From Culture Shock to Amazement

Let’s also hear from Suheon and his first impressions and experiences in Nairobi.

“I was a little bit worried when I heard first time that I will be working in slums. It is a completely new environment for me and I didn’t know what to expect. It took only short while to adjust though and now I am really enjoying the field experience and the people I get to meet. After all, people is what makes the place and I can feel the positive vibes and fun every time I go.

taekwondon class

Together with Yunhee, we work with local youth leaders to make them better coaches and instructors. We also help to organize and run sports events in various communities. I really enjoy it although things are not without challenges here. In a very short time I’ve learned that hardly anything goes according to plan over here. You can spend weeks on planning and preparing an event, yet at the end you have to improvise and free-style to make it happen. Like in December, there was supposed to be a volleyball tournament which was being worked on for weeks prior to the event. Yet it was almost cancelled last minute as suddenly there was a construction going on precisely on the volleyball court. Luckily, the tournament went ahead as the community came together and prepared make-shift court in just one hour in a nearby space. I was really impressed – the true meaning of “nothing is impossible” came out!


I’m not saying we should stop planning in advance, just keeping in mind that things may change at the end. A similar thing happened to me two weeks later as we were getting ready to host “Christmas Cantata” in one of the communities. But improvisation seems to be the strong-hold over here so it all worked our well at the end. It was actually amazing!


Unfortunately, during the week there is not so much field work so we spend most of our time in the UN-HABITAT office, catching up on some paper work. Apart of research work, we put together databases and prepare concept notes of our future projects and activities.

As the time progresses, Yunhee and I are ready to take on more responsibilities. We want to organize more sports events and activities. We want to coordinate them, not just help out. At the moment we’re preparing a Sports Day, a multi-sport event to promote Sustainable Development Goals, E-sports tournament to utilize the local craze about play-station and other video games and some fundraising activities to support these projects.

Working here in Kenya on sport for development projects is an amazing experience that is teaching me a lot. Part of the learning journey is also to overcome culture shock and learn how to interact and cope with different people and different cultures. Korean style is very particulate and it takes a lot of adjustments for me. But sport is making it so much easier and enjoyable. It has been an incredible journey so far and I hope to learn even more in the coming weeks”.

chrisc team




Keeping Fit in Nairobi’s Informal Settlements


Since November 2015, our Urban Sports Programme is supported by four amazing young people from South Korea. As Sports Management graduates, they came to support the development of different projects in Kenya and Rwanda for 5 months.

Working in Nairobi is Yunhee and Suheon, who are closely working with our partner organizations on the ground, CHRISC Kenya and Simama Africa, both using sport as a tool for development and social change. Covering number of informal settlements is North-Eastern part of Nairobi, they work with local youth to empower them through sport and games.

Two months in, let’s hear from Yunhee, how her experience in Kenya has been so far…

“I wanna give opportunity to as many young people as possible, to enjoy physical activity. So I run fitness classes in different communities in Nairobi. In December, I mostly worked with Fahari girls at Kasarani Youth Resource Center in Kariobangi. My class is just under one hour and covers everything from warm-up, stretching, main workout to cool down. Every class is different because I want to keep it dynamic and fun yet simple enough for everyone to join and enjoy. Despite the rocky and unsure start, the class proves to be amazing and the girls seem to love it.

Fahari Girls

It wasn’t easy for me at the beginning as the girls are various ages and meeting everyone’s needs and capabilities can be hard. But I’ve accepted the challenge and turned the focus more on the fun element that scores and results. I want to believe that I’ve turned the Wednesdays afternoons around for the girls and that our time together will have a positive impact on them now and in the future.

My work with Simama Africa focuses mainly on sustainability. Here I work mostly with youth leaders. I train them so they can get theoretical as well as practical skills in fitness which they can later pass on to other young people in the communities once we’re gone.

The 3-hour class is designed to cover basic theory, learn practical skills and allow for discussion rounds. The first day, all participants underwent a test of their physical capacity. I was struggling to measure the results without a proper equipment but then I started to improvise. Nothing is impossible when you have a strong will and a bit a creativity.

