Category Archives: Post-Conflict

Refugee Youth- Why the Silence

The city, known for its diverse population from many countries and cultures, is home to various exemplary youth initiatives that offer social services, cultural programs or sport activities in their respective communities. With a big migrant population and so many vibrant youth initiatives, Friday’s panel on “Youth Migration: Why the Silence” side event held during the Global Conference on Cities and Migration could not have wished for a better setting.

The side event discussed the social and economic risks and opportunities of young migrants and ways on how to improve the social capital and economic integration of youth. Youth in audience had a good chance to listen and learn from best practices and experiences of the distinguished panelists in a discussion guided by Sharmaarke Abdullahi, Programme Management Officer at UN-Habitat’s Youth Unit and Livelihood Unit.

In her keynote speech, Emine Bozkurt, former Dutch member of the European Parliament and daughter of Turkish immigrants, reported how the situation in the Netherlands changed since the arrival of her parents in the 1970s. “Back then, my family was welcomed with music and joy, as labor force was desperately needed.”

In contrast, today European politics seek to discourage people from entering the European territory. Behind this agenda, the stories, wishes, hopes and desperations of individual youth fade away. Migrants are regarded as an anonymous part of a mass phenomenon.

This approach dehumanizes  individuals’ need labeling third and fourth generation migrants as foreigners in their home country. To overcome this situation, Mrs. Bozkurt highlighted the importance of creating opportunities for migrants to participate in civil service positions to contribute in serving the society.. She also indicated that “Ownership, participation, dialogue and creating a sense of belonging are key components to fostering a welcoming spirit among host communities to migrants.

For many communities, an unexpected increase of newcomers often creates new challenges, especially when it comes to spatial integration. In his research, Professor Frank Eckardt from the Bauhaus University Weimar focuses on the spatial integration of refugees and migrants in urban areas.Professor Frank Eckardt identifies three options for city planners to create sufficient housing:

1 Build own houses for refugees; 2) Build new houses in socially diverse areas and provide space for refugees and the local population; 3) Integrate refugees in existing social housing structures.

All options are practiced in Germany, however, Eckardt identified five factors that are crucial for their success:

1) Access to education; 2) A good learning and playing environment for children; 3) An environment that provides emotional support and social control – for young migrants, families often provide this environment; 4) A concentration of migrations in one area must be socially and culturally accepted by the neighbors. Eckardt warns to place migrants in areas with a strong history of xenophobia; finally,
5) The community must identify positive role models, communicate success stories of migrants or refugees and show that a successful integration benefits the community as a whole.

Ahmed Ulla, a young Rohingya-Canadian, shifted the attention from practical guidelines for integration to the challenges he faced when becoming a refugee himself. He grew up in a rich household in Myanmar, but became a refugee when his family was forced to flee to Bangladesh when their life came under threat.

With his father killed, his mother traumatized and all the family possessions lost, his life turned upside down. Fortunately, in 2009 he was resettled to Canada and had the opportunity to start over.

Ahmed Ulla gave insight into the feelings and challenges he faced when he arrived in Canada. He did not know the language and he entered a society, whose way of life he had never imaged to exist nor to have. But, he wanted to take the opportunity he received and build up a new life for himself – with success. Today, he has become an active member in his community. When hundreds of thousands of Rohingya flew Myanmar in August 2017, he launched a campaign in Canada to raise awareness to the situation of his fellow Rohingya in Myanmar and Bangladesh and called upon the Canadian Government to step up and help the Rohingya people. The Canadian Government agreed to match every dollar raised.

Kader Sevinç, member of the Turkish CHP and the European Socialists and Democrat’s presidency, underscored the need for richer countries to step up their support for the millions of migrants that are living under severe conditions in many developing countries. “Especially Europe should do more to support the three million migrants in Turkey and the refugees suffering in Libyan camps,” said Kader Sevinç She called for a more active debate in the European public about the responsibility Europeans have to support people in need. She emphasized the need for more local and national government to reject the anti-migration populism that has led to a severe restriction of refugee’s opportunities to find support in Europe and for non-Western migrants to integrate in European societies.

