A week of training by UN-HABITAT is underway for beneficiaries of the Urban Youth Fund from Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Palestine, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Uganda, Yemen and Zimbabwe.
The course, being run in Dar-es-Salam, was opened by the Honourable Minister for Lands, Housing and Human Settlements Development of the United Republic of Tanzania and former Executive Director of UN-HABITAT, Anna Tibaijuka.
In her opening remarks, Tibaijuka highlighted issues related to young people as being central to solving the extensive urbanization problems of the developing world. Youth have the highest rate of unemployment and in many ways are the most vulnerable to the social problems caused by unemployment and poverty. At the same time they are the promise of the future, and failure to invest in the young generation imposes great constraints on the potential for future development, she added.
“In order for youth to become leaders of today and tomorrow, to be able to address and solve the problems created by the leaders of yesterday, we have to create an enabling environment. Capacity building and training of young people with necessary skills be it in governance, entrepreneurship, information technology or community development are key to this,” said Tibaijuka.
The Minister ended her remarks by echoing the United Nations Secretary General statement that “Youth should be given a chance to take an active part in decision-making of local, national and global levels.”
OF today’s world population, an estimated 1.2 billion people are between the ages of 15 to 24 years, an increase of 17% compared to the population in 1955. About 87% of these young people live in developing countries. In Africa, 200 million people are in this age range, comprising more than 20% of the population (United Nations 2007). In 2005, 62% of Africa’s overall population was below the age of 25.
The youth groups represented at the session all run their own projects in areas such as employment creation, entrepreneurship, education, environment, health and safety and building political awareness amongst youth. These activities encourage participation in decision-making processes by the youth to become responsible citizens of their respective countries and leaders of tomorrow.
The Opportunities Fund for Urban Youth-led Development was established with the support of the Government of Norway and was launched on 4 November 2008 at the fourth session of the World Urban Youth Forum in Nanjing, China. The Global fund disburses about USD 1 million annually and provides grants up to USD 25,000 to organisations led by young people, aged 15-32 years.
More information about UN-HABITAT’s Urban Youth Fund is available at www.unhabitat.org/youthfund. The next round of applications for 2011 beneficiaries will open on 1 February 2011 with a deadline of 15 April 2011.