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The Uganda Railway

The railway was built between 1896 and 1901 with George Whitehouse as the Engineer. Work was mainly done by 32,000 Indian coolies and 5,000 clerks and craftsmen. The locals could not provide skilled labour. It costed the British taxpayers about 6 million sterling pounds.

Reasons for the construction of the Uganda railway line.

  1. To promote trade with the outside world by encouraging the exploitation of available resources and enable the colony sustain itself
  2. To link Uganda with the Coast so that the British can achieve their strategic interests.
  3. To enable missionaries to go the interior to spread Christianity.
  4. To help stop slave trade since slaves would no longer be needed to ferry goods to and from the coast.
  5. To provide quick, safe and convenient means of transport for government administrators/troops
  6. Open up Kenya for economic development/to stop slave trade/promote legitimate trade
  7. To maintain law and order so that economic development could be achieved.
  8. To make Africans more productive and able to generate revenue in form of tax to the colonial government.
  9. To activate interior trade to enable transportation of imported goods to the interior of the colony.

The Construction

The railway construction works commenced in Mombasa in 1896. By 1901, the railway had reached Kisumu (then Port Florence) passing through Nairobi in 1899.

Numerous feeder lines were later laid down as follows;

The Nairobi –Thika Branch(1914), Konza – Magadi (1915), Voi- Moshi(1918), Rongai- Solai (1925), Eldoret-Kitale(1926), Eldoret- Jinja (1927), Gilgil-Nyahururu(1929), Thika- Nanyuki(1930)and Kisumu – Butere(1930)

In 1948, the Kenya Uganda Railway had been linked with the Tanganyika network to become the East African Railways.

Problems experienced during the construction of the Uganda railway.

  1. There was insufficient labour since African labour force was not forthcoming. In the case of the Akamba and the Maasai, they were forcefully recruited.
  2. The climate of the interior was not suitable for the European labour force. The Europeans constantly fell ill, thus interfering with construction progress.
  3. The Arab rebellion under Mbaruk Rashid between 1895 –96 at the coast delayed the railway construction.
  4. There was an additional expense of constructing special jetties since Mombasa port was not large enough.
  5. The Man-eaters of Tsavo created danger and havoc to the construction works.
  6. The rift valley terrain was difficult. It was rugged with many hills and escarpments thus causing difficulties in construction.
  7. Hostility of some Kenyan communities to intruders e.g. the Nandi who vandalized the railway and telegraph lines.
  8. Insufficient building material since most of them came from Europe and their delivery often delayed,

The Effects of Railway Construction

  1. It led to development of European settler farming in order to make the railway pay for its construction.
  2. There was rampant land alienation. The colonial government alienated African land for railway construction forcing communities like the Maasai and Nandi to move into reserves.
  3. There was rise of wage labour for the railway and later for the settler farmers.
  4. It led to growth of urban centres along the railway line e.g. Nairobi.
  5. Railway construction promoted economic growth of the East African region. This is because farm produce and other commercial products could easily reach market.
  6. It led to rise of large Asian settlement since many Indians were employed as railway workers. This Asians boosted trade in east Africa.
  7. It led to development of other forms of infrastructure like the roads and telecommunication lines. This stimulated trade development.
  8. It led to transfer of the administrative capital from Mombasa in 1905 to Nairobi.
  9. When the railway reached Kisumu in 1902, it led to major changes to the ad ministrative boundaries within East African region. Initially, the western region up to Naivasha was part of Uganda.
  10. The railway became a major revenue source for the colonial authorities.
  11. It facilitated the establishment of colonial rule in Kenya since it was possible for rapid movement of troops.
  12. It facilitated the cultural and social interaction among the different races.
  13. The railway made rural-urban migration and the resultant enterprises such as hawking and charcoal –selling possible.
  14. Other forms of transport and communication developed and expanded along the ralwayline. For example: roads and telecommunications.
  15. Christian missionaries were able to move into the interior, where they established missionschools.

Settler Farming and Colonial Land Policies

As a means of raising revenue to meet the cost of administering the Kenya colony and maintain the Uganda railway, the colonial government encouraged the influx of white settlers to the ‘white Highlands’.

The administration did this by;

  1. Providing efficient railway transport connecting the coast and the interior
  2. Alienating of the white highlands for European settlement.
  3. Advertising the availability of free land in foreign newspapers
  4. Giving loan incentives
  5. Providing security

The settlers however faced the initial challenges of crop and animal diseases, labour shortage, lack of inputs and African aggression.

