Tag Archives: Innovation

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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

Launching #UrbanAction in Quito

In October 2016, the world leaders and representatives of the member states will gather in Quito, Ecuador to adopt the New Urban Agenda, a brand new road map to deal with all urban issues and a guide to achieving SDGs particularly in the urban context. For the first time in history, young people were recognized as stakeholders in the drafting process and are frequently referred to throughout the document. That is why UN-HABITAT wants young people to be placed in the front line of the action that will follow. Acknowledging young people’s enormous potential and capacity, UN-HABITAT works with top global youth networks to ensure that Quito marks the beginning of the youth “#UrbanAction”.

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What is #Urban Action?

#UrbanAction is a global campaign calling on young people to actively engage in positive urban development. Youth groups, organizations and individuals alike will be encouraged to design and develop #UrbanAction projects in their city that build on the commitments outlined in the New Urban Agenda, and positively contribute to achieving one (or more) of the SDGs. We aim to implement over 150 youth projects related to New Urban Agenda and SDGs within the first year of NUA adoption.

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Why Youth?

Youth represent an essential and dynamic resource. Globally, 85% of the world’s young people live in developing countries and ever-increasing number of them is growing up in cities. We have the largest youth population ever – 1.8 billion young people are below 24 years of age. This is not a small number and as such, youth should be brought on-board as partners and assets.

Youth participation and engagement is the cornerstone of the #UrbanAction, empowering them to increase their level of engagement in local governance and activate their participation in sustainable urban development activities socially, politically and economically. Sustainable development cannot be achieved without significantly transforming the way we build and manage our urban spaces. The success lies in participatory and inclusive approaches that leave no-one behind.

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While Quito will mark the launch of the #Urban Action, with first few project ideas implemented, the real work comes after Habitat III is over. Coordinated through the AIESEC international network and other partners, youth all over the world will commit and implement their #UrbanAction projects in their cities, in line with the New Urban Agenda and one (or more) of the SDGs. Join #UrbanAction today!

Youth Joining Voices with PrepCom3 Multi-Stakeholder Delegates

Written by Ying Gao, edited by Jasdeep Randhawa

#H3Youth kept up the momentum built after the huge success of WUYM and other youth parallel event(s) at PrepCom3.  Their activities were in good cooperation with the broader multi-stakeholder groups who worked hard to bring about a more inclusive New Urban Agenda with an eye toward its implementation, monitoring and evaluation.  Youth groups voiced their staunch and great support for cities and local governments, as well as for the Right to the City initiative, together with the broader civil society and advocates for local governments.  Youth activists with disability linked up with stakeholder group(s) to lobby with great effectiveness to mainstream important considerations for people with disability and those living in extreme poverty in urban settings.

Two official side events at PrepCom3, both on 27 July 2016, gave centre stage to discuss youth empowerment and contribution in the sustainable and inclusive urban agenda.  The first was “Prioritizing Children & Youth Within the New Urban Agenda” that brought together youth representatives, development partners (including UN-Habitat), and child centred agencies such as World Vision International.  The session emphasized the critical need of the youth to unite and work together in partnership with local authorities and partners.

The second was “Civic and Youth Participation in the Wired Age” made up of city governments, network of cities (CityNet), private sector companies, youth inclusive initiative (Block by Block), data initiatives Pulse Lab Jakarta (part of UN’s big data labs), among others.  Here, Microsoft Indonesia’s Ruben Hattari cautioned PrepCom3 participants that all the new technology in cities could go to waste in the absence of a people-centered approach and engagement with citizens, especially the next generation.  Youth contributed with lively Q&A from the floor, saying that social inclusion should be ensured in technologies and city development.  It was another demonstration of just how youth engagement in urban policy issues should work.

 

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On the Road to Quito and Beyond

Going forward, UN-Habitat will support youth groups in their last one mile on the road towards Quito, and their journey beyond the New Urban Agenda.

We urge governments to accept youth as development partner – working together with cities and local governments, and ALL urban actors – in achieving the New Urban Agenda and meeting the SDG’s, especially SDG 11.

So, thank you so much Surabaya!  Congratulations to all youth leaders who contributed to PrepCom3 last week!  Don’t forget to get ready for Quito – and beyond!

