Local meteorologists and Nganyi rainmakers discuss data
The Nganyi rainmakers have been predicting the weather in the Luhya community of western Kenya for generations, using changes in nature to guide their advice on how the community should time its farming.
But the erratic weather patterns brought by climate change mean the rainmakers can no longer use signs, such as when trees shed their leaves or the behaviour of ants, to make their predictions. And they don't have access to the technologies available to meteorologists.
But now a UK–Canadian project is linking the rainmakers with government meteorologists. The two groups get together each season and produce a forecast to be disseminated using a variety of methods suited to communities where many are illiterate.
Both parties are satisfied with the collaboration. "I think the two sciences are equally valid. We are marrying our energies to help people better," says Mr Onunga, a Nganyi community elder involved in the scheme.
"Another breakthrough is the dissemination aspect," says University of Nairobi lecturer Gilbert Ouma. "We have been able to deliver the message in practical, useable terms — not so much meteorological terms."
"Through this project we hope to learn what it is that we can share together to live today and to adapt to tomorrow," says Laban Ogallo, leader of the Nganyi project.
Nayudamma Centre for Development Alternatives |
7 March 2010
Rain forecast is only one aspect of Indigenous knowledge. Indigenous knowledge is concerned with many things that are important to local people, but that scientific research doesn't study In varahamihira's brihat samhita there was a sanskrit slokam (verse) which tells wherever there is anthill and neem tree side by side, there will be ground water. Based on this simple concept, a professor in Geology in Srivenkateswars University, Tirupati, Andhra Pradesh, India (Late Dr.E.A.V.Prasad) conducted extensive field trials in Sullurpet and neighboring areas with over 70 per cent success. In the groundnut crop Red Hairy Caterpillars are a big menace as they eat away the leaves. Local people in Chittoor District, Andhra Pradesh, India put Calotropis leaves in the fields. The Red hairy cater pillar after eating the calotropis leaves the further regeneration is restricted. Perhaps the latex in the calotropis leaves plays the trick. It is scientists who should study these practices to isolate the pigment responsible and to synthesise it. Yet another practice is in the sowing of groundnut (peanut), crows are a big menace as they eat away the seeds. Local people put the latex from Euphorbia Antiquorum plant in cooked rice and put the same in small quantities on the neighboring trees. The crows after eating the cooked rice with latex die. They tie one dead crow in the middle of the field on a stick. All the crows will be circling around the dead crow but never descend. We can find scores of such indigenous practices. It is the scientists who should study them. As the late World renowned scientist Prof.Y.Nayudamma Advocated,"Modernise the Traditional - Traditionalise the Modern". Dr.A.Jagadeesh Nellore(AP) India
Bioversity International |
8 March 2010
This marriage between formal and informal science can only be a happy one, further to being a must. Australian's Government bureau of meteorology forecasts including the knowledge indigenous Australians have based on the local sequence of natural events. This is a recognition of the value of IK in which modern weather forecasting and IK based approaches are being combined www.agrobiodiversityplatform.org/climate_change
United States of America
9 March 2010
This project is of considerable interest and can you give us a source for further details. Forty years ago, while working in Tanzania and studying adaptation to drought, we interviewed a number of Wasukumu rainmakers to see if they had ways of identifying forthcoming rain patterns. Their response was: "No we can't predict rain, we can only make it!" I would also note that some of my Tanzanian colleagues thought then that serious study of traditional rain makers was a waste of time and only encouraged superstitous beliefs. Fortunately the interest in practitioner knowledge of all sorts has improved.
16 March 2010
Use of indigenous knowledge to create awareness and address issues of climate change is a welcomed step. Most communities have this valuable knoweldge but has not been explored fully. Indeginous knowledge will ensure the partipation of the communities in addressing matters that affect them!