RIKA RESILIENCE: INFORMING SUSTAINABILITY IN THE AGE OF SOCIAL MEDIA
Warrick, Elizabeth Muthoni
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The consensus in systems science is that environmental sustainability ensues from resilience, i.e., underlying capacity for preservation of core functions through adaptation in changed circumstances; and resilience itself is only sustainable when built from internal attributes of the system. Impalpability of internal resilience to external agents contributes to failures of global development in Africa, calling for analysis informed from within. This work proposes that African resilience is founded in Rika. Within Rika, ecological stewardship is integrated with noncompetitive elected representative governance and achieved through scaled modulation of systemic diversities. Eroded at macro level, Rika continues to drive grassroots enterprise. Causal attributes are, therefore, key to understanding sustainability and effecting structural reform of governance at all levels in Africa. Documented international usage of Rika concepts and terminologies has significance for research linking global expansion of Homo sapiens to the development of conceptual thinking in East Africa. Findings are based in research with the Mbeere of Kenya, East Africa, a community of 195,000, whose name Mbeere, means First Peoples. Data extracted regionally from 750,000 social media users informs context. From an indigenist method-as-theory stance (Indigenist Maths), we leverage qualitative and quantitative tools, bolstering capacity of research and practice to serve indigenous goals at the intersection of social media and Place. A dynamic indigenous information world (iWorld) ensues through community interactions interconnecting local knowledge with global information to foster economic enterprise and social ecological stewardship. We term this iWorld, Rikamedia. Examples of resilience attributes emerging from the data include: the Rika ideal of non-competitive governance, potentially impactful of conflicting democratic ideals centered in competitive governance; transcendence of natural hierarchies through unambiguous reciprocated interactions from micro to macro levels of society; design for participatory diversity, equality and inclusion with impacts on systemic divides of gender, age, and access, etc.; and lastly, a learning modality aligns governance with participatory process, emboldens risk tolerance; nurtures diversities and fosters innovation. An entrepreneurial micropilot Bamboo project ensues from community-researcher interactions, with recommendations for agroforestry citizen science, technology, funding, and diaspora capacitation. Findings are scalable in Africa South of the Sahara, and may have significance for resilience when projects incorporate Rika attributes in sustainability planning.