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close this bookContributions of Youth to the Implementation of the Habitat Agenda (HABITAT, 1999, 137 p.)
close this folderPART II: NATIONAL REPORTS
View the documentII.1 BRAZIL
View the documentII.2 COLOMBIA
View the documentII.3 INDIA
View the documentII.4 KENYA
View the documentII.5 PAKISTAN
View the documentII.6 SENEGAL
View the documentII.7 TURKEY


June, 1999, prepared by Emly de Andrade Costa and Ana Beatriz Juce Queiroz
Rua Carlos Vasconcelos, 1339 - Aldeota
CEP: 60115-170
Fortaleza, Ceara, Brazil
Tel: 055-85-261-26-07, Fax: 055-85-261-87-54


Concerning sustainable development Habitat Agenda states that, “as an indispensable prerequisite for sustainable development, all states and individuals should co-operate in the essential task of eradicating poverty, reducing the disparities in lifestyles and improving the attention given to the necessities of present and future generations.” Within this context, the importance of young people as decisive actors for the endeavours of today and tomorrow is augmenting. Currently they confront challenges that could have been softened by means of public policies and implementation of commitments of local and central governments.

Adolescents represent one sixth of the population of the planet. Nearly 1 billion people are between the ages of 10 and 19 years old, 85% of them live in developing countries. They are young people faced with huge problems:

· In 1997 alone, nearly 3 millions of young people between the ages 15-24 were infected by the Aids virus - two thirds of those were girls/women.

· Young girls between the ages 15-19 give birth to 15 million babies each year. Consequently the majority of deaths in this age group are related to problems of premature pregnancies.

· In the whole world, 73 million children between the age of 10-14 are employed. This number does not even include the millions of young people - the majority girls - who do housework. Reports alert us that many are married with children and work hard when they are still at the beginning of puberty.

· In developing countries, 59% of girls and 48% of boys are not enrolled in secondary schools.

· Communities are being destroyed due to the fact that families are leaving the countryside in search of work or due to communication facilities in urban areas or other new influences that break the union of families and traditions.

In view of these challenges this report is presented. In addition to a diagnostic character of the Brazilian situation, the report also has the aspect of experience sharing that could bring new alternatives and paths for development.

1.1. Demographic/General Situation

Brazil is a continental country, being the fifth largest in the world in terms of resources and population, the biggest in South America, and the eleventh biggest in terms of GDP.

Inhabitants - (1996 census): 157, 079, 573
Men: 77, 447, 541
Women: 79, 632, 032

Three quarters of the Brazilian population live in urban areas. Nevertheless, forests, water and biological resources are distributed in a heterogeneous way within the territory. It presents sensitive social and economic disparities in several fields e.g. life conditions of urban and rural population in terms of income and access to basic and essential services.

Significant progress obtained in the public administration sphere, with the support of most of the society, was the Plano Real, which started in July of 1994. It was implemented after 30 years of coexistence with a persistent and high inflationary process. This inflation exceeded 2,000% in 1993. After 1995, the tendency of annual inflation declined visibly.

The precarious situation demonstrated by the Report on Human Development indicators, published in 1995 by UNDP, is classifying Brazil in the 63rd place among the nations of the world that demanded a more incisive position with regards to education, health, poverty, agrarian reform, urban infrastructure etc.

Progress was achieved in mutual understanding and environmental perception and stimulated the constitution of partnerships between government and society. Nevertheless, the efforts to execute the law and to develop the education for sustainable development, have not been adapted enough to the attitudes and expectations of the population.

The demographic transition is marked, on one hand, by the progressive decrease of the mortality rate, proceeded by a drastic fall in the rate of the women’s birth rate at a reproductive age. The total birth rate in Brazil went from 5.8-children/woman in 1970 to about 2.1-children/woman in 1998. While the Gross Mortality Rate is 8/1000 inhabitants today, the reduction presented by the birth rate was more expressive, affecting the growth rate of the Brazilian population significantly starting in 1970. Infant mortality has been decreasing significantly in the last ten years. However it still claims 37 children for each thousand born alive, while the numbers verified in the developed countries approach 8 for each thousand. That means Brazil presents a rate almost five times bigger than found in those countries. Infant malnutrition is also serious: 15% of children are five years old and younger and they still weigh below the expected average. The acceptable value should be between 2,5 and 3%.

1.2. Major Human Settlements Conditions

Youth - 25% of the Brazilian population is between 15 to 25 years old, and that represents 1/3 of the Latin-American youth. Today, the decreasing relative participation of the young population (0 to 18 years) in social life will generate an important decrease factor in demand for public services and education in the near future.

Education - Illiteracy affects about 1.5 million young people between 15-19 and 14 million adults.

The increase of the school-going rate among young people between the ages 7-14 was approximately 91% in 1994 and 96% in 1998. Nearly 5 millions go to schools in reduced shifts. The failure rate in the first grade of basic education is estimated at about 50% (11.4 average age).

Life conditions - More than 16 million Brazilians do not have homes, 40 million do not have access to basic water treatment services and another 100 million do not have public sewers.

The unassisted population is basically concentrated in the poorest income brackets - 65% of the population whose monthly income does not surpass two minimum wages (the minimum salary is approximately $76 US) just have access to water, while 97% of the population with an income superior to five minimum wages receive treated water from the public system at home.

The unequal distribution of the access to services renders the excluded population more vulnerable, not only due to the deficits in the access to the other services, such as health and education, but also related mainly to the quality of sewer services that are provided, inter alia the regularity of the distribution and quality of the water offered.

80% of sewerage is not treated and more than 65% of the garbage produced in the cities is deposited in open spaces or thrown in waterways.

Concentration of Income - Extreme poverty affects about 26 millions Brazilians today who do not have enough income to satisfy their basic nutritional needs, however, double that number can be considered poor.

Health - Access to the public health system in Brazil as well as sanitary conditions and income distribution is not equal.

Social Discrimination - Several groups suffer from social discrimination for their attributes or intrinsic characteristics, such as certain ethnic and racial groups, groups with different sexual orientation, women, natives of north-eastern Brazil, rural workers, children and adolescents in risk situation, street populations, deficiency carriers and other groups of the population that present accentuated relative disadvantages.

Housing - The process of urbanization in Latin America has been growing considerably as in Brazil. In the last 40 years Brazilian states have been facing difficulties in administering the use of the urban territory and the urbanization process itself. As a result a disorganised growth that is both horizontal and vertical in nature is proceeding.

New techniques have been developed by governments and civil society to provide access to low-cost housing for families with low income. Nevertheless many people are deprived of basic infrastructure and services for the citizens that influence directly the living conditions of people. The exclusion is also revealed on the part of the real estate market that has not produced houses for low-income families in Brazil for more than 30 years.

The great majority of resources are destined to families of middle and high income. Low-income families do not have many options besides the slums, land occupation, etc. Consequently they find their own solutions to their problems without support from the State.

The Brazilian habitation problem affects more than 70% of the Brazilian population that live in the cities. This indicates the need to establish an urban policy, with the objective “to order the full development of the social functions of the city and to guarantee the well-being of its inhabitants”, as stated in article 182 of the Brazilian Federal Constitution.

1.3. Problems faced by Youth


Often the inadequate management of urban land is resulting in the increase of delinquency, prostitution and children outside of school as well as decisively influencing a generation of environmental conflicts, creating problems of integration in the urban ecosystem, water management and over-habitation in some urban areas.

Impacts on children and young people are:

· Familial promiscuity (lack of a minimum physical space for survival);

· Lack of public spaces and playgrounds that allow for a complete development of children and young people;

· Lack of security which causes formation of gangs and the increase in the marginalization of children that live in slums;

· Some children do not go to school. The sizes of classrooms in schools are smaller than the demand or the distance between homes and schools makes it impossible for children to attend;

· Many children who are obliged to work to help out their families are used in drug trafficking (as part of the information network in slums);

· The problem of security severely affects young people. This can be seen in the indices of homicides of young people living in the periphery, who are already involved in criminal activities in many cases.

Child Labour

The labour situation is worrisome since 73 million children between ages 10-14 work, while a large percentage of young people in developing countries, notably 50% of girls and 48% of boys do not attend mid-level schools.

In Brazil, starting at the age of 14, young people can participate in productive activities as long as this does not restrict their development. Nearly 16% of children work. According to official data, nearly 5 million children between the age of 5 and 14 do some type of work. Despite the fact that the best known cases are in the rural areas, approximately 40% of these workers are encountered in urban areas, performing insufficiently paid or non paid tasks, and since they are considered as performing less hard work, they are almost ignored by the population.

Children also earn very little, i.e. from 55% to 70% (the variation depends on the city) receive less than a minimum salary. Their tasks are the same as those of adults, and frequently they work more than 5 days a week, working long days including nights. More than 60% of children work for four hours or more per day. This percentage reaches 82% in Goiania. In all state capitals, it has been found out that children work for nine or more hours per day, namely 1% in Belo Horizonte; 4% in Porto Alegre; 7% in Goiania and Sao Paulo; 9% in Recife and 10% in Bel

Sexually transmitted diseases

Brazil is one of the three Latin American countries with the highest rate of sexually active adolescents between the ages of 15 and 19, who do not use any kind of contraception. According to UNICEF studies, 19% of Brazilian youth within this age group begin to have a precocious sexual life. This places Brazil in 62nd rank among the world countries with respect to adolescent pregnancies. The incidence is of 71 cases for every one thousand girls up to 19 years of age. Another data directly linked to the educational level of premature mothers is the fact that women who do not complete primary education have two or three children more than those who get to the secondary school.

Lack of Information in General Aspects

Lack of education, great number of adolescent mothers and involvement of youth in drugs are problems that can be overcome by means of better information. Media tools, namely radio, television, magazines, newspapers and even the Internet reach the most distant of places in the developing world presently. The lack of information about their legal rights makes young people a vulnerable group:

· Children and adolescents frequently are not fully aware of their rights,

· In addition to lack of awareness, they are not well positioned to speak up for their rights, which leads to their incapability of meeting their own basic needs.


In Brazil, 15 million people suffer from hunger due to the maldistribution of income. Consequently, children and young people suffer and feel obliged to steal or work in inadequate conditions in order to acquire food for their survival as well as that of their families.

Nearly 40% of the Brazilian population (50 million people) lives in extreme poverty. 1/3 of the population is malnourished, 9% of children die before their first birthday and 37% of the population are rural workers without their own land. 45% of Brazilian children of less than five years of age suffer from chronic hunger.

Lack of Policies for an Equal Education

Despite the fact that in Brazil there are a considerable number of schools, universities and technical training centres, there is an inequality of access to education. There are public and private institutions. The basic public education is inefficient, which makes it difficult for poor students to have access to universities. People with better financial situations usually go to private schools because these offer better possibilities for having access to public universities. Thus the university becomes an institution for privileged young people.

The literacy rate for adults is 87%, the highest among developing countries. High levels of truancy and repeating indicate problems in the quality of education. The region has great economic disparities between the rich and poor, additionally indigenous and poor population encounters difficulties in access to qualified education. Brazil has a high rate of repeating - more than 15%.


Although the country has achieved some advances in this field, one of the major problems faced by youth in Brazil is the access to a thorough health system. Public hospitals are not equipped to meet demands, and the public health system is inefficient, not satisfactorily preventing diseases. Private hospitals are inaccessible to the poorest segment of the population and children and young people are excluded.


“It is the duty and priority of the family, society and the State to assure children and adolescents the right to live, health, nutrition and education, leisure, specialisation, culture, dignity, respect, liberty and family and community life, as well as protecting them from negligence, discrimination, exploitation, violence, cruelty and oppression.” - as stated in the article 227 of the Brazilian Federal Constitution. Brazil has developed many projects related to youth involvement in decision-making processes, mainly in institutionalised participation. The most significant model in this kind of practice are Children Councils, children municipal assemblies, youth secretariats etc.

Small towns are concerned about developing the spirit of integration and participation of young people in the democratic process in the city, creating more responsible and conscientious children and young people in general. Cities such as Santo AndrSPaulo), Independia (Cear Barra Mansa (Rio de Janeiro) are some these examples. In these towns youth participation has been institutionalised, allowing them to decide the priorities related to their environment mainly, school, leisure for children and youngsters in the city, waste disposal management, school training for recycling, environmental education, etc.

All these ideas emerge from the participatory governance principle that has been discussed in some Brazilian municipalities, in civil society, government teams and other actors.

It has to be taken into account that the annual municipal budget in the last few years has been decreased and social problems are not in the governments’ priorities. This fact has a decisive influence on the youth preferences, especially in the educational field, security and the environment.

Concerning aspects of the law, the National Congress approved the “statute of the child and adolescent” - Law n° 8069, July 13, 1990. Some considerations are stated below:

Article 1: This Law deals with the full protection of the child and adolescent.

Article 2: For the purposes of this Law, the child is considered as a person who has not yet completed twelve years of age and the adolescents are between twelve and eighteen years of age. In the cases that are specified in Law, this Statute applies exceptionally to people between eighteen and twenty-one years of age.

Article 3: Without prejudice to the full protection dealt with in this Law, the child and adolescent enjoy all the fundamental rights inherent to the human beings and, by law or other means, are ensured of all opportunities and facilities so as to entitle them to physical, mental, moral, spiritual and social development, in conditions of freedom and dignity.

Article 4: It is the duty of the family, community, society in general and the public authority to ensure, with absolute priority, effective implementation of the rights to life, health, nutrition, education, sports, leisure, vocational training, culture, dignity, respect, freedom and family and community living.

The guarantee of priority encompasses:

a. precedence in receiving protection and aid in any circumstances;

b. precedence in receiving public services and those of public relevance;

c. preference in the formulation and execution of public social policies; a privileged allocation of public resources in areas related to the protection of infancy and youth.

Article 5: No child or adolescent will be subject to any form of negligence, discrimination, exploitation, violence, cruelty and oppression, and any violation of their fundamental rights, either by act or omission, will be punished according to the terms of the Law.

The statute of child and adolescent (law 8069/90) is a true constitution for the Brazilian child-youth population. In fact, this law, with its 267 articles creates the conditions of demand for the rights of the child and adolescent, which are:

· In the International Convention for the Rights of Children and other international normative instruments;

· In the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Brazil and the laws that complement it.

All these rights however are synthesised in the extraordinary and seminal, article 227 of the Federal Constitution which was elaborated with a base in the cast of rights, which form the substantive part of the International Convention of the Rights of Children. This apprehension of article 227 allows one to understand the letter and the spirit of the Doctrine of Complete Protection of the United Nations.

The other instrument of law for youth rights is Municipal Council of the Rights of the Children and Adolescent. This is the permanent and autonomous, non-jurisdictional organ responsible for monitoring the rights of children and adolescents, defined in law no. 8069 of July 13, 1990 in the municipal scope with parity between the government and civil society.

The Tutelary Council also exists, which is a foresight in the statute of the child and adolescent formed by people chosen by society to monitor the ensured rights of the statute. Thus whenever the rights of children or adolescents have been disrespected, it is up to the Tutelary Council to take the necessary measures together with the juvenile and adolescent police.

Some other examples of national services and programmes provided to youth (governmental and other institutional levels):

National Educational Plan

The National Educational Plan was elaborated under the co-ordination of INEP (National Institute of Educational Study and Research) under the NUPES-USP/UNESCO agreement to carry out the legal devices in effect. Article 87 - § 1° of the Law of Directions of the Bases of National Education (The Darcy Ribeiro Law) determined the elaboration of this plan, “with directions and aims for the next ten years, in tune with the World Declaration of Education for All.”

In the foundations, the MEC (Ministry of Education and Culture) not only considered the Jomtien Declaration, but also other commitments and international recommendations such as the International Conference on Population and Development (Cairo, 1994), the World Cupola for Social Development, the Hamburg Declaration on Adult Education (1997), the New Delhi and Aman Declarations on education for all (1993 and 1996 respectively), as well as recommendations from the General Conferences of UNESCO. UNESCO/Brazil gave technical co-operation to the process of elaboration and finalisation of the plan.

On the other hand, in the area of adult and youth education, the Ministry of Education in partnership with the Programme of Community Solidarity, established a new conceptual design for partnerships which will allow for a substantive combat against illiteracy in the following years. This programme has awakened a growing international interest due to the co-operation with the private sector.

All Children in School

The Brazilian government through the Ministry of Education created a programme named “All children in school,” started on October 15, 1998 with the intention of attracting 3 million children to fundamental education with the support of governments, entrepreneurs and civil society. This project also envisions the literacy of young people and adults. The government increased the average expenditures on teachers’ salaries from R$ 300 to R$ 315. The programme also intends to reinforce the TV school (channel for literacy), schoolbooks, school snacks and enlargement and improvement of schools. These projects together with governments are committed to enrolling all students so that by the year 2000 they will be able to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the discovery of Brazil.

In this programme there is project for reinforcement called Acelera Brasil, which intends to create accelerated (advanced) classes in the grades of primary school.

Youth Pastoral

Youth Pastoral, established in 1997 worried about the situation of abandoned children and adolescents in the streets of large Brazilian cities. In 1993 a group of Catholics became anxious about the situation of children and adolescents as well as those who had nothing to do in their free time after school in the BarGeraldo district, founded the BarGeraldo pro-minor Society which works to assist children and adolescents from 0 to 14 years of age, of both sexes by means of preventative socio-educational work.

The Pastoral has developed the following services:

· social accompaniment of families
· reference to community resources (doctors, dentists, psychologists etc.)
· scholastic accompaniment
· sports (soccer, volleyball, gymnastics)
· monthly meetings with parents
· handicrafts (rug weaving, embroidery)

Axroject - Before and After Street Education

The objective of street education is to make it viable for children and adolescents who live in the street, coming from a situation of extreme poverty, to have access to citizenship.

Before this intervention, these boys and girls who had been exposed to police and family violence, were not conscious of their rights as children and adolescents, and their perspectives on life were reduced to eating and trying to stay alive for one more day. After the Axroject began to develop this programme these boys and girls were able to realise that they had rights and duties. The result of this achievement can be seen in the children as well as in their families, where it has been attempted to relieve their sense of guilt in relation to their situation on the street, integrating them into a new process.

In fact the Street Education Project allows the children and adolescents to recuperate their dreams and desires as important dimensions for construction of a future and as a life project. The project has obtained results that are not always possible to measure in an immediately visible way - going to students’ homes and helping to improve intra-family relationships, demystifying the idea that street children do not have families, extending the knowledge of the history of students’ lives together with family testimonies in order to have a more interactive relationship with the young people.

The Axroject literacy classes focus on children and young people from 8 to 18 years of age who live in extreme poverty and who have been deprived of their rights, including that of education. In each class there are 16 to 20 children since it has been observed that they need more individualised attention.

