The innovative youth fund launched by UN-HABITAT has proved immensely popular, attracting applications from youth groups scattered from nearly all corners of the globe.
By the closure of the first round of applications June 15, urban youth-led organizations from some 86 countries had applied to the first Opportunities Fund for Urban Youth-Led Development, which closed its first round of applications June 15. Overall, 1,116 applications were received – 816 for the larger grant for up to $25,000 and 290 for the smaller grant of up to $5,000. The Fund was launched during the Fourth Session of the World Urban Forum, held in Nanjing, China last November.
By region, 696 applications came from African and Arab states, 331 came from Asia-Pacific and 89 came from Latin America and the Caribbean. Kenya, India and Uganda generated the most applications.
The Opportunities Fund is designed to provide financial support of up to $1 million per year to urban-based youth-led organizations in developing countries working to improve the living conditions of their communities, many of which are slums. Eligible organizations are led by young people, aged 15-32 years, dedicated to initiatives aimed at sustainable urbanization in areas such as employment, education, environment, health, gender and safety.
“We are excited by the volume of applications for the Fund,” said Mrs. Anna Tibaijuka, Executive Director of UN-HABITAT. “For the first time, we have quantified proof of the breadth and depth of need from for urban youth-led organizations. Youth are often the best placed to solve problems in their communities and we are committed to helping them amplify their proven community benefits.”
UN-HABITAT estimates that, of the one billion slum dwellers in the world today, more than 70% are under the age of 30 with few resources available to improve their own living environments.
The Opportunities Fund for Urban Youth-Led Development has been established with support from the Norwegian Government. The initial grant is for $2 million over two years with a possibility of renewal.
Recipients of the grants will be announced on World Habitat Day on October 5, 2009, and funds will be disbursed in November 2009. A second call for applications will be announced by the end of 2009.
Visit www.unhabitat.org/opfund for more information.