Safeguarding traditional foodways of two communities in Kenya

  • Project budget:
    • US$ 68,930
  • Source:
    • Japan Funds-in-Trust
  • Dates of implementation:
    • 01/09/2009 - 01/03/2013

Benefitting country(ies): Kenya


Traditional foodways involve practices transmitted within a community concerning the preparation and consumption of food, including the provision of ingredients and the roles of all people involved. Traditional foodways, both those related to everyday life as well as those associated with special occasions (such as rituals, social practices and festive events) constitute an important part of the intangible heritage of communities everywhere in the world. In Kenya, as in many other countries, there is an ongoing tendency due to the pressure of modernization and urbanization to abandon traditional foodways and to eat more and more western style food. Many young people are no longer aware of the traditional foodways of their communities. In other words, the diversity of foodways and related knowledge about nature in Kenya is at risk.

The project aims to (1) identify and inventory traditional foodways in two communities in Kenya (Eastern Pokot in the Rift Valley Province and Isukha of the Western Province), (2) encourage these communities to appreciate traditional food practices. The project also aims at (3) raising awareness in Kenya about the endangered diversity of its traditional foodways and related knowledge about nature.

The core activities of the project include (a) the preparation of a questionnaire and general protocol to be used for fieldwork and training of two coordinators who will supervise the actual fieldwork, (b) fieldwork among their communities with the involvement of students (e.g. age 13 to 15) to identify traditional foodways, (c) the preparation, on the basis of the collected information, of practical inventories (including recipes) of the traditional foodways of the two selected communities, (d) adjustment of the questionnaire with general protocol, and preparation of an introduction to it on the basis of the obtained field experiences, for possible future use in other communities, (e) dissemination of information about the project once it will have been terminated successfully.

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