People-in-Country Profile

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

Pokomo in Kenya


Send us a photo of this people.  [1]

Pokomo in Kenya map
Population [2] Language Religion % Christian % Evangl Online NT Jesus Film Progress
124,000 Kipfokomo Islam 25.00 % 18.00 %   

Pokomo in Kenya

Profile Text
Submit Profile Text:

Introduction / History
The 'Pokomo' are an ethnic group of Kenya, from the Bantu language group. They are predominantly agriculturalists and fresh water fishermen living along the River Tana in the Tana River County. They speak Pokomo language: 'Kipokomo'.

Where are they located?
They live along the River Tana in the Tana River County.

What are their lives like?
Pokomos are found along the Tana River riverine and the flood plains. 'Tana' comes from the word 'Chana', which means river. The Pokomo have always referred to River Tana as 'Chana Maro', that is River Maro. Probably the word 'Chana' is coined from either side with the Kikuyu word 'Chania', which is the same word that Kikuyu use to refer to one of the tributary of Tana: River Chania . Pokomos are mainly farmers and have all along depended on the flooding regime of River Tana to grow rice, bananas, green grams, beans and maize. The staple food of the Pokomo is rice and fish. Other famous food staples include 'Matoli'-cooked banana chips mixed with fish, ' Marika'- cooked banana mixed with fish and smashed together,'Konole'-cooked mixture of sifted maize and green gram/beans,'Nkumbu'-ash baked or boiled banana. Currently, 'sima' or 'ugali' in Kiswahili or stiff cornmeal porridge in English has become the main Pokomo dish due to changing or nonexistence of river flooding regimes and weather that is not able to support the cultivation of rice.

What are their beliefs?
'Kijo' is a group of elders who were believed to possess spiritual powers and were sought whenever the community needs spiritual guidance. There were times during the year when people would gather near the sacred places in the night singing and dancing 'Gangana' and the spiritual leader would emerge from the forest in the middle of the night walking on poles covered with a white dress and his face covered with a mask. He will walk around and go back into the forest, leaving behind a hysterical group of people believing that their prayers have been answered. Within the Kijo there were two other groups i.e. the 'Gangana' or healers and the 'Chawi' or witches. 'Kijo' were very powerful and they had absolute powers to take by force family lands, and banish anybody from 'gaga dya Maro'- Maroland if he goes against the Pokomo norms. The Political governance of the Pokomo was headed by the 'Gasa'. This was also a group of council of elders who were revered and believed to possess wisdom on solving political and administering justice. The 'Gasa' is the only elder group which is still in existence and it is sought to give political guidance to the Pokomo community to date. The Gasa has also been formally recognized to dispense justice on land and family cases.

What are their needs?
Currently, Pokomo need education and opportunities of exposure.

View Pokomo 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:Lamu, Garissa, and Tana River counties: upper and lower Tana river between Tulu and Masabubu.
(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: Pokomo
People Name General: Pokomo
Alternate People Names:
LowerLower Pokomo
ROP3 Code: 105883
Joshua Project People ID: 13120
Indigenous: Yes
Population in Country: 124,000
Population all Countries: 124,000
Least-Reached: No
Affinity Bloc: Sub-Saharan Peoples
People Cluster: Bantu, East-Coastal
People Name General: Pokomo
Ethnic Code: NAB57j
Ethnic Relationships: Affinity Bloc -> People Cluster -> Peoples Ethnicity Tree
Submit Update:
Primary Language: Kipfokomo (124,000 Speakers)
Language Code (ISO): pkb    Ethnologue Listing
Primary Dialect:Pokomo
Dialect Code:15706
Total Languages: 1
Religion [4]
Submit Update:
Primary Religion: Islam
Major Religions:
Buddhism0.00 % 
Christianity25.00 %(Evangelical: 18.00 %)
Ethnic Religions10.00 % 
Hinduism0.00 % 
Islam65.00 % 
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 5   Greater than or equal to 5% Evangelical
Bible Translation Status
Submit Update:
Bible Portions: 2007
New Testament:
Complete Bible: None Reported
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 Kipfokomo
Film / VideoMy Last Day (Jesus Film Project Anime)
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

Pokomo in Kenya

Global                 Global
  Affinity Bloc             Global  
People Cluster
    Bantu, East-Coastal     Africa, East and Southern    
      Pokomo Kenya    
            People-by-Country (Profile)          
            Pokomo in Kenya          
      Religion Language  
      Islam     Kipfokomo  
    All Religions                              

Direct link: