Nairobi, 8 March 2017 – On his first visit to Kenya as Secretary-General of the United Nations, António Guterres visited a community space in Mathare, home to approximately 800,000 people and Nairobi’s oldest slum, to meet members of the community benefiting from UN programmes and partnerships.
The space – a community centre and football pitch – was established by Mathare Environmental Conservation Youth Group (MECYG) with support from UN-Habitat, the Government of Norway, and Samsung C&T. MECYG provides a safe and generative space for young men and women of the community. The Centre features an ICT hub and training in technology and business, a feeding programme for at risk youth, and a football programme for young men and women.
UN-Habitat’s research has shown that youth face repeated obstacles in accessing public space for their development. In the 2015 report Youth And Their Needs Within Public Space it was found that this can be attributed to high crime rates and unfit public spaces, derived from issues such as insufficient lighting and access. Young women face the same challenges as young men, but are in addition victims of societal and cultural norms and are especially vulnerable to harassment and discrimination; a lack of good, safe spaces can disproportionately limit their access education, health services, employment, and leisure activities.
To respond to the lack of accessible public space in informal settlements, UN-Habitat funds a series of One Stop Youth Resource Centres which provide a safe place for young people to interact and learn. As well as a safe and pleasant space and facilities, the centre provides training in ICT, business and management skills as well as a football pitch and communal garden.
Despite space in informal settlements being a premium, public space brings economic, social and environmental value to communities.
The visit coincides with International Women’s Day – the theme of which is “Women in the changing world of work”. As well as meeting members of the community who benefit from the services at the centre, Mr Guterres also met women political aspirants, to discuss the challenges faced by women trying to run for and serve in political office.
Image: Secretary-General António Guterres meeting with youth leaders and women political aspirants in the Mathare slum of Nairobi, Kenya. Photo: UN Habitat/Julius Mwelu
This article is culled from daily press coverage from around the world. It is posted on the Urban Gateway by way of keeping all users informed about matters of interest. The opinion expressed in this article is that of the author and in no way reflects the opinion of UN-Habitat.