This summer I was able to launch a new project called Olosho Ethnobotany project. This applied community-based project is working with local Maasai healers to document medicinal plant usage. Maasai traditional ecological knowledge of local herbs supplied many of the healing properties needed for typical household health concerns. However, this component of heath care is currently threatened. This project attempts to understand how health care seeking behaviors are changing in response to modernity and poverty..
Through working with a local community organization in Narok, Kenya and an affiliation with the National Museums of Kenya I was able to complete phase one of the project. During the summer I was able to collect 22 plant samples and record a description of their local medicinal usage. I was also able to conduct 20 household interviews on the health care decision making process over the use of traditional medicine versus pharmaceuticals.
This semester I am looking for students interested in working on this project to assist with transcriptions of interviews, data processing, and graphic design. The next step will be to develop a small reference book of medicinal plants from the data collected, professionally print and return these books to the community for local daily use. Community elders are very excited about this portion of the project; they are hoping that by writing down the knowledge the value will be increased for the younger generation.
I spent 6 weeks in Uganda (April-June) working with colleagues at the Advocacy Coalition for Development and Environment (ACODE, Kampala). ACODE is Uganda’s #1 research institute/Think Tank. I was following up work begun during my 2014-2015 sabbatical there. My main collaboration was advocating for a national resettlement policy, building upon my earlier study with ACODE on the impacts of forced resettlement due to land acquisition caused by oil sector development. My advocacy involved a) writing and presenting a civil society response to the proposed national policy (on behalf of the Civil Society Coalition for Oil and Gas, an NGO); b) facilitating meetings to connect civil society organizations (e.g., ACODE) with the consultants contracted by the government to draft a national Land Acquisition, Resettlement and Rehabilitation Policy (LARRP); and c) preparing publications, such as "Policy Framework for Land Acquisition and Resettlement: Safeguarding Community Livelihoods in Uganda," in Natural Resource Governance and Sustainable Community Livelihoods in Uganda; and "Assessing Public Expenditure Governance in Uganda’s Agricultural Sector,” in Public Expenditure Governance in Uganda. Both will be published by Lynne Reinner Publications, 2018.
Indian Landing - Dr. Dale Borders