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Kericho is a Kenyan Town located in Kericho County, located within the highlands west of The Kenyan Rift Valley. The capital of the is Kericho town. The district is home to the best of Kenyan tea, known for its brightness, attractive color, brisk flavor and textures of fragrant leaves. The town is also home to some of the world's best long distance runners, many having 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, and its town square is even known as Chai Square (Chai is Hindi for Tea). 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 exported, with the UK being the largest market. The town has an urban population of 150,000 and a total population of over 500,000 (1999 census ).
History and Culture
Kericho is the home town of the Kipsigis people, who are a part of the Kalenjin people. The Kipsigis and the Kalenjin have developed many excellent professional athletes. They include Kipchoge Keino, one of many athletes that have brought great victory during World Athletic Competitions.
A favorite local meal is Maize meal(kimyet), 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 three times a day; at dawn, at mid-morning and at four o'clock. Tea after the evening meal is also common.
The origin of the town's 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.
Kericho has a comparatively good transport network. Road is the main mode of transport to and around the district. Three main highways lead to the town of Kericho; the Nakuru-Kericho, the Kisumu-Kericho and the Kericho-Kisii highways. An alternative route to Kericho would be Nakuru-Njoro-Molo-Kericho, a road that is in good condition. The Nakuru-Eldoret highway is being recarpeted, from the Total Junction all the way to Kisumu it is in an excellent state. The district has direct bus (matatu) links to the cities of Nairobi, Mombasa, Nakuru, Kisumu, Eldoret and the towns of Kisii, Molo, Bomet, Litein, Sotik and Narok.
Rail transport is available from Kipkelion, Londiani and Fort-Ternan stations, the main agricultural hubs within the district.
Air transport is also available, through chartered light aircraft from Wilson Airport, Nairobi. The district's main airstrip is Kerenga Aerodrome, 5 km south-west of Kericho town. There's also a good landing place in James Finlay tea estates.
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 fibre-optic cable. The district is well covered by the fixed line operator Telkom Kenya and the 4 mobile operators Yu[disambiguation needed], Safaricom, Zain and Orange, all offering voice and data services.
The district is served by all major local TV stations. KBC is still widely watched. Other channels are Kass TV, KTN,K-24, NTV, Citizen TV, Family TV, STV and Sayare. All FM station broadcasting from Nairobi are also available including Capital, Easy, Kiss 100, One FM, Venus FM, Classic, Family, Hope, BBC, Citizen, KBC etc. Local stations include Kass FM, Chamgei FM, KBC Kisumu, Radio Injili 103.7 FM (A FULLY owned Christian Radio Station), & Sayare Radio. Light and Life 107.3 FM, Sema Radio and The Just FM.
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:
- Diamond Trust
- Trans National
- Bank of Africa
- National Bank of Kenya
- Central location: centrally located to 3 of Kenya's 5 cities:
- Kisumu (70 km)
- Nakuru (100 km)
- Eldoret (130 km)
- Also readily accessible to Kisii, Bomet, Litein and Narok
- Efficient local authority
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.
Kericho was split in the 1990s to curve out Bomet and Bureti districts. In June 2007 Kipkelion district was again curved out of Kericho.
Famous people from Kericho
Paramount chief, Cheborge arap Tengecha was one of the most powerful and the most influential paramount Chiefs in the Kipsigis land from economics, social to political matters. Dr. Taitta Toweett was a prominent politician 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 80,Moses Kiprono arap Keino (born September, 1937 - November 4, 1998) was Speaker of the Parliament of Kenya from 1988 until 1991. Captain Stanley Chepkwony was a one of the first Airline Pilots in Kenya. He started his flying career with East African Airline's inception which later became Kenya Airways. He worked up the ranks to Chief Pilot and other executive roles including President Moi's primary pilot on State Trips. He died in 2001 and is buried in Londiani. Other famous people born in the district include former politicians Prof. Jonathan Ngeno, David Kimutai Too. Others are Franklin Bett, Kipngeno arap Ngeny and Noah arap Too. Other achievers from the district include Paul Melly (Standard Group, CMA), Samuel Kirui (Telkom, PS, OPDM), Wilson Chepkwony (State House), and Jeremiah Ruto (Director KARI, TRF). Joel arap Kimeto, a renowned gospel artist and director of radio Injili 103.7 FM formerly at Chepsir, North of Kericho town. Kimeto was born in Bomet but he later relocated Kericho. The Kericho County Governor Prof Paul Kiprono Chepkwony is also very influential being the first Kericho Governor. He was born in Ainamoi and schooled in Kericho High School. Charles Ngeno popularly known as MrChax is an upcoming leader with growing popularity amongst the locals. He's famous among the University Students from the County; thanks to Kericho Inter College and University Students Association (KEICUSA), a brainchild of his own making which brings together all post-secondary school education students, College students, University students and young professionals from Kericho County and its environs; an organisation formed to advocate for rights of the students and other interests that of the students' concern.
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
Kabianga University which is at kericho West District located next at kabianga high School where ATC Training College was. It offers degree courses ranging from Science, Agriculture, Business, Natural Resource, Human Resource and has plans to introduce Health Science Course  Kenya Highlands Evangelical University - run by the Africa Gospel Church, it offers degree courses in Theology, Computer Science, Business and Education. Kericho Teachers Training College - recently began offering degree courses under agreement with Moi University. Kenya Forestry College - Londiani Kenya Institute of Management Kericho Institute of Professional Studies Eland College - Kabarak University and Eland Schools are jointly running Diploma and Bridging courses being offered at Eland, located next to the stadium.
South Rift International College---SORICO, located at AM Plaza, 3rd floor (next to Kipsigis Teachers SACCO). African Institute of Research and Development Studies(AIRADS) - located at Posta Plaza, along Nakuru-Kisii highway.
Niskam Saint Puran Singh Institute (NSPSI) located behind the GNNSJ Gurdwara. Kericho Technical Institute
High Schools in Kericho
There are many schools in Kericho including some of the following:
- Litein High School
- Momoniat secondary School
- 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
- Kabokyek 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
- Tugunon Secondary School
- Chepsir Secondary School
- Chepngobob Secondary School
- Taita Towett Secondary School
- Barsiele Secondary School
- Kipchorian Secondary School
- Kipkelion Girls High School
- Lesirwo Secondary School
Kericho residents are mostly Christians. The most widespread church is the Africa Gospel Church, affiliated with The World Gospel Mission of the USA. The church has one of the largest church in the county in the town (Immanuel AGC) and heart centers at Cheptenye, Chepkutung, Keongo, Kipkelion, Londiani, Kabianga and Kaptebeswet.
The other major churches present in the county include Holy Roman Catholic Church, AIC, 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. Kericho also holds the Muslim faith with at least two mosques. There is also a Hindu population as well as a congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses.
- Kenya National Bureau of Statistics: Population of local authorities
- Electoral Commission of Kenya: Registration centres by electoral area and constituency