Strengthening Policy for Young Women in the Changing World of Work, Case Study: Kampala Municipality, Uganda, is a research publication sponsored by UK-AID to Plan International UK. UN-Habitat played a key advisory role on policy at municipal level, to the innovation hub, which aimed to challenge social norms and practices that keep girls and young women in positions of powerlessness in the World of Work (WoW). This resonates to the Commission on the Status of Women 61, 2017: Women’s Economic Empowerment in the Changing World of Work. The research aims to elaborate the need for an enabling policy environment and/or enforce legislation that enhances gender equality for girls and young women in the WoW.
The publication appreciates that local governments are the key vehicles for formulating interventions, and a key partner in the implementation of a Local Economic Development (LED) strategy. In this regard, the local government is discussed to work hand in hand with other stakeholders in contextualizing gender gaps and addressing gender imbalances. This is relevant in addressing social and cultural practices that keep young women in positions of powerlessness in the WoW.
As a result, the publication contextualizes the position of the Republic of Uganda, Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA), on gender integration, mainstreaming and implementation, while also proposing interventions to progress the proposed recommendations and achieve the goals of inclusion and equality for women in the WoW. This was achieved through a Desk Study, a gender lensed policy analysis and a Key Informant Discussion (KID) to the Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA).
The methodology provided the background to existing policy as well as recommendations towards improving women’s economic, social, and political status. These recommendations include working with a variety of stakeholders to help strengthen partnerships, involving the private sector in gender mainstreaming and awareness raising, advocacy and lobbying, entrepreneurship training, and bridging the gaps between legislation and communities at the KCCA. This resonates with the gender-responsive nature of the recently adopted New Urban Agenda (NUA), which has been adopted to guide urban centers. In addition, the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), adopted in 2015, in particular Goal 5, to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls and Goal 11, to make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.
The countdown is on! Since the adoption of the New Urban Agenda in Quito in October 2016, we’ve been working with our partners, AIESEC International, to develop a global campaign and a game to spark the real action of young people in their cities that will contribute towards achievement of Sustainable Development Goals and the New Urban Agenda.
To celebrate that young people were recognized as key stakeholders in the drafting process of the New Urban Agenda as well as in its implementation, we want to put them in the front line of action to turn NUA from paper to reality. The power of 1.8 billion is not just in its volume! Young people’s potential, capacity, passion and drive are the reasons we believe they can be the first ones to act! Unlike governments, they have the freedom and flexibility to start working immediately and we want to ensure that every young person out there feels the same way.
At the occasion of UN-Habitat’s 26th Governing Council, Ms. Tanya Landysheva from AIESEC International paid us a visit in Nairobi to help us launch this exciting game.
#Urban Action is part of a larger campaign to engage youth on the Road to 2030, Youth 4 Global Goals. To make it all more fun and engaging, we’ve created a game around the process and results. The game revolves around all SDGs and their relation to SDG 11. The main mission is to create better cities while fighting typical urban challenges along the way. 16 challenges posted weekly shall contribute to creating nicer, safer, more resilient, and more sustainable cities, thus not only hitting SDG 11. targets but also significantly contributing to implementing the New Urban Agenda.
United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat), in partnership with the Federal Government of Nigeria, conducted hands-on training in energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies; green entrepreneurship and enterprise development for 125 selected youths drawn from 26 States across the Nigeria in Abuja from 12th to 23rd December 2016.
The hands-on training on energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies; green entrepreneurship and enterprise development training programme was organized by the Regional Office for Africa; Youth Unit and the Energy Unit of UN-Habitat in collaboration with the Office of the Senior Special Assistant to the Nigeria President on Sustainable Development Goals (OSSAP-SDGS). The training which was held in Abuja from 11th – 23rd December 2016 was targeted at Nigerian unemployed youths. First batch of 125 (One Hundred and Twenty-Five) youth participants were selected from across the 26 States of Nigeria and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, to benefit from the programme. The training aimed at empowering the trained youths to start income generating enterprises in the renewable energy sector; become active proponents of energy efficiency and renewable energy approaches with a clear understanding of the issues/application around climate change; act as positive agents in their communities and bring about behavioral change among their peers and across their communities.
