SENRGy staff train Agroforestry researchers in Northern Ethiopia

SENRGy staff have recently provided a two week training course for researchers held at Mekelle University in Northern Ethiopia. The training was run by Genevieve Lamond, a Research Project Support Officer at Bangor University, and was funded by the AfricaRISING project and led by the International Centre for Research in Agroforestry (ICRAF).

Eight researchers from across Ethiopia, Vietnam and one of Bangor’s own SUTROFOR MSc Agroforestry students were trained in using the AKT5 software and methodology (http://akt.bangor.ac.uk). AKT (the Agroecological Knowledge Toolkit) was developed by researchers in SENRGy and is primarily concerned with gathering local ecological knowledge. Local ecological knowledge refers to what people know about their natural environment, based primarily on their own experience and observation.

A particular focus of the training was the application of local knowledge gathering to the issue of tree-crop-livestock interactions on farms in the semi-arid area of the Tigray Region of Northern Ethiopia.  The region is prone to heavy soil erosion and the AKT method allowed researchers to gather data on local knowledge held by farmers regarding the key drivers for land-cover change over the last 50 years and methods that they have implemented to combat soil erosion over the past 10 years.

Importantly, the course participants were required to feed back some of their key findings to the farmers they had interviewed over the two week period. According to Genevieve Lamond, “too often researchers extract from communities and do not properly inform them about the results or what will happen next with that information. This is an important part of the research process because it allows those who have been interviewed to verify what has been gathered from the interviews; it also encourages dialogue between local people and researchers”.

Publication date: 11 July 2012