(Un)Common Knowledge

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Natural Justice has been invited to facilitate a one-day workshop with three communities in KwaZulu-Natal on April 19th. The workshop will be hosted by the Knowledge Management Program of the National Indigenous Knowledge Systems Office (NIKSO) under the South African Department of Science and Technology (DST). The Knowledge Management Program established an Indigenous Knowledge Systems (IKS) Center at the University of Zululand to ensure the protection, preservation and dissemination of indigenous knowledge and to facilitate its use for socio-economic development processes within communities. The IKS Center is the first project of its kind in South Africa that will facilitate community-led documentation of indigenous knowledge through audio and visual media. The knowledge will continue to be owned by the communities, but will be held at the IKS, which reports to a steering committee comprised partly of community representatives. An MoU is currently being developed between the University and the communities that will highlight the communities’ rights to ownership over and access to the knowledge. The workshop that Natural Justice will facilitate will include discussions of how bio-cultural community protocols can be developed to support the communities’ control over their knowledge and customary ways of life, of representative decision-making institutions, and of the challenges and opportunities of rights related to documentation of indigenous knowledge. Natural Justice will also give technical input on the draft MoU between the communities and the University to ensure that it adequately represents the rights and interests of the communities.

9 April 2010

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