Sports

What’s next for EAC & UN-HABITAT?

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With the finals played on Saturday, it is safe to say that the East Africa Cup 2015 has been a huge success. It was the first time UN-HABITAT has been present and we couldn’t have been more thrilled about the experience. Our Youth & Urbanization workshop was amazing, a creative space where excellent ideas and action plans were born. Tough topic to discuss, perhaps a little challenging too, but the young participants mastered it so well, making us super proud. Some of them stepped up the game even more, leaving their comfort zones and overcoming their own fears from public speaking in English when presenting their work and strategies. Well done!

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It wasn’t just our workshop that left us happy – the whole event was inspiring! Seeing hundreds of kids and young people playing and having fun while learning skills they wouldn’t pick up in formal education, was priceless. EAC is a testimony on how sport can help with capacity building, personal development and social change. It is fantastic mobilizing tool that can simultaneously teach a thing or two in a fun way. One week in Moshi definitely leaves a long lasting positive impact on the communities involved.

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For UN-HABITAT, EAC represents a great arena for youth & community development and we have identified three ways of how we can contribute to support this wonderful event and the amazing organizations behind it.

  1. Since most of the participants come from challenging urban settings, the need for our Youth & Urbanization workshop is rather obvious. Young people need to know they can play important role in finding solutions to some of the urban challenges and we should strive to empower them to do so. For next year, we will try to bring an additional facilitator to reach even more young people. We can also add other thematic workshops that could be useful for the young participants or organize a training of trainers to expand the pool of facilitators able to deliver the urban challenges workshop worldwide.
  2. EAC has been working with youth groups from Somalia for couple years now. There is a possibility to join our efforts on advancing our initiatives in Somalia, building on our individual experiences and expertise.
  3. UN-HABITAT has a great network of motivated and inspirational young people globally and can support EAC to expand to other corners of the world.

Being part of East Africa Cup 2015 has been extremely valuable for UN-HABITAT and for our new Urban Sports Programme. We take the experience, the knowledge and the spirit and try to build on it to advance our work with young people worldwide. We hope that this is just a beginning of a long-lasting partnership and we cannot wait to be involved next year again.

 

Young people rocking the Youth & Urbanization Workshop at East Africa Cup

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Every morning, 46 participants from different communities in Arusha, Tanzania and Nairobi, Kenya (Dandora) join the Youth & Urbanization workshop organized and run by the UN-HABITAT. For two hours a day, they work in small groups on assessing their communities and towns in terms of sports equipment and facilities using various participatory methodologies.

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The interactive workshop is structured in three parts. Firstly, young people work on mapping their communities. They draw a map of their community and mark the existing landmarks and sports facilities. They discuss and make a wish-list of sports infrastructure that they would like to have. At the end, they are asked to find a space where they think these new facilities could be placed, using their community maps.

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In the second part, they work on their road maps. They think about the current and future scenarios more critically. They discuss the challenges they have and the roots of these problems. They paint the ideal scenario that they would like to see in the future and try to identify enablers – what is going to help them to achieve their dreamt vision. Ultimately, they are guided to come up with action points to bridge the problems with the goals.

On the last day, they will explain the current situation to wider audience and present their strategies to reach their goals.

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The workshops have been a great fun. The energy and ideas of the participants was fantastic, giving is a lot to think about and a lot to work on. The direct consultations with young people are priceless for the UN-HABITAT and we appreciate the enthusiasm that these young people put into this. We can’t wait to see the follow up actions and the first steps of the community change!

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UN-HABITAT at East Africa Cup 2015

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UN-Habitat is extremely proud and delighted to be present at this years’ edition of the East Africa Cup. As a new partner, UN-Habitat organizes and runs daily workshops on Youth & Urbanization with young people from different communities in East Africa region. 

East Africa Cup kicked off today in beautiful Moshi, Tanzania, just under the Kilimanjaro Mountain. With close to 2000 participants, dozens of organizations behind the steering wheel and great number of volunteers, it is the biggest sport for development event in Africa.

Young people from different communities in Tanzania, Kenya, Zambia and Uganda come for a week of fun, learning and sharing in a vibrant multicultural environment. Boys and girls compete in football, volleyball and sitting volleyball competitions while learning about leadership, urbanization challenges, AIDS prevention or conflict resolution. The evenings are set for cultural exchanges with young people performing, dancing and singing all while making new friendships across the borders.

