ABCs of KMDecolonising knowledge & KMFeatured StoriesKM in international development

‘We have a dream’: proposing decolonization of knowledge as a sixth generation of knowledge management for sustainable development

As part of a landmark event at the Dr Martin Luther King Jr Memorial Library in Washington DC on 9 May 2023, Dr Sarah Cummings, Fitsum Habtemariam, Gladys Kemboi and I launched our paper1 “We have a dream’: proposing decolonization of knowledge as a sixth generation of knowledge management for sustainable development.”

The paper is the first in the Knowledge Management for Development Journal Special Issue “Uncomfortable truths in international development: approaches to the decolonization of knowledge from development practice, policy and research” which was also launched at the 9 May 2023 event.

Adopting “We have a dream” as the slogan of the sixth generation reflects both the common aspirations of the authors and the wider KM4Dev community for a fairer development knowledge system/ecology, and that this new generation was formally proposed and launched at the Dr Martin Luther King Jr Memorial Library.

The decolonization of knowledge focuses on dismantling fundamental inequities of the knowledge system in which coloniality and past colonization interact with neo-liberal economics to exclude knowledge and knowledge holders from the peripheries of society. The sixth generation of KM4SD has six highly interrelated features: epistemic justice, anti-racism, indigenous and local knowledge (ILK), diversity in KM approaches, new knowledge partnerships, and new knowledge practices.

The sixth generation of KM4SD follows on from the five earlier identified generations of knowledge management for development (KM4D). Moving to use the term ‘sustainable development’ rather than just ‘development’ reflects the importance of development which is sustainable in terms of people and planet, in the context of the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

We invite you to read the paper and join us in further developing the sixth generation of KM4SD and its features, and in doing so, help to make the dream a reality!


  1. Boyes, B., Cummings, S., Habtemariam, F. T., & Kemboi, G. (2023). ‘We have a dream’: proposing decolonization of knowledge as a sixth generation of knowledge management for sustainable development. Knowledge Management for Development Journal17(1/2), 17-41.
5/5 - (1 vote)

Bruce Boyes

Bruce Boyes ( is editor, lead writer, and a director of the award-winning RealKM Magazine (, and a knowledge management (KM), environmental management, and project management professional. He is a PhD candidate in the Knowledge, Technology and Innovation Group at Wageningen University and Research, and holds a Master of Environmental Management with Distinction. His expertise and experience includes knowledge management (KM), environmental management, project management, stakeholder engagement, teaching and training, communications, research, and writing and editing. With a demonstrated ability to identify and implement innovative solutions to social and ecological complexity, Bruce's many career highlights include establishing RealKM Magazine as an award-winning resource, using agile and knowledge management approaches to oversee an award-winning $77.4 million western Sydney river recovery program, leading a knowledge strategy process for Australia's 56 natural resource management (NRM) regional organisations, pioneering collaborative learning and governance approaches to support the sustainable management of landscapes and catchments, and initiating and teaching two new knowledge management subjects at Shanxi University in China.

Related Articles

Back to top button