The Minister of Youths and Sports, Mr. Solomon Dalung in his opening remarks thanked the SSAP and UN Habitat for organizing the training programme. The Minister stated that the importance of the energy industry in Nigeria cannot be overemphasized. He also stated that the present administration is committed towards the development and empowerment of Nigerian youths. He assured the youth that the Federal Government of Nigeria would
Adefulire observed that the training was not to replace the university or college degrees of
the trainees but would enhance their capacities. “By your decision to be part of this exercise, you will move away from poverty, crime, drug abuse, militancy and terrorism to a sustainable platform, as this programme will address goal 1 of the SDG, which is no poverty, goal 7 on renewable energy, and goal 11 on sustainable cities and communities,” she said.
The Habitat Programme Manager for Nigeria, Mr. Kabir Yari who represented the Director for Regional Office for Africa, said subsequent training would capture a greater number of trainees, adding that the exercise would go a long way in reducing unemployment in Nigeria.
He said, “Our collaboration with Nigeria on this project is to provide technical inputs in terms of facilitators, technical personnel and other related things that will ensure a successful training. As you know, the SDGs is a 2030 agenda which intends to improve the lives of all citizens and leaving no one behind.” Tapping into its new thinking on producing items that can be locally sourced for the consumption of Nigeria’s population, the federal government is to partner with the United Nation Habitat to train some Nigerian youths on clean energy for home use. The partnership for empowerment captures capacity building in energy technologies for production of clean stoves and lantern that will serve the energy needs of rural poor and other areas where renewable energy will complement power needs.
Explaining the rationale for the partnership for the training, Vincent Kitio, Chief Urban Energy Unit, says the youth are being trained in a blend of entrepreneurship and technologies to developed skill sets in production of renewable energy as alternatives to replace kerosene stoves and lantern which has proven dangerous in some cases.
At the end of the course, participants were able to;
Build solar lanterns
Set up briquette production to substitute charcoal and firewood
Who owns the city? This question was a subject of passionate debates at the Habitat III conference in Quito. The answer was straightforward: it belongs to its citizens. In this context, the design of public spaces is one of the biggest challenges. This has not always worked well. The Habitat III conference and the New Urban Agenda create opportunities for cities’ authorities and civil societies to learn with and from each other.
An opinion by Jonas Freist-Held from Habitat III, Quito October 2016
In Berlin, you do not have to search long to find best and worst practices how to design public space. On the one hand, the “Gleisdreieckpark” – a newly designed park in the heart of Berlin – with its inclusive and sustainable design sets new standards. Or the “Tempelhofer Feld”, the massive area of the former city airport that has become the city’s biggest recreational space, stands exemplary for effective citizen participation. On the other hand, you can find the “Alexanderplatz”, a grey and busy concrete desert in the heart of Berlin that becomes more terrible with every new building constructed.
During the Habitat III conference on sustainable urban development in Quito, the Mayor of Berlin, Michael Müller, rightly stressed the role model his city can be to other cities around the world. Nevertheless, he did good to state that Berlin can – and must – as well learn and benefit from best-practices and experiences of other cities from all around the world.
The City as Public Good
The discussion about public spaces is closely linked to a movement that has become stronger and more influential within the last years: The Right to the City. Who owns the city? Are cities public good? – Questions passionately debated in Quito. For Sergio Roldán Gutiérrez the answer is easy. He is the President of the Urban Planning group of the Colombian city Medellín.
“Before we design a city we have to empower its citizens. A city cannot be shaped without the active participation of its people.” Just a decade ago his city was a stronghold of Colombian drug traffic, a crime haven. With targeted and intelligent policies, today, the town with more than four million inhabitants has become a role model for innovative and sustainable urban development. Creative mobility solutions such as cable cars have connected districts suffering from poverty and crime to the city center. After that education centers were built and public spaces created. “If we fail to actively involve citizens, they might not experience the city as they should and ultimately even destroy what we created. The citizens have priority! Then comes the city. That’s our main objective, that’s our mission.”, the urban planner is convinced. The success proves him right.
Fight Against Urban Exclusion
But what if cities are not blessed with such foresighted decision-makers? Worldwide, and especially in Latin America, gated communities are growing. People are segregated by social status; public places are declared as exclusive. Increasingly, poor people are driven out to the cities’ outskirts. Hence, empathy for the lives of others decreases, social and economic inequalities increase. This is a frightening development. Public spaces are meeting places for people from all social classes, from any background and of any age. They are key to sustainable development in a vivid urban environment.