Why the Colonial Government Encouraged White Settlement in Kenya.

The reasons why the colonial administration led by Sir Charles Eliot (1900- 1904) and later Sir Edward Northey encouraged settler farming in the white highlands were;

  1. They hoped that settler farming would meet the cost of administration and railway maintenance.
  2. The British industries were also in need of cheaper raw Materials in an increasingly competitive European Market. These raw materials would be cheaply produced by the settlers.
  3. The settlers would also help control the prevailing Asian immigration and influence in Kenya.
  4. The colonial government wanted to make Kenya a white man’s country by encouraging white settlers to form the backbone of the economy.
  5. Kenya Highlands had cool wet climate and fertile volcanic soils suitable for Europeansettlement and agriculture.
  6. There was need to get rid of social misfits in Europe and the landless who would be offered avenues in the Kenya colony.
  7. Existence of already willing entrepreneurs lake Lord Delamere and Captain Grogan who were ready to come to Kenya and engage in profitable agriculture.

Factors which Promoted Settler Farming

  1. The land policies availed cheap African labour to settler farmers. The alienation of African land and Creation of African reserves forced Africans to work in the settler farms.
  2. Africans in Kenya were not allowed to grow some cash crops in order to enable Europeans continue getting cheap African labour for their farms.
  3. The government built and maintained various forms of transport. For example the railway, Bridges and roads which facilitated faster movement of produce and inputs.
  4. The government Reduced freight charges in the importation and exportation of agricultural inputs and products.
  5. The government encouraged formation of cooperatives to help in the processing and marketing of produce.
  6. The establishment of financial institutions such as Agricultural Finance Corporation and Banks provided the settlers with credit facilities.
  7. The government availed extension services for crops and animal farming through the establishment of the Department of Agriculture and research stations to improve the quality of crops and animals.
  8. Trade tariffs were also removed and settlers were granted concessions.

Problems Experienced by Settlers.

  1. Inadequate labour as Africans refused to work. Bush clearance and preparation of land for cultivation was therefore a problem.
  2. Constant raids by the local inhabitants such as the Nandi, Maasai and Agikuyu threatened their peace and security. Some communities even raided their dairy farms for cattle.
  3. Some of the settlers lacked faring experience. Some of the settlers had not engaged in farming before and therefore lacked basic agricultural knowledge.
  4. Inadequate capital often hindered procurement of farm inputs. Machinery, labour. Some settlers became bankrupt and could not meet the day to day operational costs on the farms.
  5. Lack of proper knowledge on farming seasons hence crop failure. The climate and soils in the colony were alien to the settlers.
  6. There was the problem of poor transport and communication as it had become difficult for the government to network all areas occupied by settlers with roads and communication lines.
  7. Inadequate and unreliable market for their produce. They mainly relied on foreign market which could not serve in the case of perishable commodities.
  8. Pests and diseases were prevalent in the white highlands. The settlers were assailed by various human, animal and crop disease.

Settler Crop Cultivation

The main crops cultivated were coffee, wheat, tea and sisal.

1) Coffee

Coffee was first introduced by the Roman Catholic Fathers of St. Austin’s Mission near Nairobi in 1889. It required plenty of farm inputs in terms of chemicals and labour. Therefore was a preserve of wealthy European settlers.Coffee Planters Corporation was founded in 1908 by Lord Delamere’s Efforts, and led to the spread in the growing of coffee.

By 1913, coffee had become the leading cash crop in Kenya grown mainly in Murang’a, Thika and Kiambu. Africans were unfortunately not allowed to grow coffee until 1937

Reasons why Africans in Kenya were not allowed to grow coffee before 1937
  1. Europeans wanted to continue getting cheap African labour for their farms. This could not be available if Africans were allowed to earn some money through growing of coffee.
  2. European settlers did not want to compete with Africans in coffee growing. They feared that it would limit market for their produce.
  3. The settlers claimed that Africans did not have knowledge of growing coffee. They claimed that African participation in cash crop growing would lead to low quality products.
  4. They feared that diseases would spread from African farms to settler plantations.
  5. European settlers claimed that African farmers would produce low quality coffee due to inadequate resources.