Students arriving at centres usually manifest low self esteem and fear of expressing themselves in writing due to previous failures in formal schools, as well as not having had the opportunity to witness or participate in social activities that involve writing.

University Solidarity Programme

The University Solidarity Programme was the result of an alliance between the Community Solidarity Council (CS), the Ministry of Education and Sports (MEC), the Council of Deans of Brazilian Universities (CRUB) and UNESCO, with the intent of mobilising teams of professors and university students to join activities meant to improve conditions for poor populations. These actions aimed at providing access to basic knowledge about hygiene and health, development of collective action in the educational, cultural and leisure fields which value the citizenship of these populations. In this field, UNESCO co-operation centred on supporting the reformulation, production and edition of educational materials distributed to these populations as well as facilitating the trips of the target area teams to accompany the programme. This programme was inserted in the actions of the community solidarity, which also covers the programme of Solidarity Literacy.

Solidarity Literacy

As a result of an alliance between the Community Solidarity Council (CS), the Ministry of Education and Sports (MEC), the Council of Deans of Brazilian Universities (CRUB) and UNESCO, private sector and municipal governments with the support of local universities came together in order to combat illiteracy in those municipalities with the highest illiteracy rates. In this programme, in addition to direct financing in two municipalities (Envira/AM and MelgaPA), UNESO collaborated in the operation of the programme which currently operates in 120 municipalities in the country, mobilises more than 80 universities and assists 40,000 students. In the first semester of 1998, a huge expansion is expected, which is 200 municipalities and 90,000 students.

Young People and Social Development

This programme is based on facilitating co-operation between young people who hope to increase their capacity to actively participate in social life.

This programme gives support to the development of networks and activities of Infoyouth (information for young people) for different international organisations such as the Junior International Chamber and youth nations. As it is approved in its programme for the 1998/99 biennium, “one of the priorities in the next few years will be to ‘listen’ to young people and work with them in the reinforcement of their capacity to discover their individual and social objectives.” Thus, UNESCO is providing continuity to their international project “Crossing the Threshold: in Listening to Young People at the Dawning of the Third Millennium,” to many special projects, like “The Contribution of Young People in Facilitating a Better Perception of Others” and also decisively contributes to the execution of the World Plan of Action of Youth for the Year 2000 and Beyond, approved by the General Assembly of the United Nations.

MUDES Foundation

Is a non-profit organization formed by technicians from diverse sectors, mainly related to providing information media for youth, especially for university students? The Foundation has a newsletter called “University Perspectives” which disseminates information on actions carried out by young people, scholarships, government programmes etc.


This involves the creation of a National Network of Regional Voluntary Centres in various cities in the country. These centres aim at developing the potential of each region, and act as intermediates between those who wish to offer time and effort, and those who need these services, also facilitating the supply and demand of its activities. They are already active or in construction in Porto Alegre, SPaulo, Rio de Janeiro, Curitiba and Recife. It is expected that by 1998, there will also be Centres in Brasa, Belo Horizonte, Salvador and Fortaleza.

Community Based Organisations Related to Youth

The total number of CBOs is more than 30,000 in Brazil, and in the state of Ceara, for example, there are around 8,000. The percentage working with youth is around 13%, in the fields of human rights, rape (indecent assault), professional training and education.

Profile of Non-governmental Organisations

It is evident today in profiles of Brazilian NGOs that few organizations view their work as being exclusively local.

Scope of action




1. National



2. State



3. Municipal



4. Regional



5. Metropolitan



6. International



7. Local/community



According to an ABONG (Brazilian Association of NGOs) study, the category in which each work is registered under 26 themes. The thematic areas that received the most responses were education and/or professionalization (65.76%), popular organisation/popular participation (60.87%) and gender relations/women/reproductive rights (56.52%) respectively. There are a significant number of NGOs working in the area of children and adolescents: 53.26%, yet this number has decreased from the percentage in 1996, which was 63.7%.

Some more percentages:

Environment/Ecology: 34.24%
Human Rights: 47.28%
Urban Questions: 28.26%


There are a variety of activities related to youth and to assisting young people in the implementation of the Habitat Agenda. These will be indicated below, bearing in mind that other local initiatives are being carried out aiming at the improvement of the lives of young people. Obviously, they are not sufficient to claim that young people in Brazil do not have other problems, but these small and big actions together will help young people to transform the world into a more just place.

National Council on Youth

Some Brazilian States are interested in creating Youth Councils and the most important objective is to develop a National Council on Youth. In 1998 they organised the first National Festival of Young people, gathering 6,500 young people interested in implementing action plans at the governmental and civil society levels, in their projects involving youngsters. This event was organised by F Juventude XXI (Youth Forum XXI) and Radio Cultura FM (Radio Culture FM). In this meeting, they concluded on some important points:

Culture, Leisure and Sport

The occupation of public or private spaces that are not in use in order for them to be more useful for cultural events, social and educational activities, implementation of popular councils of young people and the National Council of Social Communication for the dissemination and propagation of one national culture.


More financial investment for basic education until graduation, giving value to teachers and better working conditions, socialization of knowledge, and access to school without payment, fighting against the privatization of public schools.


Youth work journey reduction Forbidding youth work in unhealthy areas Creation of policies for adult and youth education


Legalisation of Abortion

Wage equality

Young Government Secretaries

Independia, a municipality in the interior of the state of Cearnorth-eastern Brazil), with a population of 24,000 has been confronting the difficulties inherent in establishing participatory democracy, and among other initiatives, has attempted municipal governance through strategic participatory planning, and development of improvement of quality of life for its inhabitants. In their goal of reinforcing social actors, including young people, special attention has been paid to children as prospective future defenders of democracy. In this way, the city has significantly and permanently involved children in the city.

Six children from six schools were chosen through direct elections to represent their classmates in the municipality parallel to six municipal secretaries (health, education, administration and finance, social development, infrastructure and economic development). These child secretaries convene meetings for children in order to inform them about what has happened in the departments of the municipal government which they represent as well as to listen to their problems, ideas and proposals incorporating them in the municipal agenda to be discussed with the mayor and his/her respective secretaries.

The objectives are to:

· raise citizens capable of administering the municipality with a sense of responsibility,
· develop the habit in children of active participation in municipal management,
· strengthen complementary work between the public administration and education,
· create new links between government and civil society through work with the children.

Currently, the child secretaries are elaborating a project of selective collection and recycling of garbage for the city with the support of Cearah Periferia (local NGO), Urban Management Programme LAC and the municipal government of Independia.

Youth Solidarity Project

This is an action co-ordinated by the Government of the State of Rio Grande do Sul together with universities and municipal governments. It is a union of the structures of the state government and the municipal governments with the hard work and participation of university students from a variety of areas of study - from medicine to education, aiming at dissemination of information, social assistance and improvement of the quality of life in low income communities.

The important duty of a university, in addition to training professionals, is to participate actively in the community, which is also the duty of the state government. Thus, with this alliance, the citizen is the winner. The Youth Solidarity Project will distinguish the Programa Pi000 - a state government action targeting low-income children and adolescents. This programme foresees the following actions:

· all children in school
· health in schools
· guarantee of nutritional rehabilitation
· prevention of infant mortality
· research on the living conditions of children and adolescents who live on the streets
· priorities are education/school or school reference
· guarantee of specialized health services

University students are selected to work in state government projects during the vacations. In addition to getting to know and participate in programmes developed in the communities, the students can work in their own areas of interest. For instance, medicine and orthodontic students can work on health programmes; law students can participate in legal advising, etc. This is a great opportunity for university students to professionalize and participate in the process of construction of the society. For the beneficiary communities, it signifies the possibility of improvement in quality of life.

Expoyouth Rio 99

The city of Rio de Janeiro and the MUDES Foundation will organise an event called “Expo Jovem RIO 99”. This project aims to address a significant number of young people in response to their questions about education, and professional careers. Professionals, families, faculty representatives, and others will try to show the possibilities of getting involved in the market, training courses, language classes, culture and leisure options, etc.

It is predicted that this event will be organised annually and that in the year 2000 the Mercosul countries and probably the Ibero-American countries of Spain and Portugal will also participate. This programme is supported by the Rio de Janeiro Town Hall and by some universities.

Boat School

This project functions in Angra dos reis, Rio de Janeiro and awakens creativity and sensitivity. In order to reach the school which is located three hours by boat from the coast (6 hours round trip), children, adolescents and public school teachers who live on the continent must be at the docks at 5 am waiting for the boat. The boat, which is maintained by the city government, has space for 100 passengers. The route requires a number of stops in order to pick up all the people in the region that live on islands. During the trip, teachers use the time to answer students’ questions in all subject areas and there is also a floating library, in order to awaken children’s interest in reading during the trip.

Child Friendly Companies

This programme is led by a foundation called Abrinq in order to stimulate the non-exploitation of child labour and at the same time to provide incentives and suggest action plans for contributing to the education of children and the professional training of adolescents. The foundation was created in 1995 and has already achieved many successes, among which are the mobilisation of sectors where children are subjected to the worst work conditions, such as charcoal production, the citrus fruit industry, the sugar/alcohol industry and the shoemaking industry. As a result, many agreements have been signed for eradicating child labour.

When a company applies to participate in the programme, it signs a document in which it commits to not employ children under the age of 14, and to give priority to suppliers who also do not use child labour. They should also develop activities that aim at the education of children or professional training of adolescents.

Once a company gains the credential of being child friendly, it receives a diploma and authorization to use a stamp of the ISO 9000 type, which can be used in the packaging and advertising of its products. Together with the brand name of the company, the stamp guarantees its social contribution and the non-exploitation of child labour.

Community Ice Cream Parlour

Located in Fortaleza (Brazil), young people from the community with support from the residents’ association decided to look for a solution for unemployment in the community. They built a small ice cream factory, which employs 30 young people from the neighbourhood. Initially with help from some church entities, they built a small building to house the factory on a residents’ association plot of land, and later they were able to obtain the equipment and commenced working together. Many of these young people who were on the streets, are now working and helping their families. About 50 families sell the products.

The factory produces approximately 80 litres of ice cream per day, and it is already financially independent. They have already completed an extension that will help increase production. This project had the support of the NGO Cearah Periferia, which provided them with the loan for the extension.


Located in Fortaleza (Brazil) since 1994. This project is developed for six months on the streets with children between the ages of 12 and 17 to raise awareness on the problems of drugs, prostitution, delinquency, exclusively to constitute a group that will be in the institution for one year completing four types of training: work with recycled paper, stonemason, painting and organic gardening. The children have one month before starting in order to adapt to their new routine.

The garden group has 90 youngsters who receive a short period of technical training in botany after completing practical application in ornamental plants, medicinal plants, vegetables, plant production and production of compost with worms. After completing their training, they are ready to enter the market, and many of them already start doing small jobs in their communities during training. The project has the support of the local government of Fortaleza.

Better House Project

In general, the initiative to receive support from this project comes from one or two people in a neighbourhood who consult their association. 20 to 30 families who are also interested form a savings and loan group. Each of these families receives basic information on the programme. Subsequently they complete a socio-economic form (usually with some assistance from the community or the support team) and submit it to the support team. Having analysed the forms, each family is visited and their individual plan for housing improvement is finalised. The cost of the improvements are calculated and compared to the maximum amount offered by the fund and the savings that they want to mobilise. At this stage, those families who have no official papers such as an identity card or other administrative documents are assisted by the other members of the groups to obtain them.

This can take time but it is important for the people to acquire formal citizenship and thus to have confidence in themselves. Once these official papers are obtained, the socio-economic and technical forms prepared and gathered by the association, the management team prepares the lending contract. Meanwhile, the families continue to save.

The support or technical team is composed of social activists and social workers, managers, young professionals, from the NGO CEARAH Periferia and the municipal government. The municipal government delivers a subsidy as one part, the other one is the loan from Cearah Periferia and other part is composed of the family savings for the improvement. The maximum amount is 350 USD, and the family does not have to pay interest. The fund for loans is supported by Cearah Periferia and international organisations.


Monitoring and evaluation are important since difficulties confronted and successes gained in the implementation of projects for the Habitat Agenda can be measured.

In monitoring, it is necessary to make adjustments in the programmes, since the same results reached in an original project are not always obtained in the implantation of a successor project. It is essential that the adaptations adhere to the culture of a given place in order for the monitoring to be satisfactory.

In the evaluation, the non-visible results of the programmes also have to be considered. That is, one needs to be attuned to the real modifications and improvements obtained in quality of life of the involved individuals as focused on by the Habitat Agenda.

The technical aspects contained in the indicators often relate to what happens between the lines in a technical way, therefore it is always necessary to identify the improvements in the personal field of the human being as a whole, within his/her environment (emotional, cultural and social aspects).

A mechanism of the identification of best practices is the selection of files of experiments of the themes worked on by the Habitat Agenda, especially housing and sustainable development, allowing these experiments to be discussed and studied in order to be implemented or followed in other places (lessons learnt, experts/consultants, manuals, guides and informative papers).

A contest can be opened to all organisations involved in the process of regional reports to lead to a proposal of a network for discussion and proposal for accomplishment of some activities for a specific period of time, creating an international group for discussion, with a schedule of activities. This group can be an international group for articulation with some international organisations such as the United Nations, the IDB, and other international agencies. For a national network one has to be aware of the fact that not all the institutions have access to the Internet and it could be done by international newsletter sent by regular post.

Some processes, even if they have difficulties due to lack of real structure or financial support, have an impact on people’s lives. We have to recognise that political processes influence some actions and for that reason, we do not have complete control of the projects and programs. The rhythm is different and depends on the kind of regional situation where they are being implemented.


We should carry out the objectives and determine the roles of each request involved in the planning and participation processes related to youth within the Habitat Agenda.

The areas in which it is necessary to continue discussion and experiments are as follows:

· The importance of the organised group
· The necessity to create new financial devices for the elaboration of projects related to young people
· Seek greater self-management for groups (strengthening social organisations)
· Defend quality before quantity
· Space for negotiation and collective decision-making
· Work with local governments, decentralized work areas and agencies for international co-operation

Consequently, observation of living conditions in urban Brazil comes face to face with problems of solutions that require a great effort on the part of the population, governments and international organisations, which are extreme poverty, juvenile delinquency, environmental problems, precarious living situations and non-qualified urban services. Recommendations for the future are:

· To increase the quantity and type of actors involved in the discussions that involve Brazilian youth, within a local, regional, national and international context,

· To create model files on experiences of youth projects on an international level to be shared among partners,

· To create mechanisms for training and information through an internet network that will connect those involved, for exchange of information and best practices,

· To elaborate mechanisms of capacity building for young people,

· To include young people in the discussion processes that deal with the Habitat Agenda and Agenda 21 together with the United Nations, through articles in their magazines and periodic publications.

We hope that through this brief document we can integrate youth actions in an enlarged context and thus improve the living conditions of children, young people and their families.


· - Acorda Brasil magazine, 1998
· - Brazilian Habitat Agenda Committee; Rio de Janeiro, 1998
· - Cearah Periferia. Casa Melhor and FAPAG Manuals; Fortaleza, 1995
· - Comunidade Solida, Rio Grande do Sul, 1998
· - La Era Urbana magazine, Equador, 1998
· - Mudes Foundation, 1998
· - UNESCO in Brazil, report of activities, 1998
· - World Development Report, 1995


June, 1999, prepared by Juan Diego Valenzuela and Adriana Patricia Valenzuela
Calle 10# 3-46 Apt 303 Candeleria, Bogota, Colombia
Fax: + 571 284 63 30


Useful Facts about Colombia
Name: Republic of Colombia
Geographical Area: 1,141,748 km 2
Population: 36,886,280
Capital: Satafe de Bogota
Important Cities: Medellin, Cali, Barranquilla
Government Type: Republic
Chief Executive and President: Andres Pastrana Arango
Independence Day: July 20th, 1810
Religion: Predominantly Catholic (95.4%)
Language: Spanish
Economy: Agriculture (coffee), Minerals (emeralds), and Oil

Colombia is located in the northern part of Latin America, right on the equatorial line with long coasts along both Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. It is composed of 5 geographical regions, namely, the Atlantic Coast, the Pacific Coast, the Orinoco River basin (Orinoquia), the Amazon River basin (Amazonia) and the Andean Region. Andean is where 70% of the population is settled.

Colombia is home for 10% of all flora and fauna species in the world. The Andean Mountain System, access to the Amazon River and the Amazon jungle and the two coast lines provide Colombia with 49,000 flora and 1721 bird species while putting Colombia into second place in the world in hosting the greatest number amphibious species and third in number of reptile species.

1.1 Demographic Situation

Ethnic diversity

According to the census of 1993, the population of Colombia is 36,886,280. The Afrocolombians represent more than 10% of the total population and are mainly concentrated in San Andres, Providence’s island and Choco, along the Atlantic Coast. The indigenous population is 716,419, 82% of which is settled in 517 shelters covering 28,000,000 hectares. This indigenous population is mainly concentrated in the regions of Cauca (20.9%), Putumayo (17.8%), Guajira (11.9%) and Narino (8.7%). Most of them are working in the rural sector and numerous times they have been victims of mandatory displacements due to armed conflict, forcing them to live in the forests and jungles.

General demographic trends

The rate of fecundity has decreased from 7 children per family in the period 1960-1964, to 3.8 children in the period 1979-1980 and to 3.2 children in 1985. The estimate for 1993 is 3 children per family. These rates are below the average for Latin America and the Caribbean (3.2) but above that of developed countries (1.7). The rates of fertility fluctuate considerably among the rural and urban areas. Fertility in urban areas is 2.65 while in rural areas it is placed at 4.41 (Bogota 2.33, Fence 2.54, Quindio 2.55, Vichada 6.16, Amazons 5.69, Guainia 6.01). Although the rate of fertility has decreased significantly over the past decades, it has shown signs of increase especially among young women ages between 14 and 19.

There was significant decrease in the mortality gross rate (number of deaths per thousand people). While in 1960s this mortality was 12 per thousand, at present, this rate has fallen down to 5 per thousand people. The rate of infant mortality has virtually diminished, especially in comparison with the rest of Latin America. Through these advances in health, hope for life has significantly increased. This has been possible through various programmes, including maternal programmes, infanticide prevention, vaccination campaigns and control of illnesses. In spite of all this, the rate of mortality among youth has increased mainly due to violence.

Urban population

Colombia has gone through rapid urbanization towards the end of the 20th century. In 1995, 70.65% of the population lived in cities and 27.65% lived in the largest 4 cities. Bogota, D.C., is home to 14.5% of the total population which corresponds to 5,484,244 people (according to the census of 1993). 30% of the population is concentrated in 5 cities larger than 500,000 inhabitants, 22% in 24 cities with 100,000 to 500,000 inhabitants and 27% in 225 cities with 20,000 to 100,000 inhabitants. The remaining 21% of the population is living in 767 municipalities of 20,000 or less inhabitants.