“The aggressive debate about refugees and immigrants that has taken hold of European politics in the last years has led to distinction between “good” and “bad” migrants in the last years,” said Jonas Freist-Held, European representative in the Youth Advisory Board of UN-Habitat adding that “the rights of refugees (e.g. the right to family reunification) have been restricted in the past two years and measures to prevent refugees from crossing Europe’s external borders increased throughout the last two years. At the same time, migrants that do not qualify for asylum have been discredited and labelled as criminals that illegally entered the European Union. Whereas refugees are considered as “good”, because their reasons to come to Europe are considered as legitimate by most people, irregularly arriving migrants have been labelled as “bad” as their reasons to come to Europe are considered illegitimate. This distinction has been enforced by the public debate and political decisions and created an atmosphere of hostility against many people that come to Europe in hope for a better future. “

The individual stories, wishes or hopes of human beings have become irrelevant. This climate poses a challenge to integrate migrants and refugees at the community level. Especially for young migrants, it is difficult to become an active community member in a society that is hostile to their presence.

The different inputs and discussions highlighted what stereotypes and prejudices migrants face, what needs and hopes they have and what impact the public debate has on the capability of communities to successfully integrate newcomers.

To successfully integrate migrants and refugees at the local level, essential challenges such as housing, language, education and labor market participation have were addressed. The panel discussion provided a platform to share different experiences that are relevant to develop policies and activities that facilitate the integration of (young) migrants and refugees in cities at this time when UN-Habitat advocates to #LeaveNoOneBehind.

Advertisements

Call for applications Global Urban Peace Labs: Colombia Urban Youth Fund project

Paz for Colombia

DEADLINE for submissions: 6th July 2017
DURATION: from July to December 2017

Are you a youth-led organization in Colombia or a Servicio Nacional De Aprendizaje (SENA) apprentice or alumni? Does your organization have an innovative youth leadership model or idea on promoting peace and resilience in cities in Colombia? Is your youth-led organization non-political and non-religious? Does your project aim to promote peace through, but not limited to;

  1. Improving the livelihood of the community and target groups?
  2. Creating jobs or promoting entrepreneurship towards peace and resilience?
  3. Providing ICT driven solutions towards peace building and resilience?
  4. Building peace and resilience through research and training?
  5. Sports and development or creating safe spaces for dialogue towards peace building and resilience?
  6. Building peace and resilience through Art and Culture?
  7. Encouraging/involving youth in governance and governance structures?

Does your project have a keen focus on reintegrating Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) members or integrating vulnerable communities and target groups including young women and men in difficult conditions?

Then, Servicio Nacional De Aprendizaje (SENA) and United Nations Human Settlement Programme (UN-Habitat) have a great platform for you!

SENA and UN-Habitat are excited to launch the call for applications for the Global Urban Peace Labs programme. This is a grant program that will make an enormous contribution to the peace building process and will provide a platform for young people to develop their potential to serve as catalysts, implementer’s and partners in building a peaceful, more productive and resilient Colombia. This will be achieved not only through the demobilization of former youth combatants part of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia but also providing opportunities to SENA apprentices and the victims of the armed conflict to provide models towards contributing to peace and resilience in Colombia.

We are happy to hear from you!

Please visit the Frequently Asked Questions page which will guide you through the application requirements.

For SENA apprentices and alumni please submit your ideas and models through: https://goo.gl/forms/rAgFCDVi2CbTTIIx1 before or on 6th July 2017 to be eligible for a grant.

For non-SENA apprentices and alumni please submit your ideas and models through: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfX0QKqoKfKc-G45_dF-zksCZFsF62AGI1jmzT__S9Xc0wWVA/viewform?usp=sf_link  before or on 6th July 2017 to be eligible for a grant.

Please remember to attach the necessary documents to the indicated email addresses including the budget

Celebrating Somali Youth Day: Teenage soccer player Jibril Kafi Ahmed has his eyes on the prize despite challenges facing Somalia

Our second featured interview to celebrate the Somali Youth Day is with a football enthusiast Ahmed. He too, is a member of Mogadishu One Stop Youth Center, who values the space as a place to to play, learn and grow. UN-Habitat recognizes the importance of public spaces to practice sports and interact with peers and this is why:

Sixteen-year-old Jibril Kafi Ahmed is a budding soccer player, who is already making a mark in his country Somalia, despite the instability caused by years of war.

Growing up in his neighborhood, in the capital’s Yaqshid district, Ahmed was denied the opportunity for normal upbringing, as he was confined indoors, due to insecurity caused by terror group Al-Shabaab.

