In the quest to preserve, promote and patent the rich Indigenous Knowledge Systems (IKS) of Botswana, University of Botswana (UB) and HEVEFRU Holdings have entered into an exciting research partnership through signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).
The purpose of the MOU between the two is to collaborate towards fulfillment of their respective mandates by engaging in collaborative research, consultation and technology transfer. Signing the MOU on Tuesday, UB Vice Chancellor, Professor David Norris said sealing the partnership with HEVEFRU Holdings, an entity keen on indigenous knowledge is crucial. He said there has been a loop hole in terms of conducting robust research on the indigenous knowledge by local research institutions although foreign ones have interests around them.
Prof Norris also said Botswana like many other African countries tend to lose out much from the local indigenous knowledge which international researchers benefit heavily from rapidly. He insists that there has been an increasing realization of the significance of indigenous and traditional knowledge in sustainable development. “Investing on the indigenous knowledge systems is very important for many reasons. Massive research around IKS is meaningful in terms of preserving this intellectual property which can generate billions of Pulas for our economy,” Prof Norris buttressed.
Additionally, he indicated that UB in the value chain will be provide scientific verification of the herbs that HEVEFRU will have identified as having important socio-economic sustainable value. He said the sealing a deal into indigenous knowledge offers the university relevance in the society as it will be conducting research that comes with impact on the citizens.
HEVEFRU Managing Director, Prince Gaogopolwe expressed delight for UB to have found it to enter in a partnership with them as this will culminate a research with a purpose for solutions. He said HEVEFRU is working on bringing the healing power of indigenous herbs to Botswana in original power, therefore research on the products will help in documenting the indigenous knowledge which foreign researchers keep on benefiting from them free of charge. Gaopalalwe further emphasised the need for formulation of benefit sharing policy which will then enable locals to also benefit equally from research end products by the internationals.
Nonetheless, he said sharing is a major challenge because most of Southern African countries share some knowledge and it needs collaboration for the intellectual property to be protected. He reiterated that indigenous knowledge cannot be separated from the intellectual property based on the fact that indigenous knowledge brings tangible results whilst on the other hand intellectual property brings about intangible results.
HEVEFRU is a Tlokweng based organisation committed to organic sustainable agriculture, promotion of environmental health, resource conservation, social and economic equity.