Friday, October 31, 2008


Knowledge is the psychological results of perception and learning and resolving. Knowledge is what is known like the related concepts truth, belief, and wisdom. Knowledge is part of hierarch made up of data, information and knowledge. Data are raw facts, and information is data with context and perspective. Knowledge is information with guidance for action based upon insight and experience. There is no single definition of knowledge on which schools agree, but rather numerous and continued debate about the nature of knowledge. In Africa and especially in the Eastern Africa, the Indigenous Peoples like the Maasai of Tanzania live in the Arid and Semi-Arid lands. Despite that they live in the dry lands, they are well adapted to an often harsh environment because they have gathered vast local knowledge about their resource based, its weakness and strengths, its utilization and management. The traditional diet of Tanzanian's Maasai people may contain powerful plant-based antioxidants with the potential to reduce cholesterol levels and provide other health benefits. The Maasai are cattle herding pastoralists, about a million of whom inhabit the semi-arid lands of Kenya and Tanzania in an area bordered by Mount Kilimanjaro in the east, the Serengeti Plain in the west, and the Ngorongoro Crater in the south. Cattle are the basis of the Maasai economy, providing food mainly in the form of milk and meat. The Maasai are well known both for their strongly independent ways and their skill with weapons.

Traditional knowledge is something created, preserved, and dispersed. Information passed from generation-to generation by storytelling; ceremonies; traditions ideologies; medicines; dances; arts and crafts; or a combination of all these. It is determined by Nation’s land, environment, region, culture and language. The World Health Organization (WHO) defines traditional medicine, which forms part of traditional knowledge, as follows: The sum total of knowledge, skills, and practices based on the theories, beliefs, and experiences indigenous to different cultures, whether explicable or not, used in the maintenance of health as well as in the prevention, diagnosis, improvement of treatment of physical and mental illness.
Comparisons between traditional and scientific knowledge styles
Traditional Knowledge Assumed to be the truth ,Sacred and interconnected ,Teaching through storytelling, Learning by doing and experiencing, Oral and visual, Integrated, based on whole system, Intuitive , Subjective (based on personal), Experiential (based on experience), Holistic (based on complete systems), Transfer of knowledge takes a long time, Long-term wisdom, Powerful prediction in local areas, Weak in distant areas of knowledge, Models based on cycles Linear, Explanations based on examples, stories while Scientific Knowledge Assumed to be a best approximation, Secular (non-religious) segregated, Formal teaching, Learning by formal education (molding), Written, Analytical, based on parts of the whole, Model or theory based, Objective (not based on personal experience/beliefs) opinion), Positivist (based on facts), Reductionist (reduces complex systems to simpler systems), Transfer of knowledge is fast, Short-term prediction, Powerful predictability in natural principles, Weak in local areas of knowledge, modeling as first approximation, Explanations based on hypothesis, myths theories, laws.

Best practices on indigenous knowledge in Tanzania are the pastor-lists Maasai who move their heard throughout the year to optimise utilization of rangeland resource for maximum meat and milk production. As a result of well – skirted livestock movement the heard stay healthy, and produce a reliable supply of milk and meets the demands of polygamous pastoral household. This can be illustrated by looking at several integrated features of Maasai pastorlism. The division of labour, rangeland utilization, an ecological approach to disease prevention. Maasai pastoralist are familiar with every plant in their rangelands and pastures. They can also describe the palatability of each plant for the different animals they keeps and they know each plants seasonality, nutrition value, toxicity and medicinal properties. The pastoralists have knowledge and experience of supplementing their animal, diet with minerals, which not only provides resistance to illness but also enhances their appetite, growth, libido, fertility, milk production and other positive properties. Type of knowledge they acquire are knowledge of their environment, knowledge of livestock genetic and breed selection and knowledge of medicinal plants and weather forecasting.

They could also become known for the traditional foods and medicinal plants that supplement such high-fat staples of milk, meat and maize meal. According to Dr Johns, up to 66% of the calories consumed in the Maasai diet come from fat, primarily saturated fats — resulting in a total daily intake of more than 2,000 milligrams of cholesterol. Yet, their mean serum cholesterol levels are in the normal to low range.

Agenda 21, the Programme of Action for Sustainable Development adopted by UNCED in Rio in 1992 contains a series of recommendations about the relevance of traditional knowledge to implementation of sustainable development policies and programmes.

In Tanzania numbers of policies has been made to enable transmission of knowledge from one generation to another such as Educational Policies in Tanzania, Policy of education for self reliance, national culture policy to promote and strengthen cultural actors, Structural adjustment policies in Tanzania and educational policy, the technical education and training policy in Tanzania.

Knowledge is a technical know how which can be transmitted from one generation to another through different means according to the behaviour and nature of a society. Different society has different level of knowledge. But the importance of knowledge is to give a way of finding solution for problems facing society. Knowledge acquirement lead to improve the status of a community from one generation to another.

For example at the early stage people used animals as a means of transportation, but improvement transportation industry from one generation to another put us in position today of using motor vehicle, air line, railway , Improvement in communication industry make the world to be a village, but all this is a result of knowledge transmission from one generation to another. Knowledge play a vital role in all sector of economy, social, environmental , heath sector. All that contributes to the improvement of community development.

It is also evidence that without the inclusion of Indigenous Peoples in the formulation of government policies like Land and forest, then the problems will always be there. Before the so called policies were put in
place the Indigenous peoples had there own way of managing resources

Defineknowledge – Google search.htm

Economic Fundamentals of the Knowledge society by Paul A. David and Dominique Foray , 2002

United Republic of Tanzania Ministry of Communication and Transport; National Information and Communications Technologies Policy. 2003

Sacred Ways of Life: Traditional Knowledge; Prepared for the First Nations Centre National Aboroginal Health Organization 2005.

SMEs and Networks Governance Structure in Tanzania: Literature Review and Research Issues by Lettice Rutashobya, Isack Allan , Facult of Commerce and Management University of Dar es Salaam

Social Literature Review for Knowledge in Fisheries Management Project by Douglas C. Wilson.


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