Peripheral growth, uncontrolled migration and marginal settlement are among the main problems that affect Colombian cities. In general marginal settlements, shantytowns constitute 50% of the cities. There are social, political, economic and cultural differences that reflect the urban disorder and segregation in contrast to harmony, integration and solidarity. The lack of housing and land opportunities for the poor cause the invasion of land and the growth of the cities on high potential farm lands.


One of the most important demographic phenomena that have affected the economic, social and cultural operation of the country is the rural-urban migration. In 1951, 38.7% of the population lived in urban areas; whereas, in 1993, this percentage has reached 65.3%. In 1995, 73.82% of the total population were living in cities. The contribution of this migration to the growth of certain areas of the country during the period 1988-1993 was very significant. For example, the growth of Bogota between the censuses of 1988 and 1993 was 2.7% with 1.1% net migration rate which represents 41% of the total growth of the city.

Lack of education and employment opportunities, health and other public services, drinkable water, roads of transport and communication, inadequate housing and armed conflict are among the main reasons for rural-urban migration.

As a result of this rapid urbanization process, problems such as increment of marginality, housing deficit, inadequacy of public services, lack of infrastructure, reduced employment, increase of poverty and delinquency and consolidation of informal economies have greatly affected the life in the cities. Migration has high social costs. Among the migrated youth, it has caused a lack of identity as a result of loss of customs, traditions and culture, resulting in an uncertainty for the future. Moreover, there are also numerous problems concerning the relation of the migrated youth to the youth of the city.

1.2 Major Human Settlements Conditions


The housing deficit is more than 1,200,000 units. This deficit is mainly concentrated in urban areas, affecting the families with incomes close to the minimum wage. For the low-income population, housing is not merely a place to live but also a source of income through room rentals, small store management, etc. In the Kenedy neighborhood in Bogota, 80% of the houses were modified to accommodate this need for income.

There is a high demand for housing and public services, but the inability of the government to facilitate easy access to housing for low income families has obliged people to invade public lands and build illegally. As a result of this demand, pirate house-constructors have become active in selling bad lands to low income families with low prices.

Public Services

In 1985, 57% of the houses had all the necessary public services (water, energy, and sewer system); in 1993, this percentage has risen to 62%. The present aqueducts cover 75% of the population, so about 10.1 million people do not have this service. The covering of the sewer service is 60%. 16.1 million people are without sewer system service. 750 plants for treatment of residual water exist but about half of them are not in working condition.

According to the census of 1985, 78.2% of the houses had energy; whereas, in 1993, this percentage has risen to 78.2%. More than 500 municipalities have direct telephone access for international calls and television covers 95% of the territory.


There are 6 international airports in Santafe of Bogota, Cali, Medellin, Barranquilla, Cartagena and San Andres islands, and 3 large ports in Barranquilla, Buenaventura and Cartagena. Due to the insecurity along the highways, alternative multimodels like roads and fluvial routes have been implemented.

Development project of basic infrastructure and housing

It was encouraged that housing construction can be viewed as a strategy to create employment. Construction of a single or two level house creates 3 permanent direct employment for a period of 6 months while a three or four level house generates 4 jobs and a five or six level house generates 6 jobs on the average. Additionally, it is also considered that the sector generates 1.2 indirect jobs on the average for each direct employment.


In Colombia, owning a private car is a privilege in comparison to public transportation. Many cities have different means of public transportation for 15, 30 and 45 people. In Bogota, 850,000 private cars carry 19% of the population while 22,000 buses carry the rest of the inhabitants. This inequality in access to mobility within the cities is observed not only in Bogota but in other cities as well.

Transportation has caused significant amount of pollution in urban areas and necessary preventive measures against this problem have not been taken.


Poverty in Colombia affects the urban population as much as it affects the rural areas. The economic crisis increases the percentage of unsatisfied basic necessities and misery among the people.

In 1997, 26.9% of the population lived with unsatisfied basic necessities while 9% was living under conditions of misery. The poorest region in the country is the Atlantic Coast and Choco, Cordoba, Sucre, Narino and Boyoca also have over 20% values for the percentage of people living with unsatisfied basic necessities.

In the same year, 55% of Colombian homes fell below the poverty line and two out of ten Colombians had income below the poverty line. In other words, almost 8.3 million people were not able to cover the cost of basic food basket.

In relation with the above-mentioned figures, a large portion of the young people in Colombia is affected by poverty.


In August 1997, law 397 created the Ministry of Culture that is to undertake the cultural patrimony of the nation.

Cultural Patrimony of the Nation

The cultural patrimony of the nation is constituted by all the goods and cultural values that are expressions of the Colombian nationality such as the traditions and customs. More than 600 places have been declared as part of the national Colombian heritage. There are 5 places that have been declared by UNESCO as part of the humanity’s patrimony (Cities of Cartagena and Monpoz, San Agustin and Tierra Adentro’s archeological parks and the “Katios” Natural Park).

In the first half of 1999, restoration projects in 13 sites in 8 regions have been started with the purpose of preserving and recovering the historical and cultural legacy of the nation. “Watch-Youth of the Cultural Patrimony” is a project of university youth groups that look after the protection of the cultural patrimony. The operative body for preservation of the patrimony of Colombian towns and regions has been enlarged with Ministry of Culture being its coordinator.

National System of Culture

The Ministry of Culture, municipal councils and departments of culture promote the culture and arts through publications, and development, financing and implementation of various activities. Among these actors, young people have an impact on culture development through their participation to the municipal councils.

1.3 Problems and Trends that Impact Youth

In 1997, youth constitutes approximately 30% of the total population with 34% of the youth living in conditions of poverty or of misery.


In 1993, 9.8% of the youth had no education, 32.7% had not completed primary education and 15.2% had not enrolled further than primary school. 85% of the total population has completed primary education while only 47% have completed secondary education. Moreover, only 9% of the population have gone through some higher level of education. Very significant differences are observed when rural and urban areas are considered separately. For each 3 young scholar in the city, there is hardly even one in the rural areas.

In 1960, of those that attended universities 18.4% were female while in 1994, this percentage has increased to 51.4%.

The main reasons for not attending school are necessity to work (36%) and high costs of education (22%).


Education is directly related to access to employment. Unemployment rate among university graduates is 6.7% while of those that have completed secondary level of education 11.3% are unemployed.

Young people are among the groups most vulnerable to unemployment. The rate of unemployment among youth between ages 15-19 is 2.5 times higher than the national average. Among the youth of ages 20-29, this rate is 1.5 times the national average and 2 times the rate among those 30 or older. Unemployment of youth between the ages of 12-14 who live in cities is twice that of those in rural areas. For youth of ages between 15-19, unemployment is three times higher in cities than in rural areas. Agriculture provides more ease for young people to find employment.

For young women, the unemployment rate is significantly higher. In cities, unemployment of women is twice that of men and in rural areas, this ratio goes up to four or more except for those girls that are 14 years or younger who have discharge demands for domestic service.

Between the ages of 14 to 17, youth receive 49% of the legal minimum wage and this percentage is even lower for young girls. Moreover, less than 10% of working youth have access to social security.


Violence is the most important cause of death for young people of both sexes with higher percentages for men. 27.1% of deaths of males between ages of 10 to 14 are due to homicide or lesion. For deaths of males between the ages of 15 to 29, violence is again the main reason. Surprisingly, similar figures hold also for women.

The percentage of young women facing domestic violence is 38.6% while for men this percentage is as low as 5%. In 1996, 10,847 investigations related to sexual assault were carried out and 88% of these were aggressions against women. Of these cases, 34% were between the ages of 10 to 14 years, 24% were between 5 to 9 years old and 7.5% were younger than 5 years old. Of the total 85% of the resolved cases, 75% of the time the aggressor was well known to the victim, 10% of the time the aggressor was the father, 9% of the time it was the stepfather, 1% the spouse, 10% another relative and 45% another acquaintance.

In Colombia, 14.4% of the adolescents are already mothers, and 4.06% are waiting for a child. As a result, 18.4% of the women between the ages 15 to 19 years have already begun maternity. Almost 9% of the 19 year-old females have 2 children. These percentages fluctuate significantly when rural and urban areas are compared since women in the rural areas have almost 2 more children at the end of their reproductive period compared to their peers in the cities.

Drug and Substance Abuse

Of the youth between the ages of 16 and 18, 5.9% consume drugs. Consumption increases with age; while 47% of the youth between the ages of 16 and 18 have experienced with some kind of substance, this figure goes up to 57.6% for those that are older than 22 years. When consumption of cigarettes and alcohol is also added to the figures, the percentage of youth that use some sort of substance goes up to 78.4%.

Trends that Impact Youth

Sports, social gatherings, new technology, communication, internet, fashion wear, music, interest for social issues such as environment, peace, equality, etc. are among the trends that affect the youth.


2.1 Youth Policy

Constitution of 1991 states: “Colombia is a social right state, organized as a unitary Republic, with autonomy of their territorial entities, participatory and pluralist...” Constitution of 1991 recognizes and creates space for the development of the youth, as subjects with duties and rights. In addition to this, Constitution says that the adolescent has a right to protection and integral formation and the state and society will guarantee the active participation of youth in public and private organizations that target the education, protection and progress of youth.

General Education Law of 1993 (Law 115) creates space for youth participation in school governments. In August 1994 the Ministry of National Education was restructured and Vice-Ministry of Youth was created on 8 August 1994 under this ministry.

On 4th of July 1997 the government enacted the youth law (Law 375). This law primarily aims to contribute to the psychological, social, spiritual and cultural development of young people and promote their active participation to the society as young citizens. This law has three important aspects:

· The expressed recognition of youth and youth rights.

· Recognition of young people’s full participation to the society.

· The recognition of the responsibility of the state and the society to formulate and to execute public policies for youth.

This law recognizes people between 14 and 26 years of age as young. This law is on regulation process. The youth law contains rights and responsibilities, the policies for the participation of young people to the development of the society and their own social promotion.

2.2 National Youth Institutions

It is the set of institutions, organizations, entities and people that work for youth.

Governmental Entities

The Vice-Ministry of Youth is the coordinator of national public politics on youth.

The secretaries and departmental offices for youth coordinate, execute and guide departmental public politics for youth.

The secretaries and municipal offices develop and implement the municipal policies for youth. At the end of 1997, 57 small cities have established offices of youth.

Youth Related Institutions

ICETEX: Colombian Institute to Promote Studies Abroad
ICBF: Colombian Welfare
ICFES: Colombian Institute to Promote Higher Education.

Youth Houses

There are meeting places for young people. Since the end of 1980s, national government, municipal administration, NGOs and young people have participated in the implementation of this programme. Actually, there are more than 60 youth houses, 24 of which have been strengthened by the Vice-Ministry of youth through the project of international technical cooperation UNDCP/AD/COL/91/665. Their actions are directed to train young people in their free time.

Youth Organizations

Red Cross of Colombia
Corporation Group Tayrona.
Opcion Colombia Corporation.
Christians Association of Youth.
Christians Association of Women.
Colombian Youth Workers
Scouts of Colombia
Association of University Students
Institute to Foment of Democracy “Luis Carlos Gal#148;

Municipal Youth Council (CMJ)

These councils are created according to the article 45 of the national constitution, which creates opportunities for youth participation and involvement in decision making. Municipal, departmental and national councils are created under this article and are elected by popular vote of young people. These councils are autonomous organizations serving as a communication canal between youth, the private enterprises and the state to design the policies, programmes, and projects concerning the youth. In Cartagena and Medellin, these councils were created by the initiative of the youth leaders in contrast with other regions where the young people are waiting for these councils to be created from the government as part of its responsibilities. It is important to note that these councils are municipal, regional and national, whereas in most other countries, there is one national youth council.

2.3 Government Programmes for Youth

Youth card

This programme was created as a system of initiatives and has national covering, designated to provide to young people between 12 and 25 years possibilities to buy goods and services of their interest through certain discounts. This programme was not successful mainly because the storeowners did not make the planned discounts and this created distrust on behalf of young people towards this type of programmes. Presently, this programme is being redesigned by Vice-Ministry of Youth to be re-implemented in the coming months.

Obligatory Social Service

A fundamental contribution of the society will come from the establishment of the obligatory social service that will be validated as obligatory military service and will allow the youth to support social and educational processes as well as the protection of the environment. This service will be no less than 6 months.

Integrated Services

It is a programme where the government entities, NGOs, and international institutions establish strategic alliances to combine efforts in order to guarantee the quality of and the access to products and services for youth.

Eight municipalities were chosen for the development of the project that is expected to last for 36 months. The Ministry of Education will offer technical assistance and the Youth Vice-Ministry that is the executive entity within the National Government with resources provided by a credit from the World Bank (65%), 20% compensation from the Government, and 15% minimum compensation from the municipalities. The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) will administer these resources.

Environmental Police Force

The coordinated efforts of the Ministries of Defense and Environment have been valuable in assisting conservationists, local groups, and the community as a whole. It is important to note this experience since few countries in the world they have environmental police forces.

Sexual Education

This programme aims to focus on sexual health while emphasizing the social and emotional responsibilities of sexual activity. It is important to inform the youth of AIDS and other venereal diseases as well as the risks of pregnancy since these are common problems of our day.

Ecological Tourism

The Youth Vice-Ministry in association with the Special Administration of National Parks and Reserves of the Ministry of the Environment, will encourage tourism in the 42 protected areas of Colombia, in order to promote knowledge of our historical and natural patrimony and to generate a culture of respect for the environment. This programme will be very important to generate awareness.

Prevention of drug and substance abuse

This programme aims to increase awareness about the dangers of drug and substance abuse. To this end, the issue will be made part of the educational curriculum and other models will be developed to reach the working youth.

Information Centres

The SENA (National Service of Learning) will have a database on employment-seeking young workers, which will increase the access of employers to the young work force.

The “Luis Angel Arango” Library in Colombia is a great resource and venue for the generation and development of knowledge and awareness. Seminars and conferences here on environmental conservation, democracy, peace, and others will provide to the underprivileged youth free access to valuable information.


Colombian social institutions are recent, in comparison to European countries. The oldest of these, which are the Republic Presidency, the Ministry of Defense and the Treasury, are but two centuries old. Similarly, Colombian efforts in environmental conservation are also very recent; after 272 years of colonial rule, followed by 185 years of Republicanism, it was only 27 years ago that environmental conservation started with the Inderena Foundation (National Institute of Natural Renewable Recourses). In 1993, this institute was replaced by the Ministry of the Environment, which established the SINA (Ambient National System), in 1999 to promote sustainable development.

Like the environmental conservation movement, youth institutions are also very new to Colombia; the Youth Vice-Ministry was established in 1994. Although the government and NGOs have been participating in the implementation of Agenda 21 and the Habitat Agenda, the youth organizations of Colombia are just starting to guide their actions towards this goal. However, to the lack of efficient networking, the activities of youth and related organizations remain disconnected.

Projects of the Tayrona Group for the Implementation of the Habitat Agenda

The Youth Law outlines that the youth networks will be one of the main executors of the present law. These networks will also be a means for the youth’s participation according to the article 45 of the National Constitution.

The Tayrona Group proposes to organize “The Latin-American Meeting of Youth for Environment, Peace and Life”, and to establish the Environmental Youth Network of Colombia. The lessons of the past few years will guide the way to be followed in these undertakings.


Green Encounter for Life, Bogotark the florid one, 1997. 15.000 youth participants.

National Assembly of Catholic Youth, BogotMarch 1998. 250 youth participants.

Environmental National Congress, Ministry of the Environment, Guaduas, June 1998, 2000 participants.

Permanent Assembly for Peace, BogotJuly 1998

World Festival of the Youth, Portugal, August 1998.

National Assembly of Youth for Peace, BogotMarch 1999.

Latin American Encounter of Youth for Peace, supported by the UNESCO, 350 participants.

These meetings have brought together youth that is interested in the environment and peace. In the same spirit, the Tayrona Group wishes to create a network that would allow the participation of more individuals in the exchange experiences and that would facilitate the implementation of the Habitat Agenda.

Latin-American Meeting of Youth for Environment, Peace and Life


To generate a space of meeting, participation, and organization of Colombian and Latin-American Youth interested in environmental conservation.

Date and Venue

October 7-9, 1999, Santa F Bogota, Colombia.


Youth in leadership positions, young organizations, NGOs, government entities that have experience and interest on the work of youth in environmental conservation with an approximate total of 500 persons.


The meeting aims to merge academic, social, and cultural interchange with summit conferences, seminars, and specific workshops. The programme will include spaces for artistic and cultural parallel activities to promote the expression and growth of Latin-American cultural diversity.

Important Note

In the meeting, we are planning to establish the “Environmental Youth Network of Colombia” with its plan of action in municipal, regional and national level. We will be glad to have your support in the meeting as a sign of the strengthening of the network to implement the Habitat Agenda and Agenda 21.

For this activity we request

Technical assistance, documentation and information on best practices,

Contacts with NGOs, youth organizations and GOs worldwide, and UN offices,

Participation of the representatives selected by you.

Other Projects

In addition to the organization of the above-mentioned meeting, the Tayrona Group has several other projects:

Lucida for the environment, peace, and life: This promising project proposes to utilize all branches of the fine and plastic arts to relay the message of environmental conservation. The work that is generated will be a means of expression that stimulates the creativity of the children and youth, promoting the acquisition of knowledge, awareness, and participation in environmental work.

Recycling paper: This is a programme that has been implemented for the past two years in Ciudad Bolr, an area of marginal human settlements in Bogotwhere women family heads and youth recycle printing and photocopy paper, from the sales of which they earn additional income.

Ecological cocktails: To prevent the consumption of alcohol, natural fruit juices are promoted as substitute party drinks.

Environmental education: With this programme environmental conscious building has been promoted through seminars, forums, and conferences in schools and universities and workshops, hikes, and ecological trips.


An evaluation mechanism to monitor and assess the value of activities directed to the implementation of the Habitat Agenda does not exist in Colombia. Thus, it has become necessary to create a database of the best practices. In this light, the Tayrona Group is working on the establishment of the Environmental Youth Network that would allow the sharing and distribution of information on practices and experiences related to the Habitat Agenda.


· There is a great housing deficit and incomplete coverage of public services in Colombia.

· The slow construction process is no match for the accelerating urbanization, which will continue to generate marginal human settlements.

· The economic problems and political instability that plague the country have not allowed overcoming poverty.

· The human settlements are not sustainable.

· The work on the implementation of the Habitat Agenda should be interdisciplinary and inter-institutional; however, this has not been achieved in Colombia despite the efforts.

