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About Us

Elimu Asilia was founded in June 2012 in Nairobi. The online platform was launched on June 5, 2013. It is one of the first online repositories in Kenya managed by librarians and researchers of the National Museums of Kenya with the support of Goethe Institut-Kenya. It is dedicated to collecting and sharing Indigenous Knowledge (IK) on Culture, Environment, Health, and History from individuals, communities, counties and Kenya in general. Elimu Asilia’s historical basis is that African knowledge and cultures were preserved and transmitted orally. They did not record events and accounts in writing. Indigenous stories and information are inadequate, and not easily accessible through print and digital media. Hence, Kenyan Libraries have inadequate local IK content to contribute to the global knowledge economy. Recorded information in various accessible media is important to contribute and stamp our global presence. Apart from inaccessibility, local content on the web is also low because of limited capacity to record, transfer and disseminate the information. Given this challenge, the National Museums of Kenya (NMK) as the premier heritage institution in Kenya and its partners, established Elimu Asilia to bridge the knowledge gap. Elimu Asilia is the brainchild of Dr. Ashah Owano and other co-founders in the NMK’s Directorate of Research and Collections (DRC). This project is part of the outputs of the Resource Centre Department and other NMK libraries countrywide.

Elimu Asilia was instrumental in the NMK-Nature-Kenya Library scooping position one in the special libraries category during the Library of Year Awards in 2012, 2013 and position two in 2014. The program also inspired the development of the Malindi Pictorial Exhibition spearheaded by Doris Kamuye, the Librarian of Webb Library at Malindi Museum (Kilifi County), in 2014 an important tourist attraction and information and dialogue platform. It also inspired Mjadala (debate), a cultural dialogue by school children at the Research in Swahili Studies in Eastern Africa (RISSEA) in Mombasa County among others.

According to Internet World Stats’ figure in October 2014, Elimu Asilia page views increased to 64,893, translating to a more than 100% increase in viewers up from 5,858 in March 2013. By the end of December 2014, the website had 78,943 page views.

How Does It Work?

The Elimu Asilia ( collects, publishes, and shares local knowledge and histories through a dedicated website and ‘blog’. Individuals, groups including children, librarians, and researchers record and contribute information via e-mail, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. The information is accepted for publication by NMK IT staff. The Elimu Asilia team also assists contributors in recording audio, make observations, and collecting visual material to complete their stories. In addition, Elimu Asilia helps transfer basic skills in writing, photography, editing, computer, and reporting.

Content is sorted out by categories and subcategories, with links to stories or ‘pages’ for each category, as well as links to any audio visual material relating to the particular category. The content layout has been designed to retain the characteristics of a library cataloging system. The website is thus a catalogue of sorts for different topics relating to indigenous and local knowledge and histories. When you look at the page, for example, you will notice that there are two tabs: one for the content as published and one for the ‘source’ of the content, which can be added to and revised by people who are registered ‘users’, in this case, the fieldworkers.

Can I Contribute?

The website is currently not open to direct contributions from the general public. But as it develops, the group envisions that it will be possible for multiple users to edit it for content and source and allow additions and revisions by registered users as other wikis. To contribute content please contact Elimu Asilia programme via and we will gladly add you as a user. Feel free to make comments or ask questions regarding any of the stories and we will try to answer you as best we can.