Traditional medicines and local development: methodologies and approaches

Sergio Giani, Rokia Sanogo


Reflecting on their experiences in Mali, the authors argue that the action-research methodology (AR) is particularly suited to promoting traditional medicines, for three main reasons: systemic approach, flexibility and stakeholder participation. The aim of AR is also the creation and the appropriation of knowledge by local actors: it is not the acquisition or the transmission of knowledge, but the mastering of the process of knowledge creation. Thus, participation in AR is also formative for all participants, including researchers. The authors also underline the importance of dynamic exchange and intercultural communication, gender analysis and the empowerment of local actors. The use of the methodologies and approaches illustrated has achieved some positive results in various fields, such as: promoting good care during pregnancy and safe delivery, traditional treatment of trauma and malaria, and also strengthening of local health systems, safeguarding of biodiversity and improving the work of herbalists.


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traditional medicine; action-research; knowledge creation; empowerment; herbalists


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