Towards Knowledge Societies: Empowering Communities for Prosperity


Ford Foundation


The “Construction of Knowledge Societies in Kenya” project aims at empowering communities for prosperity. The project is dubbed “Elimika” in Kiswahili. Its implementation framework is both innovative and adaptable and informed by the need to maximize avenues and strategies for creating knowledge societies in the five counties under review. Led by the University of Nairobi, the initiative is collaborative and embraces partnership with diverse institutions across the country. Some of the partners include: Private and public universities, Non-Governmental Organizations and Policy Makers.

This collaborative initiative seeks to embed the construction of knowledge societies in county governments. The approach further entails working with the two levels of government, community organisations and development agencies.  The project brings the concepts of economic and social rights, governance, leadership & integrity for and sustainable livelihoods under the framework of knowledge societies. Specifically it seeks to create knowledge societies in constitutional provisions; structures, mechanisms and actors under the Kenya Constitution 2010; functions and mandates of the various actors; policies, legislations, and roles, responsibilities and rights. The initiative seeks to enhance peoples’ ability to understand and apply concepts of human rights, governance, leadership and sustainable livelihoods. By addressing these issues, the initiative aims at enhancing community organisation; comprehension and interpretation of the Constitution; and upholding rule of law, accountability and effective participation.

Broadly, this project aims at empowering communities in Kenya for prosperity by equipping them with broad based knowledge on good governance, leadership and human rights as enshrined in the Constitution of Kenya 2010. 

Overall Goal

The overall goal of the project is to empower communities in Kenya for prosperity by equipping them with broad based knowledge on their citizenry, human rights, good governance, sustainable livelihoods and development.

Specific Objectives

  1. Strengthening the linkage between the researchers and the practitioner’s and ensuring that research benefits the target population.
  2. Strengthening the knowledge base of the civil societies and rural communities to demand good governance as enshrined in the new constitution.
  3. Increasing access to improved agricultural inputs, technology, savings and credit and best practices.
  4. Empowering, creating decent, productive and sustainable employment through internships between civil society organizations and Universities.

Project Areas

The project implementation is being piloted in the following five counties; Makueni, Nairobi, Kwale, Homabay and Turkana.



 Action research

The Project involves carrying out a baseline survey in order to identify the knowledge gaps that exist among communities. The survey is conducted in two sub-counties per pilot County where data is collected from community members using questionnaires, conducting Focused Group Discussions and In-Depth Interviews of key informants. 

The Constitution of Kenya 2010 sets out the role of the Senate to include representing and protecting the interests of counties and considering, debating and approving bills concerning counties.  In light of this provision it was very important that the Project Team listens to the senators and gets their views before going to the counties.  To facilitate the sharing of ideas a Senators’ Forum was held on Wednesday 16thApril at the Inter-Continental Hotel in Nairobi.  The forum was attended by over 20 senators and representatives from a broad range of organizations including Ford Foundation, media houses, among others. 

Dissemination of Information

The research findings are shared with the Counties, groups involved in discussions and other stakeholders after successful completion of the action research. 

The project uses music; ‘elimika artistes’, drama, social media platforms to share information about the Kenya Constitution 2010. So far the project has worked with artistes from Nairobi, Makueni, Homa Bay and Kwale. Each of the artiste has produced an Elimika themed song touching on the three areas of study. It is our hope that the mass media fraternity will embrace the songs and help in the 'construction of knowledge societies' among their audience.


In line with the donor requirements and the project's objective of increasing household food security, the Initiative has supported a women group project in Mbooni Sub-county to improve on their farming activities by constructiong and underground water tank form them and purchasing a water pump to aid in irrigation, increasing productivity, improving the nutritional status of the group members and their households as well as increasing economic empowerment.

The project also offers renumerated internships opportunities and partial scholarships to duly selected young people from the counties. 

The project promotes genuine talent and works with artistes to produce elimika themed songs. The production costs are met by the project in accordance with program guidelines.

Capacity building

Acknowledging the powerful role that musicians play as opinion shapers and agent of social change the project is working with local artistes from Nairobi, Kwale and Makueni and Homa Bay via use of music to communicate the importance of the Constitution of Kenya 2010.  The artistes have used genres that are culturally and contextually appropriate.  

Use of university students, interns and training experts is employed to enhance people's understanding of the constitution and the benefits that it offers. 

Monitoring & Evaluation

Periodic monitoring & evaluation is done to gauge levels of achievements and map out challenges and lessons learnt during implementation.