Tag Archives: urban

UN-HABITAT Youth Advisory Board Launches Berlin Urban Agenda

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Members of the UN-Habitat Youth Advisory Board in Berlin, Germany, on February 14, 2017.

On Sunday, February 19, 2017, the UN-HABITAT Youth Advisory Board (YAB) launched the Berlin Urban Agenda after a week-long consultation process with youth and various German ministries. The Berlin Urban Agenda will serve as YAB’s primary tool for the implementation of the New Urban Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals.

Local authorities, government agencies, UN entities, and other stakeholders are welcomed to become partners.

The document can be downloaded here:16864285_10212297368528235_704831309328719299_n

  1. Berlin Urban Agenda with accompanying hyperlinks.
  2. Berlin Urban Agenda without hyperlinks.

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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Youth Said: We Can Be Partner in New Urban Agenda Implementation, Monitoring and Evaluation

Written by Ying Gao, edited by Jasdeep Randhawa

Even before PrepCom3 proceedings got started, local Indonesia youth-led organizations IYMM and Kota Kita impressed everybody by organizing World Urban Youth Meeting.

This full-day parallel event brought together around 500 youth participants in a showcase of “Youth Perspectives and Actions Towards People-Centred City” on 24 July 2016 (Sunday), the day before PrepCom3.  UN-Habitat, together with UNTAG university and Surabaya city government, supported the joint effort.  With cooperation from Microsoft, Asian Development Bank (ADB) and UN country teams in Asia-Pacific, WUYM plenary sessions were livestreamed and linked with six cities beyond Surabaya, as well.

 

Firstly, UN-Habitat Deputy Executive Director Aisa Kirabo Kacyira captured the moment and said (at the opening ceremony), “the next generation [and women] must be treated as development partner if we were to succeed in New Urban Agenda.”  Her opinion received enthusiastic support from youth during the event, which ran non-stop all day, from 7am to 7pm.

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Perhaps more importantly, WUYM demonstrated that youth could be “doers” of inclusive urban development and policies that will be enshrined in the New Urban Agenda.  Youth-led and youth-inclusive initiatives presented  a range of variety expanding from the local to global: e.g. Urban Citizenship Academy, c2o in Surabaya, Safetipin for Manila, Youth 4 Global Goals, SDSN-Youth…just to name a few.

The Meeting was significantly diverse and highly participatory. The organizers directed the dialogue and focus group discussion (FGD) methodology; the youth volunteers facilitated the discussions, and the youth leaders shared best practices on urgent issues facing the urban youth such as “Good Government and Rights to the City”, “Urban Youth Against Extremism” and “Youth, Cities & Disaster Risk / Climate Change” (full schedule: here).  WUYM participants and speakers represented who’s who from PrepCom3.  Young people from 30 communities (kampungs) in Surabaya also joined forces.

To conclude a full day charged with youth energy, the APUFY 2015 delegate and urban planner, Emmy Yuniarti Rusadi declared at closing plenary, “We as youth have big responsibility in our own future.”  Having contributed to Indonesia’s national Habitat III consultations and also becoming one of the independent candidates for Mayoral elections in her city (after participating at APUFY in October 2015), Emmy sent powerful message to #H3youth, urging young people to see beyond “these big UN conferences,” and commit to act on the ground to improve communities and cities.  Joce Timoty Pardosi, Executive Director of IYMM, said their organization and actions in Indonesia, including contributions at PrepCom3, were the tangible legacy of APUFY.  Many youth speakers similarly expressed determination to stay engaged for the long haul, and to act as change agents both locally and globally.

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!

 

 

 

 

Innovation Marketplace – Urban Challenge Workshop

April 28, 2015

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UN-Habitat in partnership with Ericsson Research, Samsung C&T, Community Chest of Korea and Strathmore University hosted the ‪Urban Challenge Workshop in Nairobi, Kenya as part of UN-Habitat’s Innovate Kenya Project. The workshop brought together youth representatives from Nairobi based tech start-ups and NGOs and county government representatives to collectively identify some of the main challenges faced in Kenya in regards to young engagement in governance at the county level, with a particular focus on urbanization issues.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESDr. Joseph Sevilla, from iLabAfrica, a research institute with a focus on ICT, Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Business Development hosted in Strathmore University kicked off the day at the ‪‎Urban Challenge Workshop, “This workshop aims to explore how young people are using technology to engage in governance. The more we include ‪‎youth in the ‪governance of the different counties; the better will be the feedback for government authorities. Counties can get better insights on what’s really happening in the ground with the real people living there.”