· Colombia Tayrona’s Youth Environmental Network is a collective effort to strengthen the work of the young people in the implementation of the Agenda 21 and the Habitat Agenda. In order to guarantee the sustainability of this initiative we want to generate processes of international cooperation.

· Colombia has an extraordinary biological, ethnic and cultural diversity and this is its most important promise to achieve sustainable development.

· In Colombia appropriate city planning does not exist. It is necessary to build sustainable cities in the future:

- To guarantee the participation of all in the decision-making process;

- To create and strengthen strategic alliances among the state, the private sector, the NGOs, the civil society, the youth organizations and youth in coordination with the international community;

- To articulate plans, programmes and projects;

- To utilize the technological advances to sustain an efficient, effective communication;

- To promote scientific investigation; and

- To promote training activities and education.

The youth is very interested in participating in this process.


Prepared by the Indian Committee of Youth Organizations (ICYO)
F-13, South Extension-One, New Delhi, India
Phone: 91 11 462 4776 Fax: 91 11 464 1807


The Habitat Agenda was intended as a global call to action at the all levels and a guide aimed at achieving sustainable development of the world’s cities, towns and villages in the first two decades of the next century. The Agenda contains a statement of goals and principles, a set of commitments to be undertaken by governments and final strategies for implementing the plan of action.

The goals and principles of the Agenda are given below:

· Equitable human settlements where all have equal access to housing, open space, health services and education, among others;

· Poverty eradication in the context of sustainable development;

· The importance to quality of life of physical conditions and spatial characteristics of villages, towns and cities;

· The need to strengthen the family as the basic unit of society;

· Citizens’ rights and responsibilities;

· Partnerships among all countries and among all sectors within countries;

· Solidarity with disadvantaged and vulnerable groups;

· Increased financial resources;

· Health care, including reproductive health care and services to improve the quality of life.

Youth as leaders of tomorrow have a great role to play in achieving the above goals and objectives as set forth by the Habitat Agenda for Human Settlements.

This paper on “Youth Contributions to the Implementation of the Habitat Agenda” is divided into five parts. In the first part we shall deal with the Youth situation in India as a whole with an analysis of demographic trends and the various problems faced by the youth in general in India. The second part deals exclusively with the policies concerning the youth and the various institutions and services that are offered to and are working for the youth at the national, local, and community levels. It shall look into the various services that are being implemented by the governments at the centre and state levels. The third part of the report covers specifically the contributions of youth towards the implementation of Habitat Agenda. Some of the work done by various organizations in the country towards providing housing and associated facilities to the people will be also dealt with in this part of the paper. The fourth part of this paper deals with monitoring and evaluation of the implementation of Habitat Agenda and lastly the final part shall present a vision for the coming years for better implementation of Habitat Agenda with the active participation of the youth and youth organizations. We shall consider ‘Youth’ people in the age group of 15 - 35 for the purpose of this paper.

1.1 Youth: Structure, Growth and Distribution

In India the people between the ages of 15-35 are considered as youth. There are various sub-groups: 15-19; 20-24; 25-29; 30-34: According to the 1981 census the number of youth in the various categories are given in the table:

Age group

Total number



15 - 19




20 - 24




25 - 29




30 - 34




The average proportion of youth in the total population is a little over 32%. The situation between the states varies.

Rural and Urban Youth

The dominance of rural youth by number is a striking feature of the distribution of the youth population. They constitute over 2.5 times the size of the urban youth. However it is equally significant that the rural-urban population of youth population shows a weak deviation from the picture of the general population distribution. In the total population of all ages, the rural people outnumber the urban by about 3.5 times. The rural youth who far outnumber their urban counterparts are scattered over a vast area.


Territorial distribution of population continuously undergoes changes because of migration. Migration in search of education or better occupation and better prospects or migration forced by deteriorating economic conditions and employment opportunities is an action primarily of the youth population. Youth continues to be the main migrating group and also the principal contributor to urbanization. In the process of urbanization, youth contribution has been substantial in the country.

Youth Categorization

Total youth population comprises of students, non-students of school age, main and marginal workers and non-workers. For a large proportion of youth, education in the sense of schooling is a luxury while employment for making a living is a necessity. Hence, a large number of youth in the crucial age of 15-19 is found in the work force instead of schools. Family farming and hereditary occupations encourage absorption of youth in the labour force while the absence of a compulsory system of schooling supports the situation. Over 26 million youth in the age group of 15-19 are either main or marginal workers while 1.5 million are illiterate urban workers according to the recent reports. There is non-availability of formal institutional education to a large portion of youth population and the possibility of entry into occupations without even elementary education.

Work Participation Rate

About 37% of the youth in the age group of 25-34 are engaged in agriculture - and allied activities as cultivators, agricultural labour or in livestock, forestry fishing, hunting etc. Young workers constitute the majority of marginal workers with the exception of livestock, forestry, fishing etc. in which youth share is a little below on half. In transport, storage and communication 69.73% and in construction 60.56% of marginal workers are between 15-34 years old. But on the whole agriculture and allied occupation absorb the largest number of youth as marginal workers. The work participation rate of the youth is rather low in India because of the mounting unemployment problems faced by the youth in the country. This is more acute in the case of rural areas as the problems of unemployment and underemployment are severe in rural areas.

Young Workers

For providing vocational training to young persons, specified industries and trades are governed by the Apprentices Act, 1961 which regulates training of apprentices above 14 years of age under a contract between the employer and the trainee or his guardian if the trainee is a minor.

1.2 Major Human Settlements Conditions

According to 1991 census the total number of housing stock is 179.1 million, out of this 119.7 million are in rural areas and 59.4 are in urban areas. The estimated housing shortage is to the tune of 31 million, of these 20.6 million are in the rural areas. At the beginning of the 1991, the components of housing shortage are excess of households over houses, congestion, replacement/up-gradation and obsolescence/replacement. It was estimated that by 1997 the shortage of housing would be 21.23 million and of this 64% would be at the rural areas and 36% would be at the urban areas. According to 1991 census the occupied residential houses are to the tune of 143,191,338 and household number around 148,165,097. Out of these 41.61% live in Pucca (concrete built) houses, 30.95% live in semi-pucca houses and 27.44% live in Katcha (mud) houses. A total of 62.30% of the households have drinking water facility and 42.37% of the houses are electrified.

For the coming the years the country’s housing requirement is given in the table below.


Number of Units


16.76 millions


16.25 millions


33.01 millions

Thus the overall-housing situation in the country is not all that bright. However, the government with non-governmental organizations have taken a lot of initiatives in the direction of providing more houses to the homeless and the efforts are likely to bear fruits in the near future.

1.3 Problems Faced by Youth


One of the major problems faced by the youth in India is unemployment and related problems. According to latest available figures a total of about 31 million are non-workers in the age group of 25-34 comprising 22 million in rural and 9 million in urban areas, of these over 2 million are males and 30 million are females.


Every human being has a right to health - derived from his basic human right to life. The United Nations Economic and Social Council states it in a report in programmes for youth but this remains an ideal far removed from the reality. In India, health at no stage of life can be claimed as right. The youth in the country is faced with many health problems, which includes dreaded diseases like AIDS.

Lack of Educational Facilities

Though the country has a number of schools and educational institutions, still there are around 80 millions illiterates in the age group of 15-35. There is also the lack of skill development institutes in the country for the development of the youngsters.

Lack of Involvement in Decision Making

Though one third of the population is the youth, there is hardly any involvement of this segment of the population in decision making. Mostly the elders find the youth is lacking experience so they are not involved in decision making process in the country as whole. This is one of the major problems faced by youth. There are even national organizations in the country that claim that they are youth organizations. However, many of these organizations do not even a single youth either in their management or advisory bodies.

Drug Addition

Drug addition is a growing problem among the youth especially in the town areas. This has become a major problem and calls for action in the direction of channelling the energies of youth in a creative manner.

Youth and Crime

As their aspirations fail to match opportunities, youngsters across the country - some mere school children - take to murder and extortion as a shortcut to fulfil their craving for lavish life style. Criminologists have been hinting that the crime rate among the youth has skyrocketed. The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) in its latest report states that young people are responsible for 56% of all crimes committed in the country. Youth crimes have increased by 40% in the past decade.

Thus the youth in India constitutes a sizeable number of the total population. In the day to day life they face a lot of problems which are related to employment, health, education, social and cultural problems etc. Other than this, since India is a multi-cultural country with a number of religions and languages and ways of life, the youth also face problems related to social harmony, integration, violence and hatred at some point of time. In certain parts of the country there is the acute problem of drug addiction, and health problems related to AIDS and other diseases.


2.1 Policies addressing the needs and issues of youth

When one evaluates the needs of youth, education, skill development, employment, personality development, adequate health care services, drug and de-addition centres, family planning services, forums for the expression of their creative instincts etc. come at the forefront.

India has formulated a national youth policy in the year 1988. The policy is rather comprehensive and speaks about the various aspects of youth. It says that youth in India constitute a vital and vibrant human resource, their problems are many and varied in nature.

The policy stresses the right of youth to participate actively in national development and in shaping the destiny of the Nation. It also gives due importance to the problems faced by the youth. The policy speaks about providing greater opportunities to the youth in a large scale. The policy calls for an integral and inter-disciplinary approach towards youth with the active involvement of all sectors of society including government, private sector undertakings, and non-governmental organizations.

The main objectives spelt out by the youth policy are given below:

· To instil in the youth a deep awareness of and respect for the principals and values enshrined in the constitution of the country.

· To promote among the youth awareness of the country’s historical background and cultural heritage.

· To help develop in the youth qualities of discipline, self-reliance, justice and fair play and a spirit of scientific temper.

· To provide maximum access to education and development of the youth personality as a whole.

· To create awareness about international issues and work for world peace.

The objective does not include the importance of working towards improvement of society by initiating various youth movement to remove the problems of poverty, illiteracy and ignorance and environmental problems and sustainable development including providing housing and related facilities to the people in need. The policy considers the youth as an object of the policy and not as subjects who could be actively involved in decision making and taking initiative for their varied needs and developmental issues.

The plan of action of the policy lays emphasis on the activities connected with national integrity, cultural unity, democratic values, socialism, and awareness of generation on freedom struggle, history, national integration, mass education, employment generation and self-employment activities, personality development and character building, promotion of physical fitness, social change, international understanding and rewarding voluntary agencies working in the field of youth development.

The plan of action does not say anything about how youth can contribute towards sustainable development, housing, environment promotion etc.

As far as the implementation of the policy and plan of action is concerned it is being carried out by the ministry of human resource development through the department of youth affairs and sports. Though one third of the population are the youth in the country, the youth activities and programmes are not managed by a full fledged ministry, but by a department of the ministry and this shows that the youth and their activities not being given enough priority by the government and hence the society at large.

The policy is comprehensive and deals with a wide variety of programmes of youth welfare and development and seeks to provide the youth with new opportunities to participate in nation-building activities. At the same time certain areas are not touched upon by the policy especially areas relating to environment improvement, sustainable housing facilities for all and the pivotal role that the youth can play in this.

The Government of India has constituted a Committee on National Youth Programmes (CONYP) as per the guidelines of the National Youth Policy. This Committee replaces the earlier National Youth Council. It has 56 members with the Prime Minister as its chairman. The functions of the Committee are to: i. Suggest policy measures and programmes for youth, ii. Advise Government on measures for implementation of the Plan of Action of the National Youth Policy; iii. Review the co-ordination between various departments of the Central/state governments and voluntary organizations/other agencies involved therein; and iv. Provide a feedback on the implementation of the national youth programmes.

Apart from the National Youth Policy, the national educational policy also stresses the need for education and skill development of the youth. The National Policy on Education (NPE), 1986 accorded high priority to vocational education at the secondary stage. The NPE as revised in 1992 set the target of achieving diversion of 10 per cent of the students at the +2 level to the vocational stream in 1995 and 25 per cent by 2000 A.D. About 150 vocational courses have been introduced in six major areas, i.e. agriculture, business and commerce, engineering and technology, health and paramedical, home science, humanities and others and 94 vocational courses have been notified under Apprenticeship Act.

A joint Council for Vocational Education (JCVE) was set up in April 1990 for policy formulation and co-ordination at the national level. Other than these the education for the youth in the country is imparted mainly by the university grant commission with its network of universities and colleges all over the country.

Another aspect of the educational policy is the establishment of National Literacy Mission with its objective of imparting functional literacy to 80 millions youngsters in the age group of 15-35. The most important development that has taken place under the NLM is the near ascendancy of the campaign mode in the adult education programmes in the country.

The deterioration of the natural environment is one of the principal concerns of young people world wide, as it has direct implications for their well being now and in the future. Though it is the responsibility of everyone to promote environment, it is the special responsibility of youth because they will be the ones who inherit it. The National Conservation Strategy and Policy Statement on Environment and Development adopted by the Government of India in June 1992, lays down strategies and actions for integration of environment considerations in the development activities of various sectors of the country, thus paving the way for achieving sustainable development. However, the policy does not give any special emphasis on the role of youth in this regard.

Another policy that is connected to environmental promotion is the policy on forest. The main plank of the Forest Policy of 1988 is protection, conservation and development of forest. In the implementation of the forest policy too, the youth who are supposed to play pivotal role in the promotion of the forest and related aspects, have not been given any role.

Draft New Youth Policy

Because of the fast changing socio-economic scenario in the country and also to address the future concerns of youth a need was felt for a new National Youth Policy. Therefore, a new draft youth policy was prepared and is under active consideration by the Government.

The salient features of the Draft New Youth Policy in India are given below:

It calls for an integrated approach to youth development as youth development is considered a multi-sectoral concept. It speaks about involving the youth in the process of decision making and implementation. Apart from these, it also defines the privileges and responsibilities of youth.

The major objectives of the policy are to provide the youth with proper educational and employment opportunities, to give access to all relevant information, create adequate sports and other recreational facilities; to create among the youth awareness about Indian history, culture and heritage and to inculcate a scientific temper in them. The draft policy has set out four thrust areas namely: Youth Empowerment, Gender Justice, Inter-spectral Approach and an Information and Research Network.

The Policy recognizes the key sectors of concern for youth, such as Education, Training and Employment, Health and accords high priority to certain categories of youth such as, youth with disabilities, rural youth, unemployed youth and street children etc. Besides Education, Employment, and Health, the policy also focuses on Adolescent Health, AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Diseases, Nutrition, Environment, Sports, Recreation and Leisure, Art and Culture, Gender Justice, Science and Technology, Civics and Citizenship.

However, the draft policy does not speak about the role of youth in implementing the Habitat Agenda. This only shows that at the government and policy-makers level the role of youth in implementing the Habitat Agenda has not been considered at all.

The various National Youth Programmes and services provided to youth are given below:

National Service Scheme (NSS)


In India, the idea of involving student youth in the task of national service dates back to the times of Mahatma Gandhi, the father of the nation. The cultural theme, which he tried to impress upon his student audience time and again, was that they should always keep in mind their social responsibility. The post-independence era was marked by an urge for introducing social service for students, the university grand commission headed by Dr. Radhakrishna recommended introduction of national service in the academic institutes on a voluntary basis with a view to establishing a constructive linkage between the campus and the community.

The main principle of the programme is that it is organised by the students themselves and both students and teachers through their participation in social service get a sense of involvement in the tasks of national development. Besides, the student youth particularly obtain work experience.

The response of students to the scheme has been encouraging, starting with an enrolment of 40,000 students in 1969, which increased to 1.2 million during 1995-96. The scheme now extends to all the students and universities in the country and covers +2 level also in many states.


The overcall aim of National Service Scheme is to give a wider dimension to the higher education system and orient the student youth to community service while they are studying in educational institutions. It was felt that the youth interaction with the common villagers and slum dwellers will expose them to the realities of life and bring about a change in their social perception. The objectives of the NSS for students are to:

· Understand the community in which they work.

· Understand themselves in relation to their community.

· Identify the needs and problems of the community and involve them in problem solving process.

· Develop in them a sense of social and civil responsibility.

· Utilise their knowledge in funding practical solutions to individual and community problems.

· Develop competence required for living as a group and sharing responsibilities.

· Gain skills in mobilising community participation.

· Acquire leadership qualities and democratic attitude.

· Develop capacity to meet emergencies and national disasters.

· Practice national integration and social harmony.

· Making education more relevant to the present situation to meet the need of the community and supplement the education of the university.

· Providing opportunities to the students to play their role in planning and executing development projects.

· To encourage students and non-students to work together along with the adults on rural areas.

· Developing qualities of leadership among the youth.

· To encourage the youth to participate in the national development and integration.

Nehru Yuva Kendras (NYKs)

The Nehru Yuva Kendras was established in 1972 with the objective of providing the non-student rural youth with an opportunity to grow and to achieve national goals. The largest grass-root level organization of its kind in the world, NYKs reaches to more than 6.4 million non student rural youth in India in the age group of 15-35 years, through its 0.16 million village level youth clubs.

The Organization’s strategy has been generation of awareness, organization and mobilisation of the youth for development work in the village, with emphasis on value, vision and voluntary action.

The goals of NYKs are:

· To involve the rural youth in nation building activities.

· To develop their values and skills so that they became productive, responsible citizens of a modern, technological nation.

· To work towards promoting an environment where all irrespective of caste, colour, sex or religion find equal opportunity to serve the nation.

· To pursue self-sufficiency in resources.

· To utilise the NYKs network for the development and promotion of programmes in the priority sectors of employment generation, literacy and family welfare especially for women.


NYKs promotes leadership, character development, community service, self-reliance, secularism, democracy and patriotism as the essential features for national development. The organization conducts various programmes aimed at mobilising the youth in this direction.

Training and Self Employment project

The objective of self-employment is to equip the youth with income generating agro-based projects, which are based on locally available resources, and making avenues. Training is organised in trades popular among the rural youth such as poultry, bee keeping, agriculture, rabbit farming etc.

Youth Club Development Programme

To promote and develop youth club movement in the country, NYKs organises youth club Development programmes in the country. In the year 1998-99 the NYKs organised 676 such programmes. One of the objectives of the programme is to train and equip youth with democratic leadership qualities so that they can assume responsibilities in village situation and act as catalytic agents for socio-economic, cultural, political and surrounding environmental development.

Cultural Activities

Cultural festivals and workshops form a regular feature of Kendra (Centre) all over the country. While cultural activities are meant to provide a forum for all interested members who have the necessary potential to give public performance, the cultural workshop aim at improving the quality of performance. The programmes include street plays, skits, folk songs, and puppetry. The themes taken up for the festivals are aimed at creating awareness regarding social evils, literacy, exploitation, integration and harmony etc.

