As far as Kenya religion is concerned, the Constitution of Kenya guarantees freedom of religion and worship to its people. The vast majority of Kenyans are Christians, and the Anglican and Roman Catholic Churches are the most established Christian denominations. Other well established African religions and denominations include the African Inland Church (AIC), Seventh Day Adventists (SDA), and the Presbyterian Church of East Africa (PCEA).
In addition, there are a number of Evangelical churches and Independent African Christian churches.
Islam is the other major religion in Kenya. Followers include both Sunni and Shi’ite Muslims. The largest number of Muslims in Kenya are found in Mombasa and the neighboring coastal regions, as well as the northeastern regions of Kenya. Nairobi also has numerous mosques and a notable Muslim following.
Many of the traditional African religions are no longer widely practiced. Some of the denominations considered as indigenous religions combine aspects of Christianity with traditional religious beliefs. One of these denominations is Dini ya Msambwa, found mostly in Kenya’s Western province.
The few Kenyans who adhere to Hinduism and Sikhism are mostly Indians. They reside in most major towns and cities across Kenya.
The following statistics show Kenya’s most recent religious composition:
- Christian-Protestant 45% (This includes the Anglican Church of Kenya)
- Roman Catholic 33%
- Islam 10%
- Indigenous Religions 10%
- Other 2%
Source: CIA World Factbook
Since the revival of Christianity in the 19th century, Kenya has continued to attract Christian missions from abroad. These missions mainly establish themselves in the remote parts of the country and offer help to Kenyans through religious, educational and medical facilities.
Tags: animist, Catholic Church, Christian, Community Building, East Africa, God, good news, Initiatives, Jope, Kenya, Kikuyu, Kikuyu people, kiswahili, Kodera, Language, Local Leadership, Luo, Muslim, Muslims, Natural Medicines, Pine Lake Covenant Church. rainfall catchment, Religion, romania, swahili, Swahili language, targu jiu, Water Technology
Facts about education in Kenya, based on the results of the Uwezo 2009 assessment:
- Literacy levels are low, and are substantially lower in certain regions. Girls tend to perform better in reading English and Kiswahili, while boys tend to perform better in math.
- Literacy levels are lower in public schools than private schools.
- Most children can solve real world, “ethno-mathematics” problems, while fewer can solve similar math problems in an abstract, pencil and paper format.
- 5% of children are not enrolled in school, but the problem is far worse in particular regions.
- About half of children are enrolled in pre-school.
- Many children are older than expected for their class level, including 40% of children in class 2, and 60% of children in class 7.
- North Eastern Province and arid districts in Rift Valley and Eastern Provinces have particularly low performance; and many older children, especially girls, are not attending school.
- Many families pay for extra tuition, which focuses heavily on drilling and exam preparation.
- Schools struggle to plan their budgets because they receive funds at unpredictable times.
- Children whose mothers are educated, particularly beyond primary school, tend to have much higher rates of literacy and numeracy.
- About 15% of students are absent on a given day, with much higher absenteeism in certain districts.
- There is a severe shortage of teachers, estimated at 4 teachers per school.
Primary education in Kenya begins at the age of 6 or 7 after completion of a year of kindergarten commonly known as Nursery School or pre-unit. The first class or year of primary school is known as Standard 1, the final year as Standard 8 and primary school children are known as pupils. The school year at both primary and secondary levels, begins in January and ends in November. Students get 3 school vacations in April, August and December. At the end of the school year students advance to the next grade. Students who completely fail their end of year exams usually repeat the class the following year instead of advancing to a higher grade. Most primary schools are day schools with pupils living at home. Fewer schools at primary level are boarding schools compared to secondary schools. All public primary school pupils sit for the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education examination at the end of the school year in Standard eight.
In January 2003 President Mwai Kibaki re-introduced free Primary education which previously existed before the mid 80s when the government adopted cost sharing measures that led to a minor level of school fees charged by primary schools for text books, PTA, and extra curricular activities. Since 2003, education in public schools became free and universal (but not compulsory). On learning that primary education had once again become free in Kenya, Kimani Maruge, a Kenyan illiterate farmer and the world’s oldest person to enroll in primary school joined Kapkenduiywo primary school in Eldoret at the age of 84. He was elected head boy at the age of 86 in 2005.
Secondary schools in Kenya fall into three categories – government-funded, harambee and private. Government funded schools are divided into national, provincial and district levels. Harambee schools do not receive full funding from the government and private schools are run by private organizations or individuals. After taking the primary school-leaving exam and successfully passing, government-funded schools select students in order of scores. Students with the highest scores gain admission into national schools while those with average scores are selected into provincial and district schools. Harambee schools accept students with low scores. Students who fail examinations either repeat the final school year or pursue technical training opportunities. A number of students also drop out of school by choice due to poor scores.
