Urgent Evoke

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Case Study:

LOCALLY AVAILABLE INDIGENOUS EDIBLE SPECIES OF PLANTS ENHANCE COMMUNITY HEALTH, PROVIDE INCOME, AND CONSERVE BIODIVERSITY IN KENYA

The National Museums of Kenya is compiling a database of indigenous food plants of Kenya, to compile agronomic, nutritional, cultural and market data on priority species; to promote the cultivation, consumption and marketing of these foods through field demonstrations, educational materials and the media. People were despising their traditional foods in favour of exotic foods. This was most common among the younger generation, who took pride in their 'modern' patterns of consumption. Poverty, famine, and malnutrition were common in rural areas despite the fact that local foods were readily available. Much local knowledge regarding the nutritional value and cultivation of local edible plants was being lost. Most people no longer knew, for example, when and where to collect seeds, etc. Having never been written down, the indigenous knowledge of the elderly was slipping away day-by-day. A number of important species, or varieties of species, were on their way to extinction.

Indigenous knowledge was thus the starting point. Specialists in nutrition, ecology, and botany have had to base their research on it because there was simply not enough time, money or human resources to duplicate all of that knowledge. The scientific, economic, and socio-cultural significance of the indigenous knowledge becomes apparent as specialists and practitioners work with it.

The practice is beneficial in several ways. It improves the local communities' living standards and health. It enhances the knowledge which extension workers put to daily use. It generates knowledge that is useful to NGOs seeking ways to alleviate poverty and improve public health. It generates scientific knowledge useful for the preservation of cultural and biological diversity. By raising the status of indigenous knowledge in the eyes of local communities, the practice not only helps to alleviate poverty but also increases people's respect for their own culture.

There are some dangers. Commercial interests could result in a selection of species and varieties, and thus reduce the present diversity. Research exposes local knowledge to piracy.


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Update videos I found:


These 2 videos are about 3D modeling indigenous resources in Kenya in order to help create economic demand for the local resources.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TXiAr-zi8CE

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GS4PV4RdUQc


This video shows the work going on by a community in Kenya trying to preserve the knowledge of the local climate.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YGxQAQumdOA


Video interview of a Kenya rep. at the UN conference showing concern for traditional knowledge.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7kqD6WlRtG4


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It hit me today that when I die, mankind will lose knowledge. That is an interesting thought. Is it possible that we are losing knowledge as fast as we are learning it? How could we ever compile knowledge of everything? How can we determine the order of importance of various knowledge. These questions are far from being answered.

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