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We are the Future Centres
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Launched in 2004, the We Are the Future (WAF) initiative is the result of a strategic partnership between the Glocal Forum and the Quincy Jones Listen Up Foundation with the support of a coalition of stakeholders, including the World Bank and major private sector companies. We Are the Future’s main goal is to mobilize global resources for the benefit of children in post-conflict cities through the creation of municipally-owned WAF Child Centers that focus on youth-led activities in the five areas of Nutrition, ICT, Health, Sports and Arts.
Location: Asmara, Eritrea; Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; Freetown, Sierra Leone; Kabul, Afghanistan; Kigali, Rwanda; Nablus, Palestine
- Monitoring and Research division
- Partners and Youth
Partner: Municipalities of Asmara, Addis Ababa, Freetown, Kabul, Kigali, and Nablus Glocal Forum Quincy Jones Listen Up Foundation World Bank Institute
Donor: UN-HABITAT, Bank of Netherlands Partnership Programme (BNPP), World Bank, Starbucks, Glocal Forum
- Environment
- Environmental Sustainability
- Urban Economy and Financing Shelter
- Social Inclusion
- Children and youth
- Youth
Cost: $600,000

Background and Objectives:

Launched in 2004, the We Are the Future (WAF) initiative is the result of a strategic partnership between the Glocal Forum and the Quincy Jones Listen Up Foundation with the support of a coalition of stakeholders, including the World Bank and major private sector companies. We Are the Future’s main goal is to mobilize global resources for the benefit of children in post-conflict cities through the creation of municipally-owned WAF Child Centers that focus on youth-led activities in the five areas of Nutrition, ICT, Health, Sports and Arts.

The primary goal of this joint programme is the development and implementation of youth-led services for orphans and vulnerable children (OVC) and youth living in urban areas in order to promote a healthy start in life and improved living conditions. Youth benefiting from programs at the Centres have become community assets able to extend new services to peers, younger children and their communities at large. The Centres are based on partnerships with municipalities, the private sector, civil society organizations, development agencies and universities, in order to ensure sustainability and scale.

In the pilot phase, the intent has been to strengthen the capacity of six pilot cities (Addis Ababa, Asmara, Freetown, Kigali, Kabul, Nablus) to run and maintain youth-led WAF Centres through local capacity building training and city-to-city exchanges.

In order to build the capacity of the young people and municipalities running the Centers, a grant from the World Bank Netherlands Partnership Program (BNPP) was obtained by the Glocal Forum through the World Bank Institute for the Capacity Building in Conflict Cities (CBCC) program which joined forces with UN-HABITAT in 2006.

In 2005, the Glocal Forum and UN-HABITAT merged the WAF programme with UN-HABITAT's One Stop Youth Information and Resource Center model for urban youth development with the WAF program, and the two distinct models are now being harmonized to serve the interests of youth in both urban spaces across the developing world, including both post-conflict and developing countries. (incomplete!!)
Young people, lest we forget, constitute the majority of the urban population in rapidly urbanizing countries. Often, they have no jobs and no voice. Any effective response to improve the living conditions of the urban poor and slum dwellers must deal, prima facie, with the challenges facing youth.
Dr. Anna Tibaijuka, UN Under-Secretary General and Executive Director, UN-HABITAT


The Capacity Building In Conflict Cities program has evolved over its four-year duration in response to an ongoing impact evaluation process, leading to the development of two phases of work. The first phase, which centered around north/south city-to-city training (2004-2006) for six pilot cities, was revised for a second phase (2007) which shifted the program focus to local capacity building for youth and municipal staff for three pilot cities (Freetown, Kigali and Addis Ababa) and the facilitation of south/south city-to-city dialogue and knowledge sharing.

During the years 2004-2006, the groundwork was laid for the city-to-city capacity building program. The Glocal Forum formed an international advisory panel to guide the implementation of the program, created a group of peer cities, held a round table meeting with WAF and peer city representatives to discuss the partnership, organized assessment trips for peer cities to visit their respective WAF partner cities to identify specific training needs, and implemented a city-to-city exchange for a Nablus delegation to Barcelona.