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Helene Opsal, from UN-Habitat Youth Unit presented the Innovation Marketplace to the group. “This project seeks to build capacity at the county level in Kenya around the use of ICTs as a tool for good governance and youth engagement, ultimately institutionalizing innovative solutions to enhance ‪citizen engagement.”

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Markus Nyberg, from Ericsson Research introduced the concept of “networked societies” and presented some of the cutting edge innovations and trend identified in Kenya. You can learn more about the concept of “networked societies” at http://www.ericsson.com/thinkingahead

Caroline Mutua, also from iLabAfrica presented some of the inspiring case studies we came across during our stocktaking exercise. If you want to learn more about how youth have been using ICT to create change in their communities in Kenya, check our Caroline’s presentation: UN-Habitat Stocktaking Presentation

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After the introductions were done, it was time to get to work, and participants of the Urban Challenge Workshop were divided into groups which mixed youth and county representatives to start to identify burning challenges they face in their counties related to Economy, City Planning, Governance and Basic Services. 

The groups had the opportunity to reflect about the roots of the different problems identified during the workshop, some of the insights from the groups:

  • The group discussing Basic Services reminded us that there are different needs in different settlements, and the importance of being mindful of the differences between income categories. The group recognized the need for more mapping initiatives, which will enable authorities to identify gaps and plan services such as transport, health and the use of public spaces. “ICT solutions should address a certain need that is important to the population and it should be available to the people who need the service. It should be simple to use and it should indicate responsibilities.”SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES
  • The group discussing City Planning raised some of the challenges faced in Kenya, which included: traffic jams, housing and shelter, inclusion of urban poor in the city design, water and sanitation in the different parts of the city and the lack of open spaces to name few. “There is also a lack of youth engagement in ‎planning for ‪urban development at the county level; youth do not participate in urban planning. Some of the reasons for this are that people can’t afford to participate due to transportation costs or taking a day off work. There is a need to bridge the gap between policy makers and youth; some structures for youth participation exist but they are misused as political tools and do not provide young people with a meaning channel to have their voices heard. SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES
  • The group discussing Economy highlighted the fact that “there is a mismatch between ‪‎youth aspirations, the education opportunities available and the skills required by the labor market”, “ICTs could represent an opportunity for counties to develop dynamic channels that will enable them to receive better insight on the situation among unemployed young people. Counties need to make sure that the information available is youth friendly, and they should try to feature some of the good practices, for example some of the youth groups that have been able to access procurement opportunities, highlighting why they were successful.” SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES
  • The Group discussing Governance, endorsed what was raised by all the previous groups, but emphasized that “youth are not being included in the planning of major projects which generate all sorts of problems, for instance, Kibera railway line was uprooted because youth were not included in discussions around the purpose of the railway lines”.

After all the groups reported back, it was time to dig deeper into the issues/problems raised and to try formulating “challenge statements” which will be taken forward into the Hackathon that will be organized later on this year as part of the Innovation Marketplace, and will bring together different stakeholders to work on ICT based solutions to the challenges identified.

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If you want to learn more about the initiative, check out Helene’s presentation at the workshop at: https://prezi.com/dagb3y9p6adb/innovation-marketplace/

And if you want to learn more about the opportunity ICTs represent for youth engagement in governance, make sure you check out UN-Habitat Youth Report on “ICT, Urban Governance and Youth”. at: http://issuu.com/unhabitatyouthunit/docs/ict_urban_governance_and_youth_vers

Also, make sure you check some of the pictures of workshop on our facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10153729025287119.1073741840.300677777118&type=1&l=3424fec870

The 25th UN-Habitat Governing Council- What’s in it for #Youth? – #GC25 #Habitat3

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My name is Tone Vesterhus, I am the youth delegate for Norway to the 25th Governing Council. I have been following UN-Habitat and the Habitat III process since the beginning of 2014.

