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MMUST Institute of Indigenous Knowledge and Cultural Studies Sets in Motion the First of Its Series of Webinars With Schools in the University

The MMUST Institute of Indigenous Knowledge and Cultural Studies (IIKCS) has set in Motion the first of its Series of Webinars with Schools in the University. On Friday, 16th September, 2022, the Institute partnered with the School of Disaster Management and Humanitarian Assistance (SDMHA) to organize a webinar themed ‘Harnessing Indigenous Knowledge for Disaster Risk Management in the 21st Century’.

The SDMHA webinar, which interrogated critical issues in Disaster Risk Management through utilization of indigenous knowledge, was steered by the Director, Institute of Indigenous Knowledge & Cultural Studies, Prof. John Shiundu and his Deputy, Dr. Lucy Mandillah in conjunction with the acting Dean, SDMHA- Prof. Stanley Omuterema. Some of the thematic areas of discussion during the webinar included: ‘ ‘as well as.

The DVC Academics and Student Affairs (ASA), Prof. Hussein Golicha who was representing the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Solomon Shibairo expressed his delight in the Institute’s work. He noted that indigenous knowledge provided by the Institute is timely. “Indigenous knowledge has not been fully tapped in the University and it is time we make good use of it,” he stated.

DVC Administration and Finance, Prof.  John Kuria Thuo acknowledged that such webinars are vital to the University. “The webinar has enabled scholars to acquire more knowledge in indigenous knowledge and disaster management. Such knowledge can provide the tools that can adequately address modern day challenges. Universities must lead the way,” he urged.

Emphasizing the use of African technology for innovation, the DVC Planning, Research and Innovation (PRI), Prof. Charles Mutai encouraged adoption of technology for the prosperity of indigenous knowledge. “We have African technology which is special for our culture and could be tapped into great innovations. It is time to cultivate African technology for innovation,” he said.

Speaking during the event, the Director, Institute of Indigenous Knowledge & Cultural Studies, Prof. John Shiundu pointed out that Indigenous knowledge is real and we need to uphold it. “Indigenous culture is fading and the Institute is taking a lead in preserving it,” he noted.

Prof. Maurice Amutabi, a renowned Historian from Technical University of Kenya reiterated that Africa needs to tap indigenous knowledge which can be used to solve the current challenges we are facing in the 21st century. He added that the only solution is to get back to indigenous knowledge. Similarly, the Executive Director, Green Aid and Coordinator African Alliance for Indigenous Knowledge Systems & Practices from Cameroon, Dr. Tabi Joda suggested that African researchers and institutions need to understand the indigenous knowledge systems and practices in order to mitigate climate change oriented challenges.

In his presentation, ‘Mitigation of Climate Change Challenges Using Indigenous Early Warning Systems’, the CoD Disaster Management and Sustainable Development, Dr. Edward Mugalavai, discussed the interesting nexus between modern science and indigenous knowledge especially in matters of climate change prediction.

The Director, Research and Postgraduate Support, Prof. Peter Bukhala revealed that all schools will transform what they presented during the webinars into full proposal for funding through his Directorate. Equally, Dr. Ernest Othieno Odwori from the Ministry of Water and Prof. Omuterema pointed out that there is a lot of useful data in indigenous knowledge that can be utilized for modern disaster risk management.

Concurring with other scholars present, Prof. Frank Matanga, a Professor of Political Science said that indigenous knowledge is necessary for effective conflict resolution. “We should look into history to solve conflicts,” he urged.

Other MMUST staff who attended the webinar included: Registrar PRI- Prof. Alice Chesambu, the Dean School of Education (SEDU)- Prof. Moses Poipoi, Associate Dean School of Education- Prof. Kennedy Bota, Dr. Ferdinand Nabiswa, Mr. Herman Wachiye, Mr. David Juma, Mr. Graham Amakanji, Mr. Gregory Lidzaga, Mr. Willy Omukoko, Mr. Philip Mukonyi, Ms. Rhodah Mwombe, Ms. Millicent Ambetsa, Mr. Fabian Khamasi, Mr. Lucas Esekon, Kgosietsile Maripe and Mr. Wanzila Mutinda.

Indeed, this first webinar on harnessing indigenous knowledge for disaster risk management in the 21st century is a good beginning for tapping into the reservoir of indigenous knowledge to counter threats to humanity and maintain societal equilibrium.


By Dr. Lydia Anyonje and Verna Awuor

Digital Photo by Gabriel Juma