Work Camps

Work Camps are organised to inspire the youth and compliment self-employment generating ventures. The camps encourage the spirit of self-help, and assist in the creation and sustenance of community assets through co-operative service.

Vocational Training

The principal objective of their programmes is to update and improve vocational skills of the rural youth so that they may supplement their existing income, improve productivity and learn new skills that are in demand. The training includes both technical and non-technical skills.

Campaigns and Drives on Special Awareness

The objective of the campaigns is to generate awareness among the rural youth on issues of local importance, and about national problems affecting them. Each district level NYK takes up one social campaign per block every year. The theme of the campaign is selected according to the need of the district.

Local Need-based Programmes

The Programmes aim to boost decentralised planning and also to encourage micro-level planning, based on the assessment of the needs of the non-student rural youth. The programme also attempts to evolve role models for self-employment.

Youth Development Centre

The scheme is initiated to widen the scope of NYKs activities. The major objective of the scheme is to develop community infrastructure in a cluster of 10 villages, in the form of a centre for social, cultural, political, economic and environmental development of each village. So far the organization has established 522 youth development centres in different parts of the country.

National Service Volunteer Scheme

The National Service Volunteer Scheme was started in 1977-78 with the objective of providing opportunity to the youth, particularly those who completed their first-degree course for full-time involvement on a voluntary basis, in nation-building activities for a specific period. It seeks to provide the youth avenues to creative and constructive work suited to their educational background and aptitudes. At present, 8500 NSVs are deployed with the Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan, National Service Scheme, Bharat Scouts & Guides, Youth Hotels Association of India etc. The various State Governments/Union Territories are also availing of the services of these volunteers.

Youth Hostels

Youth Hostels are built to promote youth travel within the country. The construction of such hostels has been conceived as a joint venture between the central and state governments. Apart from providing accommodation facilities for the youth these hostels also organise various programmes for the welfare and development of the youth in each of the districts.

Scouting and Guiding

Scouting and Guiding is an educational and international movement aiming at developing the character of boys and girls, developing them as citizens of the country and inculcating in them a spirit of patriotism, sympathy for others and social service. Scouting and guiding also promotes balanced physical and mental development.

The organization mainly promoting these activities in India is Bharat Scouts and Guides to which the Department of Youth Affairs extends financial assistance both towards administrative expenditure and activities viz. training camps, skills, developing & holding of Jamborees. It is one of the largest youth organizations having 2.3 million enrolment and the third largest in the world with about 85,000 units spread all over the country. These units conduct their activities in the areas of adult literacy, tree plantation, community service, leprosy awareness, crafts’ centres and promotion of hygiene and sanitation. Bharat Scouts & Guides is also associated with various programmes run by WHO and UNICEF in different fields. The other organization active in this field is All India Boy Scouts Association.

2.2 Youth related organizations and institutions

There are a number of youth related organization in the country. They include among others the government organizations, non-governmental organizations, local and community based organizations at the grass root level. For the purpose of this report we would like to give a brief account of some of these organizations to have an idea about the type of organizations related to youth in the country.


At the government level, the ministry of Human Resource Development looks after the Youth and various services for them. Under the ministry, the department of Youth Affairs and Sports is directly responsible for the implementation of the various policies and programmes for youth. A minister of state normally looks after the department headed by a secretary in the administrative line. The above detailed programmes including NSS, NYKS etc. are run by government.

At the state level also there is ministry of youth affairs and sports, which looks after the youth welfare services and developmental activities.

Rajiv Gandhi National Institute of Youth Development

The Rajiv Gandhi National Institute of Youth Development set up at Sriperumbudur (Tamil Nadu) functions as an apex body for co-ordinating and monitoring youth related activities throughout the country. The Institute functions as an autonomous body registered under the Societies Registration Act. Its objectives are training, documentation, research and evaluation work on all youth related activities in the country. The institute also functions as a research agency and think-tank for youth programmes, policies and implementation strategies, development agency for youth development, an institute for advanced studies in the field of youth, a centre for documentation, information and publication pertaining to youth development; and a resource centre.

During the last year the various programmes organised by the institute include among others a workshop on youth related issues for student youth, training programme on “Youth Entrepreneurship and Economic Development” for youth functionaries, programme on development management, initiation of work for the preparation of CD-ROM on youth profile, Environmental youth services programme, Programme on Human Rights and Democracy etc.

Non Governmental Organizations

There are some non-governmental organizations highly involved in youth developmental activities. Some of these are network organizations while some others work at the national level co-ordinating and training other smaller organizations at the state and community level. These organizations include the Indian Committee for Youth Organizations, which is the national body of Youth associations in India. There are also a number of other state level and regional level youth organizations that are basically youth related and carry out youth activities. The exact number and other details of these organizations are not available. However some of these organizations are involved in trying to solve many of the problems faced by the young people. The areas they work include health improvement, environment development, employment creation and related activities, training and educational activities, entrepreneurship development programmes etc. They are also into training and developmental activities including training on gender awareness, women development etc.

Community-Based Organizations

Apart from the non-governmental organizations that focus on youth development and welfare, there are other organizations at the community level, like the village youth clubs, young women groups etc., that are very active at the village level. Some of the activities that are being carried out by them include library facilities, reading rooms, entertainment facilities for the local youth etc. At the school level also, there is the existence of a number of groups for the development of youth by promoting extra-curricular activities in the areas of cultural development, environmental activities etc. They work for education, skill development, employment generation programmes, gender related training and development programmes, and awareness creation and in various health issues.


Though there are no organised efforts by youth organizations in the country for the effective implementation of the Habitat Agenda, in the process of carrying out certain activities youth organizations have contributed to the implementation of Habitat Agenda. At the local level many of the educational institutions have taken initiatives in organising awareness programmes and camps for the improvement of environment, health related issues, communication, employment generation and so on. These programmes have succeeded to an extent in raising the level of awareness among the people. Through the initiatives of the local clubs and young women’s group a number activities related to gender sensitisation has taken place in some of the states in the country. We will give a few examples below as documentation is not available on all the organizations involved in such works.

Association for Social Health and Rehabilitative Action by Youth (Ashray)

Ashray started in 1990 in New Delhi with the basic objective of working for the welfare and overall development of less fortunate - economically poor people. It was started by a handful of Social Work Professionals for the above objective. The organization aims to help urban and rural poor in getting essential services such as health and nutrition, education, income generation and housing.

One of the activities that is being carried out by this organization is that of providing counselling for the people affected with family problems, drug addiction and behavioural problems. Their target group is the people living in slum clusters adjacent to New Delhi Railway station. Apart form the counselling centre it also organises seminars, workshops etc. for the people, training of grass-root level workers in the field of education, nutrition, and health and community awareness. The association has set up a number of childcare centres and women development centres to provide services like education, health etc. In the slum cluster the organization also runs vocational training and production centres.

West Dinajpur Adibasi Recreation Club (WDARC)

West Dinajpur Adibasi Recreation Club, established in 1989 in Balurghat, West Bengal is a sporting club for tribal youth. Feeling the need to develop their own community, the work extended to development. With a team of tribal women trained as animators and health workers, it works in 60 villages. In 1997, the women’s group continued with the savings programme of “fistful of rice a day” from which small loans are taken for emergency needs. The groups have opened accounts. WDARC has provided loans to the women’s groups for income generation programmes such as piggeries, goateries, and the purchase of land for agriculture production and paddy husking. Primary schools for children and literacy classes for women were also conducted. This is another local level initiative by the youth for the implementation of Habitat Agenda, especially in the area of income and employment generation.

Bharatiya Yuva Shakti Trust (BYST)

Bharatiya Yuva Shakti Trust is one of the organizations associated with the Confederation of Indian Industries which is involved in the area of entrepreneurship development activities for the last few years in the various parts of the country. So far the organization has managed to train a number of young entrepreneurs. The organization also supports the young people with initial capital investment and also by providing mentors.

The growth of Mr. Ram Sarup (not the real name) is one of the fitting examples of the work done by the Trust in the various parts of the country. This case shows how the organization works for the development of entrepreneurship development among the youth in the country. This is one of the innovative programmes in this direction in the country

Case study: A young entrepreneur from Seekri Village started out as a manual labourer in a manhole-manufacturing unit with a dream of owning such a venture one day. Survival and sustenance factors and lack of access to funds forced him to keep his dreams under wraps - but not for too long. He approached BYST through a few friends in Seekri.

BYST provided him two loans of Rs.22,000/- and Rs.28,000 in 1995 and 1997 respectively, and the guidance of a mentor who was the managing director of a small firm for reinforced concrete products. With a turnover of Rs.1.77 million and employment of 9 people full time and 15 on contract basis, he has finally arrived on the scene. He was provided expert guidance by his mentor who, himself being an entrepreneur, was able to empathise and advise him on quality control, customer relations and finance management. He also got a lot of help from the Mobile Mentor Clinic - a novel concept of taking a group of mentors to the doorstep of the entrepreneurs. Today this young man has realised his dream and he owes it all to the collective effort and wisdom of his mentors.

Development Alternatives

Another organization, which is working for the effective implementation of the Habitat Agenda, is Development Alternatives. It was established in 1983 to provide a platform for designing and implementing sustainable development strategies. Headquartered in New Delhi, it has built up a nation-wide network of activities aimed directly at solving the problems of poverty, environment and resource management.

The organization has a number of units and one of them is for Shelter Group. The Shelter Group of Development Alternatives has achieved considerable success in its effort to re-popularise the ‘mud alternative’ as a time tested and appropriate solution to the housing problem in India. By developing a new mechanical press with an ultra-high mechanical advantage, the Shelter Group has been able to introduce mud-blocks as a viable alternative to baked bricks for the building of walls and other load bearing structures.

Half a dozen new tiles and sheets based on biomass, micro concrete fired clay and other easily available village resources are being intensively tested to solve the most intractable problem of low cost construction: the roof. New materials and building techniques are only one part of the solution to the housing needs of the poor; architectural and civil design, policy interventions, building codes and standards, delivery systems and other infrastructure requirements of low cost housing are also addressed by the Shelter Group. Other than Shelter Group it has a number of other units which include units on environment, women and sustainable development, water etc.

The organization set up Delhi Environment Action Network in 1996 for children to assess the environmental conditions on a continuous basis and mobilise communities to initiate activities for clean neighbourhoods. It aims to involve children as prime movers for catalysing community participation and to nurture responsible citizenship among the people. The programme helps the schools by enhancing the analytical and communication skills of children, helps to nurture future decision-makers for sustainable development. It helps the communities to initiate and build up environment protection measures on a continuous basis at the local level.

Mahatma Gandhi Seva Ashram

The Ashram had its humble beginning in 1970 in a dilapidated old house at Joura, in Madhya Pradesh (one of the central states of India) on Gandhi Jayanti (birthday). From its very inception, the Ashram had one point - it was always the youth that take to the wretched job of becoming dacoits - it was often against some act of exploitation, injustice etc. Hence it was youth of the area that required orientation to systematically organise against such wrongs in society.

The Ashram began organising camps in the villages. Apart from discussions, a major programme of such camps used to be community manual work and afterwards games, all religion prayers, cultural programmes etc. They have helped to create a constructive atmosphere. The Ashram sponsored a national level youth programme called National Youth Project that conducts camps all over India.

The programmes and activities of the Ashram have helped the youth to come to know others and interact with other cultures and settings. In a way it has contributed to Habitat Agenda by creating a spirit of brotherhood among the various sections of the community. Through its activities like the building of roads and other voluntary work it has contributed to the implementation of Habitat Agenda.

Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA)

Young Women’s Christian Association is one of the rare multi-purpose women organizations working for the young women in the country. It has a number of such organizations all over India. A look at its Delhi Branch’s activities gives us a taste of the various activities carried out by the organization in various parts of the country.

YWCA runs a number of programmes in Delhi, which include the urban development project, the rural development project, Hostel for working women, Family hotel, Women’s Training Institute, fund raising activities etc. Most famous among these programmes is that of Educational Services under the Women Training Institute offered by the Centre. It offers a number of varied professional courses to young women. These programmes and courses aim at skill development of the youngsters. They provide an opportunity for the youngsters to get professionally qualified to get absorbed in the industrial and service sectors. Some of these programmes are specially designed to suit the special needs of young women.

The Urban Development Project of YWCA of Delhi has been involved in designing and implementing appropriate programmes for the benefit of the urban weaker sections. The main focus of the programmes is the city slums and the resettlement colonies. The services provided under this project include shelter home - provides a secure and caring environment for women in distress. A network of legal, medical, psychiatric and police assistance and assurance of continued support is provided.

Milan Mahila Mandal is another socio-economic development programme where women of low-income group make and sell stationary through a registered co-operative society. The urban development project is also actively involved with other women’s organizations working towards the common goals of gender justice, empowerment of women for leadership, working together for achievement of peace, justice and unity, and economic independence of women. It also has a similar rural development project specially targeted to rural areas of Delhi.

Indian Committee of Youth Organizations (ICYO)

The Indian Committee of Youth Organizations (ICYO) is a non-profit, non-governmental organization committed to developing mutual co-operation and understanding among the different voluntary youth agencies, organizations, associations, groups and clubs that function in India. The objective of ICYO is to strengthen the existing youth agencies and foster the development of new agencies in the areas of youth mobilisation for environmental preservation, rural community development, health, population, training, and cultural and national development. ICYO network (of 350 youth NGOs) is recognised by various international bodies apart from accreditation in various international conferences e.g. Earth Summit, ICPD, Social Summit, Consultative (roster) Status with ECOSOC-UN, Consultative Status with Commission on Sustainable Development etc. Another important area where the organization is actively involved is information sharing and networking with other national and international agencies.

Role of Youth in Co-operative Housing

The youngsters run some of the co-operative organizations in India. One of the main areas in which these organizations are involved is housing, as co-operative housing is the most effective and powerful medium for promoting affordable housing, particularly for the low-income groups and economically weaker sections. The modern concept of housing does not limit the scope of housing to provision of shelter alone, but a comfortable shelter with such surroundings and services as would keep a man healthy and cheerful. Housing co-operatives not only provide shelter to member families, but also promote the neighbourhood and provide opportunity for collective actions for various social and economic gains of the community.

The national habitat policy has realised the importance of co-operative societies and has asked them to build a hundred thousand houses per year. The policy specifically states that housing co-operatives should be given preference over individuals in the area of housing. At present, co-operative housing movement in India is quite strong and well spread. At grassroots level, there are 90,000 primary co-operatives housing societies, with a membership of over 6 million. These primary societies are supported by the apex bodies of the co-operative societies.

As a result of the housing shortage faced by the rural population, housing co-operatives have also entered into rural areas. Thus a number of rural housing schemes were introduced in the rural area by the Apex housing federations in the states of Assam, Goa, Haryana, Jammu & Kashmir, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal. At present around 4,200 housing co-operatives affiliated to apex co-operative housing federations are functioning in rural areas of the country.

Vishwa Yuvak Kendra (International Youth Centre)

A pioneering organization in the field of youth development, the centre was set up with a view to orient the youth to the development process and to enable them to participate in the process of nation building; foster initiatives for unfolding the potential of youth through a constant process of self-evaluation and self-exploration, enable youth to acquire such knowledge, skills and techniques which will help them in their personal and social growth as well as foster in them a sensitivity towards problems in the community and promote national integration and international understanding by developing youth leadership and providing a forum for youth from diverse backgrounds.

The youth centre was started in the year 1968. From then on the organization has been doing a lot for the development of youth. Its programmes are centred around various training programmes, conferences, seminars, lectures, exhibitions, and cultural programmes. It claims to have hosted around 1,000 such programmes benefiting around 70,000 individuals. These forums have provided a means for holding discussions on a broad spectrum of issues including rural development, health, communication, religion, social problems, education, and leadership enhancement. Apart from the training activities the centre is also involved in research, publication and consultancy etc. on the youth related projects and activities in the national level.

Indian Building Centre Movement

The Government of India has taken a major initiative for establishing a new movement in the country through the birth of the Building Centre Movement as a grassroots level technology transfer mechanism for taking the benefits of research and development for actual application in the building construction field. With the first seed planted in 1986 through the Pioneering Nirmithi Kendra (Building Centre) at Quilon, in the State of Kerala and with the successful working results, the Govt. of India and Ministry of Urban Development have launched in 1988 the national Building Centre Movement. This provided for establishing a network of building centres (Nirmithi Kendra/Nirman Kendra), and implemented through logistic support of HUDCO (Housing and Urban Development Corporation), all over the country, with at least one building centre to be established in each district, with a view to ensure:

· Technology transfer from “lab to land”.

· Skill upgrading and training to the construction workers at various levels.

· Production of material components using appropriate technologies.

· Construction of housing and building using the trained work force and the produced components as a cost effective building system.

· Giving the necessary housing guidance, information and counselling to the people on the proven innovative, cost effective and appropriate building materials and technology options.

The movement launched in 1988 has now developed into an impressive national network with over 482 Building Centres located along the length and breadth of the country. Over the years it has blossomed into a Government-supported programme for establishing a national network in all districts of the country. Each of these centres is engaged in promotion and transfer of the cost effective technologies from ‘lab’ to land, skill upgrading and training to construction workers on cost effective and innovative technologies, production and marketing of building materials and components. These centres are functioning as guiding organizations to small grass-root organizations and individual social entrepreneurs.

The major areas of impact of the building centre movement are given below:

· Fully functional building centres have been able to demonstrate cost reduction of 15 to 40 per cent against conventional methods of construction.

· This has been demonstrated in construction of houses as well as other social and community assets, amenities and facilities.

· The building centres have trained over 64,000 construction artisans.

· In addition training programmes for young prospective project managers are organised on a continuous basis.

Mobile building Centres

Another initiative to take care of far-flung areas in deserts and hilly terrain is through the establishment of Mobile Building Centres which can move from one village to another, camp for a few days, impart the necessary technology exposition and training to the local rural community, spearheaded through one local artisan identified as a resource person for the same.

Housing through People’s Federation

Development of Humane Action (DHAN) Foundation is a grassroots action agency managed by a group of youngsters, working with poor communities in Madurai village district of Tamilnadu and Chittor and Adilabad districts of Adhara Pradesh. It was established in the year 1997.

DHAN’s activity focuses on promoting livelihood activities and promoting and strengthening credit unions especially among the women members. It enables the communities to build with their skills, initiative, resources and entitlements rather than delivering servicing or solutions to them.

Housing for Urban Poor through Community Action

As part of poverty alleviation efforts, the Government of Kerala is implementing a housing scheme for urban poor with financial assistance from housing and Urban Development Corporation (HUDCO). By this, a hundred thousand houses will be constructed by community action through the network of Community Development Societies (CDS) (most of the members are youngsters) of poor women established under Urban Local Bodies of the State.

