Disaster risk communication: A dichotomous approach incorporating indigenous knowledge systems

  • Mandla Nyathi Department of Insurance and Actuarial Science, National University of Science and Technology, Bulawayo
Keywords: Indigenous knowledge systems, disaster risk communication, natural disasters, human-made - disasters, knowledge ownership

Abstract

The purpose of the study was to identify and understand the indigenous knowledge systems in general and specifically in disaster- risk communication management. The important link between indigenous knowledge systems and modern risk communication management is found in the need to establish effective and relevant local solutions to managing risk communication. The research was necessitated by the desire to seek ways in which indigenous knowledge communication systems could be incorporated into the modern disaster risk communication systems. The main focus of the research was twofold, first the research sought to understand disaster risk communication in terms of natural disasters such as floods, famine, and diseases. Secondly, the research was aimed at understanding disaster risk communication within the remits of human-made disasters such as wars, invasions, environmental pollution, and political disasters. The research followed qualitative focus groups strategies to collect the primary data that informs this report. The research, and to the shock of the researchers, found that there are many intelligent indigenous knowledge communications systems, embedded in the everyday lives, that go back many generations and are still relevant in the way peoples of different geographical areas communicate risks. The research found, also, that there are many secrets and code used to communicate some of the risks. The research concludes by acknowledging the rich potential in conjointly using modern and indigenous knowledge systems to communicate risk. The article proposes a dichotomous disaster- risk communication model as a way of providing a logical framework in which to manage such communication. The proposed model will undoubtedly provoke academic debate and help inform policy in the study area.

Author Biography

Mandla Nyathi, Department of Insurance and Actuarial Science, National University of Science and Technology, Bulawayo

Department of Insurance and Actuarial Science, National University of Science and Technology, Bulawayo

Published
2014-05-12
Section
Articles

Journal Identifiers


eISSN: 0376-4753