Integrating indigenous knowledge and scientific methods for flood risk analyses, responses and adaptation in rural coastal communities in Nigeria
Scope and rationale: Coastal wetlands and ecosystems in the Niger Delta are increasingly threatened by increased flooding and associated degradation of the coastal environment. The increased intensity of coastal flooding affects thousands of rural communities in the creeks, lagoon, estuaries and freshwater banks in the delta, significantly impacting their food and livelihood security. Though some communities in the Niger Delta have used indigenous knowledge to forecast floods with some degree of accuracy, it has not been integrated with scientific methods for improved risk analysis, and contingency planning and post disaster management, especially related to flood disasters on agricultural production. The potential of the indigenous flood prediction mechanisms can be enhanced by scientific knowledge such as well-annotated flood risk maps, simple weather stations and flood gauges at the banks of the floodable rivers, which could be understood and applied by the local indigenous population. A proper blending of the indigenous predictive techniques combined with simplified scientific procedures would help communities mitigate flood disaster and adapt to environmental changes. This project engaged flood-affected communities, local government and civil society organizations, and advanced a platform for integrating indigenous knowledge, participatory GIS and basic weather data monitoring to develop a community-based participatory approach to coastal flood management.