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This book is the product of two international programmes in which NGOs and universities have been working to understand, appreciate, evalue and strengthen endogenous knowledge.


  • Towards


    of sciences

    BuilDing on tHe plurality oF worlDviewS, valueS

    anD MetHoDS in DiFFerent knowleDge coMMunitieS

    Bertus Haverkort, Freddy Delgado Burgoa, Darshan Shankar and David Millar



    NIMBY BOOKS is an initiative by Civil Society magazine and an imprint of Content Services & Publishing Pvt LtdD- 26 (Basement), South Extension, Part 2, New Delhi, India 110049.

    Text Bertus Haverkort, Freddy Delgado Burgoa, Darshan Shankar and DavidMillar under the CAPTURED programme. CAPTURED stands for Capacity andTheory Development for Universities and Research Centers for EndogenousDevelopment. It is a programme funded by DGIS in the Netherlands andimplemented by UDS in Ghana, FRLHT in India and Agruco of UMMS in Bolivia.

    English language editor: Sara van Otterloo

    Cover photograph: Indigenous people of the Bolivian Andes conduct the openingceremony of the International Conference on Transdisciplinarity and EndogenousDevelopment in Tarata, Bolivia.

    First published in 2012 by Nimby Books, an imprint of Content Services & Publishing Pvt Ltd

    Layout and cover design: Virender ChauhanTypeset in Adobe Garamond Pro

    Mailing AddressNimby Books, Content Services & Publishing Pvt Ltd, D- 26 (Basement), South Extension, Part 2, New Delhi, India 110049.Phones: 91(011) 46033825 and 91-9811787772

    E-mail: response@civilsocietyonline.comWebsite:

    ISBN: 978-81-906570-4-4

    Printed at Samrat Offset Pvt Ltd, B-88, Okhla Phase II, New Delhi, India 110020.

    This book is sold subject to the condition that it shall not by way of trade or otherwisebe lent, resold, hired out, circulated, and no reproduction in any form, in whole or inpart (except for brief quotations in critical articles or reveiws) may be made withoutwritten permission of the publishers.

  • About this book 1

    About the authors 3

    Authors position 9

    Some concepts and denitions 10

    Chapter 1 Relations between dierent knowledge communities:Rejection, substitution, complementarity and co-cre-ation of sciences Bertus Haverkort, David Millar,Darshan Shankar and Freddy Delgado Burgoa 14

    Chapter 2 Indian health science: Ayurveda Darshan Shankarand M. N. B. Nair, FRLHT, India 44

    Chapter 3 Endogenous Knowledge in Northern Ghana DavidMillar and others, University for DevelopmentStudies, Ghana 82

    Chapter 4 Agricultural science and potato research in theNetherlands Anton Haverkort, Plant ResearchInternational, Wageningen University and Research,the Netherlands 132

    Chapter 5 Knowledge dialogues for sustainable endogenousdevelopment: Reforming higher education andresearch in Bolivia Freddy Delgado Burgoa, CesarEscobar, Stephan Rist and Dennis Ricaldi,Universidad Mayor San Simon, Cochabamba,Bolivia 186

    Chapter 6 Intra- and inter-science dialogues: Towards co-cre-ation of sciences Bertus Haverkort, David Millar,Darshan Shankar and Freddy Delgado Burgoa 234


  • 1This book is the product of two international programmes inwhich NGOs and universities have been working to under-stand, appreciate, revalue and strengthen endogenous knowl-edge. For more than 15 years the COMPAS programme( has brought together experiences ofNGOs in 12 countries across the globe concerning their initia-tives to support endogenous development: development basedmainly, but not exclusively, on local values, knowledge, institu-tions and resources. The experiences have led to a better under-standing of the role of the diversity of cultures and of endoge-nous knowledge in development programmes. They haveallowed those involved to articulate a number of basic principlesunderlying the support of endogenous development.

    Universities were also involved in the COMPAS programmeand since 2008 three universities (in Ghana, Bolivia and India)have been working together in a special programme to buildtheir own capacities for supporting endogenous developmentand implementing programmes for endogenous education andresearch: the CAPTURED programme (

    In the process, the participating universities have acquired moreinsights into the social relevance and the foundations of the spe-cific ways of knowing in their own cultures. Despite the mar-ginal position of endogenous knowledge, in each case endoge-nous knowledge has great impact on the decision making inmany areas of local peoples lives: farming, health practices, theways in which communities use water, land, plants and animals,the ways in which they organise themselves, and the ways inwhich they express and live their spiritual life and values.

