Illuminating Community Resilience

Learning from Dagara Indigenous Wisdom
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The international development literature is currently rife with sophisticated discussions of resilience from different disciplinary perspectives.  However, there is danger that resilience could become another colonizing concept.  This book draws on the wisdom of Dagara people in Lawra District, Ghana and illuminates the resilience of their community, describes their strategies to build community resilience, and explores how Dagara indigenous knowledge contributes to community resilience. The wisdom shared from the Dagara perspective helps readers to appreciate the strength of a diverse lifeway, and hopefully to consider the value of a more harmonious relationship with nature, and a respect for cultural and spiritual beliefs and practices which are the foundation of the Dagara worldview.

In part, the book documents “the hand of resilience” which consists of five fingers/strategies; for building community resilience which are: (i) revitalizing culture and spirituality, (ii) healing the ecological system, (iii) enhancing sustainable livelihoods, (iv) remembering the strengths and values of women and men and (v) taking action to overcome challenges.  These strategies are based on a conceptual understanding of community resilience from the Dagara world view perspective that combines kanyir (courage and patience), longta (belongingness) and nolang (unity and togetherness).

The author also proposes a new model of community resilience informed by Dagara wisdom.  This model includes a number of unique features not found elsewhere in the literature including the promotion of an endogenous development approach, a number of powers that can be drawn on to ensure community resilience, and emphasizes promoting kinship networks, nurturing confidence and positivity, exploring different conceptions of time and, exposing interrogating and celebrating gendered and generational differences as a way to ensure community resilience.

This book challenges readers to consider Dagara knowledge, and the wisdom of other indigenous peoples, as a way to sustain the resilience of communities.  

Illuminating Community Resilience is written for development practitionners in NGOs and government, students, community members and academics interested in community resilience and indigenous knowledges.  It will include links to the extensive Literature Review Chapter, the Methodology Chapter and the References from Dr Fletcher's original PhD dissertation which is the basis for this book.