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Group calls for leveraging indigenous knowledge for development

Mr Sabinus Chiravira, the Executive Director of the Spotless Event Planners, an advocacy group in the Upper East Region, has called for the preservation of indigenous knowledge and cultural heritage to propel development.

He said there was a need for collective efforts of stakeholders to preserve and promote indigenous knowledge, language, and cultural heritage.

Those, he noted, were of critical importance to safeguarding the cultural legacy and natural treasures for the benefit of present and future generations.

Mr Chiravira was speaking at a symposium dubbed: ‘Leveraging indigenous knowledge for development,’ in Bolgatanga, the Upper East Regional capital.

The symposium was organized by Spotless Event Planners, which is also a social enterprise, in collaboration with the Ghana Tourism Authority, the Ghana Museums and Monuments Board, the Centre for National Culture, Millar Open University, and some individual partners.

It was supported by the Akayet Hotel in the Bolgatanga Municipality.

‘We are at a c
ritical juncture where the preservation of indigenous knowledge, language, and cultural heritage hangs in the balance.

‘As we embrace modernity and technological advancement, we must also safeguard the riches of our indigenous traditions, so as not to fade away into obscurity,’ the Executive Director said.

He said indigenous knowledge, passed down to generations through stories, dances, songs, and ceremonies, was a precious treasure trove of wisdom, and emphasized that the power of modern tools and platforms must be harnessed to celebrate and preserve the country’s rich cultural heritage.

‘We must harness the power of modern tools and platforms in areas such as comedy, cartoons, architecture, and songs, among others to amplify the voices of indigenous knowledge in communities and celebrate the rich culture.

‘Through creative expressions and digital storytelling, we can ignite a resurgence of interest in indigenous languages and traditions among the youth, ensuring that they take pride in their heritage an
d become custodians of their ancestral knowledge in health, agriculture, education, and commerce among others,’ he said.

On the protection of natural resources and tourist sites, Mr Chiravira noted ‘We cannot overlook the imminent danger posed by the exploitation of our natural resources in the areas of our tourism.

‘The threat of mining and others loom over these lands, putting at risk not only their physical integrity but also the survival of indigenous languages and traditional ecological knowledge.

‘Landmarks like the Tongo Hills, Pikworo Slave Camp, Bongo rocks, Sirigu Women’s Organisation for Pottery and Arts (SWOPA), and others are perpetual when they are perceived as sacred treasure sites and not just geological formations with cultural significance,’ he added.

He further called for policy intervention and said residents in the Region must advocate for robust policies that prioritize the protection and promotion of indigenous languages, cultural practices, and natural heritage.

He said traditiona
l authorities, who were the custodians of tradition, played a pivotal role in such endeavour, ‘Together, we must collaborate to enact laws and regulations that safeguard our cultural heritage and ensure sustainable development that respects indigenous rights.’

Professor David Millar, the Founder and President of the Millar University for Transdisciplinary and Development Studies, who delivered the keynote address, said Africa must establish a key position for its indigenous tourist system.

He expressed concern that even though tourism could rake in money for the country, stakeholders played ‘developmental politics’ around tourism, and called for a change of mindset.

Mr Boniface Gambila, Ghana’s Ambassador to Burkina Faso, called on the Regional Coordinating Council and the 15 Municipal and District Assemblies in the Region to contribute annually to the culture and creative industry of the Region.

He said there would be economic growth in the Region if it could attract private investors to stimulate the lo
cal economy through job creation, revenue mobilization and support to small-scale businesses in the hospitality and tourism industry.

Source: Ghana News Agency