Raphael Obonyo, former UN Habitat’s Youth Representative marks UN at 70 with children in Mathare slums.
As part of his reflective work, the former UN Habitat’s External Youth Advisor, Raphael Obonyo joined children and young people in the sprawling slums of Mathare in Kenya to mark the United Nations seventieth anniversary.
Speaking at the function, the former UN Habitat’s Youth Advisory Board member called on young people to play a more prominent role in public life and development. “Let us stop being spectators, and play an active role in transforming our world for the better” he said.
He called on the Government of Kenya, businesses and development partners to invest in youth-the country’s greatest asset. Lamentably, unemployment and underemployment of youth remains a major challenge in the country.
“The success of the youth is critical for the success of any society” said Mr Obonyo.
According to the recent statistics from Brookings, Kenyan youths aged 15-24 years have unemployment rates of 25 percent—about double the overall unemployment of 12.7 percent for the entire working-age group (15-64).
Having grown up in the poor slums of Korogocho in Nairobi city, Raphael Obonyo who was named one of the 2014 Africa’s Most Inspirational Youth, chose to mark UN at 70 in the poor neighbourhood of Mathare informal settlement to inspire young people to take ownership over their own solutions.
“It is really important for the youth especially from poor areas like Korogocho and Mathare to understand that we have the solution to our problems” he said.
He also stated that he was aware of the hardships and odds that young people from poor neighbourhoods face, and the importance of encouraging them to keep their dreams alive. “I know your needs, and your challenges”. “Keep working hard to spark change and to make the world better” he said.
Calling the event to mark UN at 70 historic as it was held in the poor neighbourhood of Mathare where thousands of young people were living in abject poverty, Mr Obonyo lauded and urged the UN Habitat to continue with the good work of investing and supporting young people – the next generation of leaders.