2) Wheat

It was introduced in Kenya in 1903 by Lord Delamere who experimented on his Njoro farm. It was however until 1912, when a more resistant variety was developed, that wheat growing took root in Kenya.In 1908, Lord Delamere set up Unga Ltd which boosted wheat farming in Kenya. It was grown in the Nakuru and Uasin Gishu areas. Like coffee, wheat farming was the preserve of wealthy European settlers from Australia,

Canada, Britain and South Africa. Africans began to grow wheat only after independence.

3) Sisal

It was introduced in Kenya from Tanganyika in 1893 by Richard Hindorf, a german Doctor. Initially, it was cultivated around Thika in 1904. By 1920, it had become the second –largest income-earning crop after coffee.The main sisal growing areas included Baringo, Koibatek, Ol Donyo Sabuk, Ruiru, Thika, Voi, Taita and Taveta.Africans began growing coffee in 1964 though its growth declined due to the completion it faced from synthetic fibre.

4) Tea

Tea was introduced in Kenya in 1903 around Limuru by Messrs Caine Brothers. It was until 1925 when tea began being grown successful with large tea estates being established by tea companies like Brooke Bond and Africa Highland from India.The main tea growing areas were Nandi, Kericho, Sotik, Nakuru, Murang’a and Kiambu.

Stock Rearing.

Lord Delamere carried out many experiments in sheep and cattle rearing at his Equator Ranch in Njoro though the Maasai raids in his farm and cattle diseases frustrated his efforts.After cross-breeding exotic types with local stock, he came up with more resistant variety. The government also set up an experimental livestock farm in Naivasha.

In 1925, the Kenya Cooperative Creameries was established due to Delamere’s efforts. Later, the Uplands Bacon Factory was established near Limuru to promote pig rearing.

In 1930, the Kenya Farmers Association (KFA) was established Colonial land policies in Kenya.To empower the settlers to take up more arable land in Kenya, the Legislative council passed the following Land Acts or Ordinances;

  1. The Indian Acquisition Act (1896). it empowered the authorities to take over land for the railway, government construction and public utilities.
  2. The Land Regulations Act (1897). It allowed the government to offer a certificate of occupation and a lease of 99 years. This Act encouraged settlers to take up land left vacant by the Agikuyu due to drought and famine.
  3. The East African Land Order in Council (1901). It defined crown land as all public land which was not private. The government could take up any land at will, sell it or lease it for use by settlers.
  4. The Crown Land Ordinance (1902). It allowed the government to sell or lease crown land to Europeans at 2 rupees per 100 acres or rent at 15 rupees per 100 acres annually.
  5. The Maasai Agreement (1904). It led to creation of the Ngong and Laikipia reserves while the settlers took up Maasai land for livestock farming. For example Lord Delamere in Nakuru.
  6. The Elgin Pledge of 1906. The government through the British Secretary of State, Lord Elgin confirmed that the Highlands were reserved for settlers. This barred the Asian attempts to buy land in the highlands.
  7. The second Maasai Agreement of 1911. The Maasai were pushed out of the fertile Laikipia reserve to pave way for more European settlement and large scale farming.
  8. The Crown Land Ordinance (1915). This provided for land –registration scheme for settlers. It defined crown land as land occupied by and reserved for Africans who could be evicted any time. Farm sizes wee increased from 5,000 to 7,500 acres.
  9. The Kenya Annexation Order in Council (1920). It announced that Africans were tenants of the crown even in the reserves.
  10. The Land Commission (1924). It fixed boundaries of the reserves, which were later legalized in 1926.
  11. The Native Trust Ordinance (1930). It stated that African reserves belonged t the Africans permanently.
  12. The Carter Commission (1932). It fixed the boundaries of the white highlands, leading to population pressure in the African reserves. All Africans were removed from the highlands into the reserves.
  13. The Kenya Highlands Order in Council (1939). It fixed boundaries of the white highlands and reserved them permanently and exclusively for Europeans.

