Relationships between formal education and ethnoveterinary knowledge in Eluwai village Tanzania

Harvey, J. (2015) Relationships between formal education and ethnoveterinary knowledge in Eluwai village Tanzania. In: Society for Economic Botany Conference 2015, 29th June-2nd July, 2015, Clanwilliam, South Africa.

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Ethnoveterinary medicine (EVM) is widely accepted to be cheap, safe, effective, and culturally sensitive, and is extremely important in primary livestock healthcare in developing regions (1). Traditional knowledge (TK) such as ethnoveterinary knowledge (EVK) is under threat of erosion through an ‘extinction of experience’ (2), which may be fuelled by formal education which subordinates TK and TK transmission systems to western scientific knowledge (WSK) and school, and removes children from informal learning networks and experiences through which they traditionally learn TK (3). This is particularly significant if young people must travel to urban areas to attend school. For the Maasai cattle are a primary food source and social currency, thus they have a great deal of TK about how to care for their herds. This study investigated the relationship between formal schooling and EVK among Maasai students attending a non-government intercultural school, and their unschooled peers in a rural village in Monduli District. It did this by comparing lexical knowledge through freelisting activities, and substantive knowledge gleaned through semi-structured interviews conducted in Kimaasai through an interpreter. Questionnaires were used to understand the socio-economic background of students, highlighting a range of factors which interplay in the process of TK erosion. It also investigated attitudes toward EVM among both students and villagers through questionnaires and semi-structured interviews.

The research highlighted the continued importance of EVM to rural livelihoods in the study site; EVM was found to be highly valued by pastoralists who often use it complementarily to conventional medicine. Formal schooling was found to be negatively related to young peoples’ EVK, however several factors interplayed with this relationship including: parents’ occupation (subsistence/mixed vs. commercial only), active teaching of ethnoveterinary medicine by informal teachers at home, and students’ practical experiences of livestock care, such as herding livestock away from home during the dry season (ronjo). These interactions suggest that educators, families, and communities should work together to maintain traditional learning networks and knowledge transmission both in and out of school. Finally, the study revealed the overwhelmingly positive attitude of students participating in an intercultural curriculum toward TK, cultural values and rural livelihoods. It concludes that rural location, staff from local ethnic groups, and culturally sensitive curriculum content and teaching methods can help to reduce the negative impact of formal schooling on TK and cultural identity.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Poster)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Maasai; intercultural education; knowledge erosion
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Q Science > QK Botany > QK0001 General
R Medicine > RZ Other systems of medicine
Divisions: Faculty of Social and Applied Sciences > School of Human and Life Sciences
Depositing User: Jennie Harvey
Date Deposited: 07 Oct 2015 12:58
Last Modified: 07 Oct 2015 12:58

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Last edited: 29/06/2016 12:23:00