Under the current system, students attend secondary school for four years before sitting for the school-leaving exam at the end of the fourth year. The first class or year of secondary school is known as form 1 and the final year is form 4. At the end of the fourth year, from October to November students sit for the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education examination. In 2008, the government introduced plans to offer free Secondary education to all Kenyans.
Private secondary schools in Kenya are generally high cost schools offering students an alternative system of education with better or more luxurious facilities compared to public schools. They are often favored for prestige. Most private schools in Kenya offer the British system of education which includes “O-levels“ and “A-levels”. Very few offer the American system of education and good number of them offer the Kenya system. Some of the oldest private schools in Kenya include Loreto Convent Msongari, Nairobi (1921), St. Mary’s School, Nairobi, Braeburn School, Consolata School, Strathmore School, Oshwal Academy, Rift Valley Academy, Aga Khan Academy, Kenton College and Brookhouse School,
KCSE Grading System
The average grade is based on performance in the eight subjects. Where a candidate sits for more than eight subjects, the average grade is based on the best eight subjects. University matriculation is based on the best eight and performance in particular subjects relevant to degree courses. Example below:
|History & Government||3||B||9|
The total number of points is 81.
The average grade is 81 divided by 8, which equals 10.1 (approximately 10.0 points) which is Grade B+ according to the grading system. This student qualifies to join one of the Public Universities for his good score. Training institutions and faculties and departments determine their own minimum entry requirements.
Students who manage a grade of C+ qualify to do a degree course at the University. Owing to competition, and fewer places at the University, those with B and in a few cases B-, and above are taken for degree courses at the Public Universities and benefit by paying government-subsidized fees. The rest join private universities or middle-level colleges.
Interestingly, the number of students admitted to public universities through J.A.B depends on the total number of beds available in all the public universities. Nonetheless, those who miss out but attained the minimum university entry mark of C+ or C with a relevant diploma certificate are admitted through the parallel degree programmes (module II) if they can afford the full fees for the course.
This has been the subject of much discussion with people questioning the rationale and morality of locking out qualified students from public institutions yet still admitting those who come from financially able families.
Vocational Schools and Colleges
These are two or three year post secondary school institutions also termed colleges. They award certificates, diplomas and higher national diplomas in various disciplines after successful completion of relevant courses. Courses offered by these institutions include Business Education, Accounting, Secretarial Studies, Nursing, Teacher Training, Computer Studies, Journalism, Media, Design, Culinary Studies, Foreign Languages, Tourism and Technical Skills. In order of credibility or accreditation, national polytechnics rank first, followed by government training institutes, teacher training colleges and private institutions. Although generally termed colleges, these institution do not award degrees. Degrees are only awarded by universities.
There are 30 universities in Kenya, 7 of which are public and 23 private. The 7 public universities have a total of 12 constituent colleges, The University of Nairobi is the oldest university in Kenya.
Tags: animist, Christians, Community Building, East Africa, Education, God, good news, Initiatives, Jope, Kenya, Kenyans, Kikuyu, Kimani Maruge, kiswahili, Kodera, Language, Local Leadership, Luo, Muslims, Mwai Kibaki, Natural Medicines, Nursery School, Pine Lake Covenant Church. rainfall catchment, Primary education, Religion, Rift Valley Academy, romania, Secondary school, Strathmore School, swahili, targu jiu, Water Technology
Kenya is a linguistically diverse country. When visiting Kenya, the ability to speak some basic Swahili can win you many smiles, not to mention the fact that it is a fun language to speak and learn! Knowledge of Swahili becomes even more essential if you plan to stay or work outside of the urban areas, or in the more remote parts of the country where most people do not speak English.
Apart from English and Swahili, Kenya’s two official languages, each of the country’s 42 ethnic groups also has its own unique dialect.
Official Languages of Kenya
English was inherited from Kenya’s British colonial past. English is the language of choice when doing business in Kenya and is also used in Kenyan schools.
Swahili (also called Kiswahili) is the national language of Kenya. It is a unifying African language spoken by nearly 100 percent of the Kenyan population. Even illiterate Kenyans know some basic Swahili. The purest form of Kiswahili is spoken along the coast where native Swahili people live. Swahili is one of the most common African languages and it is spoken in many countries other than Kenya, such as Tanzania, Burundi, Uganda and Zaire.
