Documenting traditional and indigenous knowledge and species
According to the project’s country coordinator Patrick Maundu, food systems are fast changing as a result of globalization. It is therefore important to document food systems before the indigenous knowledge and species are lost.
To respond to this challenge, the tool will be community specific, with a database containing standardized local names of foods and recipes of different communities, thereby minimizing the possibility of wrong entries. The database will also include recipes with traditional and wild foods, seasonal calendars and market survey data to provide more insight into the various foods and their nutritional value.
A key partner in this endeavour, the National Museums of Kenya (NMK) harbours a wealth of scientific and genetic expert knowledge of plants and animal species. NMK – which focuses on researching, identifying and documenting edible species, and creating public awareness on the need to conserve them for sustainability – will also provide databases of indigenous foods and recipes that are vital for this tool. According to professor Gikungu of NMK, the tool will enable NMK to meet their mandate of conservation and utilization of available biodiversity. “Conservation can only be achieved through synergy with communities, and that community awareness and empowerment is key for successful conservation,” Gikungu said.
Effective nutrition intervention programmes largely depend on reliable quality data on people’s food consumption patterns, data that is unfortunately not available or up to date. “We very much appreciate that Bioversity International started this new project that will offer evidence-based decision-making.” Kenjiro Ban, Chief Officer, Initiative for Food and Nutrition Security in Africa (IFNA) Secretariat. He further notes that the success of Bioversity International’s new approach will provide community-specific agrobiodiversity data, which in turn will facilitate context-specific interventions.
The tool’s performance will be tested by local communities through their community health volunteers. They will receive technical support and assistance from volunteers from Japan International Cooperation Agency volunteer programme. The volunteers will be based in the study sites in Kitui and Vihiga where they will pilot the tool with the local team to identify gaps in its application. Once all gaps and issues are fixed, the ADD-IT tool will be released for use by other scientists and research institutions.
Click here for more information about the ADD-IT tool.
This research is supported by the Japanese Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, and is part of the CGIAR Research Program on Agriculture for Nutrition and Health (A4NH), which is supported by CGIAR Trust Fund Donors.