Sounds of gunfire and explosions were a common feature of his childhood; while the sound of a bouncing football that he so much craved was just a mirage.

The challenges of growing up in a violent environment did not dim his desire to be a soccer player. As he grew older and as the security situation in Somalia improved, he started playing soccer.

Now a member of the ‘Mogadishu One Stop Youth Centre’, which engages youth in sports, Ahmed finds himself in an enviable position, to advance his dreams.

The high school student, who cuts a lanky figure, says being a member of a sports team such as the ‘Mogadishu One Stop Youth Centre’ comes with many benefits. And so does sports, which he adds, promotes a healthy lifestyle, and is a great platform for promoting peace and unity in society.

The shy youth, who would have been lured into crime, had he not joined the Centre, is a testimony that positive living produces great dividends.

“I appeal to the youth who are with Al-Shabaab or other militant groups to quit and join the government forces”, Ahmed says, in his message to youth who have joined criminal gangs such as terror group Al Shabaab.

“I plead with them to stop harming people because the country needs them. I also plead with them to stop fighting, as it does not add value to their lives”, he says.

Since joining the ‘Mogadishu One Stop Youth Centre’, Ahmed’s his life has changed for the better.

“I look forward to playing for one of the top clubs in Europe”, he concludes during an interview.

The young man is unfazed by the instability in his country and has hopes to excel as an athlete and join the hall of fame, like Somalia born Olympian gold medalist Mo Farrah.

The ‘Mogadishu One Stop Youth Centre’ is an initiative led by UN-Habitat with the Banaadir Regional Administration (BRA) as part of the Youth Employment Somalia programme.

Celebrating Somali Youth Day: Youthful Najmo Sa’eed Mire’s hope for peaceful co-existence in Somalia lies in sports

To celebrate the Somali Youth Day (15th May), UN-Habitat would like to highlight interviews with two young Somalis – beneficiaries of the Mogadishu One Stop Youth Centre, an initiative between the Banaadir Regional Administration (BRA) and UN-Habitat, which equips youth with vocational skills.

Najmo Sa’eed Mire strongly believes sport is the pathway to nurturing engaged youth and extols the immense power of sport in promoting peace and erasing clan differences, which continue to bedevil Somalia.

“Sports will help unite the people and once there is unity you have peace,” said Najmo, a twenty-one year old resident of Warta-nabada district in the Somali capital Mogadishu.

“Sports has a positive impact and both men and women can take part. It knows no borders,” she observed.

Najmo also noted that sports is capable of enhancing unity and discouraging youth from joining violent extremist organizations, blamed for the country’s security challenges.

Her great love for sports, illustrated in her participation in a cheering squad, during a football match at the Mogadishu One Stop Centre, explains her deep conviction in the positive attributes of sports.

With relative peace in the capital city, many youth are able to engage in various sporting activities. At the height of the biting drought, the youth have gone a step further and pulled resources to help communities affected by drought.

“As students we did our best to contribute to drought victims with the support of our teachers. In our neighborhoods, we collected money and other items for drought victims living in Garasbaley area and Yaqshid district. This was possible because sports brought us together and unified us,” Najmo explained.

While raising a white card to peace in Somalia, she appealed to the youth to take sports and education seriously and stay away from crime.

“I urge my fellow youths to reject crime and other unlawful activities and choose sports instead to help promote peace, love and unity. Together we shall succeed,” she says.

Najmo looks forward to the day when armed militia who kill and maim with reckless abandon, will dispose of their weapons and join peace-loving Somalis, in promoting peace through sports and other social activities.

“Youths do love sports. If the youth can agree on the type of sport they want to play, they can as well agree to unite and promote peace, which is good for the nation,” Najmo adds.

Global Survey of Youth-led Peacebuilding Organizations and Initiatives

UNOY Peacebuilders and Search for Common Ground have been working with the  Secretariat for the Progress Study on Youth, Peace and Security to develop a global survey of youth-led peacebuilding organizations and initiatives.

The purpose is to map youth organizations and initiatives building peace and preventing violence, to identify what they are doing, what impact they have made and their needs and goals for the future.

The survey will be one of the key ways of collecting data for the Progress Study on Youth, Peace and Security, forming a direct way for young people to have their work represented in the study. It will also be used to create a publicly available database of consenting youth peacebuilding organizations and initiatives.