Components of Phase 1:
1. Six partner cities were identified and matched with WAF cities:
Addis Ababa – Washington, DC
Asmara – Florence
Freetown - Baltimore
Kabul – Athens/Lyon
Kigali – Rome
Nablus – Barcelona

2. International Advisory Panel Videoconference
On November 4, 2004, the Glocal Forum in partnership with the World Bank, hosted the first International Advisory Panel Videoconference of the CBCC program with Mayors, Deputy Mayors, WAF Coordinators and Senior Officials from the Municipalites of the six pilot cities. The objective of the videoconference was to review the strategy and work program and make recommendations about the scope and direction of the capacity building efforts. The videoconference provided a valuable forum of exchange among the participants to share their experiences, needs and expectations in establishing the WAF Centers.

3. Round Table Meeting
The outcomes of the videoconference served as the basis for the Round Table Meeting that took place in Rome on February 5-7, 2005 with the participation of WAF Coordinators from the six pilot cities and their peer city counterparts in addition to World Bank and Glocal Forum staff.

The Round Table provided an important opportunity for cities to share experiences and engage in constructive dialogue as a basis for partnership and exchange. The meeting was the first time that all pairs of cities came together to discuss the purpose of the capacity strengthening program, expectations and terms of participation. Participants joined in informational plenary sessions as well as small working groups in order to gain collective consensus on the program approach, identify city-specific training and technical assistance needs, clarify roles and responsibilities, and develop a work plan and timetable to implement the capacity strengthening initiative.

4. City-to-City Assessment & Training Visits.
Between May – June 2005, peer representatives visited the following cities: Asmara, Freetown, Kigali and Nablus; a peer representative from Lyon traveled to Kabul in March 2006. The trips allowed the representatives to conduct their own assessment of the WAF programs, and identify the needs and possible future interventions. In April 2006, the first city-to-city training activity was held in Barcelona with the participation of a delegation from Nablus.

5. Ongoing Impact Evaluation
The program partners engaged in ongoing impact evaluation from the early stages through meetings with peer and pilot cities, site visits and participation in program activities. This process led to a comprehensive review of the program and revision of its approach and strategy in order to maximize cost-efficiency and program impact.

The challenges, opportunities and lessons learned which emerged through the ongoing impact evaluation activities conducted during 2004-2006 led to the redesign of the CBCC program for a second phase in 2007. The program would focus more explicitly on local capacity building; put youth in the forefront of the program, and feature south/south city-to-city dialogue and networking for increased applicability and practical results in three WAF pilot cities (Addis Ababa, Freetown and Kigali). These cities were selected due to their commitment and achievements in establishing the WAF program. Based on the lessons learned and possible entry points, the Glocal Forum continues to work with the other three cities (Asmara, Kabul and Nablus) as part of the overall WAF-One Stop program in cooperation with UN-HABITAT, which became a partner to the capacity building program in Phase 2, leading to sustainability in the long-term.

Components of Phase 2:
1. Local Capacity Building Training
Local management capacity building training and technical assistance activities were carried out by local service providers in two of the three selected WAF-One Stop cities – Freetown and Kigali (administrative challenges halted the local training activities in Addis Ababa). In early 2007, the Glocal Forum worked with UN-HABITAT to competitively recruit NGOs in Freetown and Kigali that have experience in implementing similar institutional capacity building and youth programs. Training activities took place between May and December 2007.

The training program was completed for 25-32 trainees in each city. Participants included WAF management and youth primarily from the existing WAF-One Stop Centers including youth sector leaders, youth trainers and youth representatives to WAF-One Stop Management Committees. In addition, leaders from other major youth associations in the cities were included, magnifying the impact in the community. Approximately half of the participants in each city were female.

Four to six week intensive tailor-made training activities were implemented in the cities, building skills and knowledge in the following key areas of institutional capacity building:

Project Cycle Management Organizational Management
Leadership, Team Building & Governance Good Governance
Human Resource Management Resource Development
Advocacy Entrepreneurship
Financial Planning & Management Monitoring & Evaluation

In each city, participants worked in teams to develop innovative youth-led projects for implementation in the WAF-One Stop Centers based on the learning impact of the training. This process facilitated the practical application of the skills gained during the training period. A selection committee was established by the program partners to identify the best projects which were awarded seed funding for implementation as a concrete outcome of the program in both Freetown and Kigali.

Training reports as well as participant feedback indicated that the training was very useful in both cases, particularly in developing life skills for the youth involved, going beyond the range of topics within WAF-One Stop Center management, to cover wider elements of capacity building which is expected to impact broader youth-child frameworks in the participating cities.

2. Web Platform
The Glocal Forum established a web-based exchange network for reference and referral for the pilot and follow-on generations of cities and youth working in WAF-One Stop Centers (www.cbcc-bnpp.org) which serves the following functions: information platform for members of the pilot cities and their communities;
common discussion and on-line help facility to help cities to communicate with each other and draw on each other’s experiences; tool for sustaining the city-to-city learning and sharing process and widening the scale of city participation for new networks of cities and youth worldwide.

