The Contribution of Indigenous Knowledge to an Environmental Education Programme: A Study in St Katherine Protectorate, South Sinai, Egypt

By Yousria AbdEl Rahman.

Published by The Sustainability Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

This paper presents and discusses the process and findings of a study that focuses on the use of indigenous knowledge (IK) of the Bedouin tribes of South Sinai in the north east of the Arab Republic of Egypt. The study addresses the following question ‘Can indigenous knowledge be successfully integrated into the school curriculum through a designed environmental education programme?’. The area of South Sinai is facing a rapid growth in the tourism industry; tourism has created new job opportunities for both Bedouins and non-Bedouins. The expansion of tourism has influenced the local Bedouins in that they increasingly interact with other cultures and struggle for their livelihood as they transform from a pastoral community to a residential one. This transformation has emerged in the type of jobs they acquire at the present time, and therefore they have started to move to a more modern lifestyle. In turn this change is influencing the survival of the Bedouin cultural heritage that has enabled the Bedouins to live in balance with nature for many centuries. The disappearance of IK has led to the degradation of the natural environment within the area of South Sinai. This study provides evidence in favour of helping younger generations from the Bedouin community to learn about their IK through setting up an environmental education programme.

Keywords: Indigenous Knowledge, Indigenous Community, Environmental Education, Bedouins, Protected Areas, Action Research

The International Journal of Environmental, Cultural, Economic and Social Sustainability, Volume 5, Issue 3, pp.157-172. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 2.373MB).

Yousria AbdEl Rahman

Doctoral Student, School of Geography, Enterprise, Mathematics and Science GEMS Faculty of Culture and Pedagogy, Institute of Education, University of London England, London, UK

Yousria completed her first degree on anthropology 1989 and worked for the protected areas of Egypt. Her work experience in the Protected Areas started as a coordinator with the local community through contributing to the Bedouin support programme that included health education, handicraft and eco-tourism promotion. In 2003 Yousria completed her Master degree on Education for Sustainability at South Bank University, London, which qualified her to manage the public awareness and environmental education programme in the St Katherine Protectorate. Currently Yousria is a PhD candidate at the Institute of Education, University of London. Yousria worked as an environmental researcher and a consultant with various projects funded by EU, UNDP and IUCN in Egypt. Area of interest: Critical learning and indigenous knowledge preservation.

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