Indigenous Languages in Kenya
Kenya’s ethnic languages are spoken mostly in rural settings and in homes where all members belong to the same ethnic group. The most dominant of the indigenous languages are Kikuyu, Dholuo and Luhya.
Kikuyu is the language of the Kikuyu people, Kenya’s largest ethnic group. It is closely related to the Embu, Mbeere, and Meru languages spoken by neighboring communities in the Mount Kenya region.
The Kikuyu language is widely spoken in Kenyan towns, even by members of other ethnic groups. This is particularly true in business situations. Since Kikuyu people run the majority of Kenya’s businesses, it is common to find people conducting business in the Kikuyu language. As a result, other business people have had to adapt and learn Kikuyu as a matter of necessity.
The Luhya language is not a single language but rather, it is a collection of mutually understood dialects spoken by the Luhya people of Western Kenya. The Luhya are the second largest ethnic group following the Kikuyu. The two biggest Luhya sub-tribes are the Maragoli and the Bukusu.
Dholuo is the language of the Luo people, the third most populous ethnic group. The language is so melodious that other Kenyans find it fascinating to listen to.
Sheng is a commonly spoken slang in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi. It is a mixture of Swahili and English, with a sprinkling of other indigenous languages. In fact, Sheng is more than just slang – it’s a lifestyle, especially among the urban youth who, today, are more fluent in Sheng than in the purer forms of Kiswahili.
Here is some basic Swahili to help you make the most of your Kenyan stay:
|Good morning||Habari ya asubuhi|
|Good afternoon||Habari ya mchana|
|Good evening||Habari ya jioni|
|Good night||Usiku mwema|
|I love you||Nakupenda|
|Can I please have…||Tafadhali nipatie…|
|You are welcome||Karibu|
|No problem!||Hakuna matata!|
|My name is…||Ninaitwa / Jina langu ni…|
|What is your name?||Unaitwa nani?|
|Where are you from?||Unatoka wapi?|
|I come from…||Ninatoka…|
Other Important English to Swahili Expressions
|How much money?||Shillingi ngapi?|
|Safe journey||Safari njema|
|Do you speak English?||Unajua kizungu?|
|Good / Fine||Sawa / Sawasawa|
Tags: Community Building, Embu tribe, God, good news, Initiatives, Jope, Kalenjin tribe, Kamba tribe, Kenya, Kikuyu tribe, Kisii tribe, kiswahili, Kodera, Language, Local Leadership, Luhya tribe, Luo tribe, Maasai tribe, Meru tribe, Mijikenda tribe, Natural Medicines, Pine Lake Covenant Church. rainfall catchment, Rendille tribe, romania, Samburu tribe, Somali tribe, swahili, Swahili tribe, Taita tribe, targu jiu, Turkana tribe, Water Technology
About a third of the people derive their livelihood from farming and herding, which have long been mainstays of the economy. The chief farming areas are in the highlands, around Lake Victoria, and along the coast. Because of scant rainfall, most of the country can be used for little but grazing.
Until the early 20th century most of the land suitable for crops was in large estates owned by Europeans. Since then, much of this land has been transferred to Africans and there are numerous cooperative farms and many small, privately owned plots. Some of the estates, however, have been kept intact. The small farms cover from about 2 ½ acres (1 hectares) to 50 acres (20 hectares) while the large estates range from 100 acres (40 hectares) to more than 5000 acres ( 2000 hectares). Many of the farmers live at the subsistence level and use traditional methods of crop cultivation. The use of modern tools has been on a rise since the mid 20th century.
The main food crops are corn, cassava, and sweet potatoes. Coffee and tea are the chief commercial crops and agricultural exports. Other cash crops include cashews, cotton, pineapples, sugar cane, pyrethrum, and sisal. The chief subsistence crops are corn, bananas, beans, cassava, potatoes, sweet potatoes, and wheat. These subsistence crops as well as beef and milk are sold on a limited basis. Cattle are the most numerous farm animals; next are goats and sheep. Camels are herded in the drier parts of the country.
Tags: Acre, Africa, african geography, African people, Agriculture, Community Building, geography of africa, geography of kenya, God, good news, Initiatives, Jope, Kenya, Kodera, Lake Victoria, Local Leadership, Natural Medicines, Pine Lake Covenant Church. rainfall catchment, romania, Subsistence agriculture, Sweet potato, targu jiu, the economy in kenya, Water Technology
History and Origin of the Swahili Tribe
The Swahili tribe are a coastal people with a very rich historical and cultural heritage. Some of the earliest inhabitants of the East African coast were their ancestors, Cushitic herdsmen. The Cushitic people were joined by Bantu speaking tribes, including the Mijikenda, with whom they freely inter-married. Other groups later migrated to this coastline, including Arab, Hindi, Portuguese, and Indonesian traders. They, too, intermarried with the indigenous people, giving rise to a new culture, people and language – the Swahili tribe.
