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Kenya to digitize indigenous assets to foster economic growth

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NMK Director General, Prof. Mary Gikungu, with Ambassador, Nasra Salim Mohamed Alhashmi, Dr. Fredrick Manthi, Director Antiquities, Sites and Monuments and Ms. Mwanaima Salim, Principal Curator NNM.

Kenya is intensifying its efforts to document and digitize indigenous knowledge, focusing on culture, food sources, and traditional products.

The initiative, named the Natural Products Industry, is supported by the Kenya National Museums in collaboration with key stakeholders in an effort to convert the digitized indigenous knowledge into an economic hub for community benefit.

During a workshop in Machakos, Prof Mary Gikungu, the Director General of National Museums of Kenya, said the project is in its early stages, with intellectual assets in nine counties already digitized.

Prof Gikungu said the goal is to establish cottage industries in various counties emphasizing that the project, aligned with the Vision 2030 flagship project, is consistent with Kenya Kwanza’s Bottom up Economic     Transformative Agenda (BETA).

As part of the initiative, four additional counties, including Kilifi, Makueni, Murang’a, and Wajir, are set to document their indigenous knowledge.

Dr. Taracha Evans, a researcher at the National Museums of Kenya and Head of the Project, stressed the importance of preserving indigenous knowledge and culture to prevent erosion. He cited countries like India and China, which derive economic benefits from manufacturing products rooted in their rich indigenous knowledge.

Several institutions, including KEMFRI, National Commission for Science and Technology (NACOSTI), Wildlife Research and Training Institute (WRTI), universities, researchers, and counties, have partnered with the National Museums of Kenya to research and document indigenous knowledge in Kenya.

Gene Gituku
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