The Tharaka Community, Kenya

Kaguna Sabella grew up in the Tharaka region of Kenya, learning from her grandmother about the cultural practices, traditional knowledge and seed diversity rapidly being lost. In 2010, Gaia and the African Biodiversity Network organised an eco-cultural maps and calendar workshop with Kaguna and her community.

Over 5 days the community developed their ancestral map and calendar of the past – showing traditional practices and seed; of the present – revealing the erosion they have faced; and of the future – enabling them to identify what they would like to regenerate. One of the calendars they created can be seen here.

There are also songs for each stage in the agricultural cycle – when you plant, when you weed, when you harvest. The songs contain messages that relate to the activities, and when they are sung together they reinforce a sense of community and cooperation. At the end of the 5 days over 100 people were dancing and singing the ‘lost’ songs as they presented their maps and calendars to one another.

Now, through dialougues, maps and calendars, the indigenous seeds and foods of the area are being regenerated. Seeds and traditional farming practices are being shared by women’s groups and the seasonal ceremonies being revived. Kaguna has become a dynamic grassroots leader accompanying the communities through this process and sharing their story internationally.



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