In Quito, it was the youth repeatedly stressing the importance of public spaces. It was one of their central causes at Habitat III, a conference that was dominated by the positive vibes and creative ideas of young people from all around the world. In discussions, such as during a spontaneous pop-up meeting organized by the Youth Advisory Board of UN-HABITAT, youth from Ecuador, Peru or Chile complained about the lack of channels to engage in their city’s development – an element Roldán Gutiérrez considers crucial in making a city work for its people.
That such channels are still missing in many places around the world does not leave young people silent or inactive. Habitat III has shown how initiatives and projects have been created at grassroots levels. Often, small-scale ideas and movements that incorporate sustainable and innovative solutions have the potential to create bigger change in the long run. And nothing is more sustainable than a strong and growing youth movement.
Examples of creative and innovative urban solutions are as diverse as cities around the world themselves. In Barcelona (Spain), streets are reorganized to create new public spaces and decrease traffic; the Colombian capital Bogotá supports street art and graffiti allowing citizens to design their city, One-Stop Youth Centers in Mogadishu (Somalia) create safe spaces with education services for young people, in Freiburg (Germany) the Vauban, a entirely green and sustainable city district was created from scratch and in Montreal (Canada) the city has introduced special measures to improve the safety of girls and women in public transportation. The list of projects and initiatives could be continued endlessly.
Habitat III and the New Urban Agenda provide a global framework to exchange these best-practice examples and to create new ideas and share them in an international network of cities. The years to come will show if the agenda will be successful. But one thing in Quito has become clear: young people are willing and capable of acting to design inclusive cities. Their creative potential is immense.
Siamak Sam LoniUN Sustainable Development Solutions Network Reposted from Huffington Post 10/20/2016 04:05 am ET | Updated Oct 24, 2016
Cities are getting bigger, younger and more complicated than ever before. Some of the greatest development challenges of the 21st century are being created in cities. To solve these problems, we need to empower youth to work together with local authorities in planning, building and maintaining cities that are sustainable, inclusive and resilient.
John F. Kennedy once said “we will neglect our cities to our peril, for in neglecting them we neglect the nation.” With 200,000 people moving from the countryside to cities every day, it is hard to see an end to the massive wave of urbanization that is sweeping across the globe.
Today, nearly 1 billion people around the world live in slums, many of which have been emerging overnight in rapidly urbanizing megacities. If one was to picture an urban disaster, Dhaka would probably provide a partial image of how that would look – a city so densely stuffed with vehicles that “the worst traffic jam in Mumbai or Cairo or Los Angeles is equivalent to a good day for Dhaka’s drivers” (New York Times).
For the first time in human history over half the world’s population lives in cities. This figure is expected to rise with the United Nations projecting that by 2050 more than 70 percent of the people on the planet will live in cities and towns. In 1950, New York and Tokyo were the only two cities in the world that hosted more than 10 million inhabitants. Today there are 29 of these megacities spread across the globe, with 80 percent of them located in Asia, Africa and Latin America.
Urban areas, in particular megacities, are increasingly rampant with poverty, a shortage of decent housing and extreme inequality, coupled with unsustainable rates of energy and food consumption. According to a recent report by the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network, “over the next decades, urbanization will be a defining trend in [many] parts of the world, especially in East Asia, South Asia, and sub-Saharan Africa, where the bulk of extreme poverty is concentrated.”
The majority of cities across the globe are not just getting bigger. They are also getting younger. Millennials, representing half the world’s population, are 40 percent more likely to move to cities. Young peoples’ experiences, choices and preferences already shape the image of cities, especially in the developing world.
For the most part, millennials have little say and limited influence as to how their cities are planned and organized. Much of it may be a result of how millennials are perceived in both media and popular culture. In a recent New York Times articlereading “The World Has a Problem: Too Many Young People,” Somini Segupta argues that “much has been made of the challenges of aging societies. But it’s the youth bulge that stands to put greater pressure on the global economy, sow political unrest, spur mass migration and have profound consequences for everything from marriage to Internet access to the growth of cities.”