    This book takes an endogenous perspective: the mainstreamparameters and criteria for expressing knowledge and science arenot taken as starting point. Rather endogenous worldviews, val-ues, ways of learning, endogenous logic and ways of organisingand assessing knowledge are presented. The different cases pres-ent culture-specific ways of knowing, but we have attempted todo this within one framework: a framework that regards


  • endogenous knowledge as an expression of an underlying sci-ence.

    The objective of this book is to stimulate co-creation of sciencesthrough an inter-cultural and inter-scientific dialogue a dia-logue in which each way of knowing expresses itself, where dif-ferences are positively and respectfully considered, and whereoptions for complementarity (and aspects of potential incom-mensurability) may become clear.

    The book is written for students, development workers, scien-tists and policy makers in different cultures who are interestedin cultural diversity, the implications of international coopera-tion and the potential of enhancing endogenous knowledge atcommunity level, and in colleges and universities. The authorshope to stimulate dialogues between the sciences that haveemerged from and function in the different cultures.

    Towards co-creaTion of sciences2

  • 3The authors of the different chapters were all trained in main-stream academic traditions, and have pursued a career in formalinstitutions for development, education and/or research.

    At the same time, the authors have made personal and profes-sional choices that have led them to build relationships withlocal communities and learn with the members of these com-munities about their cultures, their knowledge and values. Ineach case this has led to programmes in which the strengthen-ing of these traditional ways of knowing is at the core of theiracademic activities.

    Bertus Haverkort, the lead editor of this book, was born andraised on a farm in the Netherlands. He studied agronomy andsocial sciences and has worked in rural development pro-grammes in the Netherlands, Colombia and Ghana. He hastravelled extensively and worked with development pro-grammes, NGOs and universities in many countries in Africa,Latin America and Asia.

    He started his international career working in top-down agri-cultural extension programmes. He learned that the applicationof Western knowledge can be important and relevant if, andonly if, some basic conditions for its applicability are being met:the proposed changes should be in line with the values of thepeople, should build on the local ecological and socio-culturalconditions, as well as on farmers own knowledge and availableresources. Only then will people be motivated to change theirway of farming in a culturally appropriate way.

    The presence of a functioning commercial infrastructure withincentives for local farmers to undertake steps towards moderni-sation; availability of services for credit and technology; accessto water resources and fertile soils; extension and education;research that address the issues and problems of rural peopleand policies: all are important, but they will only work if theyare embedded within a culturally sensitive approach.

    In many parts of the globe these conditions are not being met,


  • and it was this realisation that stimulated Haverkort to look foroptions where priority was given to building on locally availableresources, local knowledge and cultures. He worked for manyyears in programmes run by ETC Foundation: ILEIA andCOMPAS; he has also taught at the then AgriculturalUniversity in Wageningen and has written on subjects includ-ing Low External Input and Sustainable Agriculture (LEISA),Participatory Technology Development and the role of culturein development.

    As an initiator of the COMPAS programme and an internation-al advisor in CAPTURED he has extensive experience inendogenous development, endogenous education and endoge-nous research. He is currently involved in fieldwork, educationand research in Ghana, Bolivia and India.

    David Millar writes about the foundations of scientific knowl-edge of the Dagare and Gruni people in Northern Ghana. Hebelongs to the first group, and was born and raised inGenkengpe, in the heart of Dagare country. His mother was aperson of great wisdom and, being a rain goddess, possessedintricate endogenous knowledge and skills.

    Despite going abroad for his academic training and profession-al work, he has maintained intensive contacts with his brothersand sisters in his native community and has developed his ideasand insights through intensive sharing and dialogues with eld-ers, community leaders, healers and farmers, as well as withdevelopment workers and migrants.

    For more than 30 years he has lived and worked with the Gruniethnic communities in and around Bolgatanga. From his devel-opment work, which evolved from a top-down approach inagricultural extension to participatory and endogenous develop-ment, and study with local people, he