Local knowledge of natural resources in rural Namibia : a case study of Salambala Conservancy in eastern Caprivi.
Mosimane, Alfons Wabahe.
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Historically, local communities have been excluded from the managemcnt of natural resources and their knowledge about their social and physical environment has been ignored and disregarded. The aim of this is study is to assess whether local knowledge is a significant resource and arbitrates in the management of natural resources in rural Namibia. The study looks at the place and use of local knowledge in governmental and non-governmental organisations, especially in their rural development programmes. It also examines local knowledge in institutional management of natural resources. Lastly, the study assesses the significance of local knowledge in different land use systems. The study found that local knowledge is widely acknowledged as an important source of information and a useful part of development. However, this recognition is often not translated into practice. The knowledge system is not recorded and available to people who are not members of the community, which limits the contribution it can make to natural resource management and rural development. The study shows that local communities have a vast knowledge of the social and physical environlnent in which they live. Rural development organisations can make better contributions to rural communities by learning from them and using their accumulated knowledge and experience in their programmes. The recommendations made in the study will help rural development practitioners, researchers, academics and agricultural extension officials to realise that local knowledge is a resource which can be used to the benefit of the community and the environment.