CIESIN Thematic Guides

Incorporating Indigenous Knowledge Systems

A holistic perspective on using indigenous knowledge is provided in "A Framework for Incorporating Indigenous Knowledge Systems into Agricultural Research, Extension, and NGOs for Sustainable Agricultural Development" (Rajasekaran 1993b). The author surveys constraints in conventional transfer of technology; methods for facilitating the use of indigenous knowledge systems; technology development by incorporating indigenous knowledge systems into agricultural research and extension; and technology dissemination by linking research, extension, and nongovernmental organizations. Table 3 presents methods for incorporating indigenous knowledge systems into agricultural research and extension programs.

Tengnas (1993) provides a pictorial presentation on combining local and expert knowledge in Chapter 5 of Guidelines on Agroforestry Extension Planning in Kenya. This document is unique in that it provides examples from the field.

Using indigenous knowledge systems depends greatly on networking and sharing of information among global and national indigenous knowledge resource centers. In "Networking for Indigenous Knowledge," Warren, von Liebenstein, and Slikkerveer (1993) examine three global centers that facilitate the establishment of national centers: the Center for Indigenous Knowledge for Agriculture and Rural Development (CIKARD ) in the United States; Leiden Ethnosystems and Development Programme (LEAD) in the Netherlands; and the Center for International Research and Advisory Networks (CIRAN) in the Netherlands.