Urgent Evoke

A crash course in changing the world.

Indigenous Knowledge



It's an old African proverb: "When an elder dies, a library burns." Some of our most important knowledge about the world isn't contained in books. It's living knowledge, embedded in local practices, and passed on from one generation to the next.

Local communities know better than anyone else the richness and variety of their complex ecoystems. They have a deep and detailed understanding of the properties of local plants and animals, landforms, weather systems and water sources — and how they can best be used and managed. This indigenous knowledge can play an important role in creating sustainable solutions to development challenges.

But today, this traditional wisdom is under threat — due to the influx of western culture, higher levels of interaction between different communities, as well as the age and mortality of the custodians of this knowledge.

Your mission this week: Help ensure that indigenous knowledge is put to good use today — and not lost to future generations.

What is Indigenous knowledge?

Indigenous Knowledge (IK) is the traditional wisdom passed on from generation to generation -- especially knowledge about the local environment and ecosystem.

IK is unique to every culture or society. It includes:
· local technologies,
· know-how skills,
· medicines,
· customs,
· practices, and
· beliefs.

IK helps local communities make decisions about:
· agriculture
· health care
· food preparation
· education, and
· natural-resource management.

-- from the online learning archive of World Bank Africa Group on Indigenous Knowledge

LEARN: Uncover a traditional knowledge success story.
ACT: Become a guardian for an indigenous secret.
IMAGINE: When you are 100 years old, what local secret will you pass on?

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