We must reverse this narrative and resist buying into the popular illusion that portrays millennials as demanding, ungrateful and disloyal members of society. Instead of viewing young people as part of the problem, we should start to see them as part of the solution. By changing the narrative, we can empower young people to work with local authorities to plan, design and manage cities to make them free of inequality, pollution, homelessness and crime.
To confront today’s urban livability crisis – subtle tweaks and adjustments, such as a few iconic green buildings here and there, won’t make the cut. For metropolises like Dhaka, solutions that radically reimagine the way the city is planned, designed and managed are not an option but a necessity. Cities can no longer afford to address the symptoms, they must focus on finding solutions that root out the causes. Instead of allocating more space for cars to accommodate the traffic, cities like San Francisco are removing parking slots in the downtown to discourage use of cars altogether while creating greater incentives for public transportation and ride-sharing platforms such as Uber and Getaround; a radical solution that will allow the city to clean up the air, re-purpose public space for bike lanes and parks, and encourage healthier lifestyles.
The need for genuine change is clear. Being a source of idealism and optimism, young people have embraced change for generations. That’s why the ideas of Bernie Sanders in the US and Jeremy Corbyn in the UK, which many have thought were so alien to Western political tradition, caught on with an unprecedented number of millennials. Being a source of unconventional thinking and new ideas, young people are best positioned for the task of coming up with solutions that have never been thought of before.
We have a new generation of young people that is tech savvy, generous, entrepreneurial and committed to social justice and community service. Through imagination, creativity, ambition, and energy, this new generation is shattering the old paradigms in three ways.
First, millennials today are leading entrepreneurship charts across the globe, opening more businesses and creating thousands of jobs. A BNP Paribas reportrecently found that “millennial entrepreneurs have launched twice as many businesses as boomers.”
Secondly, young peoples’ remarkable commitment to fairness and social justice, exemplified by volunteering and donating to charitable causes, makes them a valuable partner in tackling challenges faced by their communities, from inequalities that plague urban dwellings around the world to climate change that disproportionately impacts the urban poor. According to the Millennial Impact Report, 84 percent of young people “made a charitable donation in 2014, and 70 percent spent at least an hour volunteering.”
Finally, the skills and mindset of the new generation is giving rise to human-centred technologies and transformative solutions that are making cities smarter, more integrated and global. A recent survey by AIESEC concluded that youth are mostly seeking jobs that are “challenging, global and meaningful.” With millennials projected to make up 75 percent of the global workforce by 2030, these views could drive young people to pursue careers in companies that design products aimed at solving social and environmental challenges.
This week, Ecuador is hosting the 3rd United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development, known as Habitat III, bringing together UN officials, mayors, urban experts, civil society and youth, to adopt the New Urban Agenda (NUA) – a global strategy for making cities “just, safe, healthy, accessible, affordable, resilient, and sustainable” over the next 20 years. NUA is more than just a once-in-20-years opportunity to provide half of humanity with a decent place to live. Urban areas already generate over 70 percent of the World’s GDP, consume 60 percent of world’s energy and cause three quarters of carbon emissions, making achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) inconceivable without a transformative plan for cities.
The conference symbolically began with the Children’s and Youth Assembly to pay tribute to the role young people play in realizing the vision of the New Urban Agenda. The official draft document mentions the word “inclusive” 36 times but regardless of how many times the text emphasizes the important intention to build inclusive cities, what matters is whether it will make a real difference for inhabitants of cities.
To create communities that offer hope instead of desperation, cities must promote a sense of belonging and cross-generational collaboration every step of the way, and most importantly, treat young people as equal and capable partners. If local authorities harness the qualities of youth and work closely with them to plan, design and manage cities, we could see more liveable communities and thereby, a more liveable world.
This article was co-authored by Siamak Sam Loni (@siamak_sam) and Anastasiya Kostomarova (@AnastasiaEugene).
“The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the New Urban Agenda show how investing in cities advances progress across societies.” – UNSG
The world is celebrating cities — join in!! Following the highly successful Habitat III conference , the world is now focused on how cities can be #Cities4All and a positive force sustainable development and the achievement of both the 2030 Agenda and the NUA.
Please watch UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon’s World #CitiesDay message.
If you want to get involved please follow us our on Facebook a UN-Habitat Youth, or twitter at @unhabitatyouth, and the #UrbanAction campaign.
