Tag Archives: development

Football Pitch Make-over through Design Thinking

A lot was happening in Mlango Kubwa’s football pitch last week. Mlango Kubwa is a ward in the Mathare informal settlement in Kenya. Mathare has approximately 500,000 residence; Mango Kubwa itself has approximately 50,000 residents of which 70% of the population is 24 and under.

After its inauguration by the UN Secretary-General, Mr. Antonio Guterres, it became the centerpiece of Design Thinking workshop organized to give it a sustainable make-over.


The football pitch is the cornerstone of the community, strategically placed and accessible for all Mlango Kubwa’s residents. Used primary for football, sport and play, at times it’s also a place for talent shows, celebrations and other community events. But time, weather conditions and lack of resources have left a toll on its appearance and condition. What was once an astonishing sport facility in the midst of a slum is now rapidly deteriorating public space.


To try to help out and bring new ideas and perspectives on the issue, UN-HABITAT teamed up with GIZ Sport for Development Africa programme and Prof. Dr. Falk Uebernickel from University of St. Gallen, an expert in Design Thinking methodology, to run a 2-day workshop with the community. Ran as a pilot in a difficult context of poor urban community, the hope and expectation was to come up with new strategies to revitalize and sustainably maintain the field.


Despite slow start, the community members attending the workshop came up with some amazing ideas of how to improve the current state of the pitch.  Through rather complex and at times quite challenging steps of the Design Thinking methodology, the community looked at the most pressing issues, including safety and security, drainage, waste management and communication. Here are just few examples of simple interventions that were born that day:

  • Adequate fence around the pitch perimeter, with some kind of roofing to protect from rains
  • Paid caretaker(s)
  • Build-in drainage
  • Regular clean-ups, with competitions between school
  • WhatsApp group to inform the community of events and happenings at/around the pitch


Funding remains a challenge and will determine the successful implementation of all the ideas that the community envisioned for the football pitch but everyone remains hopeful that over time, they will achieve everything what they set themselves for. UN-HABITAT will continue to support the Mlango Kubwa community and hope that together we can make it happen.

For the global urban youth

On April 17th this year in Nairobi, Kenya, UN-Habitat and Urban Youth Academy (UYA) signed a Memorandum of Understanding pertaining to their mutual global cooperation. UYA is a Korea based organization that is aiming to empower global urban youth especially underprivileged youth in developing countries. UYA is also the implementing partner for running a “Lotte Window” for UN-Habitat’s Urban Youth Fund later this year. The Urban Youth Fund “window” is a part of a platform for rising additional funding for the popular youth fund that has proved youth are able to developed innovative solution to urban challenges that they face worldwide.

Lotte shopping, which is the benefactor of the window, is Korea’s undisputed leader in department stores and operates a number of outlets in all major cities across the country. The window will run under the theme “practicing and expanding peace and sustainable development through arts and culture activities”. Ten (10) eligible projects from youth-led groups across Asia will benefit from this funding to implement their creative projects.

David Kim, representative director of UYA, while meeting with Doug Ragan, the head of the Youth Unit at UN-Habitat said, “Through our joint programs, UYA is willing to support the global youth for a better world and to educate unprivileged youth to become ideal global citizens who strive to make a peaceful world”.


International #YouthDay: Join the Twitter discussion!

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On 17 December 1999, in its resolution 54/120, the United Nations General Assembly endorsed the recommendation made by the World Conference of Ministers Responsible for Youth (Lisbon, 8-12 August 1998) that 12 August be declared International Youth Day.

The theme of International Youth Day, 12 August 2015, is “Youth Civic Engagement.” The engagement and participation of youth is essential to achieve sustainable human development. Yet often the opportunities for youth to engage politically, economically and socially are low or non-existent.

On this occasion, The UN Secretary General Envoy on Youth is hosting a Twitter chat, where several UN agencies and civil society organisations will join in on the discussion. So can YOU(th)! Check out the schedule for the thematic chats below, and join in!

The hashtags for the event is #YouthNow and #YouthDay

For regular updates from the discussion, follow: @AhmadAlhendawi, @unhabitatyouth @action2015youth, @restlessdev, @myworld, @MToomeyUN, @undp, @undp4youth, @unhabitat, @unfoundation

Thematic twitter discussions: (times are Eastern Standard Time)

9am-9:30am EST   |   A Chat with Youth and Civil Society on Youth Engagement  

  • Youth and civil society organizations chat about Youth Engagement

9:30am-10:00am EST  |   #AskYouthEnvoy: A Chat with the UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth

  • Ask the SG’s Envoy on Youth about youth-related issues

1:30pm – 2:00pm EST  |  My World: A Future Defined by 5 Million Young People Globally

  • The My World Survey findings explained and elaborated

2:00pm – 2:30pm EST  |   Youth Civic Engagement and the United Nations

  • How can youth engage in the UN?

2:30pm-3pm EST |  Topic: Youth Mobilization for Global Action and Implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

  • How can youth contribute to the implementation of the SDGs?

Log on to twitter.com and contribute, or simply enhance your knowledge about how youth are and can be drivers of positive change around the globe.