Luckson Zvobgo

PhD student

Luckson is currently doing a PhD entitled: Role of local and indigenous knowledge on increasing community resilience and adaptation strategies to climate variability challenges, risks and uncertainties for agriculture based livelihoods in Chiredzi District, Zimbabwe. The impetus for this research stems from the global recognition of indigenous and local practices for climate variability resilience and adaptation (UNCCC, 2013). A growing concern has emerged on the use of local and indigenous knowledge (LIK) as a grass root adaptive strategy to climate variability challenges in world’s poor economies. LIKS encompasses dynamic and culture specific knowledge, practices and beliefs and all of which are significantly resourceful in increasing resilience to climate variability effects at local community levels. Given financial constraints in Zimbabwe, evolving a set of tools tailored by local communities is the most viable solution to adapt to climate variability challenges, thus increasing resilience of these communities to cope with the effects. Therefore, this research intends to identify several local, indigenous and traditional knowledge and practices, analysing their applications to climate variability adaptation and resilience-building at community level. More emphasis will be on fostering these systems given the social, economic, traditional and political set up of the study area (Chiredzi District). The research would be based on case studies encompassing five thematic sectors - water, forestry, rural livelihoods, crop production/food security and livestock production and traditional social institutions (role of local governance on promoting, advance and transform LIK). All examples of LIK and practices making the basis of this research would be drawn from 4 wards in Chiredzi District. The cases are selected based on a) the traditional practices of indigenous groups and cultures b) the relevance of these practices for climate variability adaptation and c) their potential to scale up. Overall selection will also be based on their relevance to Zimbabwe’s climate and development long term adaptation strategies and their importance in meeting the needs and priorities of indigenous and local communities. Primary data and information for the study will be collected through in-depth household surveys (questionnaire and interviews), key informant interviews, field observations. District and ward level stakeholder workshops and focus group discussions (FGDs) would also form part of the data collection process. The research is using the expansive learning theory where communities/smallholder framers expand their local and indigenous knowledge and practices to increase their adaptive capacity to climate variability challenges and shocks. Assumption is communities learn from their existing knowledge and practices, expand them for better future use and making informed decision during time of climate extremes.

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