Traditional Warning Systems Of The Karamojong Pastoralist : “Knowledge that builds Resilience”

Traditional Warning Systems Of The Karamojong Pastoralist : “Knowledge that builds Resilience”

Ismael OCEN

Climate Frontlines Partner, Disaster Risk Reduction Platform for Teso (DDRP4T), UGANDA

Karamoja pastoralists occupy the North East Uganda region and are primarily nomadic and agro-pastoralists with population of 2.67 million. Being pastoral and agro-pastoral people, their understanding, forecasting and anticipation of changes in weather and other climatic variables is very important for survivability. Karamojong Pastoralists have a good traditional knowledge related to observing weather and their observation skills which is embedded in bio-physical entities other practices such magic and sorcery.

Their weather stations have unique Traditional Early Warning Systems based on the observation of weather changes and in the traditional knowledge related to weather, as well as interpretation skills that derive from that observation. They also have their own decision-making procedures based on the traditional knowledge that have guided them from generation to generation. These warning Systems is handy, affordable and can be correctly interpreted for the daily decision making.

This presentation will discuss some of the traditional indicators that are considered as precursors to a hazard in the Karamojong Region. It will show that the warning signs become cues for their daily lives to prepare and plan for a particular incident. The Karamojong communities use these signals to allow them to better interpret the constantly changing phenomena of current time.



My name is Ismael Ocen, I work for Disaster Risk Reduction Platform of Teso (DRRP4T) as Programme Manager Climate Change and Disaster Risk Reduction - Research Desk. Born and raised by Parents who are Karamojong pastoralist and successfully being the first in my family to graduate with bachelor degree from Makerere University and eventually with founding support from the government of Uganda under education fund is what I call success in my life.

I am a mid-career researcher who started it career in 2008 with Uganda Red Cross Society by way of documenting vulnerability, capacity, hazards and post conflict in pastoral and agro pastoral communities. This experience equipped me with skills and experience in adaptation and mitigation. I have also attended trainings organized by International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRCS), Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), International Institute for Rural Reconstruction (IIRR), International Committee of Red Cross (ICRC) and Generations for Peace International.

I am extremely passionate about indigenous people especially the pastoralist of the dry land and it is this zeal that am yearning for and in-depth research on the use indigenous knowledge to predict weather variability to conserve resources in their territory.

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