Contextualising Ogiek’s Indigenous Environmental Education through Oral Literature for Sustainable Conservation of Mau Forest, Kenya

  • T.K. Ronoh
  • F.S. Barasa
  • R.M. Matheka

Abstract

Environmental conservation in many parts of the world presents a daunting task owing to factors like population increase. In Kenya, for example, environmental degradation has occurred at an alarming rate in areas such as the Mau Forest, the home of the majority of the Ogiek people. Traditionally, the Ogiek are hunter- gatherers and have distinctive histories of interaction with the natural environment. But, they have been gradually rendered homeless through appropriation of parts of the Mau Forest for other uses since the colonial periods. Mau Forest is located in the Rift Valley Province and straddles Kericho, Nakuru, Narok and, Bomet districts. Over the years, the Ogiek have inhabited in the Mau Forest with little impact on the environment. This paper critically examines the influence of Ogiek indigenous education on environmental conservation. The study was informed by General Systems Theory and the Cultural Ecology Theory. An ethno-historical approach was employed in the design, instrumentation, data collection, analysis and interpretation. To achieve systematic
collection of data, purposive sampling techniques were used. The research sample was drawn from seven sites in the Mau Forest, namely; Teret, Sururu, Nessuit, Mariashoni, Bararget, Tinet and Kiptororo. Fourty-five members of the Ogiek community, mainly cultural consultants, were interviewed for the study. Cultural consultants provided the most complete and representative information about particular aspects of Ogiek life because of their experience and training. Informants were interviewed individually as group interviews were susceptible to biases and distortion of information. The main instruments for data collection were observation and interview schedules. In addition to oral interviews, this study used a variety of documentary sources. The information obtained from the various sources was checked for validity and reliability using triangulation as well as external and internal criticism approaches to data analysis. The results reveal that the Ogiek had two primary methods of education: initiation and Konoito territorial strategy as integrated within their oral literature environmental conservation strategies. It is hoped that the research findings will be useful to policy makers in such fields as education and environmental conservation on the need for the integration of indigenous knowledge systems into modern environmental management strategies.

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How to Cite
Ronoh, T., Barasa, F., & Matheka, R. (1). Contextualising Ogiek’s Indigenous Environmental Education through Oral Literature for Sustainable Conservation of Mau Forest, Kenya. WINHEC: International Journal of Indigenous Education Scholarship, (1), 64-77. Retrieved from https://journals.uvic.ca/index.php/winhec/article/view/18631