Globally, young people between the ages of 15 and 24 represent 18 per cent of the world’s population or 1.2 billion people and majority of them live in developing countries. Youth are a great resource for building the economies of cities, and indeed of countries. This is why UN-Habitat is working hard to improve employability and entrepreneurship among young people.
Taking this into account, UN-Habitat in cooperation with Municipal Authorities initiated the global partnership initiative on urban youth development to create One-Stop Youth Centres in urban settings where young people could be trained in Information Communication Technology (ICT), Entrepreneurship, Business incubation skills, and employment generation. The first Centre was established in Nairobi in 2003, since then, One Stop Youth Centers have been established in five cities in Africa. Plans are under way to expand the programme to Asia and Latin America.
The One Stop programme is based on the belief that youth engagement and empowerment through training and capacity development is key to addressing the challenges faced by young people. Although each Centre is unique in the programmes it delivers, the main areas of focus include programmes related to the promotion of youth employment and entrepreneurship, arts and sports, skills training, mentorship and HIV/Aids.. The Centers also strengthen the capacity of cities to engage youth in local decision making and city development strategies that address youth issues.
In a similar initiative, UN-Habitat in collaboration with partners such as Altaawon has also opened satellite centers in informal settlements in Nairobi and Mombasa for young people in those areas to access services such as Information Communication Technology training, computer and internet resources as well as HIV/AIDS education, entrepreneurship training.