The UN-Habitat Urban Youth Fund is now accepting applications for its Fourth Call. The application process will close on 15 April 2012.
With support from the Government of Norway, the Fund provides one million dollars every year to projects led by young people aged 15-32 years who are piloting innovative approaches to employment, good urban governance, shelter and secure tenure. Small development initiatives are eligible for grants up to $25,000.
Of the one billion slum dwellers in the world today, it is estimated that more than 70% are under the age of 30. These young people have few resources available to improve their own living environments. There are many youth-led initiatives in slums and squatter settlements around the world that require support in their efforts to transform their communities.
UN-Habitat invites young people based in cities or towns from the developing world to apply for grants from the fund. More information and details of how to apply are available at www.unhabitat.org/youthfund.
This initiative sprang from the 21st session of the UN-Habitat Governing Council in 2007 and has so far awarded grants to 172 projects led by young people from all over the world.
Many of the project ideas have been aimed at alleviating poverty, improving employment opportunities, improving the environment and increasing youth participation in decision-making. The fund promotes the poverty-reduction aims of the Millennium Development Goals, and the Habitat Agenda for better, more sustainable and equitable towns and cities throughout the developing world.
In his message for International Youth Day 2011, the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon stated that "far too many of the world's more than one billion young people lack the education, freedom and opportunities they deserve. Yet despite these constraints – and in some cases because of them – young people are mobilizing in growing numbers to build a better future. The international community must continue to work together to expand the horizons of opportunity for these young women and men and answer their legitimate demands for dignity, development and decent work."
The United Nations continues to recognise the growing importance of youth in the global development arena. The Secretary General recently announced that a global youth conference, Youth 21, will be held in Nairobi, Kenya in March this year and will be co-hosted by UN-Habitat and UNDP. The role of youth at the Rio+20 summit on Sustainable Development, among other key issues, will be on the agenda.