Effects of the Colonial Land Policies

  1. The displaced Africans were confined to native reserves thus leading to congestion/overuse of land. By 1914, settlers like Lord Delamere and Captain Crogan owned 100,000 and 220,000 acres of land, respectively, at the expense of African congestion in the reserves.
  2. Africans who lost their land became poor. Many Africans became squatters and lived in misery and hopelessness.
  3. The situation in the reserves and the landlessness forced to supply labour in settler farms for wages in order to pay taxes.
  4. The displaced Africans moved to towns looking for employment. Their movement to towns led to growth of urban centres.
  5. The traditional socio-economic set-up of the Africans was disrupted. Communities could no longer migrate in search of better lands and pasture. Family roles changed as women increasingly took over headship of families while men sought for paid employment.
  6. The large European farms suffered acute shortage of labour as many Africans were unwilling to work on them.
  7. It led to the introduction of the Kipande System enforced by the Native Registration Ordinances of 1915 and 1920, to prevent the African labourers from deserting their duties on European farms.
  8. Taxes were imposed on Africans and were to be paid only in monetary form. This was meant to compel Africans seek for wage employment.
  9. The reserving of the highlands for the whites only denied Indians access to agricultural land, compelling them to resort to businesses and residences in urban areas.
  10. Loss of land led to bitterness and made Africans later to form political organizations to demand for their land/spread of nation

The Devonshire White Paper

The Mandate of the League of Nations compelled Britain, just like any other colonial authority to institute reforms that would involve addressing African grievances. Governor Edward Northey who had given many concessions to the settlers was recalled to Britain in 1922.

Other reforms that were instituted were;

  1. Abandonment of Racial segregation policy in Kenya except in the highlands.
  2. Allowing Asians to elect four members to the Legco, which was initially settlerdominated. This however was not done until 1933. In March 1923, settlers in a form of protest to these reforms sent a delegation to London to try to settle scores with the Secretary for Colonies, the Duke of Devonshire. The fundamental set of principles that were issued in this meeting are what came to be known as the Devonshire White Paper.

Factors that Led to the issuing of the Devonshire White Paper.

  1. The influence of “The Dual Mandate”. This was a book of the League of Nations that had regulations concerning colonial mandates. Britain was committed to the principle of trusteeship whereby she was interested on its African population than European settlement
  2. The rise of race conflicts i.e. Africans versus European dominion and European versus Asian conflicts. The Indians were opposed to the privileged position of European settlers.
  3. The banning of racial segregation .The decision by the colonial government to ban racial segregation apart from the white highlands only, disappointed the settlers who wanted the ban lifted hence they sent a delegation to London to see the colonial secretary.
  4. The African general resentment. Their resentment was on land alienation, forced labour, taxation system, kipande system, low wages and no political representation.

Terms of the Devonshire White Paper

  1. White highlands were reserved for European settlement only
  2. Indians would be allowed to elect five members to LEGCO not on a common roll, but on a communal roll.
  3. Racial segregation was abolished in all residential areas.
  4. Restriction on Indian immigration was lifted
  5. A nominated missionary was to represent African interests in the LEGCO.
  6. The European Settlers’ demand for self government in Kenya was rejected.
  7. African interests were declared paramount before those of immigrant races if there was a conflict.
  8. The settlers were to maintain their representation in the LEGCO.
  9. The Colonial Secretary was given mandate to exercise strict control over the affairs of the colony.

Implications of the Devonshire White Paper

The issuance of the paper left the Settlers, Asians and Africans more dissatisfied than ever before as follows;

On the part of the settlers;

  1. The Indian call for equality, to them, was unrealistic since they could not stomach the mixing of Oriental and Western cultures in Kenya.
  2. Since European culture was superior, they felt that racial segregation was justified in all spheres.
  3. To the settlers, instead of giving in the Indians’ grievances, they would rather give in to African demands since they had moral rights to protect African interests.
  4. To them, the white highlands were primarily theirs and they had a legal claim over them.

On the Asian part;

  1. They wanted equality of all races instead of settler dominance in Kenya especially pertaining to settlement in the white highlands.
  2. They opposed policies on residential segregation and restriction on their immigration. The government was inviting more settlers to check Indian immigration into Kenya by this time.
  3. They wanted direct and adequate representation in the Legco based on a common roll free election (not communal roll).
  4. d) They objected separate taxation for Europeans and Indians and segregated education.

The Devonshire White paper was therefore viewed as the product of the struggle between the Asians and the Europeans. The paper made the Asians join their African comrades in the struggle for freedom, especially in the trade Union Movement.Settler dominance In Kenyan affairs continued upto 1963 despite recommendations done in the white paper.

