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Recording and using indigenous knowledge 

A manual

Rural people have an intimate knowledge of many aspects of their surroundings and daily lives. They know what varieties of crops to plant, when to sow and weed, which plants are poisonous and which can be used for medicine, how to cure diseases and how to maintain their environment in a state of equilibrium.

This indigenous knowledge is an invaluable resource for development. Combined with modern know-how, it can be a basis for sustainable, people-centered development.

This practical, user-friendly manual is the first to describe how to record and assess indigenous knowledge together with local people, identify promising forms of knowledge, and integrate them into development activities. It outlines more than 30 different recording and assessment methods drawn from participatory appraisal, anthropological, sociological and community organizing approaches. For each method, it gives a brief definition and purpose, lists the materials needed, gives a step-by-step approach on how to implement it, describes its value, and lists some dos and doníts based on practical field experience.

The manual also provides 10 case studies on how development efforts can build on indigenous knowledge, and question guides on more than 20 development fields ranging from animal husbandry to water and sanitation. Finally, it lists key publications on indigenous knowledge and resource institutions worldwide promoting the use of indigenous knowledge in development.

The text is written in clear, simple language, and is illustrated with line drawings and examples of the outputs of each method. Throughout, the emphasis is on developing and adapting techniques to suit local conditions, working in a participatory mode, and respecting the intellectual property rights of local people.

The manual draws on the experiences of more than 40 staff of the International Institute of Rural Reconstruction, an international nongovernment organization based in the Philippines, as well as several internationally known specialists in Asia, Africa and Latin America.

This manual will be an invaluable guide for professionals, field staff, students and trainers in all fields of development work.

211 pp. paperback 1996 ISBN 0-942717-70-8
International Institute of Rural Reconstruction, Silang, Cavite 4118, Philippines, tel. +63-46-414 2417; fax +63-46-414 2420 or +63-2-522-2494; email bookstore@iirr.org


Print copies available from Pact Publications, http://www.pactpub.com/ (search for "Indigenous knowledge"), priced $30.00.

Full-text version at http://www.panasia.org.sg/iirr/.

The full text is also included on the Humanity Development Library CD-ROM, http://www.oneworld.org/globalprojects/humcdrom/ and online at http://payson.tulane.edu:8888/.

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