The recent growth in interest in the utility of indigenous environmental knowledge in Africa has brought more sharply into focus the cross-cultural limitations of many conventional geographical methods for collecting perceptual and behavioural data. There is a danger in uncritical reliance on transferred social science methodologies which often embody cultural assumptions exterior to the local culture. This paper explains the use of local traditional cultural forms, in particular the use of a Nigerian board game derived from Mancala. This type of multi-method approach, given carefully designed research programmes, could provide a variety of different learning formats and experiences for both research worker and farmer, and encourage mutual understanding and co-operation in agricultural research in developing countries.
This paper is of interest to national government policy makers and planners in the South, NGO fieldworkers, researchers, agriculturalists, economists and anthropologists.
Institute of Development Studies