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Friday 11 June 2021, 13:14 pm.
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Botswana invests P6 million in indigenous knowledge

Botswana government has invested P6 million on a project called Indigenous Knowledge System (IKS) aimed at researching, documenting and storing the country's indigenous knowledge.
By BABOKI KAYAWE
Staff Writer
(GMT +2)
Mmegi Online :: Botswana invests P6 million in indigenous knowledge








Briefing the media on Wednesday in Gaborone, Director of the Department of Research, Science and Technology, Lesego Motoma said the research would enable policy and a legislative framework for preserving indigenous knowledge.

Matoma said together with various other ministries, and stakeholders with traditional knowledge and traditional doctors they have engaged the University of Botswana's Centre for Scientific Research Indigenous Knowledge & Innovation to compile the research which will be completed June 2012. The study started this year February.

"There has been an increasing realisation of the significance of indigenous and traditional knowledge in sustainable development," she said. Matoma said as most of the country's indigenous knowledge has already been studied by outside researchers who in some instances have identified active ingredients and patented them, the country will reverse such evidence to prove that indeed the knowledge used for such products was tapped from Botswana.

She added that India has given precedence in the issue, though it is complicated and costy. Moreover she said once the policy is drawn it would regulate researchers from outside who benefit from indigenous knowledge based research at the expense of the nation and communities within which the knowledge is found.

However, she said benefit sharing is a major challenge because most southern African countries share some knowledge and it needs collaboration for the

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intellectual property to be protected.

She added that if that is not taken care of, it would not help if one country preserves its knowledge whilst in another other part of the region the same knowledge is not protected. The other challenge, she said is explaining what intellectual property is to an ordinary Motswana.

Meanwhile, IKI team leader Mogodishing Sekwela said the reception is overwhelming and the nation is keen to have its indigenous knowledge documented and protected against foreign researchers who benefit from it.

He added that as they go around meeting those with such knowledge they uncover wealth of skills that could help the country in areas of medicine, education and nutrition. The Indigenous Knowledge System project has been necessitated by the fact that the knowledge has been under extreme pressure and severe threat of erosion and marginalisation mainly due to modernisation, urbanisation and globalisation.

The objectives of the IKS policy study is to ensure that the country turns into an intellectual and cultural centre that draws upon national indigenous knowledge base and promotes Botswana's social and cultural heritage.

Another essential need for the policy is to groom scientists who recognize the important  role of the resource-rich but economically disadvantaged communities and also see collaborations between modern research and indigenous knowledge for socio-economic benefits.

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