Urban youth to benefit from UN-HABITAT’s $2 million Opportunities Fund

[Nairobi, March 25, 2009]:  Urban based Youth-led organizations in developing countries who are working to improve the living conditions of their communities can now apply for financial assistance from UN-HABITAT.

The Opportunities Fund for Urban Youth-Led Development will award between $5,000 and $25,000 to organizations led by young people, aged 15-32 years. 
“In this time of worldwide economic crisis, it is not only banks and automakers who deserve financial support, we also need to encourage youth who are often best placed to solve problems in their communities,” said Mrs. Anna Tibaijuka, Executive Director of UN-HABITAT.

“The Opportunities Fund is designed to provide financial support of up to one million dollars per year, to youth-led initiatives aimed at sustainable urbanization. We must harness the energies of the young if we are to overcome the problems of urban poverty.”

Of the one billion slum dwellers in the world today, it is estimated that more than 70% are under the age of 30. Yet these young people have few resources available to improve their own living environment. This is a major oversight as there are many youth-led initiatives in slums and squatter settlements that are in urgent need of financial support.
The Opportunities Fund for Urban Youth-Led Development has been established with support from the Norwegian Government specifically to provide funds to youth-led community initiatives. The initial grant is for two million dollars over two years with a possibility of renewal.
The fund is committed to support innovative youth-led projects in areas such as employment, education, environment, health and safety. Applications from organizations partnering with government agencies and the private sector are encouraged. Projects promoting gender equality are particularly welcome.
Applications details are now available at www.unhabitat.org/opfund.
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