Indigenous Knowledge Management Practices In Two Selected Communities In Afikpo, Ebonyi State

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Indigenous Knowledge Management Practices In Two Selected Communities In Afikpo, Ebonyi State


Abstract


This study investigated the indigenous knowledge management practices in two selected communities in Afikpo, Ebonyi State, with particular reference to Amachara and Amachi communities in Afikpo South LGA of Ebonyi state. The qualitative ex post facto research design was adopted for the study. The study reveals that the use of indigenous knowledge by communities is pivotal to the development in African countries. As such, it should be acknowledged and given priority on the developmental agenda. Effort should be made to increase the literacy level of the community members, through adult education programs with a view to documenting indigenous knowledge. Stakeholders should encourage and support the rural women to confidently use their indigenous knowledge and integrate indigenous knowledge into policymaking and extension practice. Information professionals should make efforts to capture, store, and disseminate indigenous knowledge through the use of information technology.In conclusion, the culture and knowledge systems of indigenous people and their institutions provide useful frameworks, ideas, guiding principles, procedures and practices that can serve as a foundation for effective endogenous development options for restoring social, economic, and environment resilience in many parts of Africa and the developing world in general. It was recommended that indigenous knowledge practices in Nigeria for instance should be adapted in response to gradual changes in the social and natural environments, since indigenous practices are closely interwoven with people’s cultural values and passed down from generation to generation. Also, indigenous technologies should be identified via placing a national policy which would seek to protect and promote indigenous knowledge and technology so as to ease the burden of exchanging indigenous practices among communities


Table of Content


Chapter One

1.0 Introduction

  • 1.1 Background to the Study
  • 1.2 Statement of the Problem
  • 1.3 Objectives of the Study
  • 1.4 Research Question
  • 1.5 Research Hypothesis
  • 1.6 Significance of the Study
  • 1.7 Scope of Study
  • 1.8 Limitation of the Study
  • 1.9 Definition of Terms
  • 1.10 Organisation of the Study

Chapter Two

2.0 Literature Review

  • 2.1 Conceptual Framework
  • 2.2 The Concept of Indigenous Knowledge
  • 2.3 Indigenous Knowledge in Africa
  • 2.4 Indigenous Knowledge and Cultural Expression
  • 2.5 Nature and Form of Indigenous Knowledge
  • 2.6 Methods Used in Transmission of Knowledge
  • 2.6.1 The Informal Methods
  • 2.6.2 Formal Methods
  • 2.7 Theoretical Framework
  • 2.7.1 Meyer and Zack’s Knowledge Management Life Cycle Model

Chapter Three

3.0 Research Methodology

  • 3.1 Research Design
  • 3.2 Population
  • 3.3 Method of Data Collection
  • 3.4 Method of Data Analysis

Chapter Four

4.0 Results and Discussion

  • 4.1 Indigenous Knowledge and Education in Ebonyi State
  • 4.2 Nature and Importance of Indigenous Knowledge Management
  • 4.3 Indigenous Knowledge Management Processes (IKMP)
  • 4.4 Indigenous Knowledge Management Systems (IKMS)
  • 4.5 Barriers to Indigenous Knowledge Management

Chapter Five

5.0 Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation

  • 5.1 Summary
  • 5.2 Conclusion
  • 5.3 Recommendation
  • References
  • Appendix

Chapter One


1.0 Introduction

1.1 Background to the Study

Businesses nowadays are operating in a turbulent environment where organisations are searching for strategies that will enable them to improve their performance in order to stay ahead of the present and potential competitors (Ongori, 2009). To achieve these objectives, Obasan (2011) opined that the establishment and continuous existence of organization require the continuous and effective functioning of its materials input with the human element being indispensable in the day to day running of the organisation.

Knowledge, a justified true belief, is seen as one of the most important resources in any organization (Bhargav & Lauri, 2009). The success or even the survival of any organization depends on how effectively it manages the knowledge present internally and externally (Switzer, 2008). The fact that the role of knowledge management KM) is to identify the information that is important to the organization, it performs activities which involve in discovering, capturing, sharing and applying knowledge.

