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Knowledge Pack:Rural Institutions

This Knowledge Pack contains Indigenous Knowledge cases and other useful information related to Rural Institutions. The indigenous knowledge pack is a tool that provides users with quick access to synthesized information by country or selected thematic area.

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           IK Cases: Rural Institutions

Community Development

Burkina Faso: Informal self-help structures

Ghana: Tree planting as a commercially and ecologically viable activity

Ghana: Out-migrated villagers support their home community

Mali: Skill development in informal sector declines

Senegal: Communal and public efforts reclaim a nature preserve of Ker Cupaam.

Senegal: Setting training standards in the informal sector

South Africa: Street children's courier service

Tanzania: FGM in Masaai society fulfills a pivotal role in Masaai culture

Customary law

Burkina Faso:Land is allocated by traditional chiefs and communally owned

Mozambique:Local institutions ensure for peaceful land
re-allocation process.


Burkina Faso: Women's access to land ownership

Rural Finances

Nigeria: Indigenous financial practices among farming communities

Senegal: Building local banks on group based responsibility

Burkina Faso: Small industry development for women

Cameroon: Response of rural women to economic crisis

Congo: Tontine women use goods instead of money to deal with money devaluation

Niger: Woodcutters' cooperative manages and markets forest products

Land Ownership

Burkina Faso: Land allocation by traditional chief

Mozambique: Traditional, local institutions ensure peaceful land
reallocation

Communication

Burkina Faso: Bellows used as a means of communication

Ethiopia: "Dagu" is used to transmit information efficiently

Tanzania: Acquisition and sharing of knowledge

Uganda: The use of information technologies to decrease maternal mortality

Zimbabwe: Totemism provides a unifying bond for people and communities

Governance

Ghana: Redefining local governance

Mali: Village associations achieve settlement on producer prices

Mali: Village based management centers induce a second level of local governance

Niger: Limits to the self-governance of local natural resource management


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Burkina Faso: Informal self-help structures perform a vital function in ensuring social cohesion within and among villages.

Summary: In practicing agriculture, the Bissas have harmoniously combined collective and individual tasks. There are two types of traditional self-help organizations: the Yawole or Susoaaga: "invitation to cultivation", existing within the Mossi tradition. The Yewole or Songtaab is an association among young Bissas practicing group-agriculture for their in-laws or on their own plots. These traditional self-help structures are informal and seasonal. They contribute to social cohesion within and among villages.

Lesson: Self-help traditional structures based on local values (in terms of practices and technical knowledge), strengthen social cohesion and constitute a solid

Source: Basga E. DIALLA, Claude BATIONO, Maxime S. OUEDRAOGO, DMP / MOB, juin 1998 (document inédit), Ouagadougou , Burkina Faso ; and : Dr Bernard Lédéa OUEDRAOGO : “Association Internationale Six S”, BP 100, Ouahigouya Tél :55-00-38 (BurkinaFaso)



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Ghana: Youth organization introduces tree planting as a commercially viable and ecologically sound activity and resolves land use conflict

Summary: In Forikrom, a community of 6,000 people in north-Central Ghana, young people mobilized to intervene in a bitter conflict that had arisen between priests of the traditional religion and disciples of a militant Protestant sect over the progressive drying up of a creek thought to be invested with supernatural powers. The youths pointed out that the deforestation of the zone had played a large role in the loss of the water source, and they launched a massive tree-planting operation with the technical support of state agencies and NGOs, which provided related training. The activity resulted in the development of a whole cycle of forestry training courses in Forikrom, the establishment of a very profitable teak farming business, and its progressive diversification into every aspect of organic agriculture, not to speak of appeasement of the original religious conflict. The community is now recognized throughout the region as a specialist in this area.

Lesson: Taking ownership of natural resources through a community based organization helps to reclaim land, provides additional income and earns recognition for locally developed knowledge and skills.

Source: University of Florida, IK-Notes.

External Link: IK Notes No. 9

Contact: pmohan@worldbank.org



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Ghana: Out-migrated villagers support their home community

Summary: For more than 50 years Mafi-Kumase had good access to primary and nearby secondary school facilities due to missionary activity and dedication of residents. Many of the educated youth eventually moved to Accra in pursuit of better professional opportunities. According to their tradition, they maintained very close contact with their home community. In 1960 they established an association called "MAKAYA" (Mafi-Kumase Area Youth Association) to serve as a link to their community and to support its development. MAKAYA subsequently became the driving force in launching a series of investments and community development activities in the village area. Thanks to its contacts in the capital and abroad, the association has been able to raise funds to which the villagers themselves would not have had access, and to secure favorable judgments from the Gh-naian administration, especially with regard to the authorization of projects and investments. In addition, the association holds a three-day conference and general assembly each spring in Mafi-Kumase, in the course of which MAKAYA members, village residents and local leadership discuss the priority needs of the region, the results of current projects, and future prospects.

Lesson: Former rural-urban migrant form an association, raise funds for transfers and lobby the government for support of their original community.

Source: University of Florida, IK-Notes (to be published)

Contact: pmohan@worldbank.org


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Mali: Skill development in the informal sector declines after literacy component is dropped.

