Conducting Local Knowledge-Based Research activities
About the Implementing organization
Name: Tenasserim River & Indigenous Peoples’ Networks (TRIP NET)
Year of establishment: 2014
Type of organization: Community-based association or organization, Indigenous group or organization, Ethnic minority group or association
TRIP NET’s model of Local Knowledge-Based Research can be differentiated from regular academic research by the fact that it is individuals from the local area who decide on the research questions, develop the research plans, implement the research and analyse the findings. TRIP NET facilitates this process with its partner communities by providing training on specific skills requested by the community and assisting in the design and publishing of the community’s research findings into effective advocacy materials.
Through Local Knowledge-Based Research activities, villagers have become more confident that they possess knowledge which outsiders cannot possess. This is a key element of the local peoples’ bargaining power when dealing with outsiders (be they government officials, INGOs or businesspeople) and demanding a seat at the table regarding the future development of Tanintharyi Region.
In relation to Myanmar’s national-level natural resource management and land management laws and procedures, the TRIP NET model is quite innovative. It is fundamentally based on facilitating indigenous communities’ to document and implement their indigenous knowledge and practices for sustainable natural resource management. In this model, local people are the best placed to conduct research on and create knowledge about the local natural resources as they live in interdependence with them.
Forests / Wildlife / Mountains / Wetlands / Rivers
Type of Action
Protection / Restoration / Sustainable use / Access and benefit sharing / Advocacy for land / Awareness and education
Sustainable Development Element
Food security / Water security
Depending on the focus of the research question, the environmental impacts of the Local Knowledge-Based Research activities range from conservation to sustainable resource management to water quality monitoring to flora and fauna inventories, etc. The Local Knowledge-Based Research activities are a fundamental step towards TRIP NET’s wider objectives of empowering local people to be confident in their environmental knowledge and ability to manage their own nature resources. The LKBR research process and findings ensure that community-protected conservation zones and protected areas are suitable and will be sustained in the future by active and motivated local peoples’ organizations.
Sustainable Development Impacts
TRIP NET’s Local Knowledge-Based Research activities contribute to the achievement of SDG 15 , particularly 15.1 and 15.9. TRIP NET impact: TRIP NET’s Local Knowledge-Based Research activities empower local people to be confident in their environmental knowledge and ability to manage their own nature resources. The research findings of TRIP NET’s partner communities have been used in advocacy for the conservation, restoration and sustainable use of watershed forests and rivers across Tanintharyi Region. The local Knowledge-Based Research activities also empower local people to set local conservation priorities and conduct research in support of their goals. While in the past it was common for government officials and International Conservation organizations to ignore local people by saying they did not have research to support their claims, when communities implement their own research they are able to demand a seat at the decision-making table.
TRIP NET’s model of working with local people to develop Local Knowledge-Based Research activities can only be scaled-up to a certain extent because it is by definition a process that needs to happen at the local level. That being said, the Local Knowledge-Based Research model could be implemented by national level government agencies doing development interventions in any part of Myanmar. Specifically, research-based policy interventions should be grounded in priorities and analysis coming directly from the affected people.
The Local Knowledge-Based Research model can be easily replicated in other parts of Tanintharyi Region and Myanmar. Having local people set conservation priorities, and develop and implement environmental research is a model that can be replicated at the village-level, and in many ways is a process that can grow organically through example. The model of Local Knowledge-Based Research has already been replicated among TRIP NET’s partner communities. For example, villagers in Tapo were inspired to conduct a fish inventory in the Tha Ra Bwin Stream after seeing the outcome of the fish inventory conducted in the Tenasserim River by the Kamoethway community.
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