The fact that knowledge has become an important asset of organisations it has become an absolute necessity for enterprises to pay great important to knowledge management (KM). Effective management of this knowledge provides the capacity to reuse the existing organizational knowledge gained in the past via past experience and can greatly reduce the time spent on problem solving and increase the quality of work. Ineffectiveness in managing knowledge makes the knowledge irrelevant and not useful for organizations (Yusof & Abubakar, 2012). Besides, management is a key asset for organization survival and that the company is not in the market alone and number of the competitors is waiting for its mistakes. Hence, there is an emerging need to effectively implement knowledge management systems with the aim of transcending boundaries for not just an organization but also communities and their leadership structures.

Yu-Cheng & Lee-Kuo (2006) supported this view when they said that Knowledge is an important asset for all companies. With the rapidly changing environment and increase in competition, it is very important to manage knowledge properly in orgnaizations. But for communities, good knowledge management would probably benefit the exchange and re-use of knowledge in the short term and innovation in the long run for effective service delivery. Many organisations are now engaged in knowledge management efforts in order to leverage knowledge from both within their organization and externally to their stakeholders and customers (Yu-Cheng & Lee-Kuo, 2006).
Due to the imperative nature of knowledge, scholars and practitioners have reported KM adoption as being widely recognized and practiced in diverse industry and established to a large extent its significant in terms of organizational performance (Suraj & Ajiferuke, 2013; Yang, Chen & Wang, 2012; Zwain, Teong & Othman, 2012; Gholami, Asli & Noruzy, 2012; Yang, 2010; Fugate, Stank &Mentzer, 2009). Still, there is a dearth of research into KM, its nature and complexities, especially with respect to subsequent community outcomes (Tseng, 2014; Kiessling, Richey, Meng & Dabic, 2009). It has become an essential issue for businesses to comprehend in what manner KM would be employed to instigate, improve, and sustain relationships, and increase performance.

The reuse of information and knowledge minimizes the need to refer explicitly to past projects; reduces the time and cost of solving problems, and improves the quality of solution during the construction phase of a construction project. Hence, experience and knowledge should be preserved and managed, that is, they should be captured, modeled, stored, retrieved, adapted, evaluated and maintained (Bhargav & Lauri, 2009).

The knowledge, once packaged, becomes part of the capital of the organization. This creates an environment for the rapid sharing of knowledge as well as sustained and collective knowledge growth. Lean times between learning and knowledge sharing are shortened and human capital becomes more productive through intelligent work processes (Oke, Ogunsemi & Adeeko, 2013).

According to Oke, et al., (2013), the situations are posing challenges to all stakeholders. The fact that achievement of the overall goals and objectives of these communities and their projects revolve around the ability to manage knowledge effectively.

There have been several opinions, research and answers based on the question of how the indigenous people have been governing themselves before the advent of the Westerners and how they have been running their day-to-day affairs evenly in harmony without any form of external disruption. Hence, the Yorùbámaxim which says “Ó lóhunt’ád ì y ẹ ń jẹk’ágbàdotódáyé” that is “the fowl had had something eaten even before the advent of corn” goes a long mile and seems to be a perfect answer for such question.

Eminent scholars such as Adélékè and Mobọ́lájí (ND), Grenier (1998), Desta (1998) Warren (1991), Dei (2000),Adélékè (2008), Akíndé (2008), Oageng (2012), Njoki (2013), Adéríbigbé (2015), Olúmúyìwá (2015) among few and various organisations such as Word Bank (1998), UNESC and NUFFIC (2002), ICSU (2002), and WHO (2003) deem it fit that there is a need to search into the various mechanisms in which the local people employ in administering their communities before the advent of the scientific knowledge.After a wide range of research, they found out that the local people had based their administration on a well profound set of knowledge which they formulated for themselves and was passed from one generation to other through several means.Such means are songs, folklores, rituals, legends, stories and even laws.Hence, these bodies of knowledge are called indigenous knowledge.