Summary: In 1991 a donor supported program aimed at upgrading the skills of small industry owners and craftsmen of the informal sector in the capital. As a result, craftsmen’s associations were formed, cooperative savings and credit schemes were established, managed by the association, training in management, book keeping and approaches to technology innovation were held. Loans were pro-vided for investment. The program has enabled numerous informal sector craftsmen to acquire new technical skills and to affiliate in the effort to improve working conditions and obtain needed credit. In addition, the associations have managed to win several contracts that the craftsmen would never have been able to obtain individually, and thus broaden the market for their products. However, the literacy component of the program has made little progress. Very few of the participants acquired the skills necessary to take full charge of managing the new associations, or the confidence required to deal with commercial banking institutions and compete in the market for manufacturing contracts. The activities began to plateau after the ILO withdrew, and the future, according to the most recent reports, remains uncertain

Lesson: Lack of education and access to information due to illiteracy, can spoil otherwise successful self-help organizations.

Source: University of Florida, IK-Notes (to be published) or ILO

Contact: pmohan@worldbank.org



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Senegal: Communal and public efforts reclaim a nature preserve of Kër Cupaam and contribute to bio-diversity.

Summary: Flora and fauna of the Natural Reserve of Popenguine, a shelter along the migratory route of numerous birds that follow the Atlantic coast of West Africa, had been severely damaged by the effects of drought, increased grazing, and firewood harvest. To reclaim the reserve a group of women created the Association of Women of Popenguine for the Protection of the Environment. The association raised green firebreaks around the entire perimeter, replanted native species furnished by a nursery established at the same time, and trained young volunteers from neighboring urban areas in nature conservation who eventually performed much of the physical labor. The women not only succeeded in re-stimulating local biodiversity and restoring the natural vegetation of the area but their efforts also apparently contributed materially to the reappearance of animal species not seen in those parts for years: porcupines, mongoose, pata, jackals, civet cats, etc. During the following eight years, the RFPPN used first its own resources and then additional ones provided by donor organizations. The restoration of the reserve's ecology attracts the sort of tourist activity that would genuinely benefit the local population, as opposed to earlier tourist traffic.

Lesson: Taking ownership of natural resources through the local community helps to preserve indigenous bio-diversity and provides additional income.

Source: University of Florida, IK-Notes

External Link: IK Notes No. 8

Contact: pmohan@worldbank.or



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Senegal: Setting training standards in the informal sector

Summary: The Leather Artisan's Group (le Groupement d'Intérêt Economique des Artisans de Cuir) was formed eight years ago to address difficulties faced by its sixty members in obtaining raw materials (leather, skins, glue, dyes, rubber, cloth, thread, etc.) and the rising costs of these inputs, exacer-bated by currency devaluation. Today the Leather Artisan's Group also serves its constituency by instituting standard procedures among its members, including methods for training apprentices, organizing marketing and securing input. Like many other "economic interest groups" created in the country over the last few years, the Leather Artisans do not constitute a modern enterprise or an officially licensed profession. Because of the complementary nature of the leather trade to other crafts and the many people it employs, it is a mainstay of the informal sector of the Senegalese economy.

Lesson: Associations of producers of the informal sector formed under economic pressures eventually offer guild-like services to its members without becoming part of the formal sector.

Source: University of Florida, IK-Notes (to be published)

Contact: pmohan@worldbank.org


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Street Children's Courier Services

Summary: Programs working with street children in Khartoum, the capital of the Sudan, have found that these young people cannot be enticed or compelled to return to the schools they left or never attended. By virtue of their rough experience in the streets and the necessity to care for themselves, they have in effect become precocious adults and must be treated as such. The most successful program for teaching them greater responsibility and simultaneously equipping them with new skills is one that has capitalized on their street knowledge to help them start their own business as bicycle couriers carrying priority packages from one location to another across the capital's clogged streets. As a West African proverb puts it, "Send a boy where he wants to go!"

Lesson: Building on the street children’s experiences in a third world metropolis offers them a business opportunity.

Source: University of Florida, IK-Notes (to be published)

Contact: pmohan@worldbank.or



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Female circumcision in Maasai society fulfill a pivotal role in Maasai culture.

Summary: The Maasai are a patriarchal society. Girls marriages are determined by male parents. A male head of household decides when girls in the family should be circumcised, married out and to whom. Becoming a married woman means relinquishing all the girls rights and happy life with warriors. (See also entry Nr. 57). Circumcision is the entry point to marriage life. All Maasai girls are circumcised and exchanged with cows during marriage. Uncircumcised women would still be regarded as girls and will not be married. Circumcision thus is considered a symbol of maturity, and responsibility, a rite of passage from pubescent girls to matrimonial women. Circumcision as a practice gives a woman social respect in a community and recognition as a woman ready for marriage and capable of bearing children. The root cause of female oppression is considered to lie in the practice of forced marriages for pubescent girls.

Lesson: Addressing FMG requires a thorough understanding of the history, power relationships and culture specific understanding of its role in society.

Source: MARECIK, Tanzania Wildlife Ecology and Conservation, Courtney Snegroff, "Female Circumcision in Maasai Culture" (1998)



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Burkina Faso: Customary law and women’s access to land ownership

Summary: Customary law does not allow women access to land ownership. They are allowed to exploit land only temporarily on their husband’s behalf. While the terms of the formal law,"Reorganisation Agraire et Fonciere au Burkina Faso" gives access to land ownership to everyone, women continue to be discriminated against especially in rural areas by traditional law

Lesson: Women who constitute more than half the population in many African countries and who perform most of the housework and farming should be allowed to enjoy land ownership by customary law.