Unfortunately there were not many youth delegates in the official government delegations at the Governing Council this year, Brazil was the only other delegation to have a youth delegate. This comes to show that we have to stress the importance of delegations including youth delegates, as the Governing Council really only does consist of the member states of UN-Habitat, and there is not much space for civil society, at least not formally.

I will try to give a recap of the most important things that happened at the Governing Council, especially youth related issues. First, I will give an overview of the most important resolutions that were discussed.

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Strategic plan for 2014–2019 and the work programme and budget of the United Nations Human Settlements Programme for the biennium 2016–2017

The work program and the attached budget is the most instrumental tool for the work of UN-Habitat, and what goes in there, goes. This, in addition to the omnibus is the most important resolution that the Governing Council discusses and adopts.

The work programme and budget resolution can be read here: https://papersmart.unon.org/habitatgc25/sites/papersmart.unon.org.habitatgc25/files/K1501210.pdf

Omnibus: Implementation of the strategic plan for 2014–2019

This resolution gives direction on how to implement the strategic plan of UN-Habitat. The initial idea for this Governing Council was to have an “omnibus” resolution, a resolution that touches upon most of the substantive issues regarding the work of UN-Habitat. This was instead of there being 20 different resolutions for the different themes. Although there was a fair few other resolutions that came up anywas, it contributed to reduce the amount substantially.

The omnibus resolution can be read here: https://papersmart.unon.org/habitatgc25/sites/papersmart.unon.org.habitatgc25/files/K1501218.pdf

In addition to these two, there was a resolution on the special theme for the Governing Council, namely UN-Habitats contribution towards the post-2015 agenda, a resolution on the Habitat III process, a resolution on strengthening the national ownership and operational capacity as well as a resolution on international guidelines on urban and territorial planning. They can all be read here:  https://papersmart.unon.org/habitatgc25/?q=taxonomy/term/22

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Youth highlights

Mainstreaming of youth in UN-Habitat and the financing of it

The most important thing that the Governing Council adopted (youth related anyways), was the mainstreaming of youth in UN-Habitat. In the omnibus resolution the following paragraph was agreed upon:

The governing council requests the Executive Director to continue to pursue the mainstreaming of youth and gender equality perspectives in the normative work and operational programmes of the United Nations Human Settlements programme and to ensure that youth and gender equality and empowerment remain an important part of the preparatory process for Habitat III and of the substantive content of the New Urban Agenda;

Even more importantly, a similar paragraph was adopted in the work program and budget, with the additional wording “and that the resources be allocated accordingly”, meaning, we do not just agree upon the mainstreaming of youth, we actually request the executive director to spend the amount of resources needed in order for that to be achieved. All in all, a pretty good achievement. There was a lot of discussions on this paragraph in both resolutions, as some member states were reluctant to, quite frankly, spend money on this. Luckily it remained in there.

A strong focus on youth unemployment and job creation for youth

In the omnibus resolution there were two paragraphs that highlighted the need for a focus on youth unemployment, and that UN-Habitat needs to work on this issue.

The Governing Council Requests the Executive Director to address the high rates of youth unemployment by developing high-level programmes and policies, thereby enabling the United Nations Human Settlements Programme to work with member States and local authorities to develop and implement targeted and integrated local and national youth              employment and entrepreneurship programmes and policies for inclusive, sustainable and innovative job creation;

The Governing Council invites member States to work towards the prevention of slums, the empowerment of slum communities and the strengthening of institutional mechanisms equipping slum dwellers to contribute to the improvement of the living environment, aiming   at promoting social, economic and political inclusion and poverty eradication through, among other things, access to sustainable mobility, skills and capacity development, the creation of job opportunities, in particular for women and young people, public spaces and respect for cultural diversity, and by strengthening linkages to the formal settings in the rural and urban surroundings of slum settlements;

These were both paragraphs that all member states more or less agreed upon from the beginning, and there was no sign of reluctance towards mentioning youth specifically as a key actor in sustainable urbanization. This is historic. Youth has previously been a highly contested issue.

Maybe then, we have reached a point where we can all just agree upon the simple fact that youth are a driving force of positive change, and that youthless development is useless development.

Statement of Pax Romana / UN Major Group for Children and Youth to the 25th UN-Habitat Governing Council

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Statement of Pax Romana / MGCY to 25th Governing Council of UN-HABITAT

“On behalf of the International Movement of Catholic Students – Pax Romana, one of the world’s largest youth-led organizations, as well as the UN Major Group for Children and Youth, the officially mandated platform for children and youth participation in official UN processes, we would like to remind you that children and young people play an indispensable  role in ensuring that policies negotiated in fora like this are transformative, practical, and positive for people at the grassroot level.

First, we would like to echo Dr. Clos in calling for the mainstreaming of youth and gender in the work of UN-HABITAT.  We thank Dr. Clos for this call and urge the Member States gathered here to take seriously this motion.

Secondly, we would like to remind you that the world’s population has never been younger.  Youth must be better involved in decision making at all levels, through inclusive and permanent mechanisms of participation that contribute to youth-led development, and partnerships between youth-led organizations and local, regional, and national governments, as well as the UN system.  We encourage the UN-HABITAT Youth and Livelihoods Unit continued endeavors in  strengthening the role and participation of young men and women, civil society, and other stakeholders at all levels of governance, emphasizing local governance, encouraging the inclusion of youth delegates in national delegations to the UN, and working towards the establishment of  permanent mechanisms for youth participation within the UN, for instance; through a UN Permanent Forum on Youth as well as well constructed and integrated Youth Advisory Boards within UN entities.

Finally, we urge UN-HABITAT to address the high rates of youth unemployment, underemployment, vulnerable employment, and informal employment in urban areas through the development of pilot programs and policies, such as scaling up the Urban Youth Fund and the One Stop Youth Resource Centre model.  These will enable the agency to work with Member States and local authorities towards the development and implementation of targeted and integrated local and national youth employment policies for inclusive, and sustainable job creation.

Children and young people are not simply the leaders of tomorrow, but also the leaders of today.  We are also the bridge between present and future generations.  Any policies made in this forum or any other must include the voices of young people and concerns of future generations.

Thank you very much.”

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About Pax Romana

IMCS – Pax Romana brings together over 80 diverse national federations, associations, and movements of Catholic university and tertiary students from six regions. IMCS is part of the International Co-ordination Meeting of Youth Organisations (ICMYO), a network of membership-based, democratic, representative and accountable International Youth NGOs and Regional Youth Platforms. For more information: www.imcs-miec.org and www.icmyo.org

About the UN Major Group for Children and Youth (MGCY)
The UN MGCY is the official UN mandated platform for engaging children and young people in policy processes. The MGCY is involved in a number of processes, including the World Humanitarian Summit, the Post-2015 Development Agenda, Financing for Development, Disaster Risk Reduction, and others. The MGCY is open to all individuals 30 and under, as well as youth-led organizations, youth-supporting organizations, and child-focused agencies. For more information or to join, please visit childrenyouth.org.

UN-HABITAT & Cities Alliance Partnership – Youth Project in Peru

(Department of Libertad) Trujillo, Peru: Department of La Libertad is a province in Trujillo located in the Northwestern part of Peru; it inhabits 811,979 people, where 65% of them counts as youth.

The main problem of population density in the Department of La Libertad is that over 70% of the population lives in the city of Trujillo, resulting in high concentration of people in poor urban district which leads to poor living conditions, such as: Irregular housing in the hills, unplanned urban spaces invading green areas, limited access to water sources, poor environmental practices – social problems, poverty and lack of employment opportunities for young people. 

To make a change to these poor living condition problems in a sustainable way with a wide coverage, The UN-HABITAT and Cities Alliances are currently working together on a project to promote urban youth development in Peru (Catalytic Fund). The main priority is to, first and foremost, encourage the improvements of the living conditions, raise awareness for environmental protection (water, protection of green areas), and provide the youth with the opportunities to enhance their artistic skills for future employment. The next step is to work in partnership with the local governments to create new satisfactory public policies in the municipal level.

Fortunately, the UN-HABITAT urban youth fund has previously supported RASA JOVEN with a similar project in Trujillo. The aim of the project is to engage youth in the community life and promote activities towards protection of the environment and income generation.

…Their current plan is to develop a pilot of different dance choreographies (break dance and local dance) and a team painting houses in parts of the community.

With more awareness amongst organisations and the public, the faster can the Department of La Libertad rise out of poverty.