Does your organization fit the following?

  • Youth-led: The organization or initiative is primarily made up of, and driven by (including leadership positions) young people. Resolution 2250 defines young people as falling within the age range of 18-29 years old, while taking into account the variations of defining the youth that may exist in different contexts.
  • Working on peace and security: Implementing actions that aim to build peace, prevent violence, transform conflict and actively contribute to establish sustainable peace in their community, nation or region.

If so, please take part in the survey! https://www.youth4peace.info/survey

The survey is composed of 5 sectons which include areas of work and methods, results and impact, challenges and issues, and recommendations. it will take around around 30 min to complete the survey.

If you have any questions about the survey, please write to survey@unoy.org

 

 

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

aisa-kirabo-kacyira

 

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.

12342631_10153710364821420_8317603267737218743_n

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.

 

12376093_1076593065726901_5253299658716836960_n

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

Youth and Conflict

UN-Habitat´s work in engaging youth as positive stakeholders in fragile states is developing strategies to engage in national youth policies in Somalia and Afghanistan. Part of the discussions are with the Secretary-General´s Envoy on Youth, the World Bank and Search For Common Ground on how to ensure the trickle-down effect of seeing youth as assets and not as troublemakers. There is a growing recognition globally that youth can play a positive role in building peace even in the most fragile of states.  We have seen both in Somalia and Afghanistan government and youth working together to craft national policies and develop programmes that assure youth’s engagement in governance. In the Democratic Republic of Congo youth and peacebuilding centres are being established based on the successful Kimisigara One Stop Youth Resource Centre in Kigali, Rwanda. The discussion in New York highlighted different models of youth engagement in peacebuilding in fragile states, with the goal to initiating a discussion on the factors that go into creating successful initiatives, and what the roles of youth, local and national governments, and the UN have in supporting these.

 

Amman Youth Declaration Calls For Action From Local Governments On Peacebuilding

conference logo
August 22, 2015
After many months consultations and engaging youth globally, the Amman Youth Declaration  was adopted by the over 400 youth delegates attending the Global Forum on Youth, Peace and Security held in Amman, Jordan on August 21/22, 2015. The Declaration is the first of its kind to address youth and peacebuilding issues.
The Declaration calls for the full engagement of youth and youth-led organizations in issues of peace and security. Unique to the declaration is its strong focus on local authorities. As UN-Habitat has often stated, the first port of call for youth is local government; the inclusion of this in the Declaration is a strong step towards assuring the achievement of the proposed actions.
The Declaration makes a calls on local authorities, in partnership with other levels of government,  to undertake the following:
  1. Facilitate an enabling environment in which youth actors are recognised and provided with adequate support to implement violence prevention activities. This space must be inclusive of young men and women from different social, political, economic, ethnic and religious backgrounds.
  2. Recognize and support what young people are already doing in preventing violence and violent extremism. Governments at all levels should build upon the existing capacities, networks and resources of young people in their countries and communities, as well as at the international level.
  3.  Ensure that contextual research is conducted in collaboration with young people and youth organizations to identify the drivers and enablers of violence and extremism in order to design effective responses at local, national and international levels
  4. Establish mechanisms to meaningfully involve youth in current and future peace processes, including formal peace negotiations from the local to the global levels. These mechanisms need to ensure youth are engaged as equal partners and promote youth leadership.
  5. Establish temporary special measures, including minimum quotas, for the participation of girls and women in all decision- and policy-making levels.

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

The final wrap up included a statement from the Envoy who declared that he will “continue to advocate for youth to have a seat at the peace negotiation table.”

CNBHomrUkAMOugD
“Words are not enough, action has to happen,” Jordan Minister of Foreign Affairs on being given Amman Declaration.
Screenshot 2015-08-22 15.53.08
#Youth4Peace, we have finally adopted the Amman Declaration, well done youth of the World. — Francine Muyumba (@Muyumba)

Peacebuilding through Sports: Engaging the youth of Somalia

Youth represent the most vibrant section of the society, they play a pivotal role in socio- economic changes and development of the society. A nation can only progress when the energy of the youth is channelled towards constructive work. Young people in Somalia love sports, they love to watch sports and more so, they love to play sports.