Source: DAKIE, Arbre et Développement, Direction de la Foresterie Villageoise et de l’Aménagement Forestier, Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, AD n°23, 4e trimestre, 1998



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According to customary law in Burkina Faso, land is allocated by traditional chiefs and communally owned

Summary: In rural communities of Burkina Faso land is allocated by traditional land chiefs (Tengsoaba, in Mossi language), on behalf of the ethnic group, the clan or the family. According to customary law, the traditional leader in charge of land allocation is the closest descendant of the first tenant of the land. For that reason he enjoys the status of intermediary between the livings, dead relatives, and invisible powers, co-owners of the lands. He allocates land to families, households and individuals, according to their needs. Every member of the group (who owns the land collectively) enjoys the right of permanent land use and exploitation, which is transmitted from father to son. Strangers integrated in the group are allocated land on a term basis; their rights are temporary and precarious. However, today, with demographic explosion and the fact that the land officially belongs to the state, customary law faces serious challenges.

Lesson: Demographic explosion has a serious impact on traditional land allocation practices. The fact that the land officially belongs to the state poses a serious challenge to customary law, making dialogue between formal and informal institutions necessary to find a acceptable solutions for the concerned communities

Source: Souleymane OUEDRAOGO, Inspecteur des Domaines, Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, juin 1993, (IIMI): « Quel(s) régime(s) foncier(s)pour les aménagements hydro-agricoles »


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Traditional, local institutions ensure for peaceful land re-allocation process in post-conflict Mozambique

Summary:
Following the peace agreement in 1992, about one third of the population - approximately five mil-lion Mozambicans - including refugees and internally displaced people, returned to their villages over a two year period. Many of them had been away from their villages for ten or fifteen years. Meanwhile other displaced people had occupied their dwellings and agricultural plots. To accom-modate the returnees with productive land or housing without depriving the new settlers of their livelihoods required a large-scale re-distribution of land. Conservative estimates assume that 500,000 land transactions took place during a two-year period, about a quarter of a million transac-tions per year. These transactions were all carried out at the local level by local and/ or traditional authorities using indigenous knowledge and local capacity. No external assistance of any kind from government, donors or NGOs was involved. This massive and rapid land allocation process permit-ted the Mozambican smallholders to re-launch economic growth based on a dramatic increase of agricultural production. Two years after this unique land allocation program, there were no reports of land conflicts except in cases where government had allocated communal lands to outside busi-ness interests.

Lesson: Large scale land re-allocation based on customary law proved to be faster, cheaper and less prone for conflicts.

Source: Roberto Chavez, Resident Representative of the World Bank in Maputo from 1993 to 1997

Contact: rchavez@worldbank.org



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Burkina Faso: Small industry development for women

Summary: In 1990 in the Goughin district of Ouagadougou, capital of Burkina Faso, a group of women formed their own group "Song Taaba" to collect venture capital amounting to 150,000 CFA francs ($300) from their own members. They started processing shea butter, "soumbala", soap and peanut butter; marketing their own products; and keeping accounts and minutes by using their new skills. Literacy training had provided the institutional framework for an important women’s initiative, but it hadn’t given participants the skills required for management and development of a business activity of this sort. Lacking confidence in their own practical skills, the newly literate members chose the initial staff for the enterprise from women who had either attended primary school them-selves or who had daughters in primary or secondary school able to assist them in their work. This solution did not work well, however, and bit by bit the newly literate members took over the management positions. The group obtained official cooperative status in 1992, and in 1995 marketed twelve tons of soumbala, among its other products. Song Taaba is currently in the process of establishing a network of women’s groups across the central part of the country to collaborate in the promotion of each other’s products. At the same time, they have extended their literacy program to provide a greater number of their members with the skills they need to play an active role in the business.

Lesson: Business oriented women realize the value of literacy for better management.

Source: University of Florida, IK-Notes (to be published)

Contact: pmohan@worldbank.org



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Cameroon: Response of rural women to economic crisis.

Summary: Cameroon has experienced a severe economic recession during the past thirteen years, character-ized by falling farmer incomes, population pressure on limited farmland, and retrenchments in the public sector, salary cuts and a 50% devaluation of the CFA franc in January 1994. This has made it difficult for both urban and rural households. Faced with this situation, women sought for alter-native in-come earning avenues in handicrafts. They include, for instance, footwear, bags and soap making. These items are not new, but the inventiveness in their production and variety makes the difference. The women produce soap using locally available palm oil and caustic soda. A variety of bags (school bags, handbags, shopping bags) and slippers is produced by using locally available material. Old sisal bags, cartons, plastic paper, thread and wool, are collected and recycled. Only the soles for slippers are paid for, The cost of production is very low. Products compete well with manufactured or imported goods, because they are not only different but also much cheaper. Proceeds from selling these products constitute an important supplement to family income.

Lesson: Women respond immediately to household needs and demonstrate their creative spirit in seeking local solutions to problems.

