Climate change confounds Kenya’s traditional healers
Alertnet, 31 May 2011

DADAJIBULA, KENYA: An unprecedented drought is destroying the livelihoods of communities across northern Kenya, among them traditional healers and medicine men, who are at a loss to know how to respond. Benjamin Akavasi, executive director of Kenya Climate Forum, a Nairobi-based climate consultancy group, says climate change is altering weather patterns and severe shocks like this are becoming a fact of life. These changes will affect traditional healers everywhere in the world,” he says. “The most important thing is they should go back and take advantage of indigenous knowledge available in coping with the problem.” “Traditional healers hail from communities rich with traditional knowledge and the knowledge shows how the same communities predicted weather and prepared for big shocks like this in northern Kenya,” he says. Most of them store medicines to be used during the long drought periods while others store seeds using traditional methods of preservation and plant during the start of rains. According to Asha Mulki of the Frontier Indigenous Network, pastoralist communities have used various traditional methods of detecting climatic shocks like looking at the star patterns, listening to sounds and noises from frogs and certain bird species and also monitoring some trees shedding their leaves. Forewarned by such signs, the pastoralists have traditionally stored water and managed pasture to ensure there is enough to carry them through to the next rains. Read the article …

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