a. Historical Profile
The Catholic Diocese of Kitale is located in the northwest part of Kenya in the former expansive Rift Valley province of Kenya. It was established on 3rd April 1998 then Rt. Rev. Maurice Anthony Crowley, a St. Patrick Kiltegan Missionary, was installed as its first Bishop on 15th August 2013. The diocese covers an area of 11,000 square Kilometres. It has a population of over 2 Million people, of which about 400,000 are Catholic faithful. It covers two counties namely Trans-Nzoia county and Pokot County. The two counties include six districts; Trans Nzoia East, West and Kwanza on the southern part and Pokot East, Central and P’sigor on the northern part of the diocese. The Diocese has four Deaneries: Kitale West, Kitale East, Kapenguria and Ortum. The diocese currently has twenty nine parishes with 431 outstations. b. Geographical Locations:
The personnel of the diocese comprise the Ordinary, one vicar general, four deans, 40 diocesan priests, 10 Religious (Missionary) priests, 3 brothers, 100 sisters and 497 catechists. There are over 38 Novitiates and seminarians in the diocese in different steps of formation. So far the diocese has built over 120 churches and sponsors over 100 schools both primary and secondary. The Church owns 10 nursery schools, four primary schools and 3 secondary schools.
The diocese has established twelve diocesan departments during the short period since it was founded in 1998. These are; Vocations, Education (which includes religious education), Technical Training, Development and social services, Justice and Peace, Water and Sanitation, Health, Handicapped Support Department, Gender and Child Protection, Youth Department, communication department and Livelihood department.
The Catholic Diocese of Kitale is situated in the Rift Valley Province. Trans Nzoia County is agriculturally a high potential area. It is famed for its production of Maize. However there is widespread unemployment and poverty in the area, fuelled by uneconomical land sizes, landlessness, marginalisation, conflicts, unemployment, unstable markets and the effects of HIV/ AIDS pandemic.c. The Socio-Economic Profile:
West Pokot County on the other hand is a vast, mountainous, semi-arid region, comprising of small communities living in remote and isolated areas. Nomadic pastoralists graze cattle and goats throughout its interior. Residents of the three main centres, Kapenguria, Ortum and P’sigor, are engaged in small-scale farming, petty merchandising and sale of livestock especially poultry, goats and cattle. The main issues facing the people of larger Pokot include: limited access to affordable health services, education and the availability of clean water. The Diocese of Kitale borders the Eldoret Diocese to the East, Lodwar Diocese to the North and Kakamega and Bungoma dioceses to the south and The Republic of Uganda to the West.
The majority of the people in the Catholic diocese of Kitale live in the rural areas. They practice mixed farming; combining agriculture with livestock keeping. It is estimated that some eighty percent of the population in the diocese is involved in Agriculture. The situation in the sector of Agriculture varies from one area to the other. This is as a result of the various ecological zones that exist, the way of living of the people, land use patterns, and opportunities of income earning through cash crop production and subsistence farming and/or livestock keeping.
In the past the whole of Trans Nzoia County was occupied by white settlers most of them from South Africa. They had begun large-scale farming mostly of wheat and maize production. Some of these large farms still exist. These large farms are owned mainly by the rural elites, co-operatives and/or the Agricultural Development Corporation (ADC), a parastatal. Many large farms, previously bought by land-buying cooperatives and companies have been subdivided into small plots and given to shareholders. People living in the lowlands of the larger Pokot are Agro-Pastoralists mainly nomadic pastoralists who depend mainly on their livestock combined with a little subsistence farming.
Distribution of industries is rather poor in the region. However, there are a few industries that mainly concentrate on food processing especially maize. There are central storage facilities for agricultural products. Besides, many government or parastatal organisations are based in Kitale town e.g. Agricultural Finance Co-operation, National Cereals and Produce Board and the Kenya Seed Company. The town is also experiencing a rise in Private Companies and a range of higher learning. In both counties, the informal sector (jua kali Industry) is absorbing thousands of unemployed semi skilled youths.