These sets of knowledge are often referred to as traditional, local, folk or indigenous knowledge and are the intangible heritage of numerous societies around the globe. They comprise the understandings, skills and philosophies that span the interface between ecological and social systems; and intertwine nature and culture. Dei (2000:5), sees indigenous knowledge: the common sense ideas and cultural knowledge of local people concerning day-to-day life, which is critical to the way communities regard and live in their environment and presents communities with ways of managing their environment – be it natural, cultural or political, and which takes many forms to reflect the culture and geographic location as well as historic influences introduced from outside forces.

Hence, Indigenous Knowledge (IK) has become the accepted term to express the beliefs and understandings of non-western people acquired through long-term association with their place. It is knowledge based on the social, physical and spiritual understandings which have informed the people’s survival and contributed to their sense of being in the world. Indigenous knowledge, therefore, plays an important role to all of humanity as the wellspring from which all knowledge originates; this was supported by Nicolas (2002) who cited James D. Wolfensohn, the President of World Bank, once said:

Indigenous knowledge is an integral part of the culture and history of a local community. We need to learn from local communities to enrich the development process.

For a long time, indigenous knowledge has been subdued by western knowledge that was thought to have all the answers in dealing with human problems. However, things are now changing because it is slowly becoming clear that indigenous knowledge is important and indigenous people hold a wealth of knowledge and experience that represents a significant resource in the aspiration for sustainable development. It is no wonder that the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP) combines the broader approach defining indigenous knowledge with the recognition of the varieties of knowledge systems that exist in different indigenous communities. As a matter of policy the UNEP states definition thus: The knowledge that an indigenous (local) community accumulates over generations of living in a particular environment. This definition encompasses all forms of knowledge – technologies, know-how skills, practices and beliefs – that enable the community to achieve stable livelihoods in their environment.

In a nutshell, this, invariably, connotes that indigenous knowledge is that knowledge used to run or manage all the sectors and sub-sectors of the traditional, local or rural economies and society and that, the indigenous people of the world possess an immense knowledge of their environments, based on centuries of living close to nature. Therefore, other United Nations’ agencies, governments, academic institutions and scholars see it as an essential need to understand and record the knowledge and intellectual traditions of indigenous peoples on a diverse range of topics such as architecture, irrigation, health, nutrition to child rearing, botanical sciences, forest management and astronomy. Interpreting and understanding indigenous knowledge systems are often revealed in indigenous languages, rituals and cultural practices.

In addition, development is a continuous concept in which every society strives to attain, but, since after independence, Nigeria has been in the course of achieving a sustainable developed society basing its means only on Western and scientific knowledge, whereas more sustainability can also be achieved through the use of traditional knowledge. Scholars and oraganisations like Bossel (1999), Hartmut (1999), Jonathan (2003), Davis (2007), Adébáyọ̀ (2012), UNSTT (2012) submits that sustainability can be interpreted in many different ways but its core is an approach to development that looks to balance different, and often competing, needs against an awareness of the environmental, social and economic limitations we face as a society. Therefore, based on research, the focus of sustainable development is far broader than just the environment, the social aspect of societies and the economic aspect but in which the cultural aspect is also important. A major aspect of this research is expected to empirically assess indigenous knowledge management practices in communities with a view to promoting the adoption of best knowledge management practices.


1.2 Statement of Problem

The relevance of indigenous knowledge is further buttressed in the work of Rene Reusen and Jan Johnson (1994) where emphasis is being placed on the need to link modern ideas with the traditional or local ideas. In their view, it is believed that for the development of artisanal fishing port, the government field officers who traditionally deal with document production, statistics, quarrels, licenses, taxes, etc., need to do more to support local initiatives. In other words, they need to have a truly detailed and systematic knowledge of the artisanal fishery ports of the local level particularly in the area of how people work, what the economic producers see as their most important problems and what they would like to do about them.

Ajibade (2002) Cited Pine, et.al. (1992). Mishra (1989) witnessed the use of indigenous knowledge in curing certain diseases in North India; works more slowly but is more thorough and effective than western pharmacology. Modern science has confirmed the veracity of some indigenous knowledge. For instance, Cucurbit leaves have been found (at Iowa State University) to have some chemicals that help to lower cholesterol. The leaves of alliums species (onion, garlic, etc.) have been found to prevent ulcer.