#GSUYR 2015/16 Research Results Presented to Youth at PrepCom3

Written by Ying Gao, edited by Jasdeep Randhawa

UN-Habitat Youth Unit team also launched the early results of its Global State of Urban Youth Report (GSUYR) 2015/16.  GSUYR 2015/16’s theme tackled the issue of rising urban inequalities. “Urban Equity and Youth Development” was the topic.

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With hashtag #GSUYR, WUYM’s youth participants in Surabaya and other cities joined in.  They conducted focus group discussions (FGD’s) to deepen the understanding of economic, political, social and cultural and environmental inequity issues in their own cities.  As a result, the research team received much-needed input from the youth.  The team is looking forward to launching the GSUYR 2015/16 report officially at Habitat III in Quito, Ecuador.

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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!

 

 

 

 

Social entrepreneurship for youth development

 

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Image courtesy GE

Young people at 1.8 billion (per UN) are some of the biggest contributors of human capital in the world. We have a role to play in our own development as well as the development of our communities. This has resulted in us being increasingly recognized as key participants in decision-making and development processes.

However with an increasing rise in population, there is a rise in youth unemployment. Almost 75 million young people are unemployed worldwide (per ILO).  With education being increasingly unaffordable for most youth, especially in Asia, the ability to be employed in a sector of their preference is quite low. In such instances, social enterprise has been seen to change the status quo, offering the ability to change lives while creating revenue.

Social entrepreneurship is not a new phenomenon, but it has risen to prominence over the past decades. Ashoka’s definition of social entrepreneurship as “catalysts of system wide social change” excludes a greater part of young people below the age of 18 as a majority of youth-led initiatives are not making “system wide change.”

However, youth led social enterprises have been creating changes that have being changing systems indirectly for years. Youth social entrepreneurial ventures, young people’s ideas and energy can contribute meaningfully in community building, social change and leadership skills, while facilitating their own development.

In South Asia, Mangrove based social enterprises have created over 5000 employment opportunities while conserving the environment by advocating for alternative livelihoods of the like of eco-tourism and organic farming. In Sri Lanka, Mangroves were officially protected and conserved through legislation in 2015 through a Presidential declaration by the current president. Such changes in legislation can be achieved when young people have been able to contribute through long-term action.

In India, youth led solar power social enterprises are changing the face of the power struggle seen in rural villages, with villagers gaining a monetary income through grid contribution. This also results in the end of the vicious cycle of bribing for power connections.

Therefore using social entrepreneurship as a tool to support youth development would result in more innovative and more sustainable community held solutions for social issues. This turn would lead to more equitable and more habitable world for all of us, man and animal alike due to the environmental and social harmony created through social enterprise. In my capacity as a UN-Habitat Youth Advisory Board Representative for Asia, I will advocate for social entrepreneurship in urban interventions to empower young people to address our “wicked challenges” through new tools and mechanisms.

Author: Anoka Primrose Abeyrathne, UN-HABITAT Youth Advisory Board

 

 

El nacimiento de una nueva ciudadanía en México

Written by: Badi Zárate Khalili, Youth Advisory Member – Latin America and the Caribbean

Andrea viene montada en su bicicleta, apresurada con el viento sobre su cara que disfruta cada mañana al salir de casa. Está ansiosa por llegar a su destino y piensa que el estar protegiéndose de los autos que avanzan rápidamente a muy poca distancia de su bicicleta, le está restando tiempo y la hacen sentir amenazada. En ocasiones, Andrea prefiere tomar el transporte público; lo espera un cuarto de hora y viaja en el por otra hora más hasta llegar a unas cuadras de su oficina. Cada recorrido en este transporte es una aventura: el fuerte ruido del motor, las personas que se sujetan con todas sus fuerzas para no caer en el arranque, los señores adultos que duermen con tanta tranquilidad en el barullo y las chicas que con una habilidad única, se maquillan a la perfección. En ambos recorridos, Andrea ve a la gente apresurada por llegar a sus trabajos y escuelas con sus hijos o portafolios tomados de la mano, ve paisajes contrastantes de pobreza y de alta riqueza y se admira por la belleza de aquellas pequeñas zonas que se encuentra con algún arbolado. Aunque su recorrido de hoy parece el mismo al cotidiano, su destino no lo es.

