Community indigenous knowledge and its role on prediction of natural disasters of public health importance: a case of central division of Isiolo district Kenya
Habane, Fayo Galgalo
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Indigenous knowledge is the local knowledge that is unique to a given culture or society. It is the basis for local-level decision-making in agriculture, health care, food preparation, education, natural resource management, and a host of other activities. This study was to establish the existence of the indigenous knowledge in the community of central division in lsiolo District and its role in the prediction of natural disasters. The research design used in the study was survey. This design helps in seeking information for decision making and improvement of certain areas of weaknesses. Opinions are the major features in survey research. The study population was derived from the 10 settlements within Central location of Central division in the district and systematic sampling design was employed in selecting households in the settlements. Questionnaires, interview guides and focus group discussions were used to get the data from the respondents. Data from the questionnaires were analyzed using the statistical packages for social sciences (SPSS) soft ware. Inferential statistics by use of' chi-square was used to determine the significance of relationship between variables and non-parametric inferential statistics used in analyzing the data were percentages and frequencies where the findings were presented in tables, bar- charts, pie-charts and line graphs. All the tests on the relationship was done and level of significance determined. The role of IK technique in the predictions was that 77.3% can be used to predict floods, Drought at 94.3%, Famine at 83.9% among others. Correlation analysis was done using chi-square (x2) between different variables such us age, gender, educational level, marital and employment status. In the determination of the correlation between age and knowledge on the frequency of occurrence of disasters; the results was that x2 15.745, p- 0.399, df 15. The study found that there was no significant relationship between the age of the respondents and the knowledge on the frequency of occurrence of the disasters. Regarding the aspects of formal disaster management by the government with correlation to age, gender, marital status, and level of education, the study found that there was no significant relationship between the variables. Finally the null hypothesis for the study was rejected and it was therefore concluded that the communities living in Central division of Isiolo District uses IK in the prediction of natural occurrences. The study concluded that the major disasters in lsiolo include: famine, drought, floods and epidemic diseases. It was also concluded that the government was successful in managing disasters in Isiolo District. The study finally concluded that some of the indigenous knowledge used included the use of animal intestines, stars, clouds, crescent shape and croaking of the frogs. The study recommended that indigenous knowledge should be promoted through keeping of records, be recognized and policy framework instituted to safeguard and preserve it so that it can be an additional resource base in supplementing the formal Government techniques in natural disaster management and predictions. The researcher finally recommended that another study should be carried out in the study area to find out the use of IK on environmental sustainability and management.