Source: D.N. Ngwasiri; CIKO

Contact: ngwasiri@camnet.cm



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Congo: Tontine women-members use goods instead of money to cope with constant money devaluation and depreciation

Summary: Women from Kinshasa and other African cities often use the system called "tontine": a mutual in which several persons contribute to a fund; at the end of a determined period the fund is divided among them by rotation in the form of payment of capital or an annuity. However, given constant currency devaluation and depreciation, these women have chosen to use goods instead of money, which could be a dress, a wash basin, a freezer, a stove, and goods or commodities to start a business. Thus, they end up deciding not the amount of cash subscription but the reference good. This practice is also being used by African women living in Europe, and allows them to acquire an item or goods in spite of each one’s limited income.

Lesson: Using goods instead of money to cope with constant money devaluation and depreciation may enable tontine members to acquire goods at least cost .

Source: Groupe de Recherche et d’Expertise sur le Développement des Savoir-faire Locaux en Afrique, (Montpellier, France).

Contact: Nguala.Luzietoso@Wanadoo.Fr


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Niger: A woodcutters’ cooperative manages and markets forest products


Summary:
The woodcutters of Makalondé and Kouré sell firewood to people going to and from Niamey. They formed cooperatives in order to better organize woodcutting and preserve forest resources. They requested help from the “Energy Project” in Niamey and were able to take part in several short training sessions on forestry extension. Their businesses are now yielding 200,000 CFA francs in average annual earnings per woodcutter, plus 400,000 francs in profits for the community each year, which are largely reinvested in locally-designed social programs. Production is falling, how-ever, due to the increasing distance of the stands of dead trees to which the groups try to limit their harvest, and to the fact that the woodcutters have set their own tree felling quota well below the one authorized by the government forestry agency in order to better conserve the natural resource base. The groups have therefore begun planting new trees as part of their organized activities. At the same time, cooperative members have become increasingly aware that they are still unable to manage these enterprises and their numerous offshoots very successfully on their own. All of the ac-counting is done by the sole literate member of the community, a marabout with enough knowledge of Arabic to keep accounts. They are now in the process of establishing a local literacy center.


Lesson:
Arising from felt need and effective demand, a production cooperative eventually requests for basic education to improve their own management.


Source:
University of Florida, IK-Notes (to be published)


Contact:
pmohan@worldbank.org

 


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Nigeria: Indigenous financial practices among farming communities


Summary:
Farming communities in Nigeria have developed various systems of saving and lending. Normally farmers would form savings associations with an emphasis on savings and access to the resources on a rotational basis. Some of the associations would formulate regulations and by-laws while the majority has strong but undocumented formal rules and regulations. Once a member, saving is compulsory and expected on a regular basis, usually related to market days. The loans are used for non-consumables, but also for payment of school fees or farm labor. Repayment is ensured through social control. Usually members do not receive interest on deposits, loans are granted on favorable terms. No mention is made of dealing with defaulters; it is assumed that social control is sufficient to ensure a sustainable S/L association. However, the savings base is too small for accumulation or for credits to finance major investments. So far there has been little recognition by the formal credit institutions of the existing indigenous financial practices.


Lesson:
Existing indigenous rural savings and loan associations are yet to be recognized by the formal credit sector. Collaboration on an equitable basis would increase the impact of formal institutions and increase the investment potential in rural area.


Source:
Nweze, N.J.(IK Monitor 2(2) August 1994)


External Link:
IK Monitor


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Senegal: Building local banks on group based responsibility


Summary:
Fandène is a village community located six kilometers from Thiès, Senegal. It was formerly the site of a Catholic mission and rural community center. In 1987 the residents of Fandène created their own credit mutual and savings union. It has now expanded to branches in twenty neighboring villages, of both Islamic and Christian affiliation. This network, entirely self-managed in Fandène and on its way to being so in the other communities of the network, has progressively amassed capital of twenty million CFA francs. The various branches solicit loan requests from groups and individu-als in the surrounding area, require formal written application and justification, perform their own formal evaluation of the feasibility of the loan, and offer technical assistance to help borrowers make their investments profitable. The savings institutions in each community collect repayments at an annual interest rate of 15%, and reinvest profits in the their own institutional development and in local social service programs. The Fandène network has in addition created technical advisory teams to assist groups in low-income neighborhoods of the nearby cities of Thiès and Dakar who wish to establish their own credit and savings programs.


Lesson:
Savings and loan schemes based on local groups and peer control facilitates capital accumulation in a rural area


Source:
University of Florida, IK-Notes 6 March 1999


External Link:
IK Notes No. 6



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Burkina Faso:  According to customary law in Burkina Faso, land is allocated by traditional chiefs and communally owned


Summary:
In rural communities of Burkina Faso land is allocated by traditional land chiefs (Tengsoaba, in Mossi language), on behalf of the ethnic group, the clan or the family. According to customary law, the traditional leader in charge of land allocation is the closest descendant of the first tenant of the land. For that reason he enjoys the status of intermediary between the livings, dead relatives, and invisible powers, co-owners of the lands. He allocates land to families, households and individuals, according to their needs. Every member of the group (who owns the land collectively) enjoys the right of permanent land use and exploitation, which is transmitted from father to son. Strangers integrated in the group are allocated land on a term basis; their rights are temporary and precarious. However, today, with demographic explosion and the fact that the land officially belongs to the state, customary law faces serious challenges.


