KUKUMA 3, TURKANA, KENYA: International City of Peace

We welcome Joel Mbirize and the refugee population of Kukuma 3, Zone 1, Block 2, which is in the northwest County of Turkana, Kenya as an International City of Peace. Kukuma is the site of a UNHCR refugee camp of over 200,000 people established in 1992. Kakuma means “Nowhere” in Swahili, which shows the state of the world’s mind toward refugees.

Joel has started the ELIMU CHARITY CENTER (ECC) as a Nonprofit organization created in 2022 with mission of helping the vulnerable children and promote peace and security in the community. We are pleased to have these courageous refugees among us as colleagues in global peace.

Note: Introduction page with information primarily at the time of joining International Cities of Peace. For updates, please contact the liaison.



“The  organization is still new. We don’t have any support; we don’t have even one electronic like: camera, computer reason why the pictures that you see are not so clear. it’s a problem of missing an electronic capability.  and about the  telling of local events. We must tell you the true because is not every person who live to lie, we only go to an invited local event of dance competition. i think you see even the conditions in which children are studying in. They still sitting on the mats during class lessons, all this is because of a support. Please sir I beg you try to understand our situation.”




Joel Biriza

“I’ve studied the primary and secondary school in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and got my diploma in 2013 in the pedagogy section. I moved and join the college in economic science at ISP/ uvira ( congo) in 2016 I started teaching on secondary school and work in the association called “ASCO” action pour la Solidarité congolaise, as ADMIN of the association.”





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Kakuma Refugee camp was built when the Sudanese “Lost Boys” showed up in Kenya. These were children who fled the violence in Sudan in 1992 and traveled on foot through Sudan, Ethiopia, and then into Kenya. The refugee camp was hastily erected in response to their arrival, as a place for them to live.

In 1992, the UNHCR and the Kenyan government created Kakuma Refugee Camp. The camp was initially established to accommodate 23,000 Sudanese refugees. Nowadays, it accommodates refugees from countries all over sub-Saharan Africa, including Somalia, Ethiopia, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

In Kakuma refugee camp, intercommunity conflict has often been reported among communities in the camp. Reasons include inadequate resources and cultural differences among different communities. The most common conflict that creates total conflict is the South Sudanese conflict between the Nuer and the Dinka.

Kakuma camp lies in a semi-arid climate where the temperature rises to as high as 40°C; it is very humid but dry due to which agriculture is difficult in the Kakuma camp. This led to a rift between the locals of Turkana and the refugees about cattle and land ownership.

Kenya’s Kakuma Refugee Camp was established in 1992 with the arrival of the “Lost Boys of Sudan,” who were fleeing civil war. What was meant to be a temporary refuge has become a permanent settlement of over 170,000 refugees.

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