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Harnessing IKS and technologies in the quest for sustainable rural economic development

Lesiba Teffo


Challenges of climate change call for innovative solutions to achieve sustainable development. This is especially true in poor and rural communities. Many countries in Africa are alive to the fact that environmental education and management are key and therefore should be included in curricula and government policies. Investment in human capital such as skills, technological and institutional capacity is critical to support sustainable  subsistence in the locations that host majority populations in most countries: the rural areas. To this end, the investigation and transition to low-carbon economies that engender accelerated investment, attracted by renewable energy technologies will contribute to improved quality of life and job creation. This article contends that Indigenous Knowledge Systems (IKS) can bridge the divide that exists between technological and economic imperatives that are central to sustainable substance of rural communities. However, this is an area that remains seriously unexplored,  understudied and is therefore accorded a low status. In the characteristically intellectualized environments of sustainable economic theories, IKS
remains associated with low literacy, 'rurality' and primitiveness and relegated to ethnic extraction. Because the core of IKS emerges from practice located in oral definitions provided in local languages its utility value as the underlying methodological theory and doctrine escapes from being captured in the classical texts and is therefore not promoted by the mainstream commercial platforms. The complementary roles of modern and
indigenous technologies can contribute to food security and development in general.

Keywords: Harnessing, technologies, sustainable rural development, consciousness, Indigenous Knowledge Systems, epistemology, education, environmental management and African Renaissance.