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Indigenous Knowledge And Sustainable Development: Investigating The Link

W Maila


Sustainable development is perceived as a complex concept because of the south–north, north–north and south–south divide. The various perspectives on this subject are embedded in people's own beliefs or interests regarding what sustainable development (SD) means to them. No wonder SD is viewed by politicians as community projects; by business as goods and profits; by environmentalists as a means of enabling efficient use of
natural resources; and by the masses as a means of meeting their basic needs and as a
strategy for poverty alleviation. Although indigenous knowledge – whether called scientific
or non-scientific knowledge – enables people to address their diverse ills (challenges) in
society, sometimes it is marginalized in education because it is seen as non-scientific and
non-engaging in formal education. Using the capability approach to human development,
this paper investigates the link between indigenous knowledge and sustainable development and proposes a better framework for understanding these concepts in development processes.

Keywords: Indigenous knowledge, capability approach, accountability, sustainable development, poverty.

Indilinga Vol. 6 (1) 2007 pp. 76-84