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The appropriation of African Indigenous Knowledge System in WASH activities by Women at Tongogara Refugee Camp, Zimbabwe

Migrations, whether forced or voluntary, are often characterised by cultural insecurities for immigrants, refugees and displaced persons. This study focuses on the appropriation of African Indigenous Knowledge Systems (AIKS) in the implementation of water sanitation and hygiene (WASH) activities by women at Tongogara Refugee Camp (TRC), Zimbabwe. It argues that despite the impact of modernist predispositions on personal and collective identity, refugee women continually tap from their indigenous epistemic cultural memories in the context of their place-based social amenities and alternatives supplied by refugee camp authorities. Informed by a Feminist Political Ecology (FPE) theoretical framework; and drawing from a qualitative research method, the study used interviews, focus group discussions and participatory observations as the major data collection tools. The study established that in the face of resource scarcity in the camp, women creatively utilized strategies anchored on AIKS to enhance water sanitation and hygiene. In addition, the research noted that very little is being done towards the promotion of AIKS in the camp as the prevailing structures favour western innovation and technological advancements in WASH activities. The study concludes that it is praiseworthy and fundamental to resuscitate AIKS and blend it with modern scientific knowledge to resolve the vicissitudes of refugee women in the era affected by Cyclone Idai and the COVID-19 pandemic.

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