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KISII, KENYA CIRCLED IN RED
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kisii.jpg

 

ALL ABOUT KISII 

 

Kisii is one of the six districts of Nyanza Province in SW Kenya, and is divided into five local authorities and eleven administrative districts. The district is mostly hilly and is dissected by rivers flowing west into Lake Victoria, notably the Kuja and Mogusi. Lack of infrastructure like electricity, telecommunications and good roads inhibit the full exploitation of resources. The hilly nature of the district leads to serious soil erosion and makes road communication difficult, especially in the rainy season when many roads (only 10% of which are tarmacked) become impassable.

Kisii district lies on a highland equatorial climate, and as such it receives rain almost throughout the year, although there are two rainy seasons (March to May and October to November). Average rainfall is over 1500mm and is quite reliable, helping to support cash crops (coffee, tea, pyrethrum) and subsistence crops (maize, beans, millet, potatoes). Temperatures can range from 10C to 30C.


Population

According to the 1979 census Kisii district had a population of 588 000, but by 1996 the annual population growth rate of 3.6% meant that the population is now well over 1 200 000 (19% of whom live in urban areas). This makes Kisii district one of the most densely populated in Kenya, with around 50% of the population being below the age of 15 years. The cause of high population growth is believed to be cultural practices of having many children for security in old age, leading to low use of family planning methods (acceptance is 60-65%). In most areas the sex ratio is disproportionate due to labour migration to other districts and cities.


Health

Health facilities are inadquate, unevenly distributed and lacking in essential medicines. There are two hospitals - the government-run facility in Kisii Town and the Mission Hospital in Tabaka - but the bed occupancy rate is 160.3%. The major diseases in Kisii are malaria, anaemia, pneumonia, meningitis, tuberculosis, measles and gastroenteritis. The first AIDS cases in Kenya were recognised in 1984 (1987 in Kisii district), but it is now believed that 1 in every 18 adults is infected with the HIV virus in all areas. Over 70% of AIDS cases are aged 20-49 years, the most economically active age group and also the best educated and skilled. Infant mortality has been declining for several years and the acceptance of immunisation programs is increasing, but a large proportion of children are believed stunted due to poor nutrition. Water is easily available from rivers, wells, springs, roof catchments and boreholes, although the only treated water supply is found in Kisii Municipality.


Economy

Due to the high population density, almost all land in Kisii district is put to maximum agricultural use. Land is subdivided within families, meaning that plots are becoming ever-smaller and the average farm is only 1.5 hectares in area. Intensive farming in hilly regions has increased the rate of soil degradation and erosion, while the application of farm chemicals has polluted surface and groundwater sources. More then 90% of rural household energy needs come from wood, but the district is no longer self-reliant and other sources such as biogas are being encouraged.

Tea and coffee processing and soda bottling constitute Kisii district's manufacturing industry, but retail and wholesale businesses exist in market centres despite the lack of cooling facilities for preserving perishables. The annual growth rate in paid employment is 3.5%, but this is barely keeping up with the current population growth rate. There are many societies such as Savings and Credit Cooperatives (SACCOs) concentrated in Kisii Town according to members' occupations or primary cash crop as well. The informal sector is involved in repair, metal fabrication, furniture making and the sale of secondhand clothes, while the soapstone which is found in the area of Tabaka provides a reasonable resource for the carving industry.

Income is unevenly distributed, with an average income per capita of Ksh. 2000 (approx. 20), although most appear to earn Ksh. 1000-1500. Many live below the poverty line, but actual figures are available for urban areas only.


Education

In 1993 there were 679 primary schools and 134 secondary schools in the district, and enrolment is increasing. Most schools in Kisii district lack science laboratories and many teachers are not fully trained, reducing the ability of pupils to complete their education. Female enrolment in secondary school is good at 45%, while adult literacy is 56% (high in relation to much of Kenya). However, given that fees for secondary school are in excess of Ksh. 5000 per year it is not hard to see that for most children, primary education is all they will ever be able to look forward to.

 

 

 

Economy

There are few industrial activities in the town although potential for agro-based industries exists because the town is located in a rich agricultural area. Soapstone quarrying also takes place near the town.

Education

Due the large population and ever increasing demand for education,most public universities and colleges have set up new campuses and branches in the town.The notable kenyan instutions that have set up in the town include Nairobi University,Masinde Muliro University,Moi university. And Faithbased Colleges of Ministry- The Master’s Touch Healing School of Ministry –Kenya (Home based in USA)

People

The town has a sizeable number of Indian, Kikuyu and other communities who are also involved in trade although the Gusii seem to be more prominent. However, the Indians have recently bought several properties from the Gusii which they are developing into supermarkets and highrise buildings at the center of the town.Over the past few years the town has experienced tremendous growth especially with the entry of firms in the town.The town now hosts large supermarket chains e.g.Tuskys,Nakumatt.Most banks e.g.Equity,Eco-bank and K-Rep have also launched new branches in the town taking advantage of the large population and the positioning of Kisii as a center town.

Housing conditions

The town is poorly drained and the only sewerage formerly in the Daraja Mbili area of the town but this has been moved outside the town. The town has an acute shortage of land and most of its suburbs have developed without proper planning

 

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