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About Kitui

About this Site

The average per capita income in Kitui is less than €2 per day

About Kitui District

Kitui is a district in the Eastern province of Kenya. The Diocese of Kitui also includes Mwingi district. These are arid (very dry) areas in which difficulty in accessing adequate clean water dominates the people's lives.

In this section we try to give you an overview of the situation in Kenya, and specifically in the districts of Kitui and Mwingi which make up the Diocese of Kitui. Everyone is aware of the problems caused by drought in Eastern Africa, and particularly in the Horn of Africa. Obviously the overall situation is very complex and we do not want to over simplify. However we would like to get across the message that droughts and associated famines are not simply a consequence of post-industrial revolution Global Warming. In East Africa, droughts and famines have been recorded at regular intervals since records began  at the beginning of the colonial period in the latter half of the 19th century. Prior to colonisation, the various tribes in what is now Kenya had evolved a way of life which minimised the effects of droughts. There is a strong argument to the effect that the destruction of the traditional way of life following colonisation, and the concentration of the native peoples into reservations in the Machakos and Eastern Kitui areas, initiated a cycle of poverty and excessive vulnerability to droughts which continues to this day.

History of Kitui

Modern day Kenya is very much the product of colonial times. The first Europeans reached the interior in the middle of the nineteenth century. This brief review of the history of Kenya, and particularly of the Kitui, Mwingi and Machacos districts since colonisation will help you understand the forces at play today.  You will probably agree after reading this review that we "Europeans" owe much to Kenya today to repay what we have taken in the past. Read Kitui History Review

Water - The Big Issue

Water is the essence of life. In the Western world, we use about 250 litres per person per day for domestic usage alone. Industrial usage can increase this figure by a factor of 10. Americans drank 26 billion liters of bottled water in 2004, or roughly one eight-ounce glass per person every day. Italians drank the most bottled water per person, at nearly 184 liters in 2004--more than two glasses per day. It is difficult to estimate the amount of water needed to maintain acceptable or minimum living standards. 

Moreover, different sources use different figures for total water consumption.

Minimum levels of domestic water consumption should be about 5 litres/person/day although in Kenya, in times of drought or other crises it is not uncommon for the per capita water consumption to fall well below this. Domestic water demand includes all water used in and around the home for the following essential purposes:

  • Drinking
  • Food preparation and cooking
  • Personal hygiene
  • Washing clothes and cleaning
  • Washing pots, pans and other utensils
Where a sewerage system exists, a range of 20 to 40 liters of freshwater per person per day is generally considered to be a necessary minimum to meet needs for drinking and sanitation alone. If water for bathing and cooking is included as well, this figure varies between 27 and 200 liters per capita per day. In Kitui's outlying areas, where no sewerage system exists, a typical target for a new water supply would be to provide 7.5 to 10 litres per person per day. This is only 3 to 4% of the daily water consumption of a Western household.
The Kitui Diocese's target is to reduce the maximum distance a family must travel to fetch water to below 5km. For a typical family of 8 people, having to fetch water from a distant water source, they must carry 80 to 90 kgs weight from the water source each day. Read about the Water Issues facing the district of Kitui.
Educating Children
Much of what one observes in Kitui today is very reminiscent of Ireland in the 1940s and 1950s- and particularly the emphasis on the education of children. Many would ascribe Ireland's recent economic success to the concentration on providing good primary,  secondary and third level education, and on the sacrifices made by parents in the past 50 years towards this end. Hopefully the sacrifices now being made by the Kenyan parents for the same purposes will pay dividends in the future. Read about education in Kenya


The HIV/AIDs pandemic is devastating the people of Kenya. Even in the remote, rural areas such as Kitui and Mwingi communities are losing their most energetic and capable young people and community projects are being deprived of committee members and community leaders by this pandemic. Read about the HIV/AIDS Programme