Over time, groups of Swahili people spread along the entire East African coast, forming different cultural variations and dialects of the Swahili language. Today, the Swahili tribe reside in most of the coastal towns in Kenya and Tanzania, including Mombasa and Malindi, and on the Indian Ocean islands of Lamu, Pemba and Zanzibar.
Culture & Religion
The Arabic culture has had the greatest influence in shaping Swahili traditions. One major legacy of the Arab culture is the prevalence of the Islamic religion among the Swahili people. Islamic traditions govern nearly every aspect of the Swahili tribe’s culture, including food, clothing and lifestyle. Swahili children, for example, must attend Madrassa – religious classes in which they study the Koran and learn the Arabic language – from an early age. Unlike other Kenyan tribes, there are no specific rites of passage for young Swahili men and women.
Marriage marks the transition to adulthood. Swahili marriages are usually arranged by the parents. Though the bride’s parents will normally choose a groom for their daughter, she has the right to refuse her parents choice and select her own groom. Swahili weddings last several days and involve elaborate preparations, ceremonies and activities for both men and women. Only men are allowed in the mosque for the official marriage vows.
Swahili Clothing & Dress Code
The traditional attire of a Swahili man is a long white (or beige) robe (or kaftans) known in Swahili as a kanzu and a small, white, rounded hat with elaborate embroidery. Swahili women dress in long black dresses called buibui, and cover their heads with a black cloth, known as a hijabu. It is also common to find Swahili women wearing a veil to cover their faces. Outside their traditional clothing, most Swahili men wear western-style pants and shirts, but revert to the traditional attire on Fridays, the official prayer day for Muslims, and during other important or religious occasions.
Swahili Art & Crafts
Swahili art is magnificently expressed in the design of carpets, rugs, porcelain, and jewelry, all of which reflect some Asian influence. The Swahili also incorporate unique architecture into the design of their homes and mosques. The town of Lamu in Kenya is perhaps the best place to see the finest Swahili architecture, art and crafts.
Swahili Poetry & Music
Poetic and musical expression is an important feature of the Swahili culture. Poets, the greatest of which are called malenga, are held in high esteem. Swahili music, Taarab, is poetically very rich. The traditional Taarab rhythm is a slow beat that borrows heavily from Indian and Arabic melody. Chakacha is another authentic Swahili music genre with a faster tempo than Taarab.
Language of the Swahili People
The Swahili people speak Swahili (or Kiswahili), a language adapted from the Bantu and enriched with some vocabulary from the Arabic, Portuguese and Hindi languages. Among the native Swahili speakers, there exist several Swahili dialects. The most well known Swahili dialects include: Amu, spoken by the Lamu people; Mvita, a dialect of the Mombasa Swahilis; Pemba, a dialect spoken in Pemba; and Unguja, a dialect spoken in Zanzibar. However, the standard version of the Swahili language is the national language of both Kenya and Tanzania and is also spoken widely across other Eastern and Central Africa countries.
The Daily Life of the Swahili
From their earliest days, the Swahili people depended on trade for survival. They played a central role as middlemen between the inland tribes of East and Central Africa and the Indian Ocean traders (Arabs, Indians, and Portuguese).
Today, many Swahili people still engage in business enterprises of some kind. They are mainly traders, running shops throughout the coastal cities of Mombasa, Malindi, and Lamu, as well as in other towns where they live. They also engage in domestic and commercial fishing along the Indian Ocean coast.
By religion, Muslim Swahilis are prohibited from eating pork or drinking alcohol. The Swahili’s staple food has a lot of Indian influence in taste, and most of their cooking is rich in spices. Popular Swahili cuisine includes pilau and wali (rice cooked in coconut milk) served with a thick meat stew or fish. The Swahili tribe eats a lot of different grains, vegetables and fruits, including beans, peas, tomatoes, potatoes, okra, kale, spinach, mangoes, coconut and bananas. Goat meat and chicken are traditionally served during special occasions.
Tags: Africa, African people, Christian, Christianity, Community Building, East Africa, geography of kenya, God, good news, Indian Ocean, Kenya, kenya people, kiswahili, Missions, mzungu, Nairobi, Natural Medicines, Nyanza Province, Sub-Saharan Africa, swahili, Swahili People, Swahili tribe