Saturday, January 23, 2021

Indigenous knowledge takes centre stage in economic diversification but….

Although the Indigenous Knowledge Systems (IKS) have gained more attention as potential contributors to economic diversification, natural resources management, innovation, climate change mitigation and national identity building through arts, music, design, architecture and culture, there are insecurities about what happens to its data.

There also are bottlenecks that tend to stifle innovation brought forward by IK holders themselves; a document from Center of Scientific Research, Knowledge and Innovation (cesrIKi) has revealed.

In a bid to tackle the trend the cesrIKi is hosting a pre-conference on IKS and data, on the 3rd November at the University of Botswana Library Auditorium. One of conference’s objectives is to outline how data on IKS can contribute to innovation and entrepreneurship.

“CesrIKi has since 2010 been at the forefront of IKS research in Botswana and has been a contact point for many IK holders looking for advice on how to document and to develop their knowledge into products,” states the information.

Based on this experience, CesrIKi noted two important issues: Firstly, the need to develop more dynamic forms of documentation than static databases, as knowledge never stands still. Secondly, there is a general lack of coordination on how knowledge and data about IKS are generated, handled, protected, and used for innovation.

The document further indicates that IKS across Africa have grown rich and diverse in recent years, and that in Botswana the trend has been reflected through the development of a specific National IKS Policy and the intent to develop National IKS databases.

“IKS have also gained entrance into strategies for academic institutions as a potential niche, whose research can define a unique competitive edge in the tertiary education sector. This in turn has increased the awareness of indigenous knowledge holders and their communities on how to position themselves in a globalized world, how to protect their knowledge, but also how to document and develop IKS and make it relevant for the future and under which conditions.”

Topics that will be covered include: Indigenous knowledge and research; Dynamics, Data and Documentation of IKS; The Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) and From IKS data to Innovation. Presenters include indigenous knowledge holders and researchers.

Other objectives of the conference are: To give Indigenous Knowledge Holders a forum for dialogue on data generation and usage ;To learn from successful collaborations between researchers and indigenous knowledge holders as well as to discuss adequate forms of documentation of IKS.

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Read this week's paper