Visit to Mathare by Youth Envoy

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Great to see  to the Secretary General, visiting once again the  Mathare Environmental Conservation Youth Group (M.E.C.Y.G). As he states, some huge leaps forward in services at the centre with the the development of the ‪‎Innovate‬ Kenya‬ ICT and Entrepenruship programs, the great work of the iHub – Nairobi’s Innovation Hub and their Kio Kits, the continued focus on public space and football, and of course the indomitable spirit of the Mathare community and its youth!!!

On Friday July 22nd, the United Nations Secretary General’s Envoy on Youth, Mr. Ahmad Alhendawi joined UN-Habitat and the Mathare Environmental Conservation Youth Group (M.E.C.Y.G) to check the youth-led projects in Mlango Kubwa community in Mathare. It was his second visit of this community and he was very impressed to see the progress the youth center made since 2014.

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Mlango Kubwa community lies at the periphery of one of Nairobi’s biggest slums. Like everywhere else, young people face many challenges there, from access to safe spaces to access to resources and opportunities. What distinguish them from others though is their drive, enthusiasm and willingness to strive for change. They take no chances and work together to make their community a better place for all, but especially for the children and young people.

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We were equally inspired and enchanted by the spirit of this youth. After we saw how they claimed burned-down space in the middle of their community, negotiated with authorities and built their first ever community football field with minimum resources and their hard work, we couldn’t not work with them. We wanted to support them so they can carry on their fantastic work and offer more opportunities for young people to grow in healthy environments.

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With the help of Samsung, we built a fully equipped ICT center that offers not only access to internet, but access to knowledge. As part of our Innovate Kenya project, UN-HABITAT and its academic partners developed a series of E-learning courses that come with the Samsung donated equipment. There are number of courses on offer, including project management, marketing or urban agriculture.

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Envoy’s visit to Mlango Kubwa meant a lot for the local youth, as well as for all of us who tagged along. It was great to watch how they presented their achievements with pride. It was even more touching to hear Envoy’s words of admiration and appreciation at the end.

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Keep it up guys!

 

 

 

 

East Africa Cup 2016 – One week in Moshi, the whole year in community

For the second time, UN-HABITAT joined the wider Sport for Development (SPD) community to lend a helping hand at East Africa Cup in Moshi, Tanzania. Despite the budget cuts, which allowed “only” about 1000 children and youth from the region to participate (as opposed to standard 2000+), the event was buzzing with laughter, joy and motivation to create new friendships and learn from each other. The inspiration and energy drawn from “One week in Moshi” often sparks the motivation and enthusiasm to carry the positive messages and action for “the whole year in the community”.

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UN-HABITAT jumps in to deliver one of the morning educational sessions, naturally on Youth & Urbanization. This year, the focus was mainly on Urban – Rural Linkages and Active Citizenship. 53 young men from various marginalized communities in Tanzania and Kenya participated in the three-day workshop, discussing the “push” and “pull” factors for human migration between villages and cities and the urban challenges in towns. Using play and cooperative games to spice up the knowledge-sharing, and the theme of football to keep it interesting, the boys came up with some very interesting findings.

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Somewhat surprising was the gender-element brought to surface. Hardly-ever do we hear from boys, especially as young as 12 year olds, to include “escape from early-marriage” as a reason for many girls to leave the villages. Furthermore, when outlining the contemporary urban challenges in their communities, they mentioned “girls being forced to prostitution” and “rape” among others. It is hard to say whether this gender-sensitivity comes from experience or education but in any way, it is important and really great that boys are starting to speak up for girls.

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Now when EAC 2016 is over, we can start building on the newly gained knowledge, draw lessons and develop further our current and new partnerships to make the next edition even more extraordinary!