Lesson:
Demographic explosion has a serious impact on traditional land allocation practices. The fact that the land officially belongs to the state poses a serious challenge to customary law, making dialogue between formal and informal institutions necessary to find a acceptable solutions for the concerned communities


Source:
Souleymane OUEDRAOGO, Inspecteur des Domaines, Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, juin 1993, (IIMI): « Quel(s) régime(s) foncier(s)pour les aménagements hydro-agricoles »


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Mozambique: Traditional, local institutions ensure for peaceful land re-allocation process in post-conflict Mozambique


Summary:
Following the peace agreement in 1992, about one third of the population - approximately five mil-lion Mozambicans - including refugees and internally displaced people, returned to their villages over a two year period. Many of them had been away from their villages for ten or fifteen years. Meanwhile other displaced people had occupied their dwellings and agricultural plots. To accommodate the returnees with productive land or housing without depriving the new settlers of their livelihoods required a large-scale re-distribution of land. Conservative estimates assume that 500,000 land transactions took place during a two-year period, about a quarter of a million transactions per year. These transactions were all carried out at the local level by local and/ or traditional authorities using indigenous knowledge and local capacity. No external assistance of any kind from government, donors or NGOs was involved. This massive and rapid land allocation process permitted the Mozambican smallholders to re-launch economic growth based on a dramatic increase of agricultural production. Two years after this unique land allocation program, there were no reports of land conflicts except in cases where government had allocated communal lands to outside business interests.


Lesson:
Large scale land re-allocation based on customary law proved to be faster, cheaper and less prone for conflicts.


Source:
Roberto Chavez, Resident Representative of the World Bank in Maputo from 1993 to 1997

 

Contact: rchavez@worldbank.org



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Burkina Faso: Bellows and drums as means of communication


Application:
In Mossi communities, bellows are used as a means of communication within their blacksmith casts; while drums are used to reach a more diverse and wider audience.


Summary:
Mossi blacksmiths use smithy bellows to produce sounds and rhythms that are in fact coded messages, and that only they can understand. Drums, however, are used traditionally to reach a more diverse and larger audience in the rural areas


Lesson:
As traditional means of communication, bellows are used only within Mossi blacksmith casts, while drums reach larger audiences and can be used to convey messages during public awareness campaigns in rural areas


Source:
Lidia CALDEROLI, Ethnographie 92, 1(1996) Printemps n°119 Titre : «Notes sur le langage des soufflets chez les forgerons Mõose (Wubr-tenga- Burkina Faso): une forme de communication de travail»; et Junzo KAWADA, Institut de Recherches sur les Langues et Cultures d’Asie et d’Afrique, Tokyo, Japon


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Ethiopia: “Dagu” is a traditional channel to transmit information efficiently and rapidly in Afar society


Summary:
"Dagu" is the name of a traditional channel of communication, used by the Afar people to convey messages to individuals, groups or within groups. Any information that affects or contributes to the well-being of a community can –using this means-- be transmitted in one day to all its members. The authenticity and validity of messages have to be confirmed by the elders, who are usually trusted by the other members of the community. Messages are usually related to special events, such as weddings, funerals or to some other social or economic issues.


Lesson:
: Effective word-to-mouth traditional means of communication can be used to convey development-related messages within communities or from one community to another


Source:
Akalu Woldemariam, Association for the Promotion of Indigenous Knowledge (APIK) Addis Ababa University P.O. Box 1176 Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Tel/Fax: +251-1-550655

 

Contact: EHNRI@telecom.net.et


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Tanzania: Acquisition and sharing of knowledge.


Summary:
Maasais and Barabaig alike of Northern Tanzania have developed and maintained traditional knowledge and practices for the management and conservation of biological resources on which they depend on. Their knowledge and practices are empirical, based on continuous observation and their close attachment to and utter dependence on natural resources. The knowledge is stored in cultural and religious beliefs, taboos, folklore or myths as much as in the individuals' practical experience. Knowledge is imparted in the youth through a phased childhood and adolescence. This contributes to a stock of knowledge in human and animal health, in agricultural meteorology and in land use. A combination of cultural, empirical and hierarchical methods ensures the safeguarding and further development of knowledge as well as effectiveness of existing practices. By preferring utilitarian to hierarchical or theoretical concepts, knowledge is much easier shared. Evidence pro-vides a strong corrective agent in determining the usefulness of existing knowledge, and an "incentive" to further develop it.


Lesson:
Indigenous knowledge systems are often application oriented. The introduction of new concepts should use approaches that are based on or compatible to existing systems.


Source:
MARECIK, N. Ole-Lengisugi, F. Ole-Ikayo

 

Contact: multicho@yako.habari.co.tz


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Uganda: Traditional birth attendants using some information technologies contribute to reduction of maternal mortality


Summary:
The Rural Extended Services and Care for Ultimate Emergency Relief (RESCUER) pilot project launched in March 1996, in Iganga District, Uganda, addresses the problem of high maternal mortality. The project helped empower a network of Traditional Birth Attendants (TBA) to partner with the public health service centers (PHC) to deliver health care to pregnant women. This resulted in increased and more timely patient referrals as well as the delivery of health care to a larger number of pregnant women. Modern technology was used to enable the TBAs to refer patients to the PHCs. This involved the installation of a solar powered VHF radio communication system that included fixed base stations at the PHCs, mobile 'walkie talkies' with the TBAs, and vehicle radios in the referral hospital ambulances and the District Medical Officer’s vehicle. A notable impact of the project was that Maternal mortality declined by more than 50% over a period of three years.