HUDCO is extending a loan amount of Rs.15,000/- per house at 9% interest, repayable in 15 years. Loans are disbursed through Kerala Urban Development Finance Corporation to the Municipal CDS who identify the beneficiary families through Neighbourhood Groups (NHGs). In this scheme of a hundred thousand houses for Urban Poor, Rs.5,000/- is given as subsidy by Government, and Rs.2,500/- is taken by the beneficiary families by way of materials or labour. As part of the scheme, beneficiary families have to save and invest Rs.1,500/- in the HUDCO public deposit scheme, which will multiply 8 times in 15 years. This also ensures added financial security for the families.

The CDS system is based on the application of the practical strategy of organising women representing their families, to utilise the creative power of women’s groups to work by self help to improve the quality of life of their own poverty stricken families. Since the CDS are established as the legitimised subsystem of local bodies, imputes and services of antipoverty programmes of other government departments and agencies can be converged to the target families at community level.

Thus, without proper planing and awareness of the importance of the implementation of the Habitat Agenda, youth and related organizations are doing some work taking up certain interventions in the communities. However, with a proper vision and mechanism the youth can become effective agents for the implementation of the Habitat Agenda.


Monitoring and evaluation is very much part of any of the programmes designed for implementation. Monitoring helps the programmes to be implemented timely and according to requirement and changed situation at the time of execution.

At the governmental level housing is a state subject and it is the various states that monitor and evaluate the implementation of the housing policy of the government. However, all policy matters are managed by the central government. The Ministry of Urban Affairs and Employment has certain responsibilities to see that the policy of the government is properly implemented especially in the urban areas.

Youth related activities at the government level are managed, monitored and evaluated by the department of Youth Affairs and Sports. Under the department various programmes and projects are looked after by separate organizations but co-ordinated by the department. The Nehru Yuva Kendras are managed by Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan an autonomous body attached to the department of Youth Affairs. The Sangathan is governed by a board of governors and has various directors and managers to carry out the various activities. The entire gamut of collection of information, documentation and evaluation is done by the agency itself. Often the organization also uses the specialized services of professional.

The National Service Scheme managed directly by the department of Youth Affairs and National Advisor to give direction and has 15 regional centres to implement, monitor and evaluate the programme.

For better implementation of Habitat Agenda there should be some mechanism for the collection of data regarding various Habitat programmes and services as a whole. These data thus generated should be shared with other organizations and groups so that there would be greater and concerted efforts in the direction of providing safe housing facilities to all with other aspects like educational facilities, health care facilities, employment facilities etc. This should be done by intense networking by the youth organizations and individuals who are highly motivated by the cause.

Another area where action is needed is with regard to development of indicators. Any programme to be effectively evaluated should have indicators. What are the indicators against which the youth contribution towards the implementation of Habitat Agenda can be evaluated? Some of these could include awareness level of youth on the issue of Habitat, the number of youth organizations who are involved in such activities, the interest in the part of the general public on the issue, the networking that is existing in a particular place with regard to the same etc.

In the present situation, there is no agency responsible for the identification and documentation of the best practices that are found on the process of the work done for the implementation of Habitat Agenda. To this end there is a need to have a national secretariat with sufficient staff and resources in order to effectively carry out the proper documentation of best practices found in the sector. This secretariat could as well carry out the other aspects like documenting and reporting, and also for liaison at the national and at the international level including the working with the UN agencies. Apart from this, the proposed mechanism could co-ordinate all the youth activities related to habitat and implementation of the agenda. The mechanism could act also as a focal point and as nodal agency for further studies, further activities etc.


As a whole there has been a certain amount of involvement of the youth and youth agencies in the implementation of the Habitat Agenda. However, there was total lack of concerted effort on the part of UN agencies, non-governmental agencies and even governmental agencies in the point of implementation of Habitat Agenda.

As mentioned in the third part of the report some of the youth related organizations have taken initiatives in providing cost effective materials for construction activities for low cost housing. These activities could be replicated in other parts of the world, as this will give a fresh impetus to the implementation of Habitat Agenda.

Another programme that could be replicated in other parts of the world is that of entrepreneurship development programmes for the youth. This has helped in creating more employment opportunities for the youngsters and thus making the locality a better place to live in. However, there is a greater need for innovation on the part of the organizations so that their programmes will support sustainable development as well.

As seen from the pages above, there are a number of youth organizations both governmental and non-governmental, which would be in a position to mobilise the youth for the implementation of Habitat Agenda. The government initiatives like the National Service Scheme for the student youth and Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan for rural youth have a wide network of youth centres and resources available with them. They could be agents in participating in the effective and time bound implementation of the agenda. In the non-governmental sector there are organizations like the Indian Committee of Youth Organizations (ICYO), National Council of YMCA etc. which can effectively mobilise the youth for the purpose.

In the past, it was an effort at random by the youth and youth organizations. The vision for the future calls for a planned and systematic effort on the part of the youth organizations in the direction of effective implementation of the Habitat Agenda. This calls for a mechanism to be developed in each of the countries with a central agency co-ordinating all the work concerned with the implementation of Habitat Agenda. This agency can be the nodal agency for Youth for Habitat International Network. The agency should have proper documentation and should be staffed fully with qualified and professional staff to take care of the various activities that are required to create that momentum among the young people for the effective and speeder implementation of the agenda.

It has been found that many of the youth organizations are not even aware of the Habitat Agenda and its implications for them. Hence there is a great need to create awareness among the youth organizations. This awareness, together with networking and fund raising activities for the purpose of the implementation of Habitat Agenda is likely to bring about a perceptive change in the scenario in the area of habitat in the country. The effective use of media is one of the many ways to achieve this end.

In conclusion one can say that the contribution of youth towards the implementation of the agenda has been partial. One of the reasons for this could be that among youth organization, there was total lack of networking and co-ordination on the issue. However, there are individual organizations that have done outstanding contributions towards this end.


Association for Social Health and Rehabilitative Action by Youth. New Delhi - 1995.

Census Commissioner, India, Final population totals: Brief analysis of Primary census abstract New Delhi 1992.

Department of Youth Affairs and Sports, Government of India, National Youth Policy, New Delhi, 1988.

Development Alternatives. To choose a future - a strategy for sustainable development. New Delhi - 1998.

Housing and Urban Development Corporation (HUDCO). Adequate Shelter and Services for all, New Delhi - 1996.

Mahatma Gandhi Seva Ashram. The Chambal Experiment-a quest for peace and development in Chambal Valley - Joura. M.P - 1998.

Ministry of Human Resource Development. Annual Report - 1998-99. New Delhi, 1999.

Ministry of information and broadcasting, Government of India, India - 1999, New Delhi, 1999.

National Council of YMCAs of India. Youth of India-Official magazine of the National Council of YMCAs of India. New Delhi, 1999.

National Service Scheme Unit-Tata Institute of Social Sciences. Case Material as a training aid for field workers. Bombay, 1986.

Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan. Harnessing Youth Power for the Nation. New Delhi - 1998.

New Delhi YMCA. Images Y Vision and Reality, Yearbooks of YMCA - New Delhi 1997.

United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific. Review of the youth situation, Policies and Programmes in Asia and the Pacific. New York, United Nations Publications 1997.

United Nations. Habitat Agenda and Istanbul Declaration - New York 1996.

U.C. Simhadri. Indian Rural Youth. Ajanta Books (Int.) - New Delhi 1992. Youth for Habitat International Network-Turkey. Contributions of Youth to Local Agenda 21 in Turkey-1999.


October 1999,Prepared by Christine Makori, Convenor, Kenya National Youth
Facilitating Group (KNYFG)
C/o Shelter Forum
P.O. Box 39394, Nairobi, Kenya.
Tel: 254-2-444887, Fax: 254-2-445166


The most productive stage of a person’s life is between the ages of 14-35. It is during this stage that one has the optimum potential to inject his/her views towards strengthening the society. Our society has however not for a long time accorded youth the opportunity and support to articulate their issues and to implement them.

It has therefore been a good change at the turn of the new millennium that more and more young people across the world are emerging as equal partners in various areas. This is no different as far as issues of human settlements are concerned. Following the Habitat II Conference and formal recognition of youth as stakeholders, youth presently play a major role in decision making in the field of human settlements as well as environmental conservation at the international level.

People, housing and health form a triangle that is not accurately placed in the urbanization puzzle. The way people deal with housing has a direct influence on their health. The youth in Kenya having recognized this, have in the recent past played a very significant role in the task of assisting in the realization of the two principles adopted by the international community at the Habitat II Conference, namely “Adequate Shelter for All” and “Sustainable Human Settlements” in a rapidly urbanizing world and their application to Kenya through the National Plan of Action on shelter and human settlements.

Human Settlements are where organised human activities take place. Often due to limited resources and for purposes of economic growth, some degree of concentration of activities and people in particular places is deemed to be economically and technically viable. Such concentrations of people and activities range from small villages, towns, and municipalities to large cities and metropolis. In Kenya, human settlements have adopted a distinct pattern into two, the rural and the urban. These are greatly influenced by socio-economic factors as well as political and administrative factors. Kenya is divided into eight provinces varying in geographical sizes as well as the population distribution. These are Nyanza, Eastern, North Eastern, Rift Valley, Western, Central, Coast and Nairobi Province. A provincial commissioner administratively heads them. Further, each province is sub-divided into many districts headed by a District Commissioner. In total we have an approximate 59 districts.

Currently, Kenya has an estimated population of 27.8 million, 60% of who are youth under the age of 25 years. Over 70% of the country’s population live in the rural areas and approximately 80% of these are concentrated in the high potential areas found in the central and western region. These are densely populated areas, predominantly practising small-scale subsistence farming and informal sector activities. High population in these areas has put great pressure on rural land leading to migration of people to urban areas.

Urbanization is associated with economic and social progress and equally meaningful with sustainable development. Therefore while considering the role of youth in the urban towns of Kenya, it is imperative to address the interdependence and the linkages between rural and urban sectors as well as the unique characteristics of youth in rural and urban areas. Similarly, considering the different problems of each sector such as poverty levels, land ownership, housing, infrastructure and employment levels, social and legal empowerment, population growth, it is justified to treat rural and urban societies from different perspectives.

Most of the towns in Kenya are small. Out of these, 89% have less than 10,000 inhabitants. They are however growing faster than the bigger towns, at the rate of 9.1% per annum. They are also characterised by a lack of social services and poor inhabitants. Although the bigger towns are growing slower, they historically have had the majority of the urban inhabitants. For example, Nairobi has the highest number of town dwellers accounting for 36% of the total urban population.

1.1 Demographic situation

a) Pre-Independence

The urbanization process in Kenya began over 600 years ago with the East African Coast trade between Arabs, Portuguese and the Africans. A few of the towns that came up as a result were Mombasa, Malindi and Lamu. The process of colonisation including the construction of Mombasa-Kisumu railway, the creation of administration centres and subsequently, the process of decolonization accelerated the rate of rural to urban migration and influenced the growth as a pattern of urbanization.

Development of a communication network was favourable to the colonialists. The administration centres were designed to serve the needs of alien communities at the expense of the indigenous rural population. This resulted in polarised and prismatic human settlements patterns, with Nairobi and Mombasa being the main centres. There were poor infrastructure and other related linkages between the urban and rural areas.

This led to the emergence of dualistic patterns of settlements, which were spatially incoherent, and with little or no integration. The towns were highly segregated across social and racial lines with restricted access to the available community facilities and infrastructure, often favouring the minority segments of the urban population. The residential policy also viewed the indigenous population as temporary town dwellers and thus did little in the provision of adequate and appropriate shelter and related basic utilities for them. At independence, the country not only faced rapid population growth but also encountered an influx of rural-urban migrants to the major urban centres, most of which were economically and environmentally ill equipped to accommodate the population and meet their related demands. The pattern of human settlements that had been developed earlier was thus entrenched further and in certain instances, squatting and mushrooming of slums became quite evident.

b) Post-Independence

After Kenya’s attainment of her independence, the rate of urbanization accelerated as a result of natural population growth, rural-urban migration, boundary extensions of towns and reclassification of local authorities.

In 1948, when Kenya carried out the first census, there were 17 towns with a population of 276,240 representing 5.1% of the total population. By the next census in 1962, the number of towns had risen to 34 with a population of 670,950 representing 7.8% of the total population. The rate of urbanization increased faster after independence in 1963 and by 1969 the number of towns had risen to 48 with a population of 1,079,908 representing 9.9% of total population. The upward trend continued and by 1979, the number of towns had risen to 91 with a population of 2,307,000 representing 15% of the total population. In 1989, the number of towns stood at 139 with a population of 3,900,000 representing 18.1% of total population. The latest National Population census was carried out in August 1999 but the results have not been released.

It is estimated that 20% of the country’s total population will be living in urban areas by the year 2000. What is however significant is that current population projections indicate that this growth of urbanization will continue in the future and that by 2010, the urban population will constitute 26.4% of the total population.

The urbanization process in Kenya is however not a unique phenomenon as global urbanization statistics indicate. The United Nations estimated that in mid-1990, 43% (2.3 billion) of the world’s population lived in urban areas and it is projected to cross the 50% mark in 2005. It is also projected that by 2025, more than three fifths of the world’s population will live in urban areas. The urban population in that year will be approximately 5.2 billion of whom 77% will live in developing countries. This means that the twenty-first century will continue to be a century of the urban transition particularly in developing countries like Kenya. The corresponding figures for Kenya are 6.95 million and 11.2 million for the year 2000 and 2010 respectively.

The challenge therefore is not how to stop or contain this growth, rather, how to marshal all available physical, financial, human and technical resources to manage the problems and utilise opportunities arising from urbanization.

1.2 Major human settlements conditions

In Kenya there are roughly three groups of human settlements and they are influenced by the economic and political status of the dwellers. In urban areas, there are the middle class owned shelters, the upper class and the informal settlements. This criteria does not however apply to the rural areas. A brief analysis of both is discussed below.

a) Urban Areas

Below is a case study of the Nairobi Province.

Informal Settlements

In the capital city of Nairobi, about 60% of the population live in informal settlements commonly called “slums”. This makes up about 5% of the total area in Nairobi. The inhabitants largely consist of the migrants from the rural areas, in search for employment in the city. Due to the high cost of houses in the city, they all look for low cost housing hence the influx into the slums.

Most of the informal settlements were established after independence. The practice then was to demolish the informal settlements in Nairobi and other urban areas. Subsequently, there was a tacit acceptance of informal settlements, which then grew rapidly. The authorities adopted a “laissez faire” approach, not demolishing and not instituting large-scale improvements either. However, in recent times there has been an attempt to provide shelter through donor-financed sites and services projects and other similar approaches.

They are characterised by extremely high densities, typically 250 units per hectare (compared to 25 per hectare in middle income areas and to 15 in high income areas) and residents are exposed to severe environmental health risks which critically affect the ability to play a full economic role in the life of the city. Further, the majority of households have very low incomes, a large proportion of the households are female headed, morbidity and mortality rates are caused by diseases stemming from poor environmental management owing to poor sanitation, lack of potable water, poor drainage, overcrowding and uncollected refuse. Although many of the inhabitants have jobs in the formal sector, majority earn their living in the informal sector through activities like hawking, service and production enterprises. Also majority of the people rent the houses on a room-by-room basis with many occupying single rooms. Structures are constructed using temporary materials and do not conform to official housing standards. Urban services are minimal if not non-existent, water is only provided through a few stand pipes, if any, educational and health services are also inadequate although NGOs and CBOs make a significant contribution to these aspects. Lastly, the physical layout makes it very difficult to provide infrastructure services such as drainage and sewage system.

As far as ownership of the land is concerned, variations exist. The majority of the settlements are on squatter basis. This exposes the inhabitants to frequent evictions. This land can either belong to the central government or vested on the leasehold of the city council and/or public corporations. In some other settlements, there is individual freehold tenure. Landowners have more incentive to invest and to work jointly with the others in providing better services.

In settlements on public land, officials have allocated plots in a number of ways to individuals. Allocation is also undertaken by the local administration by means of letter or verbally. Temporary licences may also be issued which allows construction of buildings. Examples include Kangemi, Kawangware, Korogocho, Mukuru, Dandora.

Middle Class

This is the second cluster of human settlement types. The second largest percentage of the population lives in these houses. The inhabitants earn approximately 30,000-75,000 Kenyan shillings (400-1000 US dollars at the time of writing) per month, while the houses cost approximately 20,000 to 50,000 shillings per month (260-680 dollars). The units are also let out on tenancy basis with some tenants opting to buy them with time. They are built closely together in order to derive maximum output.

As regards urban services, they are recipients of water, sanitation facilities, waste collection and educational facilities. Due to increasing economic hardship, the owners of the houses have in the recent past tended to build extensions to the houses, which they then lease out to others. This consequently puts more pressure to the services, as they are not included in the physical planning of the main housing units.

These are characterised by high density, 25 per hectare, majority as mentioned before are renters, the houses are constructed with proper building materials and also conform to approved building standards. Cases of mortality are very low and many of the residents are occupied in the formal sector. Examples include South B and C and Buru Buru.

Upper Class

The rest of the city dwellers fall into this category of human settlements. They are characterised by very expensive units that only the very well paid can afford. They range from single-story bungalows to multi-storey houses to apartments. More often than not, they also have luxury services like swimming pools, security services and in-built garages.

Occupancy can either be on rental basis or ownership basis depending on whether it is leasehold or freehold tenure basis. As expected, they also receive the best of services such as the infrastructure in form of transport, communications facilities like telephones, water, electricity and sanitation facilities. Examples are Runda, Old and New Muthaiga, Lavington and Karen.

b) Rural Areas

In rural areas, there is no distinct pattern of human settlements growth and development. This is because it depends on one’s home and income ability. These vary as most of the urban dwellers also have other houses in their villages of origin.

1.3 Socio-economic factors influencing human settlements

The following factors influence human settlements growth and development in Kenya:

Crime rate

In recent years, the crime rate has increased a great deal, largely because of high population growth and unemployment. Between 1981 and 1985 the rate of robbery increased by about 16%, while between 1986 and 1990 the increase was by about 13%. Since 1991 to date crimes related to the use of guns have been on the increase causing social unrest and insecurity in various human settlements. The security systems have had to update and enhance their approach in dealing with such cases. This therefore makes certain neighbourhoods inhabitable or even if people do settle therein, there is little investment in these areas.


