Project

Introduction

Since 2008 we have co-designed technologies in rural Namibia for the purpose of Indigenous Knowledge (IK) collection, representation and transfer across generations with rural ovaHerero community members in Eastern Namibia. We deconstruct the tensions that occur between Western imprinted technology and the digital representation of Indigenous Knowledge in theory and practice. Assumptions regarding methods considered appropriate, as well as concepts and techniques are revised. Design decisions need to be determined and negotiated within local contexts and an indigenous epistemology. We pursue a community-based co-design (CBCD) approach, which is fundamentally rooted in a dialogical and participatory action research paradigm. We have developed a number of prototypes and mobile applications to support IK collection, classification, representation and curation. Since 2014 we have expanded our research sites to the Kunene region, where we have established a long-term collaboration with an ovaHimba community, exploring technology adaptations and crowdsourcing technologies.

Aim

Our aim is to co-design technologies for the purpose of indigenous knowledge collection, representation and transfer to be used by the rural knowledge bearers. We deconstruct the tensions that occur between western imprinted technology and the digital representation of Indigenous Knowledge in theory and practice. Assumptions regarding considered appropriate methods, concepts and techniques are revised. Design decisions need to be determined and negotiated within local contexts and an indigenous epistemology. We pursue a community-based co-design approach, which is fundamentally rooted in a dialogical and participatory action research paradigm. We contextualise our work within an afro-centric paradigm thereby challenging current mainstream research methodologies.

Pathway

We are following a number of reasearch leads simultaneously:

  • We are further improving the current prototype for independent deployment.
  • We are investigating rural communities’ Crowdsourcing of local adaptations as an affordable solution.
  • We are working with a number of rural pilot schools to create local content based on indigenous knowledge by teachers using local language wikipedias.
  • We continue to explore an afroc-centric approach to such a R&D project and derive implications for ICT4D and HCI4D.
  • We involve undergraduate and post graduate students to support capacity-building in the field of community-based co-design.
  • We collaborate with international partners on related projects.

 

Home Stead Creator (HSC)

The HomeSteadCreator (HSC) is a prototype which has been developed iteratively with a Herero community in Namibia. The original goal was to enable community members to digitally recreate their physical context to later embed locally recorded IK video, audio or physically tagged places. The videos comprise of recordings of local practices, customs and rituals. At the core of the HSC is the ideas of adding information about the context by having community elders reconstruct scenes of any IK recording as a 3D scene.

Read more...

Community Crowd Sourcing Platform (CCSP)

One of the initiative ideas to preserve indigenous knowledge of the rural communities in Namibia is to find affordable ways on how to develop ICT solutions. The rural communities do not have sufficient funds to afford to pay ICT experts to develop software applications. Moreover, there is not a large of Software Engineers in Namibia that would develop software application for free or at a low cost. Our research team is therefore looking at how the rural communities could outsource their software request needs to the crowd on the Internet that are willing to develop free software applications for the rural communities in Namibia.

Read more...