In spite of the overwhelming support for indigenous knowledge globally, there are indications that indigenous knowledge in Nigeria are going into extinction. Sen (2005) is of the view that the scientific community is worried about the loss of bio-diversity of species and ecosystem and the future implications of that for the whole planet is glaring. IFLA (2004) had earlier issued a draft statement of indigenous knowledge acknowledging the disruption of IK throughout history.

The need for the preservation and transmission of indigenous knowledge to future generations and its protection from further erosion calls for a holistic approach. Researchers have shown that there is paucity of documented empirical evidence on the management of indigenous knowledge and the rate at which this class of knowledge are managed by communities and also used by the society calls for concern in Ebonyi State. However, the usefulness of indigenous knowledge equally explains the increasing research interest by scholars of diverse background. Therefore empirical studies on management of indigenous knowledge and their rate of use by scholars need to be carried out.


1.3 Objectives of the Study

The aim of this study is to investigate the indigenous knowledge management practices in two selected communities in Afikpo, Ebonyi State. Specifically, the objectives of the study include to;

  1. To determine the indigenous knowledge management practices in Afikpo, Ebonyi State
  2. To examine the indigenous knowledge management systems in Afikpo, Ebonyi State
  3. To identify the barriers to indigenous knowledge management practices in Afikpo, Ebonyi State

1.4 Research Question

The following research questions are formulated to guide this research:

  1. What are the indigenous knowledge management practices in Afikpo, Ebonyi State?
  2. What are the indigenous knowledge management systems in Afikpo, Ebonyi State?
  3. What are the barriers to indigenous knowledge management practices in Afikpo, Ebonyi State?

1.5 Research Hypothesis

  • HO1 Communities in Afikpo, Ebonyi State do adopt indigenous knowledge management practices
  • HA1 Communities in Afikpo, Ebonyi State adopt indigenous knowledge management practices

1.6 Significance of the Study

This study is carried out in an attempt to assess the indigenous knowledge management practices at the community level with a view to enhancing best knowledge management practices.

Organisations in Nigeria have always used different knowledge practices to produce goods and services; people do share knowledge but the extent of sharing is informal and not systematic. It very much depends on individuals and their personal networks. As a result, their knowledge disappears once they leave a firm. With the application of knowledge management, knowledge would hopefully be more securely managed.

Communities and their leaders will benefit from this study. The issue of sustainable development is one of the most current and germane concepts which need proper and accurate attention of the government and societies at large. Hence, this study, therefore, is considered highly imperative by proposing ways in which our natural resources can be properly managed through the use of our indigenous or traditional knowledge.

Also, this study tends to reveal the importance of our local knowledge and how it can enhance and complement global or scientific knowledge.Moreso, the theoretical concept employs in this study tends to justify the claims that every indigenous people and society possess a set of knowledge through their interaction with their natural resources and phenomenon, and that sustainability should not be view from economic, environment and social perspective alone, but also to include culture.

Lastly, this work will significantly contribute to knowledge by establishing the fact that revitalizing and implementing of indigenous knowledge will yield sustainability.


1.7 Scope of Study

This study was carried out to investigate the indigenous knowledge management practices in two selected communities in Afikpo, Ebonyi State. The study focused on Amachara and Amachi communities in Afikpo South LGA of Ebonyi state.


1.8 Limitation of the Study

Access to information relevant to the study was the major difficulty the researcher encountered during the data collection. Certain stakeholders were reluctant to grant the researcher interview and others who did were not forthcoming with the information. However there were others who were more than willing and provided adequate information that was needed for the work.

Another limitation has to do with time. The researcher did not have enough time to undertake the research since she had to meet a deadline. This notwithstanding the researcher was able to make proper use of the limited time therefore the quality of the work was not affected. However, it facilitated a detailed and in depth understanding of the study.