Results of the Devonshire White Paper

  1. The Devonshire white paper saved Kenya from becoming another Rhodesia or South Africa.The European demand for self-government was rejected.
  2. In theory, settler’s dominance was weakened but in practice, the white paper upheld the dominance of the settlers more than that of the Africans e.g. segregation in residential areas in towns continued, they dominated the economy because they retained the white highlands.
  3. The paper did not satisfy the Asians since they did not gain access to the white highlands.
  4. Although many Asians came to Kenya, the Asians did not achieve equality with Europeans through a Common Roll. The Indian congress refused to cooperate with the government; they declined to hold elections for the Legislative Council seats offered to them. No Asian seats, five in all were occupied until 1933.
  5. Africans were to be represented by a nominated missionary, John Arthur, instead of representation by an African. For the first time, Africans were represented in the Legco.
  6. The Devonshire White Paper Benefited the Africans by declaring/recognizing Kenya as an African country where African interests should be paramount
  7. It failed to resolve African land and labour grievances.
  8. It sensitized the Africans on their plight leading to formation of politi cal parties.


Towns that were already in existence before the advent of colonialism include Mombasa, Lamu and Malindi. Many other towns in the interior grew during the colonial period.

Factors which Led to the Establishment of Urban Centres in Kenya during the Colonial Period

  1. Development of transport network. Construction of roads and the Uganda railway led to growth of some towns as transport terminus or along the transport lines e.g. Nairobi, Voi, Nakuru and Kisumu.
  2. Growth of trade in the interior of Kenya. Most towns began as trading centres for Indian commercial entrepreneurs. E.g Machakos, Nakuru, Kisumu, Nairobi and Voi.
  3. Development of administrative posts. The colonial government established administrative posts in various parts of the country. These posts later grew into urban centres. E.g Fort Hall, Embu, Kapsabet, Meru and Garissa.
  4. Rural-urban migration. The movement to urban areas by African labourers from various parts of the country led to further growth of urban centres.
  5. Development of agriculture. Settler farming led to growth of towns like Eldoret which began as agricultural collection centres
  6. Development of Agro-based industries like flour mills, meat-processing plants and sawmills which attracted labourers from all parts of the country to be transformed into urban centres.
  7. Development of mining activities. This stimulated development of industries in the mining areas leading to urban growth. E.g. Kakamega, Athi River and Magadi.

Why Africans moved to Urban Areas in Colonial Kenya

  1. The Urban centres had recreational facilities and social amenities which attracted the Africans, fed up with hardship conditions in the reserves.
  2. The Africans expected Job opportunities with better wages in the towns where there were industries as compared to the rural areas.
  3. Some Africans were escaping from forced labour and taxation.
  4. The African entrepreneurs wanted to take advantage of the wider markets in the towns to escape poverty in the crowded reserves.

Ways through which the Colonial Government controlled Africans Migration to Urban Centers.

  1. Taking headcount of those who were supposed to live in urban centres
  2. Enacting strict rules about migration into urban centre
  3. Creation of African reserves
  4. Ensuring that only those who had specific activities to undertake in the urban centres lived there
  5. Introduction of kipande system.

Positive Effects of Urbanization during the Colonial Period.

  1. It promoted interaction between people of diverse ethnic and racial backgrounds, who exchanged ideas and experiences. The centres became seedbeds of political activities that eventually culminated into the struggle for independence.
  2. Urbanization promoted national integration and instilled a sense of nationhood among Kenyans as it watered down the differences and prejudices between communities.
  3. The welfare associations formed by Africans in urban areas, like the Bara Association in Mombasa for all hinterland people, united them for a common cause by lessening ethnic hostilities.
  4. Through sporting and cultural activities that took place in towns, relationships between different ethnic groups and races were cemented.
  5. Many Africans benefitted from the numerous employment opportunities as shoe shiners and repairers, charcoal sellers, hawking in industries and in European homes.
  6. Due to the Abundance of labour and raw materials, industries in urban areas expanded further.

Negative Effects of Urbanization during the Colonial Period in Kenya

  1. There were inadequate housing facilities to meet the demands of the people. This led to overcrowding especially in slums/shanties led to the outbreak of diseases. Lack of planning of housing led to poor drainage and sanitation facilities.
  2. Africans in urban areas were subjected to racial discrimination. The social services provided to the Africans were inadequate and of poor quality. Even houses in towns were occupied according to the various racial groups, with Europeans enjoying the best facilities.
  3. Increased population in urban centres led to serious water shortages.
  4. Establishment of industries in urban centres led to pollution of the environment, whichaffected the health of the inhabitants.
  5. There was rampant unemployment as urban centres could not cope with the large influx of labourers and increased competition for the available jobs
  6. Many unemployed people in urban areas got involved in social vices / crimes such as drug abuse, alcoholism and promiscuity, due to desperation and poverty.
  7. Africans working in urban centres received low wages with employers taking advantage of the high supply of labour, which affected their standards of living.
  8. The mass rural-urban migration brought about intensification of migration regulations to control the numbers of African migrants. The Kipande system became stricter.
  9. Economic activities in the rural areas were disrupted by the absence of men who had moved to urban areas. Women took up men’s roles.