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The EAC organizers remember the bigger picture too, running first aid, safeguarding, coaching and media training sessions prior to the event. This way, so many more young people and community leaders can be involved in the event, even though playing football or volleyball may not be their thing. The diversity of people present is electric and present and excellent opportunity to share experiences and form new partnerships. UN-Habitat is really excited to be invited into this family and is ready to play an active part in successful execution of EAC 2015.

20150624_110306[1]To learn more about the East Africa Cup 2015, check http://www.facebook.com/eastafricacup .

 

5 Takeaways from “Empowering Marginalized Youth through Sport” Discussion Forum (Youth Will Campaign)

Youth Will

Last week, five expert panelists from five different countries dedicated their time and knowledge to answer questions related to youth and sport, collected over two days through an online platform Crowdhall. Forum organized as part of the global Youth Will campaign focused on the role of sport in development and peacebuilding. Diverse questions provided for interesting discussions among panelists and the audience. The following are the key takeaway points:

  • What to emphasize when speaking about sport for development

The bottom line is emphasizing sport as a way to empower young people to engage with development. When speaking to young people, we should emphasize the role of sport being a method to release stress and have fun while learning new skills and advancing personal growth. We should always distinguish between elite sport and sport for development initiatives, making it clear that SDP projects are not set to scout for new athletic talent, nor raise future sporting heroes.

  • Inclusion in sport

Sport has the power to connect people in profound ways. Just as it brings people together to play it can also bring them together to kick off conversations, dialogue and awareness-raising. Everyone has the same right to sport, thus inclusion of all regardless of their abilities or gender is a must. It is proven that inclusive programmes are beneficial for all participants as they can help and learn from each other. It promotes mutual understanding, bonds of friendship and lessons of perseverance.

  • Transferable skills youth can learn trough sport

Sport provides invaluable lessons that can apply outside the world of sport. Practice involves exercising body and mind alike. The two are undoubtedly interconnected and that makes sport a unique tool for personal development. In the hectic and highly demanding times of the 21st century, sport acts as an escape from daily hardships, a personal outlet and coping mechanism. Learning how to manage stress, be flexible and adaptable to unforeseen circumstances through play in fun and safe environment is priceless. Today’s labor market requires us to possess skills such as concentration, problem solving, creativity, time-management, networking, overcoming limits and entrepreneurship which are hard to acquire through traditional teaching methods but come almost naturally from practicing sports. On top of that, personal qualities of being respectful and a good team player are accentuated in sport and are highly regarded by employers as well.

  • Importance of space for sport activities

Space is a huge issue when it comes to sport. We have got so used to building specialized courts, pitches and gyms that we almost took the sport and play out of streets. There is no dispute about benefits of having dedicated space with appropriate facilities for practice; however, we should not neglect the benefits of using public spaces for sport as well. Being able to watch someone’s talent and capabilities, understand and accept how space can be used for multiple purposes and enable marginalized groups to have a space for self-expression and self-improvement must be recognized. The issue, however, can also be about lack of space all together such as is often the case in informal settlements. While it is certainly better to have a proper space, a court or a pitch, it is not essential to play. Sport is an adaptable activity that can be altered around the needs and availability. Lack of space should not stop us from exploring alternatives and promoting sport.

  • Power of global sports organizations and promotion of youth sports

International organizations such as FIFA, should collaborate with community organizations and use their name and resources for greater good. However, we must remain cautious with these global power machines that are often driven by profits and ensure that the promotion of sport goes beyond recruitment and training of future elite athletes and corporate gains. It should emphasize inclusion of all youth regardless of talent or gender and be promoted across all borders.

Panelists:

Dana Podmolikova, UN-HABITAT (Czech Republic)

Zachary Turk, Action/2015 (USA)

Nevena Vukasinovic, ENGSO Youth (Serbia)

Hassan Abdikadir, UN-HABITAT (Kenya)

Joanna Burigo, Guerreiras Project/ Gender Hub (Brazil)

 

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Youth as Leaders of Today and Tomorrow

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