Después de todas las aventuras urbanas diarias que ella conoce a la perfección, se encuentra frente a un edificio pequeño de la época moderna de su ciudad.  Este edificio parece estar acostumbrado al pasar de eventos culturales y al jugar de los ancianos por las tardes, pero no hoy, hoy el edificio le ha dado la bienvenida a una dinámica distinta que desconcierta a la joven.

Al asomarse un poco hacia adentro del salón, se percata que al fondo de la sala central han colgado una pancarta que dice: “¿Cómo la quieres? Bienvenido a la construcción de tu ciudad”. Esto desconcierta a Andrea, quien con una mezcla de sentimientos se pregunta a sí misma: ¿Cómo la quiero? ¿Cómo quiero mi ciudad? Nadie jamás me había preguntado tal cosa.

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Al igual que Andrea, nos sentimos la gran mayoría de los ciudadanos de los centros urbanos de México. Nuestras ciudades han desarrollado un modelo de crecimiento que no favorece la creación de una ciudadanía propositiva y empoderada, ha generado grandes masas urbanas sin un orden planificado y altamente improductivas, donde los que sufren la ciudad, quienes encaran las batallas que les impone este modelo y son la sangre misma que mantiene viva a los espacios, no tienen voz. Este modelo comienza a caer ante iniciativas como la que el Instituto Metropolitano de Planeación del Área Metropolitana de Guadalajara (IMEPLAN) está impulsando para la construcción del Programa de Desarrollo Metropolitano, a la que Andrea ha asistido el día de hoy.

Andrea se sienta en una mesa con una variedad de personas que jamás habría imaginado juntas, mientras escucha las indicaciones de un moderador que habla mientras camina entre las mesas. Este hombre explica que vivimos en una zona metropolitana integrada por nueve municipios que necesitan coordinarse como una sola ciudad, como un solo cuerpo. También explica que el día de hoy, entre todos elaborarán el programa que asegurará que para el año 2042, cuando conmemoren 500 años de la fundación de Guadalajara, la ciudad en la que vivan, será la ciudad que entre todos habrán construido. Y así, comienza una rica conversación de Andrea, con los demás miembros de la mesa, sobre aquello en lo que la ciudad flaquea, sus oportunidades para mejorar y la contribución que cada uno está dispuesto a hacer para lograr la ciudad que sueñan.

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Este espacio de interacción y discusión en los barrios de la ciudad es uno de los tres métodos que construyen el Programa de Desarrollo Metropolitano de Guadalajara. La planeación participativa diseñada por el IMEPLAN, incluye espacios donde los vecinos de las distintas colonias podrán interactuar con sus conciudadanos y juntos hacer propuestas, espacios donde especialistas discuten, priorizan y generan estrategias sobre la agenda metropolitana y finalmente, una plataforma virtual que recibe comentarios de personas que prefieran hacerlo por la vía digital.

Al final de la sesión Andrea se acerca al moderador y con un rostro radiante entrega un formulario donde ha plasmado propuestas para cambios que son necesarios hacer, pero más importante aún, sonríe porque ha comprendido que la ciudad que le ha dado tanto, ahora requiere de ella y que su transformación sólo será posible cuando todos actúen activamente.

Así como Andrea, todos los que habitamos esta metrópoli y el resto de las ciudades en México, estamos listos para olvidar los límites que nos han separado e impedido colaborar anteriormente, ansiosos de ser parte de un proceso donde cada uno encuentra su espacio y decididos a que finalmente, es tiempo de  convertirnos en verdaderos ciudadanos, donde tu voz, mi voz y la de todos nosotros, resonará en los anales de la historia urbana de nuestro país.

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After the quake

Written By: Ying Gao

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In the week of 24 April 2016, Nepal marked an important moment.  It was the first anniversary of the great earthquake.[1]  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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

During the week, UN-Habitat also presented the recently published Switched On: Youth at the Heart of Sustainable Development in Asia and the Pacific to Nepal Ministry of Youth and Sports.

[1] 24 April 2016 was the anniversary date in Nepali calendar.  Internationally, 25 April 2016 is the day.

Being an Intern in Rwanda – Story by Mina Lee

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.

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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!

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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.

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Launch of the Colombia Urban Youth Fund Window and Project Management Training Workshop 2016

Written by: Judith Mulwa

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.

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