However, they have very few opportunities to do so – poor sports infrastructure, lack of sports facilities, limited organized sport activities, lack of capacity and lack of sufficient support both nationally and internationally leave many to stay on the passive side. But it’s not all so gloomy as there are enough enthusiastic people in and out of Somalia willing to work hard to change this.

With the help of international partners, young men and women across Somalia strive to create their own sport activities as well as participate in available sports training programmes focused on peer education, first aid and sports injuries, refereeing and coaching. As Said Warsame from Puntland, one of the participants of training organized by Norwegian Peoples Aid Somalia, (Galkayo Education Centre for Peace and Development (GECPD Somalia) and CHRISC Kenya said:

“I have been to different workshops where topics such as HIV and AIDS were taught but this is the first time I have learnt new methods whereby I can use fun and games to pass different information instead of relying on workshops and seminars. This seems effective since it encourages participation and involvement. With this new knowledge I plan to use it to educate my fellow youth and at the same time have fun through sports”.

It was in 2005 when the value of sport was identified as an essential peacebuilding mechanism by the international development community. In post conflict countries, peace and stability are fragile but sport can undoubtedly help in peacebuilding and development initiatives when used wisely and strategically but we cannot expect it to do the magic without guidance as sport is by nature a contest. Expecting sport to restore the normality without any further effort would be foolish.

Sport can also serve as a fantastic tool for social and gender inclusion. Girls and women often do not have the same access to services and opportunities. Young people with physical or mental disabilities are also frequently excluded from everyday community life because of stereotypes and prejudices that accompany them. The social exclusion often felt by vulnerable communities can be challenged through sports as it offers a space, where everybody is welcomed to participate, regardless of their age, gender, or ability. It is an adaptable activity, where rules can be altered to community needs, especially if it is for having fun and attaining joy. Rules are created to give directions, not to prevent people from participation.

Re-building the country starts with the youth and sport can be a useful entry point for social change as it represents a great tool to mobilize, empower and engage young people to do just that. It brings people together, which is particularly important in a country like Somalia. It can teach them a thing or two about leadership, conflict resolution, fair-play and communication – transferable skills crucial for life outside the game as well.

While the country is on its way to recovery and reconstruction, the lack of safe and accessible sport infrastructure, qualified coaches, trained professionals with capacity to establish organized sport activities and sufficient equipment, remain a challenge. Through its Urban Sports Programme, UN-HABITAT is thus looking into possibilities to partner with the Government as well as local youth organizations and groups to tackle these issues and thus support urban and community development in Somalia.

 

147 Dreams – #147NotJustANumber #Garissa

garissa vigil

On April 2nd, 2015 four gunmen stormed into Garissa University College, in Garissa, Kenya and took students hostage for hours of panic and pain. This was the deadliest terrorist attack in Kenya since 1998, killing 147 students, and injuring many others.

Today the UN family gathered in a vigil to honor those lives taken away.

147 is not just a number. They were daughters and sons, they were brothers and sisters, they were friends, more than anything they were human beings who were pursuing their education to fulfill their dreams, their hopes and aspirations.

The shocking images of that bloody Thursday will haunt us, and will be sadly remembered.  The reckless attack on university students was a direct attack on the future of Kenya. Those 147 young people killed are no longer able to contribute their talents neither to fulfilling their dreams.

The barbaric attack took away from Kenya 147 unique opportunities. Those youth will no longer grow to become doctors, or teachers, lawyers or musicians, will not become engineers neither politicians. 147 lives cut short, 147 dreams terminated before they had the chance to make a difference.

That is why today the UN family in Nairobi united in their honor. We want to remember the victims not just as another tragic number, but recognize their lives and stories and honor their passions and their dreams.

The vigil hosted today at the United Nations Campus in Gigiri, Nairobi was accompanied by Andrew Cox, UN-Habitat Chief of Staff and James Ohayo, President of the UN Nairobi Staff Union.

1X9A2466

The Secretary General’s Envoy on Youth Ahmad Alhendawi sent his message of condolence, but as well expressed strong support for the people of Kenya in their time of need.

The vigil was an opportunity for staff members to pay respect to the young men and women whose lives were so needlessly cut short, remembering the bereaved families and praying for the recovery and emotional restoration of those who were injured, as well as hundreds of students who were traumatized by this heinous and despicable attack.

1X9A2440

147 is not just a number, today the UN honor the loss of 147 dreams.