Lesson:
Enabling and empowering Traditional Birth Attendants can increase the reach of public health services and reduce the incidence of maternal mortality


Source:
The Challenge and opportunities of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) in the health sector by Maria G. N. Musoke, prepared for the African Development Forum (ADF) ’99; Maria G. N. Musoke, Makerere University, Uganda

 

Contact: lip97mgm@sheffield.ac.uk


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Zimbabwe: Totemism provides a unifying bond for people for peaceful coexistence of communities and a starting point for joint developmental efforts.


Summary:
A study on coping mechanisms in the north eastern part of Zimbabwe observed that during wars and famines, communities of Mozambique and Zimbabwe have sought and provided mutual refuge, shared resources and even provided for education of each others’ children. Their relationships were determined by common totems. A totem is a symbol that represents the identity of a given group of people that share the same genealogy as a clan. The totem becomes a respected object or phenomenon of nature by the people who hold it sacred, acting as a binding force of individuals and groups of people. This could be a mammal, a bird, a fish or a reptile. A person’s life is regulated by rules and behavioral patterns centered around the philosophy of totem. For example, in exogamous cultures, people of the same totem would not marry because they are considered sister and brother. In some communities, a deceased would not be buried without the participation of at least someone who shares the same totem as the mother of that deceased. The values and beliefs of totems help to unite people and give them identity. The local community gains from appreciating their relationship with their neighbors and other communities.


Lesson:
Professionals working with communities need to understand the mechanisms and values manifested in totemism for development programs or peace efforts in conflict zones.


Source:
ZIRCIK

 

Contact: wsadomba@africaonline.co.zw


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Ghana: Redefining local governance


Summary:
In 1979 the residents of Nwodua, a village of 640 people located 20 kilometers from Tamale in northern Ghana, set up their own adult literacy program with the assistance of teachers from neigh-boring villages. Instructors were paid in kind by manual labor on their farms, and were replaced if they grew dissatisfied with this small “salary.” The group of newly literate adults then managed to convince the Bishopric of the Catholic church to establish a primary school in Nwodua, and arranged for the village to become the center of a new functional literacy project in the Dagbani region. As one result of its role in the regional literacy project, the village was also able to establish a permanent “Adult Primary School” in the community. Members of the group succeeded next in using these initial accomplishments as selling points to different NGOs and aid agencies and acquiring from them support for new activities: establishment of a commercial tree nursery and a soap factory, purchase and operation of a grain mill, construction of a new road linking the village to the main interurban route. But the most remarkable aspect of the experience is undoubtedly the fashion in which the residents of Nwodua remodeled their community government system to sup-port this program of activities and its diverse effects. A large share of authority seems to have been transferred without a hitch from the traditional chief to a “General Development Committee” elected from the initiators of the various experiments. The committee has in turn created a series of sub-committees to oversee the different socioeconomic projects currently underway.


Lesson:
Villagers realize the value of education, organize adult literacy in self-help and gradually transform their community.


Source:
University of Florida, IK-Notes


External Link:
IK Notes No. 7


Contact:
pmohan@worldbank.org


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Mali: Village associations achieve settlement on producer prices through collective bargaining.


Summary:
Village associations (associations villageoises, or AV) represent cotton producers against the Malian Textile Company (Compagnie Malienne des Textiles, CMDT) in the Koutiala region of southern Mali. In 1989 representatives of the different regional associations had jointly succeeded to reject an unfavorable policy adopted by the CMDT regarding the financial responsibility of producers’ associations. Based on this success the village associations united again to oppose a decision of CMDT to raise payment of staff from proceeds made on cotton without increasing payments to producers. The AV elected a delegation, but CMDT management, worried by the unstable political conditions in Mali at that time, refused any negotiation with the peasant movement. As a consequence, the AVs called for a strike by cotton producers. For two months the associations re-fused to deliver their cotton to the CMDT. Eventually, CMDT accepted the principle of collective bargaining by an NGO representing producers. In this manner SYCOV (Syndicat des Producteurs du Coton et du Vivrier or Union of Cotton and Food Crops Producers) was born. The Union, which operates bilingually (Bambara-French), has continued to grow, is now a part of the institutional and political landscape of Mali, establishing at a national level the legally-established right of peasants to participate in all decisions which concern them. SYCOV is also organizing training courses in oral and written French for Bambara-literate representatives of the AVs and has required bilingualism in all documents it uses and all sessions in which it takes part.


Lesson:
Political environment, pressing needs and local organizational competence transform a farmers’ union

into a national political player.