1.9 Definition of Terms

Knowledge:

Knowledge is a familiarity or awareness, of someone or something, such as facts, skills, or objects contributing to ones understanding.

Knowledge Management:

Knowledge management (KM) is the collection of methods relating to creating, sharing, using and managing the knowledge and information of an organization. It refers to a multidisciplinary approach to achieve organizational objectives by making the best use of knowledge.

Indigenous Knowledge Management:

Indigenous knowledge management is mechanism of culture, knowledge of local people and local resource management. It is important to preserve people knowledge for sustainable development nation.


1.10 Organisation of the Study

This study is organized into five chapters. Chapter one included the background of the study, research problem, research objectives and questions as well as limitation of the study. Chapter two contains the literature review. Chapter three includes the methodology. Chapter Four contains the results and discussion of key findings of the study. Chapter Five finally looks at the summary, conclusions, and recommendations based on the findings.


Chapter Five


5.0 Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation

5.1 Summary

The aim of this thesis was to investigate the indigenous knowledge management practices in two selected communities in Afikpo, Ebonyi State. Using Amachara and Amachi communities in Afikpo South LGA of Ebonyi state. Findings indicate that the literacy level of the rural communities in Afikpo South Local Government Area of the Ebonyi State, Nigeria is so low that the majority of them cannot read or write. There is an indication therefore that the socio-economic conditions of these communities, coupled with their high level of illiteracy, have dictated their choice of occupation, which is largely farming. Apart from the indigenous knowledge like Agbo generally used by all, other indigenous knowledge are used by rural women, based on choice and as their major occupation demands. In spite of the very small population of rural women who are herb sellers, the majority of them possess and use indigenous knowledge of traditional medicine. They use herb as preventive medicine and as alternative means of treating diseases. The use of herbs as preventive medicine has contributed to the reduction of infant mortality. Malaria and measles are the major diseases that kill infants, especially in the rural areas. Social stability is also enhanced by the use of taboo. To them, respect and fear associated with the taboo have brought about peaceful and harmonious living with low level of social conflicts.


5.2 Conclusion

The study concludes that the use of indigenous knowledge by communities is pivotal to the development in African countries. As such, it should be acknowledged and given priority on the developmental agenda. Effort should be made to increase the literacy level of the community members, through adult education programs with a view to documenting indigenous knowledge. Stakeholders should encourage and support the rural women to confidently use their indigenous knowledge and integrate indigenous knowledge into policymaking and extension practice. Information professionals should make efforts to capture, store, and disseminate indigenous knowledge through the use of information technology.

In conclusion, the culture and knowledge systems of indigenous people and their institutions provide useful frameworks, ideas, guiding principles, procedures and practices that can serve as a foundation for effective endogenous development options for restoring social, economic, and environment resilience in many parts of Africa and the developing world in general. It is therefore essential that traditional knowledge systems in the continent should be incorporated into our educational system as this will foster sustainable development.


5.3 Recommendation

From the findings and conclusions, the following recommendations are made;

  1. Indigenous knowledge practices in Nigeria for instance should be adapted in response to gradual changes in the social and natural environments, since indigenous practices are closely interwoven with people’s cultural values and passed down from generation to generation.
  2. Learning from indigenous knowledge can improve understanding of local conditions; therefore concerted efforts should be made by information managers to understand indigenous knowledge which can increase responsiveness to clients by building on local experiences, judgments and practices to impact development programme and make them cost – effective in delivery.
  3. Indigenous approaches to development should be improved upon by information practitioners to create a sense of ownership that may have a longer lasting impact on relations between the local population and the local administration, giving the former a means of monitoring the actions of the latter.
  4. Since indigenous knowledge can provide a building block for the empowerment of the poor, governments and her institutions should explore the role of indigenous knowledge systems in helping to share direct communication within and across communities. The development community can learn a lot about the local conditions that affect those communities.
  5. Other countries should emulate South Africa who has set up a committee to identify indigenous technologies, and therefore put in place a national policy which would seek to protect and promote indigenous knowledge and technology so as to ease the burden of exchanging indigenous practices among communities.

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