Since 2018, Elimu has been working with a unique new digital tool that allows us to deliver quality educational resources to learners via a laptop. The laptop hosts software and acts as a server which gives access to its educational content to any Wifi-enabled device such as a tablet, laptop, desktop, even Smartphone. This means there is no need for getting on the internet. Access is totally free!

In Malindi, where Elimu is based, internet is expensive and therefore unavailable to many. Electricity is also costly and unstable. Many poor families live without power.

That is why we so readily adopted digital technology into our education programming at Elimu.

Laptops and other devices can run for several hours on battery. We currently hook up two electrified routers to the laptop server to give the tablets access. Where electricity is not available, we can use solar power.

With the laptop, 20-40 tablets and 2-3 routers, our team is ready to set-up “pop-up classrooms” anywhere!

We began by taking our mobile offline eLearning configuration into public schools and quickly realized that we can serve even more vulnerable communities including a girl’s rescue home, junior remand centre and local prison. At prison, 30 men have been able to complete and graduate primary school with our system integrated into their rehabilitation program. Prior to this even course textbooks were lacking to them.

At schools, we are training teachers on the platform, which is called Kolibri, and working with them to deliver eLearning in their classrooms. Kolibri hosts a variety of free open-source educational resources including Khan Academy for STEM learning and African Storybook Project for literacy (in a variety of African languages). The beauty of Kolibri is that it also allows teachers to create their own local content for their students and upload it to the platform.

“There is no exercise better for the heart than reaching down and lifting people up.”

Within the platform, teachers create classrooms to mirror their real classrooms. Each student opens an individual account to get access to the pre-loaded content as well as content specially selected by the teacher. Teachers can set exams in Kolibri that are interactive and automatically corrected by the software. They can set a time limit for completing the test. The student’s account tracks the work they do showing the teacher what has been accomplished and how the child is performing in each subject. It is a massive time saver and effective way to identify learning challenges amongst their students. The program can host written materials as well as videos.

Students can learn at their own pace even within the classroom setting. The teacher can also conduct more traditional group learning by projecting the Kolibri content from the laptop onto the wall. It has many uses and so much potential.

With a more robust server and the relevant equipment to boost our signal from the resource centre out to the community at large, students with devices at home, even a simple Smartphone, could continue their learning at home. Elimu hopes in the near future to work with partners who will help us make this a reality. So that all, even the most vulnerable children, will have equal opportunities to get their hands on the educational resources they need to succeed at school and build brighter futures.


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Elimu empowers learners to increase academic and digital literacy, improve school retention and encourage self-sustainability through employment planning and entrepreneurship. 

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Elimu is the official trade name of Elimu Development Projects, a registered Canadian charity. BN 828374314.

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