People-in-Country Profile

People Selector:
Print version:
Step 1 - Select a Country:   Send us your updates!
Step 2 - Select a People:  

Embu in Kenya


Send us a photo of this people.  [1]

Send us a map of this people group in this country.
Population [2] Language Religion % Christian % Evangl Online NT Jesus Film Progress
423,000 Kiembu Christianity 95.00 % 48.00 %   

Embu in Kenya

Profile Text
Submit Profile Text:

Introduction / History
The Embu are a farming community on the southern slopes of Mt. Kenya. They live together with the Mbeere people and they and the Mbeere speak two dialects of the same language.

Christianity was brought by CMS (Anglican) missionaries who set up a camp at Kigari in 1910. They started schools, health clinics, and helped with agricultural concerns in addition to evangelism and starting churches. Because of the advantages of education available to them, the Embu and Mbeere peoples have had reasonable development in physical facilities, education, agriculture, animal husbandry and housing.

To the people of old, God, Mwenenyaga, lived on Mt. Kenya which they called Kirinyaga, and had to be appeased by animal sacrifice in special groves left sacred for that purpose. Only the old men could offer sacrifices. This, however, has been replaced by Christianity and the groves dismantled and converted to farmland.

In the early evangelism, the CMS missionaries came to Embu from working with the Gikuyu people. The missionaries had learned the Gikuyu's language, and their helpers were invariably Gikuyu speakers. As a result, they introduced Gikuyu as the language to be used in literacy work, and when Gikuyu scriptures were translated (the New Testament in 1926 and the Bible in 1951), there did not appear to be need for KiEmbu/KiMbeere scripture. It is evident however, that the languages spoken by the people are significantly different from the Gikuyu. Pastors and evangelists normally translate the Gikuyu into KiEmbu/KiMbeere as they preach, the quality of translation being dependent on the level of understanding of Gikuyu by the speaker.

The KiEmbu language has been put in print and several literacy books have been developed, but not introduced in schools. Other works include riddles and proverbs in KiEmbu, and the history of the Embu people. The literacy level in Embu District is above the average for the nation.

View Embu in all countries.

Prayer Links
  Submit Update:
Country: Kenya
Continent: Africa
Region: Africa, East and Southern
Persecution Rank:44 (Only top 50 ranked, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
10/40 Window: No
Location in Country:Embu county: southeast of Mount Kenya.
(Source: Ethnologue 2016)
Submit Map:
Country Map:Political map
Ethnolinguistic Map:University of Texas or other map
Linguistic Map:Ethnologue language map
  Peoples [3]
Submit Update:
People Name in Country: Embu
People Name General: Embu
Alternate People Names:
ROP3 Code: 102911
Joshua Project People ID: 11750
Indigenous: Yes
Population in Country: 423,000
Population all Countries: 423,000
Least-Reached: No
Affinity Bloc: Sub-Saharan Peoples
People Cluster: Bantu, Gikuyu-Kamba
People Name General: Embu
Ethnic Code: NAB57e
Ethnic Relationships: Affinity Bloc -> People Cluster -> Peoples Ethnicity Tree
Submit Update:
Primary Language: Kiembu (423,000 Speakers)
Language Code (ISO): ebu    Ethnologue Listing
Primary Dialect:Embu
Dialect Code:3031
Total Languages: 1
Religion [4]
Submit Update:
Primary Religion: Christianity
Religion Sub-division:Protestant
Major Religions:
Buddhism0.00 % 
Christianity95.00 %(Evangelical: 48.00 %)
Ethnic Religions5.00 % 
Hinduism0.00 % 
Islam0.00 % 
Non-Religious0.00 % 
Other / Small0.00 % 
Unknown0.00 % 
Christianity Segments:
Anglican0.00 %
Independent20.00 %
Protestant60.00 %
Orthodox0.00 %
Other Christian0.00 %
Roman Catholic20.00 %
(Evangelicals distributed across Christianity segments)
Progress Indicators [5]
Progress Scale[6]   Evangelicals have a significant presence.
Least-Reached: No
GSEC Status:Level 6   Greater than or equal to 10% Evangelical
Bible Translation Status
Submit Update:
Bible Portions: Yes
New Testament:
Complete Bible: 2012
Possible Bible Sources: Forum of Bible Agencies
 World Bible Finder
 World Christian Resource Directory
 Gospel Go
Ministry Resources [7]
Audio RecordingsMegaVoice Audio Bible and Stories
Audio RecordingsAudio Bible teaching (GRN)
Audio RecordingsOnline New Testament (FCBH)
Film / VideoJesus Film: view in Kiembu
Ministry Activity
Register Ministry Activity:
Networking: Visit for networking possibilities.
Description: Register your ministry activity among this people group. Contact the Adopt-A-People Clearinghouse and Unleashed for the Unreached to learn about others that might be focused on this people group.
Data Notes
Data Sources

Embu in Kenya

Global                 Global
  Affinity Bloc             Global  
People Cluster
    Bantu, Gikuyu-Kamba     Africa, East and Southern    
      Embu Kenya    
            People-by-Country (Profile)          
            Embu in Kenya          
      Religion Language  
      Christianity     Kiembu  
    All Religions                              

Direct link: