Tag Archives: Public Space

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!

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Using Sport as Vehicle to 2030

On Friday August 12th, UN-HABITAT in collaboration with Nexus Brasil hosted a high-level event to discuss the power of sport to drive social change, especially in regards to youth and SDGs. It was a very successful evening, full of inspiring guests and touching stories that left no-one behind (in the spirit of the UN!). We were not only celebrating the beautiful Olympic Games but also the International Youth Day that falls on August 12th as young people are the cornerstones in this agenda.

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Mr. Stephan Fox, the former Muaythai world champions and the current president of AIMS (Alliance of Independent Recognized Members of Sport, representing 23 international federations), vice-president of SportAccord and General Secretary of IFMA (International Federation of Muaythai Amateur) opened the event with his power story of how he works with Muaythai, Thailand’s national treasure, on number of socially responsible initiatives. Using the core values of Muaythai, they work with underprivileged kids to develop their self-confidence, respect and honor and help them grow into their full potential.

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“Respect is key when training in muaythai. You should respect and honor your teacher, opponents, training partners and community. This message we translate to the everyday life” (Mr. Stephan Fox)

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The first Roundtable looked at sport as a tool for peacebuilding, conflict resolution and countering violence. Three very special guests, Mr. Duran Farah (Head of Somali NOC), Mr. Hossam Hassan Gadou (lecturer at Behna university, Egypt) and Rafael F. Luciano (Founder of Artists 2 Advocates) shared their experiences from three very different contexts and angles. The case of Somalia is very unique. It is a country at war for past 25 years and counting, where illiteracy is higher than 62%, where children and young people and especially women have very little opportunities to socialize or to play sports as it is not high enough on political agenda. Yet history has proven that sport is the connector between conflicting groups and is the only thing that is universally liked and appreciated throughout the country.

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“We don’t have enough spaces for young people to play. Especially for young women that need adequate and safe space it is a challenge. Sport is the only thing that remained, the only institution that has not failed, yet there is no money and no support to develop more spaces for young people to practice. We need to work with international partners to rebuild our cities that will provide for everybody, especially for our youth that makes up 75% of our population. That includes building a sufficient sports infrastructure”. (Mr. Duran Farah)

Rafael works closely with one of America’s top Olympian, Ms. Sanya Richards Ross on addressing the rising issue of violence in the US. They are also huge supporters of Team Refugees. Artist 2 Advocates are using media to connect the right influencers with the right cause.

The second Roundtable examine the positive and negative sides of hosting these mega sport events. Since Sydney Olympics in 2000, it is mandatory for bidding cities to include the element of sustainability and make it part of their application package. Often they make fantastic plans of how the infrastructure will be build and renewed, how it’d going to generate more business for local small-entrepreneurs and how the newly built sporting complexes will serve the children and youth from the neighborhood to come and play. The reality, however, is often very different. And nowhere is it more visible than Rio. Carolina Caffe was looking at this element already in the run up to the Games. She shot this powerful documentary to bring the truth to the light.

While this is truly heartbreaking, we need to realize all the positive things mega sports are bringing with them. Like a magic, the city turns into multicultural party where everyone is welcome. Friendships and bonds made during the Games often last for decades. It does bring some tourists in (maybe not as many as predicted) which they happily buy snack or soda from a corner stall.

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“There are many positive and negative effects of hosting a sport mega event. We have to make sure to minimize the negative and maximize the positive. There are success stories from the past of cities benefited and transformed to thriving hubs yet we need to be more strategic to achieve that” (Mr. Hossam Hassan Gadou)

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The last roundtable was all about the local experiences. Michelle from Instituto Reacao came and showed us the incredible story of Rafaela Silva, who not only raised through their Judo programme, she actually won the gold medal in Judo. Flavio Canto, former Brazilian judo professional, and the founder of Instituto Reacao was her role model who won his bronze medal in Athens. Rafaela stood on the winners’ podium to receive her gold just last week. Mr. Zaremba, a professor at one of Rio’s top universities, psychologists and most importantly, well-known social entrepreneur paid us visit too. His team works with only young ladies and trains them in basketball. The last panelist, Mr. Gabriel Mayr works for URECE, a social enterprise working with blind people in football.

“The challenge on the ground is money. We have enough manpower, all volunteers, we have wonderful programmes but not enough money to pay for it. We struggle to operate, year by year, which makes it difficult for us, but for the young people that actually love and enjoy our programmes” (Mr. Gabriel Mayr)

The event was a first step to start a network of people working on different levels in sport, philanthropy and social entrepreneurship to find new ways of how to use the knowledge and experience to build upon these and contribute to achieving SDGs, especially Goal 11. We need to build more spaces for young people to play that will be accessible, affordable and safe and make sure that the positive impact of hosting mega sport events on cities outweighs the negative. Let’s work together to make it happen!

 

 

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!

 

 

 

 

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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Celebrating April 6th in Kariobangi, Kenya

Community Sports Day – Empowering Youth Through Sports

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Just a few days prior to a very significant day for all sports for development enthusiasts, April 6th, UN-HABITAT, in close collaboration with CHRISC Kenya, Simama Africa, Sports With A Goal Africa and Seeds of Peace Africa, staged a Community Sports Day at Marura Primary School in one of Nairobi’s infamous informal settlements – Kariobangi. Around 200 young people from different communities gathered to celebrate the International Day of Sport for Development while having fun, playing sports and working on strengthening social cohesion among the various groups.

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Using various team-sports and games was our strategy to instill some core values, such as fair-play, ethics, tolerance and compassion. But what was truly fantastic was to watch young people playing together not only for the sense of achievement and victory, but for something bigger than that, the Sustainable Development Goals. We took the opportunity to introduce and promote the recently adopted SDGs, in particular SDG 3 (Good Health), 4 (Quality Education), 5 (Gender Equality), 6 (Clean Water), 11 (Sustainable Cities) and 16 (Peace and Justice).

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In the spirit of SDG 17 (Partnerships) we placed extra emphasis on the collaboration and partnerships not only of the organizers, but the community leaders and the youngsters themselves. It never stops amazing us, how much further we get when we join forces with others. As a huge international organization, we do need partners on the ground to help us execute our vision and plans and for April 6th celebrations, we found the perfect ones.

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Our work didn’t stop on April 6th. In fact, it was just the beginning. Youth leaders from participating communities underwent extensive training prior to the event to gain additional skills to use when working with young people on daily basis. They were partners in organizing the event from the beginning and they were instrumental in running the show on the day.

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As we see it, the day was a huge success and we can’t wait for our next opportunity to work with these wonderful organizations and young people. Despite their daily challenges and hardships, they are inspiring bunch with so much to say and do for a greater good of their communities and country. We’d be privileged and happy to be part of their journey of social transformation and community development.

 

 

 

New Publications Out! Check it out!

Youth Led Development: A Case Study from the Mathare Slum, KenyaMathareYouth and their Needs Within Public Space

Youth Needs

Advancing Economic Citizenship for Children and Youth in Sub-Saharan Africa

Stories from the Field: The UN-Habitat Urban Youth Fund Becomes a Tool for Youth Empowerment in Kibera

Right to Participate: Report #1 Oslo Youth and Governance Platform

More published youth related materials from UN-Habitat can be found here.