Fostering University Contribution Towards Sustainable Development: The Instrumentality of Indigenous Knowledge System

Marcellus Mbah, Ane Johnson

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Universities are often seen as drivers of change in their regions of operation through research, teaching, engagement and enterprise activities. This is significant in Africa where several universities are state owned, rely on government subsidies, and possess a mission to promote the sustainable development of the nation. Whilest the UN sustainable development goals provide an opportunity for Africa to achieve its development targets, we examined the role of the university. More specifically, we considered the significance of Indigenous knowledge to a university’s mission towards development. This is pivotal, as Africans and their institutions provide leadership to the transformation of their nations, not just in terms of knowledge production but also integration. We adopted a multiple case-study design that recruited participants from Zambia (N = 50) and The Gambia (N = 40) comprising academics, university managers and community members. Participants took part in relational dialogues that address the intersection between Indigenous knowledge, the university’s mission and sustainable development. Findings from a comprehensive data analysis posit the need for the university in Africa to re-envision its teaching and research architectures for sustainable development. The chapter underscores that Indigenous knowledge holders should be provided space to contribute to the curricula if the teaching mission of the university would result in graduates who are suited to contribute to the continent’s development with sustainable outcomes. Similarly, it is argued that Indigenous people can be co-researchers, who can identify and provide indigenised methodological insights into the investigation of complex development challenges faced by their communities.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSustainable Development in Africa
Subtitle of host publicationFostering Sustainability in one of the World's Most Promising Continents
EditorsWalter Leal Filho, Rudi Pretorius, Luiza Olim de Sousa
Place of PublicationCham
PublisherSpringer Nature
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9783030746933
ISBN (Print)9783030746926, 9783030746957
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jul 2021

Publication series

NameWorld Sustainability Series
ISSN (Print)2199-7373
ISSN (Electronic)2199-7381


Dive into the research topics of 'Fostering University Contribution Towards Sustainable Development: The Instrumentality of Indigenous Knowledge System'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this