Source:
University of Florida, IK-Notes


External Link:
IK Notes No. 9


Contact:
pmohan@worldbank.org


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Mali: Village based management centers induce a second level of local governance


Summary:
To strengthen their management performance, the village associations of southern Mali, created in 1993 an institution charged with auditing their accounts and providing technical assistance to local leaders in financial matters. This structure became the “Koutiala Management Center”; a new branch has just been established in the Office du Niger region. The center is staffed by personnel recruited from the village associations and responsible for providing third-party audit of their ac-counts. The staff are trained and supported in turn by external technical assistance, which is de-signed to play a diminishing role. Policy oversight of the Center is carried out by an Administrative Council, which is linked in turn to the Federation of Village Associations of southern Mali. The center is supposed to operate entirely on a budget funded by the revenues generated from sale of its services to the village associations. It is thus half way between being a “wholly owned subsidiary” of the Federation and operating as a private auditing firm. At this stage, the Center is still partially dependent, on external funding. But it has survived a first phase of establishment, operation and preliminary institutionalization and is in fact providing needed services and generating revenues. The Center thus demonstrates the ability of local associations to move up a substantial notch in the sequence of activities required to become financially independent.


Lesson:
The management centers demonstrate the ability of local associations to become financially independent based on ownership.


Source:
University of Florida, IK-Notes (to be published)

 

Contact: pmohan@worldbank.org


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Niger: Limits to the self-governance of local natural resource management programs.


Summary:
This initiative is an innovative natural resource management aimed at ensuring food security, natu-ral resources conservation, and promoting local control of the development process in 50 communities. It was planned to begin with the commercial development of woodland resources and move on, through regional land use planning and better organization of agricultural input supply, to the establishment of farmers’ councils that would direct all soil conservation in the Department. The implementation approach expected honest negotiation with village-level counterparts, active participation of the population in the diagnosis of environmental problems and the development of new interventions. It included the advice of elders and opinions expressed by all stakeholder groups. However, no substantial literacy or technical training components were integrated into the project. The difficulties are compounded by a very limited use of writing in this rural zone, where the literacy rate is one of the lowest in the world. The translation of contracts into the local language has proved time-consuming and even these translations are only usable by a very small part of the village society. The lack of “intellectual capitalization” by the project seems to have essentially hamstrung local assumption of responsibility for the entire operation, and the very modest technical skills of participants did not enable them to capitalize on the potential for new agricultural and financial investment which project designers had hoped to induce.


Lesson:
Participation, use of local language, stake-holder involvement, tapping of indigenous knowledge are necessary but not sufficient conditions for project success. Without their intellectual appropriation through the local population, innovations cannot be sustainable.


Source:
University of Florida, IK-Notes (to be published)

 

Contact: pmohan@worldbank.org


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Global Addresses of IK Centers


Addresses of IK Centers (PDF)

Link to the Addresses of Other IK Centers and CIRAN's IK-Pages
Nuffic/CIRAN IK Development Monitor and Addresses of Other IK Centers


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Bank Sources

Indigenous Knowledge for Development Link to the Homepage of the Indigenous Knowledge for Development Program of the Africa Region

Database of Indigenous Knowledge and Practices Link to the Database of Practices of the Indigenous Knowledge for Development Program of the Africa Region

IK Notes Newsletter Link to the IK Notes of the Indigenous Knowledge for Development Program of the Africa Region

An Introduction to the
Microfinance Institutions Contact List

External Sources

Register for Best Practices in Indigenous Knowledge Link to the database of Best Practices of UNESCO

Nuffic/CIRAN IK Development Monitor and Addresses of Other IK Centers Link to the Addresses of Other IK Centers and CIRAN's IK-Pages

 Please send feedback or comments to rwoytek@worldbank.org

Should you know of other indigenous knowledge practices that have helped or may help to improve Bank programs, please share them with us. We will enter your contribution into the IK-Database.

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Bank Projects with IK

Community - Based Rural Development Project

The Community-Based Rural Development Project (Phase I), will initiate the process of improving revenues, and living conditions of rural populations in Burkina Faso, particularly that of food crop producers who account for seventy five percent of the rural poor. It will develop the capacity of rural inhabitants to manage sustainable, equitable, and productive development, and will also facilitate the emergence of rural municipalities. Project components will: 1) strengthen the technical, and organizational capacities of the rural population, through three sub-components, to: raise awareness for participation, and encouragement of village regrouping, through communication, promotion, and information activities; organize managerial, and technical skills through the provision of training to form village, and inter-village land management committees (CVGT/CIVGT); and, provide technical support to community organizations in pursuing annual investment plans; 2) establish a local investment fund for financing CVGT/CIVGTs subprojects, and, provide resources for provincial structural works; 3) build institutional capacity, by training local/provincial/regional/national institutions; 4) improve land tenure through a pilot operation; and, 5) support program coordination, administration, and monitoring/evaluation.

Full Report: PAD



The Rural Finance Services Project

Seeks to promote growth, and reduce poverty in Ghana, broadening financial inter-mediation in rural areas, by strengthening operational linkages between micro-finance institutions, and rural and community banks, and building their capacities. The components will: 1) focus on strengthening micro-finance, by developing, organizing, and training communities, and, supporting capacity building for micro-finance institutions, within the existing initiatives, such as the Ghana Micro-finance Network, Susu groups, women's banking initiatives, and cooperatives, and credit unions; 2) focus on restructuring weak rural banks, strengthening their operational effectiveness, and the internal controls of all rural banks, providing information technology, logistics, and staff training. Banking rationalization will be improved through a defined criteria, linked to the individual rural bank capacity; 3) finance technical assistance needed to implement, operate, and train an apex bank for the rural, and community banks, and, support its initial capacity building activities; 4) provide support to the Bank of Ghana, namely, the Banking Supervision, and Rural Finance Inspection Departments, upgrading staff skills, and improving technologies, enabling effective project activities.



