Roles of Indigenous Knowledge (IK) in Promoting Sustainable Development: The Case of Environmental Protection among the Hararghe Oromo
This research aimed at examining roles and practices of IK among Hararghe Oromo in their spiritual and secular lives. Although the society in Hararghe has been using IK as coping strategy since time immemorial, their roles have not been well studied specially in connection with environmental protections. This research employed a descriptive and analytical model from top-down and bottom-up participatory approaches examining the practical skills, wisdom, living conditions, experiences and attitude of people in the study area. The research was conducted at clan level in Gurawa, Tullo and Jarso districts of the Hararghe Zones. Interview, FGD, non-participant observation, document analysis, and photographing to capture incidents were used to collect the data. The major roles and significances of IK of the community for environmental protection were critically examined based on themes, society‟s‟ cultural practices and their working habits. An attempt was also made to integrate and exploit the verbal arts, secular and sacred knowledge. Although currently the world is influenced by technological innovations accelerated by massive power of modernity, IK are used to making the lives of the local community better at protecting their environment and assisting sustainable developments. Such knowledge systems among Hararghe Oromo communicate a range of themes: enhancing livelihood, sustainable development, expressing people‟s worldview, their secular and spiritual thoughts via the tradition preserved to date. Since the studies of IK are at infant stage, further investigations are needed in IK, particularly in relation to environmental protection so as to exploit and preserve them for current and future uses.
Keywords: Environmental protection; Heera Gadaa; Indigenous knowledge (IK); Secular and ritual practices