They are part of the Bantu, East-Coastal people cluster. They are divided into two groups; the Lower Pokomo and the Upper Pokomo. They speak Kipokomo language. They live in the flood plain of the Tana River the largest river in Kenya from its mouth at Kipini to Mbalambala, north of Garissa, in Tana River County. Inhabiting the area since the 17th century, these people have learnt to accommodate themselves to the flooding river, and benefit from the silt and water which these floods provide. They are an agricultural and fishing community, growing crops such as maize, plantains, and sugarcane and rice.

They are approximately 65, 000, with 75% of the population being the Upper pokomo and 25% being lower pokomo. The major difference between the two groups apart from the dialect is religion. The Upper Pokomo are mostly Muslims while the Lower Pokomo are largely Christians. German missionaries began preaching in pokomo by 1887 and by 1914 the lower pokomos had adapted Christianity but the upper pokomo remained as muslims. Methodist missionaries took over from German and they became the dominant denomination. Other denominations include; AIC, Catholic and Pentecostal among others.

The traditional marriage and dowry system is still practiced among the Pokomo. Marriages are often arranged by parents and are considered permanent once the dowry has been paid. The exception is the Upper Pokomo, where the Muslim practice of divorce has been introduced.
BTL has been working in Lower Pokomo since 1985 and the New Testament was completed in 2005 (also in audio format) Three years later, work on the Old Testament began and it is ongoing.

Read more of Lower Pokomo Bible Translation, literacy and culture at:


  • Ksh. 94,500 will translate the Old Testament book of Obadiah
  • Ksh. 50,000 will sponsor a community translation review workshop for the Lower Pokomo language (They need to do 2-3 reviews in a year)
  • Ksh. 50,000 per month will support the salary of a Lower Pokomo speaking translator