Samburu in Kenya

Joshua Project has identified the Samburu only in Kenya





Largest Religion

Main Language


Introduction / History

Kenya's 160,000 Samburu speakers resisted acceptance of the Gospel for 50 years. Yet God opened their hearts, and many now follow Christ.

Like the related Maasai, many Samburu are nomadic cattle herders. Five to 10 families move together to new pasture lands every five weeks. Pastors regularly visit city and village families, but maintaining contact with nomads is difficult. Those believers have few Christians for fellowship, when they move so much.

Pastors preach from the available Maasai translation to the Samburu and a neighboring group, the Ilchamus, but they struggle to communicate Scripture concepts effectively. Language is a significant hurdle, though the groups are related. Some Maasai words are derogatory or vulgar in Samburu.

Cultural differences also create issues between Samburu and Ilchamus villages. Many Ilchamus people fish and grow crops for a living. These are taboo activities for the Maasai and are seldom done by Samburu speakers.

In a 2004 meeting, about 11 Samburu church leaders from various denominations shared a story: "The Samburu once had a 'book.' But a cow ate their 'book.' And the only way to get the 'book' back is through the cow." Church leaders then promised to each donate a cow to help fund translation work.

Profile Source:   Anonymous  

Expanded PDF Profile

People Name General Samburu
People Name in Country Samburu
Population in Kenya 272,000
World Population 272,000
Countries 1
Progress Scale 3.2
Least-Reached No
Indigenous Yes
Alternate Names Burkeneji
Affinity Bloc Sub-Saharan Peoples
People Cluster Nilotic
People Name General Samburu
Ethnic Code NAB62k
People ID 14672
Country Kenya
Region East and Southern Africa
Continent Africa
10/40 Window No
Persecution Rank 19  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Location in Country Samburu District, Lake Baringo south and east shores; Rift Valley Province (Chamus), Baringo District.   Source:  Ethnologue 2010
Languages & Dialects on file:  1  (up to 20 largest shown)
Samburu (272,000)
Languages & Dialects (speakers if known) - up to 20 shown
Samburu 272,000
For Primary Language: Samburu

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible Portions Yes   (2012)
New Testament No
Complete Bible No
Resource Format
Audio Bible teaching (GRN) Audio Recordings
Jesus Film: view in Samburu Film / Video
Primary Religion: Ethnic Religions

Major Religion Percent
0.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 12.00 %)
30.00 %
Ethnic Religions
70.00 %
0.00 %
0.00 %
0.00 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
0.00 %

Christian Segments Percent
50.0 %
10.0 %
0.0 %
Other Christian
0.0 %
30.0 %
Roman Catholic
10.0 %
Photo Source: Anna Dahlbacka  
Map Source: Anonymous  
Profile Source: Anonymous  
Data Sources: Data is compiled from various sources. Read more

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