The root causes are numerous and range from low economic growth rates to poor terms of trade, low employment among others. The GDP per capita since 1990 has been declining while economic growth has also declined. In 1990, GDP per capita was US$ 190.63 but dropped to 177.05 by 1994. Real growth in the GDP has declined progressively from 4.3% in 1990 to a meagre 0.2% in 1994. The high rate of population growth has outstripped the valuable resources, increasing the poverty bracket as most people live below the poverty line. In the human settlement scene, poverty has been the major limiting factor in development. In the rural areas, the majority of the population is unable to meet their basic requirements. It is estimated that 47% of the Kenyan urban population now live in low-income neighbourhoods and 30-40% of these are estimated to be absolutely poor. In Nairobi, slums accommodate over half of the urban population. There is therefore a need for social safety nets in the area of human settlements to cushion the vulnerable groups.


It is estimated that about 60% of the population are under 20 years of age. Unemployment is one of the most crucial socio-economic problems in our times. The government policy towards employment generation, however, is changing from one of direct intervention to that of providing a favourable environment for private investment and job creation. The private modern sector employment has been more productive but has been growing far too slowly to absorb the manpower available. In 1991, Kenya’s labour force was 10.2 million. This total was expected to grow at an average of about 4.1% between 1991-2000. To cope with increasing labour force, employment creation has to grow at an average of at least 14% a year from 1992-2000 and in order to reach full employment afterwards an annual growth rate of 17% is required.

Urbanization and population growth

Between 1980 and 1990 the urban population growth was at the rate of 5% increasing from 2.48 million in 1980 to 4.03 million in 1990. Urban population is projected to increase to 6.95 million and 11.22 million by the year 2000 and 2010 respectively. The annual urban population growth rate between 1990 and 2000 is expected to be 5.6% but will fall to 4.9% between 2000 and 2010. It is expected that by the year 2010, 26.4% of the total population will be living in urban areas.


Limited access to finance has been a major limiting factor in human settlements development. Sources of funding are few and the lending housing financial institutions have not really reached some target groups. Qualifying terms of mortgage are still too stringent despite the fact that housing and human settlements development is still in short supply. The inadequate resources and lack of access to suitable local funds like National Social Security Fund and other provident funds have caused socio-economic problems and have hindered the development of affordable human settlements.


Demand for housing outstrips supply by far. According to the Housing Indicator’s programme, there is a shortage of houses in most urban areas. This leads to high rents. Majority of the town dwellers does not own homes as the level of owner-occupancy has been declining. Provision of infrastructure facilities has not satisfied the demands of the growing population. There are indicators of chronic overcrowding in human settlements. Access to safe drinking water and transport services in low income and high population density areas are poor. In terms of sanitation, it is estimated that 94% of the population in informal settlements do not have access to adequate sanitation. Consequently, lack of proper sanitation facilities has led to environmental hazards through improper disposal of wastes causing water pollution and other health hazards.

1.4 Shelter and human settlements policies

Prior to Independence in 1963, the colonial administration created a Central Housing Board in 1953 which served as an agency for channelling government funds in the form of loans to local authorities to develop housing for the indigenous population in their areas of jurisdiction, in both cases, the main feature of housing was to provide bed-space for labourers.

The system of local authorities was responsible for a broad range of urban services including, inter alia, primary education, health services, road construction and maintenance, water supply, sewerage, public housing, solid waste management, drainage, markets and social services. In urban areas, local authorities were classified as municipalities, towns and urban councils and in rural areas as county councils.

After 1963, Kenya’s rural-urban migration increased tremendously. This resulted in overcrowding as the demand for more urban services and particularly shelter, increased beyond the capacities of local authorities. In 1964, a United Kingdom mission came to investigate the short and long term housing need for Kenya and to make recommendations on relevant policies. The Government in May 1965 published the report of the Mission and after its appraisal the first comprehensive housing policy for Kenya was enunciated in 1966/67. This was also referred to as Session Paper No. 5 of 1966/67.

This led to the creation of a Ministry specifically in charge of housing. The Central Housing Board was converted to National Housing Corporation as the main agency for the development of low cost housing utilising government and donor funds. It also led to the creation of Housing Research Development Unit, the establishment of the Housing Finance Company of Kenya to promote home ownership through mortgage development in addition to the then existing East African Building Society which was privately funded.

The Sessional Paper No. 5 of 1966/67 on Housing Policy for Kenya has been the basis for the preparation and implementation of housing development plans, programmes and projects pursued in the country up to 1980 when the review process started. At that time the policy focused on:

1) Urban housing development.
2) Rural housing development.
3) Financing for housing.
4) Administrative organization for housing development.
5) Housing programmes and projects, and
6) Research and development.

The 1966/67 housing policy was modified and implemented in subsequent development plan through programmes and projects. Settlement upgrading projects, which provided secure tenant and a range of basic urban services, enabled and encouraged low-income households to improve their housing through self-help construction. Despite these efforts, only 25,000 housing units in urban areas were completed compared with the required 50,000 units during the planned period of 1974-1978. A combination of overcrowding, unplanned settlements and postponed retirement of non-upgradable housing met the shortfall.

In 1980, urban and rural housing surveys were carried out and the National Housing Strategy for Kenya, 1987-2000, was formulated. The strategy went into more details such as Land use planning and land administration; Infrastructure planning and construction industry; Estate management and maintenance; Documentation and dissemination; Monitoring progress and the Strategy of Enablement.

The objective of the Strategy was to produce a concrete National Plan of Action for the period 1987-2000. The public and the private sectors could thus commence working together and in collaboration with the international community towards producing a high volume of acceptable quality housing. This could meet the needs of new households and make inroads into upgrading the existing stock of substandard housing in urban and rural areas. In addition, the enablement strategy introduced a new direction through an innovative approach that gradually shifted the role of government from one of direct developer of housing for lower income households involving moderate subsidies to one of working with and facilitating the new developing of this housing by private entities. This was a drastic shift from the strategy in 1966/67 policy document.

One of the aims of the strategy was to involve the informal sector actors in harnessing their capacities to the national housing needs. This change required inter alia an adequate knowledge of local conditions and needs which could only be achieved through a process of consultation with all the actors in the housing sector.

Human Settlements Policies and Strategies

In response to the rapid urbanization and unbalanced regional development, the government embarked on various policies and strategies to enhance sustainable and equitable development in the country. These were adopted in the Sessional Paper No. 10 of 1965 on African Socialism and its application to planning in Kenya and in National Development Plans (1970-74 and 1974-78). In 1978, the Government introduced an urban and rural human settlements strategy, which addressed various national development issues.

“The development of Growth Centres” Strategy involved selecting strategically located centres in different regions of the country on the basis of their administrative, agricultural, tourist and industrial potential, proximity to population concentrations, levels of existing infrastructure and accessibility to services. These centres have progressively received additional investment making them attractive to the growing urban population and thus avoiding excessive concentration of people in the main towns of Nairobi and Mombasa. This policy also created a hierarchy of service centres to provide services and markets for the rural population and to serve as a basis for future urban development. The two strategies were to be supplemented by the strategy of hierarchy of roads and communication links between the various levels of centres with a view to increasing accessibility to existing centres.

The next policy on Rural-Urban Balance strategy was to promote the development of an urban system, which supports the growth of agriculture and development of rural areas, and generates employment. The main objectives of this strategy included:

· Avoiding excessive concentration of population in largest Kenyan cities;

· Promoting vigorous growth of secondary towns and smaller urban settlements through the development of agriculture;

· Fostering productive linkages between agriculture and other sectors of the economy, between rural areas and local services centre, market towns, gateway towns and secondary cities; and

· Encouraging renewed growth in all regions of the country.

The components of the rural-urban balance strategy were:

· Rural Trade and Production Centres (RTPCs),
· Municipal Management, and
· Informal sector development.

The policy on District Focus Strategy for Rural Development further strengthened the rural-urban balance and the promotion of gateway towns. Presently, all matters of human settlements development are handled by the Department of Housing in the Ministry of Public Works and Housing.

Other Policies related to Human Settlements as raised in United Nations Conferences:

· At the international level, the enabling approach for Global Strategy for Shelter to the year 2000 was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1988 to facilitate adequate Shelter for all by the year 2000.

· During the Rio Summit, the following issues emerged:

Adequate Shelter for all;
Human Settlements Management; and
Human Settlements Planning and Management in disaster prone areas.

· The World Summit for Social Development discussed issues on poverty, unemployment, social exclusion and linkages between politics, economics and social factors.

· The Copenhagen summit addressed demographic problems.

· At the Beijing Conference for Women, similar related issues were also discussed.

· The Second United Nations Conference on Human Settlements in 1996. This is the basis of the present National Plan of Action for Kenya. Its two main principles were Adequate Shelter For All and Sustainable Human Settlements in a rapidly urbanizing world.


This chapter discusses the policies in relation to the field of youth, if any and the institutional arrangement in Kenya that the youth have adopted.

The local definition of youth is the age bracket between 14 and 35 years. Therefore any discussion on youth affairs or the reference to the term youth is made to persons falling within this target group.

a) Policies Addressing the Issues of Youth at the Government Level

Kenya does not have a National Youth Policy. As a result matters relating to the youth have remained largely unfocused and incoherent. Therefore all issues concerning the youth and other marginalized groups are grouped together under the Ministry of Home Affairs, Culture and Social Services. In the said ministry, a youth department deals with matters of youth, their organizations and the registration of community-based organizations and other self-help groups. It is also concerned with voicing the youth grievances, if any, and promoting their role in community development.

This has slowed down the progress of youth as they have for a long time being regarded as “leaders of tomorrow” thus implying that they have little or no important role to play in nation building. Meanwhile, people who have represented and controlled the youth still continue to stage control all levels of development from policy making to implementation. The consequence of such formulation has for the large part remained obsolete and failed to address the prevailing youth issues. On the other hand the youth have developed a tendency to “wait and see” attitude, with obvious intentions of playing the role of critics to the current leaders and leadership styles.

In spite of this, issues affecting youth are contained in the various other policies that deal with:

b) Education

Kenya presently has a system of education commonly known as 8-4-4. This simply requires a student to undertake eight years in primary education, four years of secondary education and minimum four years of university education. However, there are provisions for other foreign systems of education to allow for personal selection for those who have no interest in the 8-4-4 system. Such include the British and American systems of education.

Primary school education in Kenya is compulsory for children of school going age, from the age of seven years. The government also subsidises the cost of education in primary school as well as in higher institutions of learning. The government has therefore endeavoured to build schools to make this possible as well as equipping them with the basic facilities such as books. In spite of this effort, many children and youth have not gone to school. Others drop out due to lack of school fees among other reasons. Despite the attempts to cater for such unfortunate students by the provision of bursaries, the demand far outstrips the supply. Schools are also encouraged to introduce bursary schemes for the students from the poor families. However, this is in other areas suffers from corrupt individuals who ensure that their children get the bursaries at the expense of the really needy students. As a result some bright children and youth have had no choice but to drop out of school.

c) Health

The physical, mental and emotional health of a person is a pre-requisite to his/her good living as well as maximum positive contribution to the society. The Government of Kenya having noted this, has several policies on promoting and safeguarding general public health. The main areas under health are Immunisation Programmes, Provision of Medical Services, Unwanted Pregnancies of girls of school going ages and the HIV-AIDS pandemic.

· As far as Immunisation is concerned, upon the birth of a child, the parents must ensure that the child is immunised against diseases such as Polio, Tuberculosis, Measles, Diphtheria, Whooping Cough to name but a few. These are provided for free of charge by the government to every baby. Annual immunisation days are set apart for the serious ones like Polio. There are also provisions for immunisation against other diseases such as yellow fever, Hepatitis B and Meningitis to mention but a few. This is to protect the recipients from suffering unnecessarily from these ailments.

· Provision of medical services has been guaranteed by the building of district hospitals in every district. These are also subsidised in terms of costs by the government. The government has also tried to equip these hospitals. Due to insufficiency of funds, some of the hospitals are not properly equipped. There are also Provincial Hospitals at every provincial headquarter. These are to cater for the cases that require expert medical attention that may not be available at the district level. Further, there is a National Hospital. It is one of the best-equipped hospitals in the region. All urgent and serious cases are referred to Kenyatta National Hospital in Nairobi.

· Unwanted pregnancies of young girls of school going age have been addressed both as a health issue as well as for its impact on the girls’ education. Schools are encouraged to readmit students who have dropped out of school because of pregnancies. There are other measures put in place to cater for those who cannot afford to go back such as polytechnics and other training centres.

· Kenya has to date outlawed abortion. It is a criminal offence under the laws of Kenya. Yet many girls and women who get pregnant and do not have any intention of keeping the baby terminate the pregnancies by very unhygienic methods. There has recently come a call for the legalisation of abortion as well as the introduction of sex education in schools to reduce the high level of dropout students due to pregnancy and related ailments. The HIV-AIDS crisis has also led to this call. Many youth in Kenya are HIV positive and this has greatly hampered the progress of youth in various sectors. However, there are provisions for safeguarding the youth from the scourge.

· In the arid lands and other areas affected by drought leading to famine, the government has put in place a Relief Food Programme. This is to ensure that the inhabitants do not go hungry and the youth and children can therefore pursue their education. However, with the changing weather patterns, it has become only too clear that more effort must be put in place. The population still continues to grow and this means that the amount of relief food given out is not enough. Thus the children and youth in these areas suffer from malnutrition and other food related ailments.

The exact number of youth associations and youth organizations is not known, although it is estimated that thousands of youth organizations have so far been registered. This is inclusive of Non-Governmental Organizations, Community Based Organizations, Clubs, Self-Help Groups, Charity organizations, Societies and Associations among many others. All the records that had been compiled by the Ministry of Home Affairs, Culture and Social Affairs on the youth bodies registered with it were destroyed in the 1998 Bomb Blast. It cannot be clearly established therefore how many youth organizations are in Kenya to date as more and more continue to be formed.

These organizations deal in various issues that affect the youth. Some of these are youth led and youth governed while others are youth serving. This means that they are established by adults but the beneficiaries are youth. The activities include:

· Drug Abuse among the Youth,
· Environmental Conservation and Upgrading,
· Theatrical Groups For Educational Purposes,
· Sports Groups,
· Human Settlements Developments,
· Building and Construction,
· Municipal Waste Management,
· Water Training,
· Charity Work Such As Helping Out In Children’s’ Homes And Churches,
· Fundraising,
· Business and Commerce,
· Legal Aid Clinics,
· Education, Training and Capacity Building of the Youth,
· Information Dissemination,
· Advocacy and Policy Development,
· Spiritual Growth,
· Micro-Credit Schemes,
· Income Generation Projects among many others.

At this point, it is noteworthy at this point to mention that other youth lobby groups and organizations are registered either within their learning institutions such as primary schools and universities, places of worship such as churches, temples and mosques, the Attorney Generals Chambers, the NGO Bureau and as earlier mentioned, the relevant Ministry.

Further, because of the nature of the organizations, they are spread across the country: In urban areas, whether big towns or small rural shopping centres, in residential areas in the cities or the villages in the rural areas. There are some in the institutions of learning and others in areas of worship such as churches, mosques and temples. In every district of every province, there are youth bodies or youth serving bodies. It therefore can be justifiably said that these are spread right across the country.

Lastly, at the local government level, councils are empowered to enact by-laws as may be relevant for various purposes in their areas of jurisdiction. It is however not clear whether any town/county/municipal council has enacted a youth specific subsidiary legislation.


This Chapter describes the various activities carried out by various youth organizations in Kenya at the local, national and international levels. It discusses the activities that focus on youth self-development and then followed by the contributions to the improvement of living conditions in human settlements. However, the levels at which the activities are done are discussed under the same heading.

A brief mention is made of the different characteristics of youth as peculiar to urban and rural areas. Generally, youth in urban areas are more assertive and attempt to take a leadership role in societal matters. An example is in the local authorities where some of the councillors elected into office fall within the age bracket as defined. They have basic education as well. On the other hand, youth in the rural areas have shown a mature and practical approach to solving matters that affect them directly. As a result, impact there is felt by the people in their respective communities or villages.

The following are some of the activities that are carried out as well as various organizations that are involved in the same. It must be noted that some of the organizations are local based, others have a national outlook while others have an international background with those mentioned forming the Kenyan chapters.

3.1 Focus on Youth Self Development

The activities are carried out by the youth themselves in partnership with other stakeholders. Some of the youth organizations mentioned are youth led while others, although they serve the youth; led by adults. The activities include:

Fundraising and other Income Generating Activities

Many of the organizations formed at grassroots level are a desperate attempt by the youth to turn around a situation that is not very favourable to their well being. Through forming community-based organizations or self-help groups, the youth are able to carry out activities that are aimed at raising funds for their projects or events. The most common methods used are dinner dances, harambees (this refers to the inviting of well-wishers to contribute financial help whether in kind or in cash for the projects activities), and the like.

At the national level, there are no government youth funding departments. However, in the year 1997, the government organised for a national youth fundraising event. All Districts were required to fundraise in preparation for the national event that was to be held at the capital city of Kenya, Nairobi. The Chief Guest of Honour was the President of the Republic of Kenya, President Daniel Arap Moi. The various Ministers, the Provincial Administration as well as the members of the public assisted him. At the event, millions of shillings were raised. The funds were to be used for the promotion of youth projects countrywide. The government has introduced micro credit schemes through which young entrepreneurs can get mini loans. These are the only direct government attempt at promoting youth activities through financial assistance. The only other means of financial assistance is through donations from donor agencies.

Advocacy and Policy Development Activities

Some of the organizations have the specific goal of creating awareness among the youth and influencing general policy development. Thus the youth organizations organise for outreach programs to the rural areas or the urban areas where they educate the participants on certain national policies and their impact on them and also call for their involvement in decision making processes. Others carry out civic education programs in areas such as knowing the law, the relationship between the three government departments namely the executive, the judiciary and the legislature, the constitutional processes and especially the on-going debate of its review among others.

One such organization is the Youth Agenda. With an ever-growing membership, this is a youth led, youth governed organization. Many of its activities are to create focus on creating awareness among the youth on matters of national policies and their impact on youth. It is also actively involved in pushing for reforms in laws that do not cater for the welfare of the youth. It has hosted many conventions and conferences, which brings together hundreds of youth.

Through the Kenya Law Students Society (KLSS), advocacy is also done among many other young people. This is a society comprising of the students who take law in Kenya. Through its students it also forms other organizations that carry out outreach programs to rural Kenya on various subject matters. One such organization is the Law Forum. Another of its areas of interest is the offering of free legal aid to the poor people who need legal assistance but cannot afford the advocates fees. For this purpose, the law students in the University of Nairobi established in conjunction with many other partners, the Students Association of Legal Aid and Research (SALAR). To date, it has been able to assist members of the public on a walk basis.

