INTERFACE BETWEEN IK AND INNOVATIONS WITH MODERN SCIENCE &TECHNOLOGY FOR SUSTAINABLE COMMUNITY LIVELIHOODS

African indigenous knowledge systems are increasingly becoming an integral part of the global body of knowledge. Indigenous knowledge systems can be compared and contrasted with the global knowledge system (Warren, 1993) and in so doing uncover mechanisms for evaluating the strengths and weakness of each system. This interactive flow has already resulted in mutually-beneficial exchanges of knowledge that have enhanced the capacity of the formal research system to solve priority problems identified within local communities. Both multilateral and bilateral donor agencies are now recognising the role of indigenous knowledge in sustainable development including the promotion of public health care.

Most local African communities are realising that Indigenous Knowledge and innovations continue to provide the building blocks for development and public health in most African countries, while seeking co-operation with modern knowledge for the mutual benefit of the two systems. A number of communities have demonstrated efforts made in various parts of the continent to interface African indigenous knowledge with modern knowledge systems for sustainable community livelihoods.

The Tanga AIDS Group (TAWG) in Tanzania has demonstrated a partnership between traditional healers and bio-medical practitioners to combat HIV/AIDS, and the training of traditional healers in diagnosing HIV/AIDS from a western perspective at the Nelson Mandela Medical University of Zululand. In Northern Malawi, local farmers practice ethno-veterinary work in collaboration with research and academic institutions such as the Bunda College of Agriculture (University of Malawi) and the National Herbarium in Zomba for botanical identification of the indigenous medicinal materials.

They collaborate on trials that use western scientific methods to verify the claims of the farmers. The collaboration aims to promote the conservation of medicinal plants and the complementary use of indigenous and conventional veterinary medicine for sustainable livestock production.

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