3. Videoconference Dialogue
Having gained experience and knowledge through the local capacity building activities, youth training participants engaged in a joint videoconference dialogue hosted by the World Bank Institute. The videoconference brought together three World Bank “youth-to-youth” (Y2Y) panelists from Kabul, Guatemala and Nairobi, and members of the WAF-One Stop youth and management teams from Addis Ababa, Kigali and Freetown. The videoconference dialogue entailed presentations, Q&A’s, assessment of the lessons learned, knowledge exchange and guidance regarding replication of innovative and best practices.

4. Stocktaking Workshop
Some 25 youth, municipal officers and local program coordinators from Addis Ababa, Kigali and Freetown engaged in a three-day Stocktaking Workshop from November 18-22, 2007 at the United Nations Headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya. They were joined by representatives from Glocal Forum, WBI and UN-HABITAT as well as delegations of Kenyan and Canadian youth running urban youth-led programs. Participants came together to share best practices and lessons learned, cross-fertilize ideas, and develop strategies to sustain the capacity building initiative. In addition, selected youth projects from each city were presented for seed funding by the CBCC program and possible further support from donor agencies/program partners in order to sustain and strengthen the WAF-One Stop program. Training sessions and on-site visits to local youth centers/organizations were conducted, and a meeting was held with UN-HABITAT Executive Director, Anna Tibaijuka for all program participants in which she stressed the importance of engaging young people in development work.


The WAF program has significantly increased the capacity of participating municipalities in empowering youth to assist disadvantaged children in conflict cities:

1. Enhanced Skills
Strengthened institutional capacity of six municipalities and youth in conflict cities to design, develop, run and maintain youth and child programs. In particular, enhanced capacity of WAF-One Stop Centers to carry out effective programs and increase overall impact.
Strengthened institutional capacity of additional youth organizations in participating cities, reaching larger audiences beyond WAF-One Stop.
2. New Networks
North/South: Development of city-to-city network of municipalities, civil society, private sector and youth in peer and conflict cities which has led to knowledge sharing, in-kind contributions, technical assistance, capacity building and resource mobilization.
South/South: Development of city-to-city network of youth and municipal practitioners from WAF-One Stop cities in order to exchange experiences and support each other in implementing urban strategies for youth and children in similar contexts.
Intra-City Networks: Forging of new links with local stakeholders and international agencies, lending to the expansion of WAF-One Stop Center outreach, inclusion of new constituencies, integration of self-sustaining mechanisms and scaling up of overall program.
3. Increased Impact
Increase in WAF-One Stop youth-to-children activities, benefiting hundreds of underprivileged children from orphanages, war-affected households, street children centers and kindergartens in participating cities.
• Planning and implementation of new strategies to support effective services for disadvantaged youth and children by participating municipalities.
4. Project Development
• Development of several youth-led innovative projects for implementation in the framework of WAF-One Stop Centers by youth participants.
• Seed funding granted and leveraged for innovative projects to be implemented as a direct follow-up to the program
• KIGALI: Mutesi Web Portal: creation of a youth web portal to disseminate essential information and raise awareness about the WAF Center’s activities and sexual education/HIV-AIDS.
• FREETOWN: Entrepreneurship Project: facilitation of sustainable livelihoods for 60 unemployed youths within the WAF-One Stop framework through the training and mobilization of youth in income-generating activities.

Key Outcomes

  • Articulation of lessons learned to strengthen the institutional capacity of the WAF-One
  • Stop centers.
  • Identification of common challenges and place-specific issues.
  • Enhanced understanding of ways to address challenges and lay plans for next steps.
  • Identification of key opportunities for future action.
  • Stronger ability to work together with others across disciplines, with the community and with other cities.
  • Enhancement of City-to-City Network to sustain the program.
  • Development of key self-sustainability mechanisms to enhance overall WAF-One Stop program in cities.
  • Increased linkages among cities, with partner organizations and with other donor agencies.
  • Finalization of innovative projects that were granted seed funding by the BNPP-CBCC program (matched by UN-HABITAT) for implementation following the workshop.
  • Development of concrete strategies for the way forward for each of the WAF-One Stop city programs with input from partners and peers.
  • Commitment to the formalization of a WAF-One Stop brand and program model agreed upon by program partners and participants from all cities.
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