Utilizing indigenous knowledge for sustainable development

Indigenous knowledge is being recognized since time immemorial and has been used for a number of purposes. Owing to the incalculable benefits they have, the wisdoms were utilized hugely across the globe. These conventional wisdoms, further than serving in the healthcare services and meeting humans’ objectives which are essential to survive, were used to solve varied life challenges and to address a number of prevailing problems including in ensuring food security, conserving the environment and natural resources as well as to carry out other vital social and economic activities. As a result, the wisdoms are attested to be viable instruments in terms of winning societal challenges within the given contexts of that community.

Ethiopia is a country with many cultural and ethnic groups. Needless to say that these communities have their own traditional knowledge and wisdom that are unique to that specific community and are often exercised by the community at different times, in different situations and contexts. Even these days the wisdoms are utilized more in rural parts of the country to address many challenges, though it is not as far and wide as it was before, indeed.

Recently, a panel discussion aimed at deliberating the significance of indigenous knowledge, the need to promote and deploy it for socioeconomic development efforts was held by Ministry of Science and Higher Education and stakeholders with a theme ‘Indigenous Knowledge and Technology for Sustainable Development.’

Speaking on the occasion, Prof. Afework Kassu, Science and Higher Education State Minister said that identifying, organizing analyzing and developing indigenous cultures, knowledge and arts, making them accessible, integrating with the wisdoms with the latest scientific innovations and facilitating a means that they are benefiting the citizens is one of the focus areas of the Ministry.

The Higher education institutions and training centers of the country should pay special attention to the establishment of indigenous knowledge center, he added. Dr. Kemal Abdurahman, President of Assosa University, on his part said that the University is working to identify, organize and analyze indigenous knowledge and wisdoms that are practiced in the State. Currently, it is conducting researches on more than 20 wisdoms that are helpful for the country’s development. Mentioning University’s plan to open a research center in a short time, he urged the Ministry and partners to backing the University.

Participants of the discussion also underscored the significance of integrating indigenous knowledge with scientific knowledge and they commended higher education institutions and stakeholders to give due emphasis, work industriously to incorporate the knowledge with science and apply them for country’s socioeconomic development. They also

 pledge to give the required support and contribute their share whenever necessary. Needless to say that, Ethiopia is a highly diverse country. This diversity allows the country to have opportunities for tremendous indigenous knowledge potential that can contribute vastly to advance its development efforts, if utilized accordingly.

As it is said development endeavors that ignore indigenous knowledge may end up in wasting enormous amounts of resources. In fact, the use of such wisdoms has currently become an important element to maintain sustainable development. Thus, the need to deploy these indigenous wisdoms and practices for sustainable development is timely and should be encouraged and backed to gain the desired outcome.


The Ethiopian Herald May 4/2021

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