Original Research

Indigenous knowledge for disaster risk reduction: An African perspective

Nnamdi G. Iloka
Jàmbá: Journal of Disaster Risk Studies | Vol 8, No 1 | a272 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/jamba.v8i1.272 | © 2016 Nnamdi G. Iloka | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 04 November 2015 | Published: 29 July 2016

About the author(s)

Nnamdi G. Iloka, Faculty of Engineering and Environment, Northumbria University, Newcastle City Campus, United Kingdom


Indigenous knowledge is valuable knowledge that has helped local communities all over the world survive for generations. This knowledge originates from the interaction between members of the community and the environment in which they live. Although much has been written about indigenous knowledge, its documentation in the area of disaster risk reduction and climate change in Africa has been very limited. The wealth of this knowledge has not been well-recognised in the disaster risk reduction field, as policy-makers still rely on mitigation strategies based on scientific knowledge. Colonialism and lack of proper documentation of indigenous knowledge are some of the contributing factors to this. Ignoring the importance of understanding adaptive strategies of the local people has led to failed projects. Understanding how local people in Africa have managed to survive and adapt for generations, before the arrival of Western education, may be the key to developing sustainable policies to mitigate future challenges. Literature used in this article, obtained from the books, papers and publications of various experts in the fields of disaster risk reduction, climate change, indigenous knowledge and adaptation, highlight the need for more interest to be shown in indigenous knowledge, especially in the developing country context. This would lead to better strategies which originate from the community level but would aim for overall sustainable development in Africa.


Indigenous Knowledge; Disaster Risk Reduction; Adaptation; Climate Change; Africa


Total abstract views: 7488
Total article views: 20084


Crossref Citations

1. Perception and knowledge of grasshoppers among indigenous communities in tropical forest areas of southern Cameroon: Ecosystem conservation, food security, and health
Charly Oumarou Ngoute, David Hunter, Michel Lecoq
Journal of Orthoptera Research  vol: 30  issue: 2  first page: 117  year: 2021  
doi: 10.3897/jor.30.64266