Launch of the Colombia Urban Youth Fund Window and Project Management Training Workshop 2016

Written by: Judith Mulwa

Colombia, April 2016:  UN-Habitat’s Youth Unit in partnership with Servicio Nacional de Aprendizaje (SENA) launched the Colombia Urban Youth Fund Window at the AIESEC’s Youth Speak Forum. Over 300 young people witnessed the event from the Latin America & the Caribbean region, as well as UN-Habitat’s Youth and Livelihood Unit Leader, Mr. Douglas Ragan, Habitat Programme Manager in Colombia, Mr. Edgar Cataño Sánchez, SENA’s Director of International Relations, Dr. Juan Pablo Castro, and the president of AIESEC Colombia, Mr. Juan Carlos Fayad. This is one of four of similar cooperation’s globally, which makes it possible to fund several youth- led projects from the same country and have an increased presence in the region. The Colombia Urban Youth Fund window aims to focus on vulnerable and minority youth by contributing to strengthen their entrepreneurship capacity while at the same time assisting them to build their capacity to accomplish the Sustainable Development Goals (“SDGs”). The fund will empower these youth by providing them with grants and project management training to ensure the projects succeed.

The windows draw their framework and practices from the Global Urban Youth Fund program that has provided grants and capacity building to selected organizations in developing countries in Africa, Asia Pacific, Latin America, Caribbean and the Arab States. Annually, more than 8,000 youth-led organizations respond to the call for applications and about 30 organizations are selected to receive grants of up to USD 25,000. The Fund supports new and innovative ideas and solutions for job creation, good governance, adequate shelter and secure tenure planned and implemented by youth-led groups globally. This is with the aim of providing innovative solutions towards Sustainable Urban Development.

UN-Habitat embraces the belief that youth are a solution for sustainable urban development; the 21st session of the UN-Habitat Governing Council recognized this and proposed the fund with the objective to advance the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals and the Habitat Agenda. UN-Habitat also trusts that the funded projects provide best practices on youth-led development important for undertaking researches. This in light of creating greater awareness of youth-led development and the urgency to ensure that youth perspectives are integrated into local, national and international development policies and strategies.

Dr. Juan Pablo Castro, SENA’s Director of International Relations endorsed the project and said that it was necessary in building the social and economic development in Colombia with a great focus on youth, vulnerable youth and minority youth. At the end of the launch the two partner representatives, Mr. Douglas Ragan and Dr. Juan Pablo Castro signed a letter of intent.

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LATAM Youth Shaping One Latin America for Habitat III

 

Bogota witnessed something very special on Friday 8th April, 2016. Over 300 young people from the Latin America & the Caribbean region gathered in the Colombian Capital for AIESEC’s Youth Speak Forum, which was organized in partnership with UN-HABITAT and PVBLIC Foundation to bring LATAM youth voices to the discussions around Habitat III and the New Urban Agenda.

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The energy in the room was electrifying from the moment the participants strolled in, making the event one not to forget. The whole thing kicked off with a dialogue between Mr. Douglas Ragan, the Chief of Youth Unit, UN-HABITAT and Mr. Sergio Fernandez de Cordova, the Chairman of PVBLIC Foundation and co-founder of P3GM. The gentlemen had an extremely interesting and engaging discussion around the importance of public/private partnerships for global political frameworks, SDGs and 2030 Agenda and building sustainable and resilient cities. What we’ve learned is that the partnerships need to be reinvented with a purpose, if we ever want to achieve anything. The private sector struggles to understand the importance of working for a cause and is thus largely missing on new market opportunities. Although it may not seem so, young people play a critical role in the equation. Public and private sector needs them more than they need them in the battle of social transformation and community development in cities. Therefore, it’s a three-way partnership that we need to look at if we want to make a difference.

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Surrounded by inspiring and highly experienced professionals from various backgrounds, the participants had a chance to voice their thoughts and opinions in 12 breakout sessions that were designed to make them discuss different issues young people face in contemporary cities. The outcomes and recommendations from each session were then collected and presented at the end of the day as a draft positioning of LATAM youth towards Habitat III. Completing the statement will take a while but it was clear from the beginning that in order to achieve any enhancement of LATAM cities, mindsets of ordinary people as well as people in power will have to change and communication will have to improve.

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With Habitat III in Ecuador fast approaching, we have to continue working together to ensure that young people are not only heard but are present at the negotiations in October. Watch this space for updates what’s next.

 

THE FIRST EVER SPORTS DAY IN KARIOBANGI, Powered By UN-HABITAT

Written by Emily Onyango on behalf of our partners

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The beginning of April meant a lot to different communities in Kariobangi who gathered as early as 7:00am to prepare for the sports day organized by UN-HABITAT in cooperation with CHRISC Kenya, Simama Africa, SWAGA and SOPA. One of the main objectives of the day was to recognize and reward all committed teams, groups and individuals who dedicated their time to promote community development and Sustainable Development Goals through sports.