Fitness test

Here are just few examples of how I resolved the crisis of no available equipment:

  1. No measuring tape (20m) – I picked caution tape on a construction site on the way to class (I admit we struggled with accuracy, but it was as best as I could do)
  2. No mats (for sit-ups) – I used sofa cushion instead
  3. No measuring tape for long jump – I used 30cm ruler and marked each spot with a rock

These are just few examples. We’re at the beginning of our 16 weeks long journey, which I hope will be rewarding to each and everyone of the participants. I hope it will be a stepping stone for them to be better athletes, coaches and leaders”.




reprinted from Citiscope


Ideas are due by 15 February for a document – The City We Need 2.0 – that will comprise key stakeholder input to the drafting of the New Urban Agenda.

With the calendar turned to 2016, momentum is now picking up toward Habitat III, this year’s United Nations conference that will result in a 20-year urbanization strategy called the New Urban Agenda. Ahead of that once-a-generation conference, a major stakeholder initiative is soliciting ideas for inclusion in a key set of recommendations for that strategy.

Specifically, the World Urban Campaign is looking for “urban solutions”, or initiatives, practices, policies, legislation and models that address urban challenges to achieving what the campaign calls The City We Need. Individuals and organizations are now being asked to submit proposed urban solutions to by 15 February using the following template.

The City We Need is an evolving document that the World Urban Campaign, an initiative of UN-Habitat, has been preparing for several years ahead of Habitat III. (Note: Citiscope is a media partner of the World Urban Campaign.) Its title piggybacks off of the Future We Want, the outcome document from the Rio+20 Conference on Sustainable Development, held in 2012.

With the Millennium Development Goals set to expire at the end of 2015, the Rio+20 conference decided that U. N. member states should adopt a new framework — a series ofSustainable Development Goals — to tackle ambitious targets on issues such as poverty, hunger and education. That conference also set in motion a global consultation to solicit ideas on what those goals should be. The landmark result, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, was adopted in September.

[See all of Citiscope’s coverage of the Sustainable Development Goals here]

If the U. N.’s sustainable development agenda could be described as “the future we want”, then the lead-up to Habitat III should in turn define “the city we need,” organizers felt.

The City We Need 1.0 emerged ahead of the seventh World Urban Forum in Medellín. In the run-up to that April 2014 global gathering of urbanists, the campaign released a manifesto with nine principles. According to that March 2014 document, the city we need is:

  • Socially inclusive
  • Well-planned, walkable and transit-friendly
  • Regenerative and resilient
  • Economically vibrant and inclusive
  • Of a singular identity and sense of place
  • Safe
  • Healthy
  • Affordable and equitable, and
  • Managed at the metropolitan level.

The City We Need took on additional life in the aftermath of World Urban Forum 7 at the firstUrban Thinkers Campus, held later in 2014. At that first-of-its-kind event in Caserta, Italy, the members of the World Urban Campaign realized that The City We Need could evolve with input from around the world ahead of Habitat III.

The campaign thus established a temporary initiative, the General Assembly of Partners(GAP), to gather that input. Today, that process is ongoing through the deliberations of 14 partner constituent groups, representing the breadth of civil society with a stake in Habitat III, as well as a series of more than two dozen Urban Thinkers Campuses, which began in June 2015 and will wrap up early this year.

[See all of Citiscope’s coverage of the Urban Thinkers Campuses]

Both the outcome of the Urban Thinkers Campuses and the new call for Urban Solutions will contribute to the drafting of the next iteration of The City We Need — version 2.0. The document is slated to be presented on 15 March at the next meeting of the World Urban Campaign Steering Committee, in Prague, on the sidelines of the Habitat III Regional Meeting for Europe.

Upon adoption by the campaign, the document will be handed over to the General Assembly of Partners, where it will likely form the basis of that group’s outcome document. Last month, the U. N. General Assembly recognized the GAP as a formal player in the Habitat III process.As such, once the GAP’s outcome document is submitted to the Habitat III secretary-general, it is expected to influence the first draft of the New Urban Agenda, due in April.