Education and Health


Formal education in colonial Kenya was provided by four groups;

  • The Christian Missionaries.
  • The Colonial government through local councils.
  • The Africans themselves.
  • Community organizations(Asians)

Major milestones in the development of education in Kenya during the colonial period.

Initially, the provision of education was the preserve of the missionaries. For example, the Church Missionary Society (CMS) pioneered by setting up a school at Rabai in 1844 and another in Mombasa in 1873.

Features of Missionary education

  1. It was elementary. The subjects taught included religion, writing, reading, reading, hygiene and arithmetic.
  2. It was industrial and technical in approach, aiming at training Africans to be carpenters, masons, agricultural assistants and shoe repairers.
  3. It was denominational and aimed at inculcating doctrines of a particular church in the learners.

Objectives of Missionary education.

  1. To impart in the Africans Agricultural Skills in order to promote settler farming.
  2. To give the Africans basic technical skills to improve their industrial knowledge.
  3. To train some Africans as Catechists to enhance the spread of Christianity.
  4. To offer Africans basic literacy and numeracy to read the bible and do simple arithmetic.

Education development in Kenya in the period between 1904 and 1963 was facilitated by the following factors;

  1. The WWI ex-soldiers experiences which convinced them of the advantage of higher education.
  2. Increase in African nationalism that demanded for better education for Africans.
  3. The need to produce better and more skilled manpower for the future independent Kenya.
  4. Primary education had produced qualified children who needed higher education.

In 1911, the colonial government agreed to share the burden of providing education to Africans with the missionaries. In 1913, the first Government African School was started at Machakos. It became a centre for Technical and Teacher training.

In 1918, the education commission made the following far-reaching recommendations to the government in line with the Fraser Commission report of 1908 which had recommended a racially –segregated system of education;

  1. Provision of technical education to Africans.
  2. Maintenance of racially segregated Schools.
  3. More cooperation between the colonial government and the missionaries.
  4. Appeals for grants-in-aid for mission schools.

In 1924, a commission came to Kenya (the Phelps –Stokes Commission) to look into the education situation. It recommended that Africans should receive Practical AgriculturalOriented Education suitable for rural areas. Other recommendations included;

  1. That there should be a uniform system of education in all government and missionary schools.
  2. That sufficient training for teachers and related personnel should be enhanced by establishing colleges.
  3. That schools should be built in the rural areas. This was done through the education ordinance of 1924.

Due to its recommendations, the Native Industrial Training Centre was built at Kabete in 1924 and Jeanes School, Kabete (1925) for offering technical and industrial education. Other schools were started later at Kapsabet, Kajiado, Tambach, Kitui, Kwale, Kabianga and Kapenguria.

The 1924 Education Ordinance created an advisory committee on African education. The representation to the committee was missionaries, colonial officials and settlers. The same year, more schools were built with the assistance of the newly formed Local Native Councils. In 1931, another Education Ordinance helped in the establishment of Kakamega GAS In 1932, Kisii GAS in 1934, and Kabianga. Finance for African education was to come from the colonial government.

From 1925, the missionaries began providing advanced level education to Africans. Initially secondary education was the preserve of the Europeans. In 1926, the Alliance of protestant missionaries set up Alliance High School. Catholics established Kabaa in 1927 and Mang’u School in Thika in 1930 for Africans. In 1938 and 1939, Maseno and St. Mary’s Yala were started as secondary schools.

Achievements of missionaries in provision of education

  1. They designed a curriculum with emphasis on agriculture, tailoring, masonry and carpentry.
  2. They established the first secondary schools for Africans such as Alliance (1926), Kabaa (1927), Maseno (1938 and Yala (1939).
  3. They trained African teachers to man the ‘Bush Schools’ (schools found in remote areas consisting of mud huts with grass-thatched roofs) and teach in independent schools.
  4. They offered the necessary financial and material support to make these schools operational.

