Cover Image
close this bookRecording and Using Indigenous Knowledge: A Manual (IIRR, 1996, 211 p.)
close this folderPart 1 Indigenous knowledge and development
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentIntroduction
View the documentHow the manual was compiled
View the documentHow to use the manual
View the documentWhat is indigenous knowledge?
View the documentWho knows what?
View the documentCharacteristics of local systems
View the documentWhy is indigenous knowledge useful?
View the documentHelping communities conserve their IK
View the documentUsing indigenous knowledge in development
View the documentRecording IK in communities
View the documentIntellectual property rights
close this folderPart 2 Recording and assessment methodologies
close this folderRecording methods
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentSources and documentation of IK
close this folderSample selection
View the documentHow to draw a sample
View the documentIdentifying indigenous specialists
close this folderObservation and interviewing
View the documentCase studies
View the documentField observation
View the documentIn-depth interviews
View the documentInterviewing
View the documentParticipant observation
View the documentParticipative technology analysis
View the documentSurveys
close this folderWorking with groups
View the documentBrainstorming
View the documentFive questions
View the documentGames
View the documentGroup discussions
View the documentRole play
View the documentStrengths and weaknesses
View the documentSWOT analysis
View the documentVillage reflections
View the documentVillage workshop
close this folderUsing diagram
View the documentFlow chart
View the documentHistorical comparison
View the documentIllustrations and diagrams
View the documentMapping
View the documentMatrix
View the documentModeling bioresource flows
View the documentSeasonal Pattern chart
View the documentSorting and ranking
View the documentTaxonomies
View the documentTransect
View the documentVenn (or chapti) diagramming
View the documentWebbing
close this folderAudio-visual media
View the documentCassette documentation
View the documentParticipatory video
View the documentPhoto/slide documentation
close this folderPart 3 Assessment of indigenous knowledge
View the documentAssessing IK
View the documentCriteria for assessing IK
View the documentTapping assessment
View the documentUsing western science methods to assess IK
View the documentMonitoring and evaluation
close this folderPart 4 Mini-case studies - How development can build on IK
View the documentMini-case studies
View the documentProblem identification and prioritization in Kiko Rosa, Philippines
View the documentCommunity manged health in Pinagsanjaan, Philippines
View the documentIncorporation of local free species in an agroforestry project in Layong Mabilog Philippines
View the documentLocal vegetable varieties for home gardening programs
View the documentTraditional animal dispersal schemes in Cavite, Philippines
View the documentIncreasing food Production in Negros, Philippines
View the documentOvercoming labor shortages through indigenous mutual-help groups
View the documentPromoting the use of IK in Venezuela
View the documentFarmers' experiments in teak germination in Sri Lanka
View the documentPromoting an indigenous savings scheme in Ethiopia
close this folderPart 5 - Question guides
View the documentQuestion guides
View the documentGender and indigenous knowledge
View the documentFarmer-to-farmer extension and farmer experimentation
View the documentSoil fertility
View the documentCropping systems
View the documentGardening
View the documentAgroforestry
View the documentWatershed management
View the documentEnvironment, natural resources. and biodiversity
View the documentCoastal resource s management
View the documentAquaculture
View the documentAnimal husbandry and healthcare
View the documentFood and nutrition
View the documentReproductive health and family planning
View the documentWater and sanitation
View the documentHealth financing schemes
View the documentHealthcare systems
View the documentOccupational health
View the documentOrganizations and leadership
View the documentCredit and savings
View the documentEnterprise development
View the documentCommunication
close this folderPart 6 - Resources
View the documentAbbreviations and definitions
View the documentReferences
View the documentAddresses
View the documentProject staff and contributors

Tapping assessment

Outsiders can learn about the advantages and disadvantages of indigenous practices from local people themselves. This not only provides valuable information about IK, but also helps identify opportunities for—and constraints to—the promotion of specific practices.

While some require adaptation, many of the methods for recording IK described in Mart 2 can also be used to assess IK:

- Strengths and weaknesses and SWOT analysis can help insiders and outsiders alike assess the advantages and disadvantages of a particular item of IK in solving problems.

- Participative technology analysis can show the uses of a practice and how it might be modified or promoted.

- The five question technique can reveal whether a practice is helpful, harmful, or neutral, and therefore whether it should be promoted.

- Village reflections enable villagers themselves to analyze and make decisions as a group on complex issues facing them.

- Individual interviews or group discussions can reveal the reasoning behind an indigenous practice or technology. They can also reveal how villagers assess the effectiveness of specific IK practices or technologies.

- A series of resource maps drawn by local people can help gauge the effect that indigenous practices have on the environment.

- Historical comparison can suggest why a specific item of IK has changed and suggest possibilities for improvement.

- A matrix showing characteristics of various practices or species can highlight their relative strengths and weaknesses.

- A flowchart listing the steps of an indigenous practice can focus discussion on the problems encountered at each step, and in the process help solve these problems.

- A web can help reveal causal relationships between a specific IK and other factors. This can help determine whether to improve a specific IK, and if 50 where to start.

- Sorting and ranking allow comparison of different IK practices and technologies and can help identify which of them are most effective.

What is true for recording IK is also true for assessment: the more participation a method provokes, the more the output will reflect the people's views and experiences.

Another possibility is to study how local people themselves assess their knowledge. Some communities or regions have specific bodies that meet, discuss, and decide on practices. In Bali, Indonesia, for example, regional networks of "water temples" manage and regulate water distribution for rice cultivation. The network would be a valuable source of information for anyone wishing to study and evaluate the local irrigation system.

And, local people do experiment. They might plant a new tree species in their home gardens to check its performance, they might test herbs for new medicines, or try some new cooking ingredients. Their experiments range from just trying something new, to deliberate, systematic experimentation (for further information on indigenous experimentation, See Boef et al. 1993). Outsiders can learn a lot from these community experiments and build on them when testing technologies. Assessment of IK is more than observing indigenous practices it means looking at the various processes and structures through which IK is generated, shared, tested, and applied.

Compiled by Evelyn Mathias