Tag Archives: Sports

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!

Connecting the dots in Sport

On Friday 16th September 2016, UN-HABITAT had a pleasure to attend the 2nd World Summit on Ethics & Leadership in Sports at FIFA Headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland. It was a day packed with incredible sessions, high-level speakers from the world of sport, business and politics, and most importantly, energy and positive spirit that has transcended to all participants and guests.

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Sport illustrates how various stakeholders are directly impacted by the corporate culture (strategy, team spirit), the individual performance (skills and behavior) and the wider corporate context (leadership, legal framework, CSR, media) to reach the organizations business goal (to win the game). The Summit explored these links and role of sport in tackling societal problems, while celebrating already existing best practices of sport for development initiatives and ethical sportsmanship.

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Over 50 experts shared their know-how and experiences to enrich participants’ knowledge and proposed a substantial agenda for action. One of the featured speakers was also Mr. Wilfried Lemke, the UN Secretary General’s Special Advisor on Sport for Development and Peace. Mr. Lemke received the Ethics in Sports Awards in the category “Outstanding Individual” for his contributions in promoting the use of sports as a unifying tool for peace across the world, especially in conflict-ridden zones and war-torn countries. It is truly sad news to hear that Mr. Lemke’s term if close to finish and he will be leaving his position as the UN SG’s Special Advisor at the end of the year.

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While one day was way too short to take it all in and establish proper action plan or connections, UN-HABITAT is extremely grateful to have had the opportunity to be there and discuss with these experts possibilities of collaboration, especially in relation to New Urban Agenda and legacies of mega sport events and SDGs, particularly Goal 11. It is our hope and dream that these will soon translate into concrete action and long-term partnerships. For now, have a look at the plan….

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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!

 

 

 

 

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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THE FIRST EVER SPORTS DAY IN KARIOBANGI, Powered By UN-HABITAT

Written by Emily Onyango on behalf of our partners

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The beginning of April meant a lot to different communities in Kariobangi who gathered as early as 7:00am to prepare for the sports day organized by UN-HABITAT in cooperation with CHRISC Kenya, Simama Africa, SWAGA and SOPA. One of the main objectives of the day was to recognize and reward all committed teams, groups and individuals who dedicated their time to promote community development and Sustainable Development Goals through sports.

And as one of the testimonies suggests, the anticipation for the day was overwhelming. “This is one of the biggest day that I have been waiting for. I brought my team of football players to participate in the Community Sport Day activities. The different types of games, like rope skipping, dodge ball or tag of war are perfect for them to learn something new, something different” said Steven Oduor, one of the youth leaders from Kariobangi.

The event, organized as a celebration of April 6th, the International Day of Sports for Development, was coordinated by UN-HABITAT’s interns, Yunhee and Suheon, who also spent 4 months prior to the event teaching young people in slums different sports, hygiene and biomechanics lessons to improve their health and well-being.

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“I have been attending Saturday classes about hygiene and biomechanics. It was extremely interesting as I’ve learned a lot of new things. I know now the structure of my body, different types of bones I have, how much water I should be drinking on a daily basis and also different exercises that will help me to stay fit”, said Carole Jones from Tarumbeta dancers.

Over 200 children and young people attended the celebration. They played, they sang, they danced all day and were rewarded with different gifts at the end of the day. Some got books, some pens and some caps, most importantly, no one went home empty-handed.

The event was a success. Everyone involved on either side, participants and organizers alike, were very happy with the result and are hoping to organize a similar event next year again. Once again, we could have witnessed how sport is a powerful tool for community transformation and peaceful coexistence among different communities.

 

 

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.

 

 

 

Move Your Body, Shape Your Dreams

Celebrating 6th April, the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace 2016 

Dream Up Festival, Kigali, Rwanda

Few days in advance, but with equal enthusiasm and spirit that is generated on April 6th worldwide, the One Stop Youth Center in Kimisagara hosted the Dream Up Festival to celebrate the power of sport to transform lives and communities. The one-day event was organized by UN-HABITAT in close cooperation with the Kimisagara OSYC team and was nothing but a success.

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Sport is a powerful mobilizer, so why not use it for something more than just having fun. Rwanda is a beautiful country with third of its population below 30. Unfortunately, about 38.5% of them are living below poverty line, struggling to secure their basic needs. They don’t have time to play sports, yet alone to dream about their big bright future.

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This is what inspired our team of Korean interns, Mina and HyunChul, to organize the Dream Up Festival to provide marginalized young people with an opportunity to forget about their hardships for a day and learn and enjoy themselves in a fun environment. Day filled with sports, cultural and educational activities brought together about 100 youth participants from different parts of Kigali. Throughout the day, the participants got to play various obstacle races and Korean games to spice up the sports activities and learn something new. While they’ve learned about sportsmanship and other sports values through games, the main educational component was encompassed in workshops about hygiene and sexual and reproductive rights as well as in essay writing contest.

