Theodory, Theobald Frank: Dealing with Change : Indigenous Knowledge and Adaptation to Climate Change in the Ngono River Basin, Tanzania. - Bonn, 2016. - Dissertation, Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn.
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author = {{Theobald Frank Theodory}},
title = {Dealing with Change : Indigenous Knowledge and Adaptation to Climate Change in the Ngono River Basin, Tanzania},
school = {Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn},
year = 2016,
month = sep,

note = {This thesis investigates the role of indigenous knowledge in dealing with climate change. For the purposes of this thesis, indigenous knowledge consists of everyday experiences, learning processes, and practices that have been gained by local communities through their daily experiences of living with nature. This thesis focuses on the case of the Haya living in the Ngono River Basin in north-western Tanzania, an area with recurrent impacts of different on-going climatic and non-climatic changes. It points out that vulnerability in the study area is not caused only by climate change, but also by different on-going changes, which intersect and produce risks among the rural poor. Informed by empirical data, a particular emphasis is placed on climate change related risks, such as long drought seasons, reduced precipitation, and incidences of strong winds. In view of these risks, this thesis examines how indigenous knowledge might help local communities to adapt to climate change. However, this knowledge is neither rigid nor static, but dynamically shaped by external influences and socio-cultural transformation. In order to understand how the indigenous knowledge of the Haya is learned, shared, and transmitted within the community, this thesis uses the Situated Learning Theory (SLT). This theory provides the framework for an in-depth exploration of knowledge acquisition process within a certain community that considers the socio-cultural context of the learners. SLT considers learning to be a fundamentally social phenomenon, which occurs through everyday interactions.
The thesis builds on eight months of fieldwork carried out in two phases: August to December 2013, and September to November 2014. The sample size for questionnaires and interviews was either randomly or purposively selected. For the selection of individuals at the village level, random selection was used to obtain a sample for the questionnaires. This was done with the assistance of village leaders using village register book. 291 household heads were randomly selected for the questionnaire sample. In addition, 48 interviews with local communities and 18 focus group discussions were conducted in selected villages of Ngono River Basin. Interviewees were able to discuss different issues, such as different on-going changes they had experienced in the last 30 years, as well as long-term adaptation practices used to deal with these changes. Furthermore, documentary review, participant observation, expert interviews, resource mapping, transect walks, and history timelines were used to obtain empirical data. The data was analysed both qualitatively and quantitatively. There are four major observations that were drawn from this research:
The Haya people have experienced new and recurrent changes which contribute to their vulnerability. These changes are agricultural, economic, socio-cultural and environmental in nature. Although some of these changes were beneficial to local communities, the evidence indicates that these changes have also undermined the Haya’s adaptive capacity in relation to climate and non-climate related changes.
Irrespective of these different changes, the Haya perceive climate change as the main driver of their vulnerability, because their livelihoods depend on nature to a great extent.
The Haya possess a repertoire of practices embedded in the socio-cultural context of the region, which have assisted them in responding to recurrent climate change risks. The dominant practices include wetland cultivation during long drought season, growing early maturing crops, and the use of locally made pesticides.
Fourth, the intersection of indigenous knowledge and western knowledge in adaptation brings forward questions of power. Within the community there are struggles over what constitutes “best practices” for adaptation. In particular, the evidence indicates that there is a power imbalance between extension staff and other members of the community. Most of the extension staffs recommend the use of western knowledge for climate change adaptation, which is often rejected by other parts of the community, as western knowledge sometimes does not fit the particular socio-cultural context.
Against this backdrop, it is not surprising that the majorities of the Haya are still using indigenous knowledge and related practices in adapting to climate change. The study concludes that efforts to adapt to climate change are faced with the challenge of integrating indigenous and western knowledge, without prioritizing one over the other.},

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