Second Community Water and Sanitation Project

The Adaptable Program Loan Supports the Government of Ghana in extending sustainable water and sanitation facilities to 85 percent of the rural population by the year 2009 and in establishing a sustainable operations and maintenance system in rural communities and small towns. The Second Community Water and Sanitation Project (CWSP2) will be implemented in three 3-year phases. The first phase for CWSP2 aims to increase service coverage, and achieve effective and sustained use of improved community water and sanitation in villages and small towns in four regions. There are two main project components. The Community Subprojects component provides grants to communities and schools through their district assemblies for construction of water and sanitation facilities and finances technical assistance and community development activities to strengthen community capacity to plan, implement, operate, and maintain water and sanitation facilities in an effective and sustainable manner. Community subprojects include protected communal hand-dug wells, communal boreholes equipped with handpumps, a mechanized boreholes, a surface water supply system, a protected spring source, rainwater catchment, and household and school latrines. The second component strengthens stakeholder capacity by supporting the private sector and nongovernmental organizations as providers of hardware and software services, and provides national program development.


Social Action Fund Project

The objective of the Social Action Fund Project, is to increase, and enhance the capacities of communities, and stakeholders to be able to manage development initiatives, and improve in the process, socioeconomic services. The components will: 1) finance, and support small demand-based community initiatives, to improve accessibility to, and delivery of social, and economic services, enhancing the capacity of communities, and local stakeholders. Subprojects will include improvement of basic health care facilities; construction, and rehabilitation of nursery, and pre-schools, as well as primary, and secondary schools; supply of essential equipment for primary, and junior schools; development of initiatives on water supply, and sanitation; and, construction of economic infrastructure, e.g., crop storage facilities, and markets; 2) finance labor-intensive works, as a safety net scheme for targeted poor rural areas, to provide cash income for the poor, in particular women, and youth, promoting job creation related to the construction of infrastructure facilities, complementing income earning with the construction of productive assets, such as village access roads, water retention structures for small-scale irrigation, and sewage systems; and, 3) support institutional development, and capacity building, through the provision of information, education, communication, and training, in a participatory manner.

Full Report: PAD




Village Infrastructure Project in Ghana

The Village Infrastructure Project will support government efforts to reduce poverty and increase the quality of life of the rural poor. The project has the following components: (1) Rural Water Infrastructure - comprising integrated development and water resources management, including catchment management and other water conservation practices. (2) Rural Transport Infrastructure - selectively rehabilitating and improving degraded feeder roads; developing village trails and tracks linking farms to villages to permit the use of simple wheeled vehicles to reduce the need for women and children to head carry weights; and a pilot program to develop intermediate means for the rural poor to convey goods to market. (3) Rural Post-Harvest Infrastructure - developing on-farm and village-level drying facilities to reduce post-harvest losses; on-farm and community storage and other village-level market infrastructure for more efficient marketing; appropriate facilities for processing crops, livestock and fisheries products to increase their quality shelf life and market value; and income-generating activities targeted at the poorest. (4) Institutional Strengthening - capacity building within district assemblies to strengthen their planning and financial management of rural infrastructure; strengthening NGOs and other community-based organizations to provide more effective implementation support to communities and groups in developing sustainable rural infrastructure; and empowering beneficiary associations and groups to take direct responsibility for the sustainable operations and maintenance of rural infrastructure

For Details: PID



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IK Contribution Format

Should you know of other indigenous knowledge practices that have helped or may help to improve Bank programs, please share them with us. We will enter your contribution into the IK-Database.

You could structure your contribution by using the following format:  

1. Country:Where is the practice applied (country and location)?

2. Domain:

In which sector is the practice applied (agriculture, health, social development etc.)?

3. Technology:

What technology (e.g. soil erosion control, childcare, institutional development etc.)?

4. Bearers of Knowledge:

By whom is the practice applied (e.g. Washambaa, local healers, women's group of a given village etc.)?

5. Source: Where can we inquire further?

 Primary provider information (probably yourself or your institution)

Secondary providers of information

Add references to literature, web sites, names of individuals or organizations that can corroborate the practice.

Include addresses of primary and secondary providers of information.

6. Descriptive headline of practice:

One to two lines capturing the main features of a practice.

7. Summary:

Describe the main features of the practice and explain (not more than 200 words).

8. Lessons:

Answer three key questions related to efficacy and impact of the practice.

 - Why it is important for the local community?

- Why might it be beneficial to other communities?

 - Why should development organizations learn more about this practice?

9. Methods used to capture information:

How was the practice identified, recorded and documented?

          

NB: The IK database is an open, on-line resource for information on indigenous knowledge practices. The database acts as a referral system and does not disclose the technical details of practices or applications. Most practices in the database have been reported elsewhere in publicly accessible information sources. As is the principle of a referral database the provider of information could be asked by users of the database to provide further information or pointers as regards details of the practice. It is to the discretion of the provider of information and the inquirer to negotiate the terms of the exchange of knowledge. No information provided will be made public without the consent of the provider.

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