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The essay writing was a unique opportunity for us to hear the voices we usually don’t have access to. So we took the chance of assembling these wonderful young people into one venue and asked them to write a short essay about one of these topics:

  • What is your role in making Kigali the Top city in Africa?
  • What is your dream of Kigali?
  • What can the city of Kigali do to avoid informal settlements and get on the path of modernization?

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The winners of each category were subsequently awarded with small prize and huge admiration from others. Finally, the additional dance and taekwondo performances made the day complete. UN-HABITATA would like to thank everyone involved for making it happen and for joining us in April 6th Celebrations!

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From Culture Shock to Amazement

Let’s also hear from Suheon and his first impressions and experiences in Nairobi.

“I was a little bit worried when I heard first time that I will be working in slums. It is a completely new environment for me and I didn’t know what to expect. It took only short while to adjust though and now I am really enjoying the field experience and the people I get to meet. After all, people is what makes the place and I can feel the positive vibes and fun every time I go.

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Together with Yunhee, we work with local youth leaders to make them better coaches and instructors. We also help to organize and run sports events in various communities. I really enjoy it although things are not without challenges here. In a very short time I’ve learned that hardly anything goes according to plan over here. You can spend weeks on planning and preparing an event, yet at the end you have to improvise and free-style to make it happen. Like in December, there was supposed to be a volleyball tournament which was being worked on for weeks prior to the event. Yet it was almost cancelled last minute as suddenly there was a construction going on precisely on the volleyball court. Luckily, the tournament went ahead as the community came together and prepared make-shift court in just one hour in a nearby space. I was really impressed – the true meaning of “nothing is impossible” came out!

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I’m not saying we should stop planning in advance, just keeping in mind that things may change at the end. A similar thing happened to me two weeks later as we were getting ready to host “Christmas Cantata” in one of the communities. But improvisation seems to be the strong-hold over here so it all worked our well at the end. It was actually amazing!

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Unfortunately, during the week there is not so much field work so we spend most of our time in the UN-HABITAT office, catching up on some paper work. Apart of research work, we put together databases and prepare concept notes of our future projects and activities.

As the time progresses, Yunhee and I are ready to take on more responsibilities. We want to organize more sports events and activities. We want to coordinate them, not just help out. At the moment we’re preparing a Sports Day, a multi-sport event to promote Sustainable Development Goals, E-sports tournament to utilize the local craze about play-station and other video games and some fundraising activities to support these projects.

Working here in Kenya on sport for development projects is an amazing experience that is teaching me a lot. Part of the learning journey is also to overcome culture shock and learn how to interact and cope with different people and different cultures. Korean style is very particulate and it takes a lot of adjustments for me. But sport is making it so much easier and enjoyable. It has been an incredible journey so far and I hope to learn even more in the coming weeks”.

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Keeping Fit in Nairobi’s Informal Settlements

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Since November 2015, our Urban Sports Programme is supported by four amazing young people from South Korea. As Sports Management graduates, they came to support the development of different projects in Kenya and Rwanda for 5 months.

Working in Nairobi is Yunhee and Suheon, who are closely working with our partner organizations on the ground, CHRISC Kenya and Simama Africa, both using sport as a tool for development and social change. Covering number of informal settlements is North-Eastern part of Nairobi, they work with local youth to empower them through sport and games.

Two months in, let’s hear from Yunhee, how her experience in Kenya has been so far…

“I wanna give opportunity to as many young people as possible, to enjoy physical activity. So I run fitness classes in different communities in Nairobi. In December, I mostly worked with Fahari girls at Kasarani Youth Resource Center in Kariobangi. My class is just under one hour and covers everything from warm-up, stretching, main workout to cool down. Every class is different because I want to keep it dynamic and fun yet simple enough for everyone to join and enjoy. Despite the rocky and unsure start, the class proves to be amazing and the girls seem to love it.

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It wasn’t easy for me at the beginning as the girls are various ages and meeting everyone’s needs and capabilities can be hard. But I’ve accepted the challenge and turned the focus more on the fun element that scores and results. I want to believe that I’ve turned the Wednesdays afternoons around for the girls and that our time together will have a positive impact on them now and in the future.

My work with Simama Africa focuses mainly on sustainability. Here I work mostly with youth leaders. I train them so they can get theoretical as well as practical skills in fitness which they can later pass on to other young people in the communities once we’re gone.

The 3-hour class is designed to cover basic theory, learn practical skills and allow for discussion rounds. The first day, all participants underwent a test of their physical capacity. I was struggling to measure the results without a proper equipment but then I started to improvise. Nothing is impossible when you have a strong will and a bit a creativity.

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Here are just few examples of how I resolved the crisis of no available equipment:

  1. No measuring tape (20m) – I picked caution tape on a construction site on the way to class (I admit we struggled with accuracy, but it was as best as I could do)
  2. No mats (for sit-ups) – I used sofa cushion instead
  3. No measuring tape for long jump – I used 30cm ruler and marked each spot with a rock

These are just few examples. We’re at the beginning of our 16 weeks long journey, which I hope will be rewarding to each and everyone of the participants. I hope it will be a stepping stone for them to be better athletes, coaches and leaders”.