Kericho


Kericho

Kericho is a Kenyan district located to the South West of the country and lies within the highlands west of The Great Rift Valley. The capital of the district is Kericho town. The district home to the best of Kenyan Tea which is world famous for its brightness, attractive color, brisk flavor and textures of fragrant leaves. The district is also home to some of the world's best long distance runners among whom have repeatedly won gold medals in international events.

Kericho is home to Kenya's biggest water catchment area, the Mau Forest. With a high altitude and virtually daily rains, Kericho is the centre of Kenya's large tea industry, its town square even known as Chai Square. Some of the largest tea companies including Unilever Kenya, James Finlay and Williamson tea are based here. It is also home to the popular Ketepa brand. Much of the tea is also exported, with the UK being the largest market. The town has an urban population of 45,000 and total population of over 500,000 (1999 census [Kenya National Bureau of Statistics: [http://treasury.go.ke/cbs.go.ke/pdf/authority.pdf "Population of local authorities"] ] ).

History and Culture

Kericho is the home town of the Kipsigis people, who are a part of the Kalenjin people. The Kipsigis are rated some of the most hospitable and courteous people in the countryThe Kipsigis just like their Kalenjin counterparts are well known to be good in Athletics. Such athletes as Kipchoge Keino have brought great victory during World Athletic Competitions. The Kipsigis is one of the communities in Kenya that still hold their cultural values dearly.

The favorite meal in the for the Kipsigis people is Maizemeal(kimyet) that is enjoyed with vegetables and beef. An almost constant accompaniment is a glass of sour milk locally known as Mursik Tea is also widely consumed in the district, taken 3 times a day at dawn, midmorning and at 4 oclock. Tea after the evening meal is also common.

The origin of towns name has not been established. One theory is that it was home to the region's first public hospital, built by the British at the dawn of the 20th century. Medicine in the local Kipsigis language is referred to as Kerichek. Another theory is that the town was originally home of a medicine man named KipKerich.

Transport Network

Kericho has a comparatively good transport network. Road is the main mode of transport to and around the district. 3 main highways lead to Kericho town, the Nakuru-Kericho , the Kisumu-Kericho and the Kericho-Kisii highways. As of 2008, Nakuru-Kericho-Kisumu stretch of the Nairobi-Kisumu highway is in a terrible condition. However, while touring the district in middle of 2008, the Prime Minister announced that work on this road will start before the end of the year. The district has direct bus(matatu) links to Nakuru, Kisumu, Eldoret, Kisii and Bomet towns. Rail transport is available from Kipkelion, Londiani and Fort-Ternan stations all agricultural hubs within the district. Air transport is also available through chartered light aircrafts from Wilson Airport, Nairobi. The district's main airstrip is Kerenga Aerodrome, 10km from Kericho town.

Communication and Media

Kericho has a good communication infrastructure. The town is home to one of the only 2 satellite earth stations (the only available international link for Kenya. It is also served by a fibre optic cable. The district is well covered by the fixed line operator Telkom Kenya and the two mobile operators Safaricom and Zain who offer voice and data services.

The district is served by all major local TV stations. KBC is still widely watched. Others are KTN, NTV, Citizen TV, Family TV, STV and Sayare. All FM station broadcasting from Nairobi are also available including Capital, Easy, Kiss, Classic, Family, Hope, BBC, Citizen, KBC etc. Local stations include Kass FM, Chamgei FM, KBC Kisumu, Radio Injili(AGC) and AIC Radio.

Investment Climate

Kericho provides a good investment destination. Strengths include:
* Good transport network
* Good communication facilities
* Big market within and around the district
* Affordable well educated labour
* Excellent Security
* Plentiful water
* Access to banking: The following banks have local branches:
** Barclays
** Stanchart
** KCB
** Coop
** Equity
** Krep
** KWFT
* Central location: centrally located to 3 of Kenya's 5 cities:
** Kisumu (70km)
** Nakuru (100km)
** Eldoret (130km)
** Also readily accessible to Kisii, Bomet, Litein and Narok
* Efficient local authority

Administration

Kericho forms a municipality with nine wards. Six of them (Central, Chelimo, Kimugu, Kapkugerwet, Kipchimchim and Motobo) belong to the Ainamoi constituency and remaining three (Kapcheptoror, Kapsuser and Kipkoiyan) belong to Belgut constituency. Both constituencies have additional wards located within Kipsigis County Council, the rural council of Kericho District [Electoral Commission of Kenya: [http://www.eck.or.ke/downloads/pollingcentres.pdf "Registration centres by electoral area and constituency"] ] .

