la rubrica di Daniele Mezzana
RUBRICHE. Indigenous knowledge (IK) has helped local populations for many centuries in sectors such as nature conservation and the prevention and management of natural disasters and health through traditional medical practices.
Despite this, they risk disappearing owing to the poor consideration people have of them and because the main people with this knowledge are now elderly and there is scant written documentation. With the encouragement of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), in 2004, a pilot project was carried out to help the communities to recognise, promote and make use of the indigenous knowledge in fields such as environmental conservation, natural disaster forecasting, traditional medical practices and the alleviation of poverty. Following a field study in Kenya and in other African countries, the project conducted awareness-raising and information activities on the possible uses of indigenous knowledge in these fields and a training course to strengthen the capacities of the various stakeholders (policymakers, researchers, donors, citizens, etc.) to promote and use indigenous knowledge in nature conservation and natural disaster management.
The project saw the creation and inclusion online of a database, divided according to country, in order to store the knowledge, make it accessible to a vaster number of users, and create consensus towards the valorisation of indigenous knowledge, firstly among policymakers, and to provide a place for IK-holders to meet and exchange information and views.
Excerpt from Mezzana D. (ed.), “Technological responsibility. Guidelines for a shared governance of the processes of socialization of scientific research and innovation, within an interconnected world”, forthcoming, SET-DEV (European Commission) www-set-dev.eu
The picture “degraded lands” is culled from: http://africaclimate.org