Secondary schools for whites included Prince of Wales (Nairobi School), and Duke of York

(Lenana School) for European boys, Kenya Girls High School (Kenya High) and Limuru Girls for European Girls.

Schools for Indians include the Asian Railway School (1904) and other schools developed by the government in Mombasa and Nairobi. Also community-based schools like Allidina Visram and the Arya Samaj Foundation.

Hospital School became the first multi-racial school in 1953. In 1934, a District Education Board was created to plan education in districts, establish primary schools and manage the schools.

In 1949, the Beecher Committee was instituted to look into African education

From 1961, Asian and African pupils begun to join European schools. Provision of elementary education by Africans was pioneered by John Owalo of the Nomiya Luo Mission in 1910.

University Education 

Africans in Kenya got opportunity for university education at Makerere which was established in 1922 initially as a technical college and became an affiliate of the University of London on 1949. In 1954, the Royal Technical College, Nairobi began to offer higher education and became an affiliate of the university of London in 1959 to offer the first degree courses in 1961 when it became known as the royal college.

Community based education

This was done mainly by Asian families of Ismaili and Arya Samaj for the Indian traders in urban areas. Allidina Visram, A wealthy man, also established centres of higher education.

African Role in educational provision

Africans began their own schools for the following reasons;

  1. They wanted to protect certain cultural practices like feral circumcision and polygamy.
  2. They wanted to access higher education, since the government and missionaries were only offering them technical and industrial education, so that to be able to compete for the white-collar jobs with other races.
  3. They would also use the schools as a forum to air their grievances and to create political awareness in their community.

The Nomiya Luo Mission built several schools in Nyanza between 1908 and 1910. Other schools were built in Gem-Luanda region between 1913 and 1918 and in central Kenya in 1923 in Kiambu. In 1934, the Kikuyu Independent Schools Association (KISA) and the Kikuyu Karinga Education Association founded more schools. In 1938, Githunguri Teacher Training College had been established under Mbiyu Koinange.


Developments in provision of health services in colonial Kenya

- Initially, just like in the case of education, the Christian missionaries were concerned with provision of health services in colonial Kenya. The colonial government was majorly concerned with eradication of plague, malaria and sleeping disease which the Pioneer European settlers suffered from.
- Preventive medicine was later introduced to help stop various infections of killer diseases.The Church of Scotland Mission and the Church Missionary Society soon opened medical facilities in Kikuyu (1902), Kaimosi (1903), Kaloleni (1904) and Maseno (1905). Dr, Arthur, a missionary and pioneer doctor, put up the Thogoto Mission Hospital in 1907 and the facility exists prominently upto today as the Kikuyu Eye Unit Hospital and Kikuyu Rehabilitation Centre.

Objectives of the Health centres.

  1. To eradicate diseases such as smallpox, malaria and sleeping sickness.
  2. To train medical personnel to handle western medicine.
  3. To improve health and hygiene for Africans and Asians in towns where they lived inmovercrowded areas lacking in sanitary facilities.

- Africans began being trained in the provision of emergence health services during the first war. (The East African Medical Corps was formed). Between 1919 –1922, missionaries began to train Africans as Medical Dressers and Dispensers.
- After the opening of the Alliance medical college in 1920 and the establishment of a Medical training centre under the Nurses and Midwives Ordinance many African school leavers trained as laboratory and pharmacy assistants.A Public Health Ordinance was passed in 1921 giving the Medical Department powers to institute measures for the control of malaria and prevent communicable diseases. As a follow up to the 1921 Ordinance, new health units were established in the four different African reserves.
- The Rural Dispensary System was established to supplement the missionary efforts in provision of health care. Health centres were built in rural areas as part of the colonial government efforts to improve health facilities.After 1945, the Development and Research Authority (DARA) gave 47,000 sterling pounds for health care and improvement of health services. In 1949, the Bureau of Medical Research was set up as an agency of the East African High Commission.In 1950 King George IV hospital (today the Kenyatta National Hospital) was started as a hospital for Africans and in 1951, it started training female nurses.By 1962, there were over 100 rural health centres in the country.

Role of Africans in Health Provision

Africans were more pre-occupied with superstitions and over-reliance on traditional medicine which negated their participation in provision healthcare. The traditional medicinemen were dismissed by missionaries despite their wealthy knowledge on herbal Medicine. Today, many people rely on traditional herbalists to compliment healthcare provision.

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