Kericho was split in the 1990s to curve out Bomet and Bureti districts. In June 2007 Kipkelion district was again curved out of Kericho.

Kericho is sister town of Portsmouth, Virginia [http://www.sister-cities.org/icrc/directory/Africa/Kenya] .

Famous people from Kericho

The late Dr. Taita arap Towett is unarguably the most famous and revered person in the district. A renowned scholar in Linguistics and culture, Dr. Towett was the first Education Minister in independent Kenya. He died in 2007 in a road accident aged over 75. Other famous people born in the district include former politicians the late Hon. Prof. Jonathan Ngeno, the Late Hon. Kipkalya Kones, the late Lorna Laboso and the late David Kimutai Too. Others are Franklin Bett, Kipngeno arap Ngeny, Noah arap Too. Other achievers from the district include Mr. Paul Melly(Standard Group, CMA), Samuel Kirui(Telkom, PS, OPDM), Prof Mibei (VC, Moi University), the Late Wilson Chepkwony(State House), the Late Jeremiah Ruto(Director KARI, TRF).

Kericho is the birthplace of Joginder Singh, Kenya's famous Rally Driver. Joyce Chepchumba, a successful woman marathoner and an Olympic medalist is also from Kericho. Dr Baldev Singh, National Teacher of the Year for Innovation in Education in the UK in 2004 is Kericho-born.

Colleges in Kericho

Kenya Highlands Bible College - run by the Africa Gospel Church, it offers degree courses in Theology, Computer Science and Education.Kericho Teachers Training College - recently began offering degree courses under agreement with Moi University.Kenya Forestry College - LondianiKenya Institute of ManagementKericho Institute of Professional StudiesEland College - Kabarak University and Eland Schools are jointly running Diploma and Bridging courses being offered at Eland, located next to the stadium.

Niskam Saint Puran Singh Institute (NSPSI) located behind the GNNSJ Gurdwara.

High Schools in Kericho

There are many schools in Kericho including some of the following:
*Kericho High School
*Kipsigis Girls High School
*Kabianga High School
*Sosiot Girls Secondary School
*Kericho Day Secondary School
*Kericho Tea Secondary School
*Moi Tea Girls High School
*Cheptenye High School
*Moi Sitotwet High School
*Londiani High School
*Londiani Girls High School
*Kipchimchim Secondary School
*Kaptebeswet Secondary School
*Torsogek Secondary School
*Eland Girls High School
*Kapmaso Day Secondary School
*Kabokiek Adventist Secondary School
*Soliat Boys Secondary School
*Chemamul Secondary School
*Koiwalelach Girls Secondary School
*Kakibei Secondary School
*Mercy Girls Secondary School
*Kaborok Secondary School
*Kiptere Secondary School
*St Thomas Mindililwet Secondary School
*Milimani Secondary School
*Kipsolu Secondary School

Religion

Kericho residents are mostly Christians. The most widespread church is the Africa Gospel Church which has affiliations with The World Gospel Mission of the USA. The church has the biggest church in the district in the town (Emmanuel AGC) and heart centers at Cheptenye, Chepkutung, Keongo, Kipkelion, Londiani, Kabianga and Kaptebeswet.

The other churches present in the district include AIC, Catholic Church, Anglican Church, SDA, Full Gospel and a host of Independent churches.

Kericho is also home to Africa's largest Gurudwara or Sikh place of worship. It is a monument, dedicated to the memory of "Baba Puran Singh Ji of Kericho" who was the founder of the international charitable organisation, Guru Nanak Nishkam Sewak Jatha which promotes the spirit and practice of selfless service ("nishkam sewa") in the name of Guru Nanak Dev Ji, the founder of the Sikh faith. The site has been gazetted by the Government of Kenya as a place of spiritual significance.

References

Kericho also holds the Muslim faith with at least two mosques.


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