroots level for the development of the community. […] Now I can share and help our community to develop their leadership qualities.’’ Having improved her skills in project implementation and conflict resolution, she formed 13 village committees, 3 union committees and one sub-district committee as an initiative for building capacities and leadership among the plain land indigenous community. Marina wants to share her acquired knowledge with other environmental leaders who are working on environmental issues, and she is confident that with these skills she will “contribute a lot to enhance the capacity of the disadvantaged community, especially the threatened indigenous Munda community of the South-west coastal region”.