On the 31st January representatives from the Bushbuckridge Traditional Healers’ Association, lawyers working on issues around traditional knowledge (TK) from Kenya and Ghana, and Natural Justice gathered in Cape Town with support from the Open A.I.R. Project. The theme was “Non-Traditional Users of TK—Opportunities and Challenges Around Compliance”. Breakout sessions delved into the definition of TK commons, methods of pooling and sharing TK, TK practioners and their issues, external links to non-traditional users of TK, and existing and future policies around TK. Interviews with the healers from Bushbuckridge on the challenges they have faced in managing the sharing of their TK informed much of the discussion.
Looking forward, the representatives looked to build on the successes of the Bushbuckridge community. As communities in Ghana and Kenya move forward with their development of TK commons, participants will support the development of linkages between these communities and the Bushbuckridge healers. They will also continue to look for ways to creatively collaborate to analyse and shape laws and policies around TK based on experiences at the grassroots level.