Strengthening 'folk ecology': community-based learning for integrated soil fertility management, western Kenya

J.J. Ramisch, M. Misiko, I.E. Ekise, J.B. Mukalama

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    20 Citations (Scopus)


    Farmers and researchers in western Kenya have used community-based learning approaches to jointly develop a `dynamic expertise¿ of integrated soil fertility management (ISFM). This transformative learning approach builds on farmers' `folk ecology¿ and outsiders' knowledge, taking action research on natural resource management beyond methods that are descriptive (ethnopedology) or curriculum-driven (farmer field schools). The paper presents insights from a project's experience of applying the strengthening `folk ecology¿ approach in western Kenya, with emphasis on the community-based learning process, collective and individual experimentation, the power dynamics of farmer research groups, and learning from the farmer¿researcher interface. Farmer groups have been empowered by this approach but diversification into non-soil activities highlights the limitations of experimentation and the challenges of scaling up participatory action research
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)154-168
    JournalInternational Journal of Agricultural Sustainability
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2006


    • resource management
    • natural resources
    • knowledge
    • indigenous knowledge
    • traditional technology
    • field experimentation
    • farmers
    • research workers
    • soil management
    • africa


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