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United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

Traditional Knowledge System as a Potential Tool for Addressing Environmental Crisis and Guaranteeing Sustainability – The Case of Water Management Initiatives in the Bero Block, Ranchi, Jharkhand, India

Central University of Jharkhand (
Academic institution
    Objectives of the Study: • To study nature of environmental crisis that had affected the Bero block during 60’s • To study the recurring aspect of the crisis of the Bero Block • To study the nature of his experience of the crisis • To study the nature of his observation on the crisis that his villages faced • To study the initial steps that Mr. Simon Oraon taken to overcome the crisis • To study the nature of cooperation he received from the co-villagers • To study the nature of help he received from people • To study whether aid from the government and non-governmental organization provided to him • To study the outcome of this initiatives • To study response / feedback on his initiatives • To study the Padmashree award and people response towards his popularity Methodology: The Guidelines for fieldworks employed in this study are drawn from Kenneth S. Golstein’s. A Guide for Field Workers in Folklore (1964, Hatboro, Pennsylvania: The American Folklore Society). Data Collection Methods Data for this study have been collected using the following collection methods • Observation • Interview Observation method: This method has been used to look at the initiatives of Mr. Simon Oraon from the outside in and to describe the situations as we see. For effective field collection, non-participant observation collecting method has been used. Interview method Though it is a common field method employed by data collectors, it has been used in this study to get to know what the informant knows, believes, expects, feels, wants, does, or has done, etc. The non-directive interview method has been found to be useful for data collection in this study.
    Expected Impact
    Reviving, Encouraging, using traditional knowledge; It is our clear example from the Bero block that the traditional knowledge or local knowledge can be utilized to overcome the natural crisis. The realization of traditional knowledge and growing concern about its continued erosion, have prompted a number of countries to adopt policies and programmes recognizing and promoting it. International agencies, NGOs and indigenous peoples or local communities themselves, have also initiated a number of measures. The recognition of Mr. Simon Oraon for this coveted award must be seen in this background. Following is the list of principles proposed in the International Council of Science and UNESCO with reference to traditional knowledge in relation to sustainable development: (ICSU 2002). • Ensure the full and effective participation of traditional knowledge holders during all stages of elaboration of sustainable development policies, plans and programmes alongside the scientific and technological community • Acknowledge and respect the social and cultural base within which this knowledge is embedded • Recognize the rights of traditional people to own, regulate access and share benefits of their unique sets of knowledge, resources and products • Ensure that traditional knowledge holders are fully informed of potential partnerships • Promote model for environmental and sustainable governance • Promote training to better equip young scientists and indigenous people to carry out research on traditional knowledge. Concluding Remarks: • Traditional knowledge is the finest system developed by traditional community in a cognitive encounter with the social, cultural and environmental crisis. • It includes and not excludes all aspects of socio-cultural, political, spiritual life of people. • As an alternative system, it negates the domination and dominant model of development by providing a frame of understanding the things inwardly for finding solutions within the given settings. • And it is less dependent on the external or foreign substances, and it exploits locally available materials and human resource. • As it is collective, the whole community claims the credit for the initiative by acknowledging the lead role of the torch bearer. This study recommends that: • The traditional bearers in the community must be capacitated to manage the transmission of their knowledge to the younger generations. • Awareness programs are the need of the hour to empower the local communities to actively participate in the development process. • An integrated approach can be preferred for the conservation and management of natural resources. • Innovative ways can be identified at all resource levels. • Creation of hybrid knowledge by incorporating both traditional and modern technologies. • The cultural life or folk life of the local communities must not be disturbed by the external agencies.
    Additional information

    Goal 6

    Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all

    Goal 6


    By 2030, achieve universal and equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water for all


    Proportion of population using safely managed drinking water services


    By 2030, achieve access to adequate and equitable sanitation and hygiene for all and end open defecation, paying special attention to the needs of women and girls and those in vulnerable situations


    Proportion of population using (a) safely managed sanitation services and (b) a hand-washing facility with soap and water


    By 2030, improve water quality by reducing pollution, eliminating dumping and minimizing release of hazardous chemicals and materials, halving the proportion of untreated wastewater and substantially increasing recycling and safe reuse globally


    Proportion of domestic and industrial wastewater flows safely treated


    Proportion of bodies of water with good ambient water quality


    By 2030, substantially increase water-use efficiency across all sectors and ensure sustainable withdrawals and supply of freshwater to address water scarcity and substantially reduce the number of people suffering from water scarcity

    Change in water-use efficiency over time


    Level of water stress: freshwater withdrawal as a proportion of available freshwater resources


    By 2030, implement integrated water resources management at all levels, including through transboundary cooperation as appropriate


    Degree of integrated water resources management 


    Proportion of transboundary basin area with an operational arrangement for water cooperation


    By 2020, protect and restore water-related ecosystems, including mountains, forests, wetlands, rivers, aquifers and lakes

    Change in the extent of water-related ecosystems over time


    By 2030, expand international cooperation and capacity-building support to developing countries in water- and sanitation-related activities and programmes, including water harvesting, desalination, water efficiency, wastewater treatment, recycling and reuse technologies

    Amount of water- and sanitation-related official development assistance that is part of a government-coordinated spending plan


    Support and strengthen the participation of local communities in improving water and sanitation management


    Proportion of local administrative units with established and operational policies and procedures for participation of local communities in water and sanitation management

    Name Description
    Forests developed with variety of trees gave fruits and increased the income of the local people
    Fishing and gathering forest produces have increased
    Initiates resulted in more agricultural practices
    Water availability resulted in cattle rearing
    In-kind contribution
    Local Community
    Staff / Technical expertise
    Local Goverment
    Other, please specify
    Community Task Force Teams
    Other, please specify
    Recognition of the efforts of the Torch Bearer with Padmashree Civilian Award in 2016
    No progress reports have been submitted. Please sign in and click here to submit one.
    Action Network
    water logo
    14 November 2012 (start date)
    11 December 2018 (date of completion)
    Central University of Jharkhand
    1. Asia and Pacific
    Other beneficiaries

    Local Community

    Contact Information

    Kiran , Assistant Professor, Central University of Jharkhand