As part of the UDLP, a training manual is currently in the production process at CIKARD. The purpose of the manual is to develop methodologies for recording and incorporating indigenous knowledge systems into agricultural and natural resource management programs. Training modules are designed to illustrate the procedure for recording indigenous knowledge systems using cases specifically drawn from developing country situations.
There are now 19 formally established global, regional, and national centers: two with regional roles--the African Resource Centre for Indigenous Knowledge (ARCIK) and the Regional Program for the Promotion of Indigenous Knowledge in Asia (REPPIKA)--and 14 with national roles-- GhaRCIK (Ghana), INRIK (Indonesia), RIDSCA (Mexico), KENRIK (Kenya), Phi RCSDIK (Philippines), SLARCIK (Sri Lanka), and VERSIK (Venezuela), BURCIK (Burkina Faso), SARCIK (South Africa), BRARCIK (Brazil), NIRCIK (Nigeria), URURCIK (Uruguay), CIKO (Cameroon), and MARCIK (Madagascar). Seventeen other centers are in the process of being formally established.
The functions of regional and national indigenous knowledge resource centers are to: (1) provide a regional/ national data management function where published and unpublished information on indigenous knowledge is systematically documented for use by development practitioners, and (2) facilitate the active participation of indigenous people in the conservation, utilization, and dissemination of their specialized knowledge through in situ knowledge banks, involvement in research and development activities, farmer-to-farmer training, and farmer consultancies. The established centers are in the process of embarking on national surveys to record and inventory the nation's indigenous knowledge so it can be preserved in documentation units for use by development practitioners in participatory approaches.
It is important to mention that a number of former CIKARD research associates are currently occupying key positions in the regional/ national indigenous knowledge resource centers. For instance, Evelyn Mathias-Mundy, a former CIKARD associate, is presently the coordinator of REPPIKA. Antonio Macias-Lopeza, a former CIKARD associate, is presently the coordinator of RIDSCA. CIKARD, the Leiden Ethnosystems and Development Program (LEAD) at Leiden University, and The Center for International Research and Advisory Networks (CIRAN), The Hague, work closely with colleagues at the regional and national centers to support global networking and information flow through the publication of the quarterly Indigenous Knowledge and Development Monitor and a global directory of individuals and institutions involved in indigenous knowledge, establishment of uniform electronic communications and database systems, and by the translation of key documents into French and Spanish.
The research methodologies thus developed at CIKARD are being disseminated periodically to researchers involved in indigenous knowledge research.
CIKARD has conducted a natural resource management project in the Kolli Hills of India in collaboration with the M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation, India. Data on indigenous natural resource management practices were collected. These include conserving and maintaining forest resources, indigenous tree classification systems, terrace planting techniques, trees suited for different altitudes, tree species for providing shade for plantation crops, forest product marketing strategies, intercropping in forest gardens, water streams, and medicinal and herbal values of wild trees. The indigenous natural resource management technologies play a significant role in providing a year round supply of forest products (mainly fruits) to the markets. CIKARD associates have also conducted research among the following indigenous people: Gounda and Palla of India, Yoruba, Kulere, and Hausa of Nigeria, Mossi of Burkina Faso, and Shona of Zimbabwe.
In another case from India, women laborers formed a loosely structured, local organization to rear ducks in common property resources such as communal tanks. Droppings of ducks in the communal tanks increase the fish population. The favorable environment for the growth of fish encourages male laborers to spend their leisure time catching fish in the tank. During the summer periods, farmers use the tank silt, which improves the fertility and productivity of the soils. The duck-fish integrated system is an excellent example to show how increased access to common property resources provide a diversified food base for the landless labor households while sustaining the natural resources.
The specific components of the framework are to:
CIKARD is currently working to disseminate this framework to the regional and national centers so that it can be used as a baseline for their projects.
Policy interventions for local government agencies are formulated at CIKARD based on indigenous knowledge. For instance, to conserve the duck-fish production system, strengthening the rural markets for marketing of surplus eggs has been suggested as one of the policy options. In another case, to conserve the forests in the Kolli Hills, it is necessary to strengthen the existing tribal cooperative society that supports the indigenous people by providing credit with low interest rates. CIKARD believes that formulating appropriate policy interventions would lead to people-oriented technical assistance programs.
Supporting the International Year for Indigenous People, CIKARD has planned to undertake a number of research and development activities towards empowering indigenous people. CIKARD has organized its annual lecture series scheduled for February 16-17, 1993, on indigenous natural resource management to commemorate the International Year for Indigenous People. The speakers are themselves indigenous peoples.
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