And as one of the testimonies suggests, the anticipation for the day was overwhelming. “This is one of the biggest day that I have been waiting for. I brought my team of football players to participate in the Community Sport Day activities. The different types of games, like rope skipping, dodge ball or tag of war are perfect for them to learn something new, something different” said Steven Oduor, one of the youth leaders from Kariobangi.

The event, organized as a celebration of April 6th, the International Day of Sports for Development, was coordinated by UN-HABITAT’s interns, Yunhee and Suheon, who also spent 4 months prior to the event teaching young people in slums different sports, hygiene and biomechanics lessons to improve their health and well-being.

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“I have been attending Saturday classes about hygiene and biomechanics. It was extremely interesting as I’ve learned a lot of new things. I know now the structure of my body, different types of bones I have, how much water I should be drinking on a daily basis and also different exercises that will help me to stay fit”, said Carole Jones from Tarumbeta dancers.

Over 200 children and young people attended the celebration. They played, they sang, they danced all day and were rewarded with different gifts at the end of the day. Some got books, some pens and some caps, most importantly, no one went home empty-handed.

The event was a success. Everyone involved on either side, participants and organizers alike, were very happy with the result and are hoping to organize a similar event next year again. Once again, we could have witnessed how sport is a powerful tool for community transformation and peaceful coexistence among different communities.

 

 

Celebrating April 6th in Kariobangi, Kenya

Community Sports Day – Empowering Youth Through Sports

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Just a few days prior to a very significant day for all sports for development enthusiasts, April 6th, UN-HABITAT, in close collaboration with CHRISC Kenya, Simama Africa, Sports With A Goal Africa and Seeds of Peace Africa, staged a Community Sports Day at Marura Primary School in one of Nairobi’s infamous informal settlements – Kariobangi. Around 200 young people from different communities gathered to celebrate the International Day of Sport for Development while having fun, playing sports and working on strengthening social cohesion among the various groups.

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Using various team-sports and games was our strategy to instill some core values, such as fair-play, ethics, tolerance and compassion. But what was truly fantastic was to watch young people playing together not only for the sense of achievement and victory, but for something bigger than that, the Sustainable Development Goals. We took the opportunity to introduce and promote the recently adopted SDGs, in particular SDG 3 (Good Health), 4 (Quality Education), 5 (Gender Equality), 6 (Clean Water), 11 (Sustainable Cities) and 16 (Peace and Justice).

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In the spirit of SDG 17 (Partnerships) we placed extra emphasis on the collaboration and partnerships not only of the organizers, but the community leaders and the youngsters themselves. It never stops amazing us, how much further we get when we join forces with others. As a huge international organization, we do need partners on the ground to help us execute our vision and plans and for April 6th celebrations, we found the perfect ones.

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Our work didn’t stop on April 6th. In fact, it was just the beginning. Youth leaders from participating communities underwent extensive training prior to the event to gain additional skills to use when working with young people on daily basis. They were partners in organizing the event from the beginning and they were instrumental in running the show on the day.

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As we see it, the day was a huge success and we can’t wait for our next opportunity to work with these wonderful organizations and young people. Despite their daily challenges and hardships, they are inspiring bunch with so much to say and do for a greater good of their communities and country. We’d be privileged and happy to be part of their journey of social transformation and community development.

 

 

 

Move Your Body, Shape Your Dreams

Celebrating 6th April, the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace 2016 

Dream Up Festival, Kigali, Rwanda

Few days in advance, but with equal enthusiasm and spirit that is generated on April 6th worldwide, the One Stop Youth Center in Kimisagara hosted the Dream Up Festival to celebrate the power of sport to transform lives and communities. The one-day event was organized by UN-HABITAT in close cooperation with the Kimisagara OSYC team and was nothing but a success.

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Sport is a powerful mobilizer, so why not use it for something more than just having fun. Rwanda is a beautiful country with third of its population below 30. Unfortunately, about 38.5% of them are living below poverty line, struggling to secure their basic needs. They don’t have time to play sports, yet alone to dream about their big bright future.

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This is what inspired our team of Korean interns, Mina and HyunChul, to organize the Dream Up Festival to provide marginalized young people with an opportunity to forget about their hardships for a day and learn and enjoy themselves in a fun environment. Day filled with sports, cultural and educational activities brought together about 100 youth participants from different parts of Kigali. Throughout the day, the participants got to play various obstacle races and Korean games to spice up the sports activities and learn something new. While they’ve learned about sportsmanship and other sports values through games, the main educational component was encompassed in workshops about hygiene and sexual and reproductive rights as well as in essay writing contest.

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The essay writing was a unique opportunity for us to hear the voices we usually don’t have access to. So we took the chance of assembling these wonderful young people into one venue and asked them to write a short essay about one of these topics:

  • What is your role in making Kigali the Top city in Africa?
  • What is your dream of Kigali?
  • What can the city of Kigali do to avoid informal settlements and get on the path of modernization?

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The winners of each category were subsequently awarded with small prize and huge admiration from others. Finally, the additional dance and taekwondo performances made the day complete. UN-HABITATA would like to thank everyone involved for making it happen and for joining us in April 6th Celebrations!

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