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Story by “Greg Scruggs, Citiscope”

“Citiscope is a nonprofit news outlet that covers innovations in cities around the world. More at

Celebrating Youth and Peacebuilding: A Statement from UN-Habitat Deputy Executive Director, Aisa Kaciyra



UN-Habitat believes in the full and meaningful engagement of youth, especially those in situations of conflict. It is estimated that a 600 million young people are living in conflict zones or fragile states, many of them in the cities and towns of the world. We at UN-Habitat engage these youth, either directly or in partnership with local and national governments, seeking to partner with them to improve their lives and that of their communities. Programmes such as the Urban Youth Fund and the One Stop Youth Resource Centres have directly supported tens of thousands of youth in these situations, from Mogadishu, Somalia to Saana, Yemen.

Our engagement in laying the groundwork for this resolution – through our initial support for the creation of the Inter-Agency Network on Youth Development (IANYD) Sub-Working Group on Youth Participation in Peacebuilding, through to our strong support of the Guidelines on Young People’s Participation in Peacebuilding and the Global Forum on Youth, Peace and Security and subsequent Amman Youth Declaration – demonstrates our strong and sustainable commitment to the cause of youth and peacebuilding globally.

UN Security Council Resolution 2250 on Youth, Peace and Security is a paradigm shift away from the idea of young people being seen as a threat to security towards them taking leadership roles in transforming violent conflict to peaceful co-existence. The resolution calls on all stakeholders to engage young women and men as partners in this process. SCR 2250 is a ground breaking achievement. For the first in its history, the Security Council recognizes that young men and women play an important and positive role in the maintenance and promotion of international peace and security. Equally as important, SCR 2250 recognizes that local government play a key role in peacebulding, and are a key partner for youth and others to assure any just and sustainable peace.

This resolution offers hope to the countries and communities plagued by violence; it is a framework which will give hope to the many youth who are struggling to bring about peace. We at UN-Habitat know through our programmes that youth are actively engaged day to day in creating peaceful environments.


In the city of Mogadishu, Somalia, youth are coming together with UN-Habitat, local government and community members to build a One Stop Youth Resource centre. This urban public space will be one of peace as well as one of hope, where training in a range of skills from carpentry to tailoring will be offered for young men and women. The One Stop will as well be a place for youth to gather, to plan, to dream and implement programmes which better the City.

Following the passing of SCR 2250, UNSOM with the support of civil society and UN agencies such as UN-Habitat, convened over 150 young people from across Somalia to discuss concrete action points on how the Amman Declaration and ‪SCR 2250. The event was well attended, including officials from the Somali government. This event demonstrates the clear desire of youth to be heard in peacebuilding.



In the City of Hebron, Palestine, young people supported by UN-Habitat and the local government were actively engaged to strengthen the spirit of volunteerism and civic engagement in their community. The project was aimed at engaging young women who were trained at a local youth centre to employ skills they gained to enhance the beauty of the center and at the same time set an example for other young people in the community.

These examples demonstrate how youth take leadership in their day to day lives to create peaceful and prosperous environments for their communities, and underline that their capacities to actively be engaged in shaping lasting peace and contributing to justice and reconciliation and that a large youth population presents a unique demographic dividend the can contribute to lasting peace and economic prosperity if inclusive policies are in place.

15 years after the adoption of Security Council Resolution 1325 recognized the role of women in maintaining international peace and security, the adoption of SCR 2250 marks that beginning of a new Youth, Peace and Security agenda for the Council. The Resolution will support young women and men working in this field through acknowledging them by the most powerful body of the United nations, underlining the essential nature of their work and efforts to support a durable peace.

This Resolution also comes at a critical time as we move to the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals; more particularly Goal 16 which promotes peaceful and inclusive societies.

I salute the leadership from the Government of Jordan and commend his Royal Highness Crown Prince Al Hussein bin Abdullah II for bringing the voice of youth to the Security Council. I am very proud of the United Nations and our partners who have been at the forefront of collaborating with civil society on expanding the definition of peace and security to include young men and women.

We at UN-Habitat commit to working with our local government partners to implement this resolution, and advance the issue of youth and peacbuilding globally.


the team