Within the frame of the Habitat III Conference, which is scheduled for this week in Quito, it is important to mention all the activities, ideas and alternative proposals that are emerging in the city. Ambulant Tactical Urban Planning Labs (LIUTS – in Spanish), is a workshop put forward by two neighbourhoods in Quito, Santa Clara and Pisulí, over three days in August this year. Organized under the umbrella of the YoutHab Conference, which represents a platform for youth to exchange ideas and discuss their rights in relation to the city. These workshops are an example of the positive initiatives being brought forward by young Ecuadorians.
The workshops were designed as an urban experiment, which sought to involve different actors in the city, such as public institutions, the community and architecture students. Two locations were selected: Santa Clara neighbourhood, which represents an emblematic area of Quito and which faces the principles problems of a lack of urban furniture; poor urban aesthetics; and few pedestrian friendly spaces. In parallel, another location with different characteristics was selected: Pisulí neighbourhood. Here, insecurity, lack of public space and minimal support from public bodies, has generated strong social cohesion among inhabitants, who manage all changes in public spaces within the neighbourhood. To universities are involved in the urban experiment: the Central University of Ecuador -the Faculty of Architecture and Urbanism-; and the University of the Americas -the Faculty of Architecture and Design- with the objective that students propose urban strategies at the neighbourhood scale. Some 120 proposals were presented for the two neighbourhoods, of which 57 proposals were selected, the students socialised and verified the viability of the projects.
During weeks prior to workshops, the students and professors conducted socialization and modifications to proposals based participatory processes with the community and the available materials. For example, in the case of Pisulí, the “Café de Barrio”, which aimed to encourage and share with residents the community participation within urban processes and sustainable mobility. In addition, during this period other entities were involved such as TECHO ECUADOR supported by volunteers for the workshop days in Pisulí.
During workshop proposals were developed. In the case of Pisulí, with the community improvements to the main street to public spaces and urban furniture with car tires collected by residents, were agreed. In the case of Santa Clara, students from the Central University represent the majority of the community that live in the neighbourhood. They made changes in urban aesthetics: messages against pedestrian harassment and the installation of urban furniture in the central square. During the workshops delegates from the United Nations attended the implementation of the proposals.
The workshops included the first urban experiment of this type by the organizers. Its main objective sought to generate the appropriation of public space by the community. To understand that we live in a community in our city and that small interventions can be the first step to great changes, has already been realised by participants. In addition, for students, this represented an opportunity to leave the academic framework and interact with the users of urban spaces, with a minimum budget and manage their projects, this represented their first professional experience. Beyond all acquired knowledge, the reality of sharing thoughts with people from different social strata, opens our consciousness to understand our duty to interaction in the city; which at the same time, can go hand in hand with the helping communities lacking essential urban infrastructure.
In the week of 24 April 2016, Nepal marked an important moment. It was the first anniversary of the great earthquake. To turn the page with forward-looking consultations, UN-Habitat hosted two urban youth discussions on the critical questions of “equity and youth development” in Kathmandu. A wide range of youth groups supported UN-Habitat to put together the two workshops. The result was an electrifying energy and focused output from youth participants that impressed the attending UN agencies, development partners and Nepal government representatives. UN-Habitat will publish the results as part of the Global State of Urban Youth Report 2015/16 later this year.
Young people were at the frontlines of relief work in the wake of the quake in 2015. They applied volunteerism and skills to do many post-disaster tasks, like distributing aid materials, building temporary shelters, and creating open-source maps of the affected areas. The images and videos of such youth volunteers flooded local and global media reports on Nepal Earthquake. In other words, the youth proved that they were resilient in post-disaster Nepal.
A year on, however, the story of Nepal Earthquake is more complex. The needs have shifted from recovery to reconstruction and development. Where are the same Nepali youths now? How do they feel about their own role in the reconstruction process as well as the country’s long-term development? And what about the state of equity among young women and men in Nepal’s rapidly urbanizing society? These were the questions asked in the Kathmandu events this week.
