Formal education and traditional ecological knowledge transmission in Samburu, Kenya : research and revitalization
Author(s)Trimarco, Jon S.
traditional ecological knowledge
community-based resource management
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Includes bibliographical references.
There is increasing concern that the traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) of indigenous communities is eroding due to globalization. Such erosion is seen as a threat to both the cultural continuity of indigenous societies and their ability to sustainably manage their natural resources. As in other parts of the world, the indigenous pastoralists of the Waso Ward of Samburu County, Kenya are increasingly concerned that the formal education system is negatively impacting TEK transmission. To investigate these concerns a participatory, community-based study was launched in the Waso Ward to characterize the threat of TEK erosion by comparing the ethnobotanical knowledge of students with their moran (non-student) counterparts. Through statistical analysis we determined that moran have more ethnobotanical knowledge than students and that this difference is possibly due to the fact that moran herd more frequently and thus have more opportunities for contextualized learning. Therefore, we recommend schools in Samburu collaborate with local knowledge specialists to develop opportunities for place-based instruction with an emphasis on TEK. The following thesis contains a review of the literature surrounding these concepts, a manuscript of the above-mentioned research, my personal reflection on my role as an outsider in TEK research and a summary of our team’s efforts to improve TEK transmission in the Waso Ward.