CATHOLIC DIOCESE OF KITALE
The catholic diocese of Kitale is located in the North West of Kenya. It was established on 13th April 1998 with Rt. Rev +Maurice A. Crowley, of St. Patrick Kiltegan Missionary as its first Bishop. The diocese covers the counties of Trans Nzoia and West Pokot, an area of 11000sq.km with a population of 1,288,751 people according to the 2009 population and Housing Census. The Diocese population is projected to be 1,750,000 people by 2020. There are 30 parishes in the diocese, with 602 outstations. The diocese is divided into four deaneries of Kitale West, Kitale East, Ortum and Kapenguria.
Trans Nzoia County is famed for its arable farming land which is Kenya’s biggest producer of maize. The big farms are owned by few people, while the majority of the community owns small pieces of land ranging between 0.1 to 0.2 acres, while others are squatters. However there is widespread unemployment and poverty in the area due to the collapse of market for agricultural products and high cost of the farm inputs, limited job opportunities, lack of enough awareness and skills among most people for self employment.
West Pokot is a vast, mountainous, semi-arid region, of small communities living in remote and isolated areas. Residents are agro- pastoralists who practise subsistence farming in the small fields especially in the southern region (Tartar, Kapenguria, Kabichbich and Makutano parishes).The rest of the county experience inadequate rains and hence pastoralists who keep livestock and in Kacheliba parish in particular are bee keepers and producers of honey although in raw form and those on the highway from Kitale to Lodwar run shops, and trade in poultry, cattle and honey. The main issues facing them are scarcity of health facilities, schools and water for both domestic and animal use and drought which depletes the livelihood of the residents.
The mission of the Catholic diocese of Kitale is to promote the faith throughout the diocese and to work in partnership with local communities to improve their living standards through holistic development of the residents within the jurisdiction of the diocese. For the diocese to meet this obligation, it has two Directorates, the pastoral and Caritas Directorates whereas the pastoral Directorate deals with the spiritual and faith based development, the Caritas Directorate which is Humanitarian and Development arm deals with the general development of the community in areas of livelihood, Peace & Justice, education, health and water services, Emergency and relief services. The diocese has a strong voice in promoting justice and peace, gender development and youth issues.
The catholic diocese of Kitale through its Caritas Directorate has implemented several donor funded projects since its inception in 1998.Previously; the diocese implemented the following donor funded programs:-water, health, gender, technical training, youth, justice and peace, livelihoods, development and Education programs are some of the projects being implemented. In the past few years the diocese implemented emergency relief projects during the 2007/2008 post-election violence with funding from Trocaire, CAFOD, German Agro Action and DFID. SARD through Misereor, and SILC through CRS and Special Programme for Challenged Children, SPCC (ERKO, Christian children communities’ movement). The diocese has committed and qualified staff in their respective field of operations. Currently, through the directorate the following departments are implementing programmes-2017 Elections Preparedness programme by DFID through Saferworld and Caritas Spain. Caritas Kitale is also implementing Emergency response project towards the 2017 Drought. The support came from Caritas Belgium, Caritas Spain, Caritas Italiana, Conference of Catholic Bishops of Australia, Conference of Catholic Bishops of Japan, Caritas Austria, CAFOD, OBOS, Caritas Canada and Trocaire. Water(Water for Life),Special Programme for Challenged Children,SPCC(Dr.Bea, Cheshire Kenya, Handicap International now Humanity Inclusion and Lilliane Foundation),Catholic Justice and Peace Commission(DFID through Safer World),Education(Watoto Watunzwe Programme),Health( Support from the Kenyan government ministry of health and partnership with the county governments of Trans Nzoia and West Pokot).In five years time, the directorate will foresee the inception and implementation of the following programmes and projects: Rebuilding and strengthening livelihoods of residents, Protection of the environment and being involved in combating and mitigating climate change, promotion of peace and justice for all, Establishment of diocesan funeral home and cemetery, agricultural projects to sustain diocesan programmes and construction of a convenient store along Line Moja to be rented to interested parties.