The week kicked off with over 50 young Kathmandu citizens debating youth’s role in Nepal Earthquake reconstruction at a special session hosted by UN-Habitat, during the 2nd Asia-Pacific Peace and Development Service Alliance (APPDSA) South Asia meeting, a joint initiative by Global Peace Foundation and UN ESCAP, 23-24 April 2016. Local youths aged 18-24 expressed frank opinions about the ongoing reconstruction process, and the related employment and social issues. Among other issues, participants argued that reconstruction needed to provide more jobs and skills development for local youths. If actively engaged, Kathmandu’s young population had much to offer. “We the youth are opportunity creators, not [opportunity] seekers,” one youth presenter concluded.
Next up, over 100 youths selected from diverse backgrounds joined UN-Habitat Global State of Urban Youth Report 2015/16 – Kathmandu focus group discussion workshop on 29 April 2016. Mr. Padma Joshi, UN-Habitat Nepal Country Programme Manager, opened the floor with welcome speech highlighting that youth represented 40% of Nepal’s people. Mr. Joshi also pointed out the complex effects of the historic disaster and reconstruction on the country’s increasingly urbanizing youth population, such as knock-on effect of displacement or fresh rural-urban migration in search of work. Mr. Brabm Kumar K.C., President of Association of Youth Organizations Nepal (AYON), asked the youths to think about bridging the planning and implementation gap.
During the day, groups of youths debated the root causes of what may be preventing Nepal youths’ full, effective and equitable participation in the country’s development in the following five areas: 1) youth and employment, 2) youth and sports and environment, 3) youth and education, 4) youth and politics of reconstruction, 5) youth and gender equity and social inclusion. Defying occasional power outage of the building, the heated discussions continued well into the afternoon.
The closing remarks brought attention to the opportunity provided by the SDG’s for the youth. Representing UN Youth Advisory Panel, Ms. Neiru Karky stated, “We need to own the concept of sustainable development goals,” recommending to look at urbanization as part of innovation where youths can make greater contributions to the society. Mr. Sudarshan Kunwar, AIESEC Nepal President, expressed an open invitation to participating youths saying “you can align your products, your services in terms of SDG’s” for more impact.
I was excited to come to Rwanda for my internship in ‘sports for development’ field with UN-HABITAT. Although I have lived in Rwanda for two years before, (volunteering with Korean International Cooperation Agency (KOICA)), I couldn’t wait to be back. Rwanda is a fascinating place with so much beauty, green spaces and amazing people that I knew that my new adventure will be worthwhile. But funny enough, when I came to Kimisagara One Stop Youth Center in Kigali for the first time, I couldn’t conceal my surprise. So much space, gym with roof and even floodlights for night games! I thought I knew Rwanda, but this has proven me wrong! I have never seen such excellent sports facilities anywhere else.
The center itself is a wonderful oasis of hope for young people in Kigali. More than 1000 of them visit the center every day, enjoying various services provided. It’s run by unpaid volunteers who organize training sessions, workshops, events and activities related to IT, good governance, health and entrepreneurship. Sport is naturally extremely important and the state-of-art facilities offer space to practice football, basketball, handball, inline skating and modern dance. Personally, I was very impressed with the “disability football team”. In Rwanda, there is a huge number of people with disabilities, the sad legacy of 1994 events. The disability team in Kimisagara is just so inspiring! They play on crutches and you wouldn’t believe how fast they can be!
During my five months stay I have learned a lot about partnerships. The Center was initiated by the UN-HABITAT but is now 100% managed by the Ministry of Youth and ICT. Yet their ongoing collaboration and mutual support makes it work and thrive like no other. The Kimisagara center serves as a model to other youth centers across East Africa. On a different level, Cho and I (both UN-HABITAT interns in Rwanda) formed a partnership to complete tasks given by the Center as well as UN-HABITAT. There were many challenges, many unforeseen changes to plans and many unpredictable communication hiccups but we’ve managed. It would be very difficult for me to do it on my own but together, we’ve learned to adapt. This, I consider a very useful skill for the future.
I’ve had a lot of plans at the beginning but unfortunately, I haven’t been able to make them all work. I wish I had more time to develop new sports programme to involve wider community, create a project tackling the youth unemployment, which is a huge problem over there and perhaps find ways to bring even more young people into the Center. Maybe next time. For now, I am happy and grateful for the experience. I have learned a lot and had wonderful time in Rwanda, the beautiful country on the rise to prosperity.
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.