Another organization that has gone a long way into promoting the involvement of youth in decision-making forums is the Kenya National Youth Facilitating Group. Through its partnership with the other stakeholders, it has called upon them to open their doors to the youth. One such example is the inclusion of a youth representative in the Kenya National Committee for Human Settlements. As a result of the group’s efforts many government departments call upon the youth to contribute to various proposed legislation. The proposed bill to be presented to parliament as the National Housing Policy is one such document. Another example is the draft National Environmental Bill that consolidates the scattered laws and by-laws on the environment. Efforts are also under way to participate in the preparation of a National Youth Policy. Further proposals shall include the formation of a National Youth Council. The youth are also actively represented in the activities of many other NGOs due to the linkages it has formed with them.

Training and Capacity Building

One of the most important areas of focus is the equipping of our youth with certain useful skills for self-development. Through training sessions and participation in other stakeholders’ activities, the youth are trained on all key areas such as leadership; conflict resolution - this area has proved to be of most important significance as the youth are a vibrant group each of whom has an idea as to what should be done and how. More often than not, this leads to conflicts and controversies within the groups and to preserve them, it is necessary to train the youth to handle the arising conflicts properly - fundraising skills; education for the illiterate; financial management; civic education; governance; gender equity; investment; urban planning and information technology. At the local levels, this is achieved as part of the organization’s objectives. There are practical ways of achieving this besides the classroom approach. These are designed to build the participants’ self-confidence and self-reliance to enable them to co-operate effectively with others.

At the national level, there are various organizations that carry out training. Specific mention can be made of the Kenya National Youth Facilitating Group’s attempt at this. Its members are and continue to be exposed to seminars and workshops organised either by the youth themselves or by its partners, International Conferences such as the Commission for Human Settlements among others. Besides its members, participants are also drawn from other youth groups, learning institutions and the church as well as work places. Another illustration is the Christian Industrial Training Centres (CITC), which offer two-year courses in building and engineering skills such as carpentry, joinery, painting, sign writing, sheetmetal, plumbing, wielding and fabrication. They also offer a loan and credit scheme to assist former students start their own businesses locally referred to as jua kali. The African Housing Fund that has established Centres for boys and street mothers also provides vocational training to these people, masonry and carpentry among other forms of training. Another final example is IMANI the Marianists. Imani is a Kiswahili word meaning faith. It stands for the Marianists to Assist the Needy. It has three programmes, namely, Maria House Women’s Centre, Chaminade Training Centre and the Job Creation Programme. The Training Centre offers various courses while the Job Creation Centre helps create employment for its trainees through enterprise development. These are but few examples as there are a thousand such organizations that offer training to the youth.


In Kenya, there are various ways of legalising the groups, either by registration as societies, associations, companies, partnerships, co-operatives at the Attorney General’s Chambers, or as Non-Governmental Organizations with the NGO Bureau, or even with the Ministry of Home Affairs, Culture and Social Services as Community Based Organizations or self-help groups.

In order to legalise their various organizations, the youth are educated on the various modes available under the law as well as the relevant procedures that are therein contained/prescribed. Other means include registration via their institutions in cases of primary and secondary schools, universities and the churches. With the emergence of the Partnership concept, more and more youth organizations are coming under one umbrella body in order make it easier for them to achieve their objectives. It has however not acquired wide acceptance, as many youth are suspicious of the intentions of merging.

The Kenya Association of Youth Organizations (KAYO) illustrates this. This is an NGO that works under the auspices of the Ministry of Culture and Social Services. Established in 1994, its aim was to co-ordinate the activities of voluntary youth organizations in Kenya. Membership is open to all registered youth organizations, associations, and institutions, groups and clubs involved in youth development activities. Currently, it has a membership of over 2,000 grassroots self-help youth groups.

Another such network is the Wildlife Clubs of Kenya that is interested in offering wildlife and environment education its member clubs. It consists of over 1,800 clubs in schools and universities throughout Kenya and has another approximate 857 adult members.

Last, but not least is the Kenya National Youth Facilitating Group. This is a national network that opens its doors to youth groups and organizations that are interested in environmental conservation, human settlements development, health matters among many others. Although recently established, its membership has grown to over 100 youth bodies. This because some of its member organizations are in themselves actually networks of many other organizations.

Other forms of institutionalization include the proper establishment of offices and communication facilities as well as the formation of youth resource centres. One of the local Community Based Organizations called the Ugunja Community Resource Centre has one such Centre. Another is SIDAREC which has its focus in one of the informal settlements in Nairobi and it recently was selected by UNCHS (Habitat) as a best practice.

Promotion of Gender Equality

The proportion in terms of awareness as well as opportunities has tended to favour men against women. Therefore in Kenya, as in most third world countries, a lot still needs to be done in this area. However, there are awareness raising activities such as seminars and workshops that are held to further promote gender equality. Others include the passing by parliament of legislation to further promote its validity and importance under the legal system. Also more and more learning institutions have started to open their doors to both women and men thus giving equal opportunities.

Certain organizations have been formed particularly to further this concept. Such include:

· The Edelvale Trust Home for Young Girls and Women for the young girls and women who face social problems such as unwanted pregnancies.

· The Education Centre for Women in Democracy through its main activities focuses on inculcating skills in young women who are in learning institutions.

· Good Shepherd Sisters is another such organization. Its aim is to empower young girls and women particularly those who are marginalized from mainstream activities through counselling, teaching them grade skills and self-awareness activities.

· Our final example in this area is the Forum for African Women Educationalists. Otherwise commonly referred to as FAWE, it promotes young women’s participation in national and regional affairs especially in the field of education. It carries out advocacy activities through meetings, conferences and training’s. That is not to say that this is limited to women only, other organizations such as the Young Men Christian Association are also devoted to the spiritual development of boys and young men.

· Information Exchange and Networking

One of the problems that has hindered progressive development of youth led initiatives is inability to access information. However, more effort is being put to ensure that they are able to access relevant information without difficulties. Some organizations have created resource centres that can be used with payment of a little fee. However other public agencies such as the United Nations system makes the information available without charging. Further, youth organizations are encouraged to form partnerships with other stakeholders in the relevant fields. Such partners include the local authorities, the church, non-governmental organizations, the local administration and other youth organizations, to facilitate access to information as well as exchange of experiences.

The Habitat Agenda calls upon the youth to create and strengthen effective partnerships at all levels in order to pool all available resources towards the effective implementation of the Habitat Agenda.

At the National level, youth, in view of the new call for partnership, the Youth Focal Point in Kenya, KNYFG started a Youth Consultative process with a view of enhancing the inclusive approach of participation of key youth organizations in the implementation of the Habitat Agenda at the local level. This process, aimed at restructuring the Kenya focal point of Youth For Habitat opened its doors to youth organizations involved in human settlements development and environment conservation. Thus began processes which saw the various youth and youth organizations from many parts of Nairobi, converge at the United Nations Offices in Nairobi in order to be informed about the Habitat II process and further redefine the role of the Kenyan chapter.

With this in mind, Kenyan youth (the network concentrates among the youth in the 14-25-age bracket; however, there is the 25-30 age bracket that plays supportive roles to the youth thus part of this membership) redefined its mandate and re-identified itself as a national facilitating group. A drafting process was set in motion on 11th of March 1997 on a consensus document that would lay the foundation for mutual understanding amongst the numerous member youth organizations, self help groups, community based groups and between youth and the other identified partner organizations. Thus was born the Memorandum of Understanding. This was later adopted at the first Annual General Meeting held in June 1998 at the United Nations Office at Nairobi (UNON). In addition, a management team was put in place to work on the new system of operation and its agenda for the whole year. Indeed, this was the best chance for youth success as it was guided by youth articulating their own values and vision of a just society with minimal supervision.

KNYFG has the main objective of increasing the awareness and involvement of young people in the implementation of the Habitat Agenda and Agenda 21 hence its member organizations are involved in improving the living conditions of people particularly in urban areas through community participation. Activities include municipal waste management, recycling, drama, music, sports, information dissemination, health and nutrition, water and sanitation, to mention but a few. The Youth For Habitat reforms are taking place so fast a pace for most young people to take advantage of them. Due to inadequate resources, and lack of communication means and facilities young people in small urban areas and the rural areas are yet to be involved in the implementation of the Habitat Agenda process, hence are not conversant with this youth coalition on the Habitat II follow-up.

However in the past one year, the National Executive Secretariat endeavoured to reach to other youth in Kenya, consequently, a western Kenya branch was launched under the Ugunja Community Resource Centre as the focal point. Further, the Rift Valley province was brought on board through the mobilising of youth in the forth-largest town in Kenya, i.e. Nakuru, and in Coast Province, Malindi became the first town to be involved. It is for this reason that advocacy is an important intervention being undertaken by the National Executive Secretariat and standing committees of Youth for Habitat in liaison with partners. The process has been slow due to the lack of financial resources, lack of incentive and such other shortcomings. For this reason, the membership is still concentrated within the city of Nairobi and its environs. However with time the network intends to spread its membership to most if not all parts of the country. This will be achieved through the assistance of the Local Authorities, other local organizations of youth and the other partners in these areas.

Over the past year, the youth network has laid emphasis on the partnership-building and capacity building strategy as a means to improving the living conditions of people, particularly in urban areas.

Kenya National Youth Facilitating Group exemplified this further by forming partnerships with stakeholders such as the NGOs through a local umbrella NGO Secretariat namely, Shelter Forum, the Central Government through the Kenya National Committee on Human Settlements, the UNCHS through the Commission on Human Settlements, the Local Authorities through the Association of Local Government Authorities in Kenya, ALGAK as well as other International Organizations such as Plan International. These partnerships offered assistance such as provision of equipment for our special events, office space and communication facilities, and financial support for some of the activities among others. Through this strategy, the youth were able to form partnerships at the international level with some of the international organizations such as World Peace Prayer Society, The United Nations system etc.

The immediate benefits for youth in this partnership plan have been:

· Appropriate mechanisms have been set up to reach out to youth groups in urban towns namely Nakuru, Kisumu, Ugunja, Mombasa and Malindi to facilitate effective youth participation in the decision making process at the local and national level.

· A dialogue was initiated with the Central Government, which contributed to the implementation of the National Plan of Action on human settlements development. This is through the official representation of youth in the Kenya National Committee on Human Settlements.

· Mechanisms were put in place to enhance the role of the youth in civil society on sustainable human settlements development.

· There was also en-masse capacity building techniques for the youth as they learnt the basics of management, conflict resolution skills and communication skills, which are the root of any successful co-operation arrangements.

· Over the past year, Youth for Habitat has focused its activities on international Co-operation and programme development.

· Support provided to Youth in the forms of use of facilities for administrative operations e.g. telephone, fax, e-mail, office space and advice and clean up equipment e.g. spades, ladders, pangas etc.

Health Concerns

Health is one area of great significance. It encompasses physical, mental and spiritual aspects. With the problems of sexually transmitted diseases such as the HIV-AIDS pandemic, gonorrhoea and syphilis and the other diseases caused by lack of proper hygienic measures such as cholera, the youth have emerged as the largest percentage on the victim list. Therefore many some of the organizations formed have health protection as their key goal.

Reference here is made to the African Medical Research Foundation (AMREF). Its activities include training, enhancing the quality of health care, conducting research among others. Specific mention is made to its youth partner otherwise known as UNGANA-Young Friends of AMREF. Ungana is a Kiswahili word meaning ‘join’. This is a youth organization that assists AMREF reach out to the youth on matters of health.

Another illustration is the Chandaria-Minnesota International Health Volunteers (M.I.H.V) and Dagoretti Health Services. This is a child survival project that focuses on improving the health of children under 5 years and that of young women of childbearing age. M.H.I.V trains youth in participatory educational theatre and income generating activities. It has helped youth from various places to form self-help groups in their localities. These inter alia organise and conduct training for peer educators as well as other outreach events. It targets out-of-school youth among others.

The Family Planning Private Sector (FPPS) targets students in higher institutions of learning such as the University of Nairobi, University of Moi, Jomo Kenyatta University of Arts and Technology and other colleges. The primary goal is to strengthen the students’ knowledge on reproductive health and their capacity to make positive decisions about safer sexual behaviour.

Theatre Activities such as Drama, Music and Poetry

Theatre and other related activities are a most commonly used medium in reaching out to the youth. This is because it is entertaining and is fun to engage in its various forms. Messages are communicated to the youth through plays, music and poetry. It also enables the youth to utilize their talents in various ways especially in promoting the ideas of self-reliance.

One such example is the Kenyatta University Travelling Theatre group. Composed of University Students, it travels throughout the country educating and entertaining the public. It is currently one of the most popular youth theatre groups.

Another example is the Shangilia Mtoto wa Africa. This means Rejoice/Applaud Children of Africa. Shangilia rehabilitates street children by training them in theatre art performance. It also operates a street children’s home in Kangemi, one of the informal settlements area in Nairobi. Children between the ages of 5-18 receive food, clothing and non-formal education. Some of the children/youth are sponsored for vocational training. Another such group is the Moto wa Africa community based organization. Through plays and dances as well as other forms of art, namely, paintings and traditional ornaments, they sell these and receive income. It is noteworthy to mention that they also use their respective talents for income generation.

Peace Initiatives

Across the world, wars continue to ravage countries, destroying economies and killing many people, young and old alike. The African Continent has seen generations born and inherit legacies of wars, of hatred and spite. The youth are the victims because not only are they the “armies” used, but they are also the ones who kill and are killed. In spite of all this, Kenya has enjoyed peace throughout this turbulence. Terrorism is also on the increase with Kenya being one of the latest casualties. In 1998, August 7th, Kenyans came to a standstill following the bombing of the United States Embassy. Hundreds were killed and thousands injured. Buildings were destroyed and many family lives disrupted. The shock has never worn off. It never will. This is the motivation for many peace initiatives that are coming up.

In commemoration of the Bomb Blast and in honour of the victims of the bombing, the Kenya National Youth Facilitating Group in partnership with the United Nations Centre for Human Settlements, the World Peace Prayer Society and the United Peace Initiatives, the Hindu Council of Kenya, the Nairobi City Council and the Office of the President, installed a peace pole in the centre of the city. Its message is simple. May Peace Prevail on Earth.

Another of the Peace Initiatives is the National Students Peace Council, which draws its membership from the secondary schools level in Kenya. This also aims at educating the youth on the importance of a peaceful approach to the solving of disputes and conflicts as well as internalising the concept of peace from the family level to the societal level.

Programme Development

The KNYFG held its first annual event in June 1998 where youth organizations adopted a consensus document to guide youth in projecting a collective position in their partnership with other key stockholders. During the Habitat Youth Day celebrations, youth were educated on the youth related articles in the Habitat Agenda and the role they can play in its implementation.

3.2 Contributions to Improvement of Living Conditions in Human Settlements

These are the other activities of the youth that have had an impact in the improvement of the living conditions.

Municipal Waste Management Programs

With the increase in population and the migration of more people to the urban centres it is clear that the authorities responsible for the management of the municipal waste whether from the domestic or the industrial front are unable to successfully meet the requirements of the citizens. There is therefore a need to promote initiatives that aim at developing an impacting, consistent and sustainable practice that goes beyond awareness creation: practices of managing our waste instead of waiting for the Council to collect and dump it, if at all they do collect it. This is the challenge behind the Clean-Up Campaigns.

The events include Public Awareness creation about the need to keep our environment clean and to conserve our natural environment. This is through organising for Community Clean-Up Campaigns, Recycling and other such activities.

Clean-up campaigns bring together all stakeholders to try and clean up a particular location with the view of spreading the message that we are the custodians of where we live. This is aimed at replacing the old concept of waiting for the local authorities to clean up our living environments even when it has been proved that the local authority in question has failed to discharge its duties. Besides it is also aimed at instilling in the youth and the public at large that only we can properly take care of our interests. These activities are organised and implemented by the youth while they observe certain International Days such as World Habitat Day that is observed every first Monday of October annually by the United Nations through its specialised agency namely, UNCHS; Clean Up the World Day observed on September 18 annually and the World Environment Day observed every year as well on 5th of June to mention but the obvious. This activity does not only take place during the international events mentioned. On the contrary it takes place every week in some communities.

The Mathare Youth Sports Association properly exemplifies this. Mathare is one of the largest slums in Nairobi Province. This non-profit NGO was founded as a self-help project designed to organise sports and slum clean up activities for the youth and children living in Mathare. Currently, it has an estimated membership of over 4,500 girls and boys aged between 10-18. They are divided into teams and there are about 300 teams that participate in both national and international football leagues, environmental clean up and HIV-AIDS awareness programmes. It has especially achieved remarkable success in its sports involvement. There are many other organizations with such activities.

At the National Level, the Kenya National Youth Facilitating Group has also led this event. Every year, this network mobilises youth in its membership as well as other youth not in its membership to come together for such events. For instance in 1998, the network successfully carried out over 10 clean up initiatives spread across the country. This was in the three provinces of Nyanza Province through its member organization, the Ugunja Community Resource Centre, Coast Province in Malindi and Mombasa through the respective member organizations and Nairobi Province. In the latter Province the network carried out the events in four to five locations with two of them being informal settlements namely, Kawangware, Riruta and Kangemi. The other location was the main country bus station located within the City. This site was selected as the main site for the Clean up the World Day events due to its strategic position as entrance to and exit from the city. Besides, more than three thousand of travellers from all parts of Kenya move into and from Nairobi through it every day.

The overall objective of clean up events is to enable the youth and the general public to contribute to the improvement of management of municipal waste. It is also oriented towards facilitating partnerships of key stakeholders and therefore the overall improvement of the living conditions of residents of Nairobi.

Another in this category is the activity of Recycling. It is an important income generating activity. Youth self-help groups collect papers, bottles, domestic waste and what can be recycled, is recycled. The domestic waste is used as manure and this when sold is good fertiliser for those with agricultural practices. However, its limited in use because of the dangers poised by the mixed litter and the common dumping ground. Thus it means that hospital wastes are dumped together with the domestic refuse. Further, majority of the population has not internalised the concept of litter separation, this would serve to make it easier for the recycling persons to sort out that which they need. Further, the limited number of recycling industries also discourages more people from joining the sector. There is no competition to promote quality of recycled materials or the payment of the collectors of the garbage.

Neighbourhood Watch Campaigns

Crime is a prevalent problem in our societies. Unfortunately, the perpetrators are mostly young people. Though not a very common activity, the local communities have increasingly started to organise themselves into groups in order to protect themselves and their families and the general community from criminals. It however still requires a great deal of planning and organization in order to incorporate the security personnel.

Community Surveys on Youth Marginalization are aimed at reducing the high level of exclusion of the youth.

Street Youth and Children Rehabilitation

Like in many other societies, urbanization in Kenya, high level of poverty among the majority of Kenyan and the increasing number of deaths due to the HIV-AIDS pandemic, more and more children are leaving their homes, whether in rural or urban areas, for urban areas in search of a better life. These children and youth upon arrival at the towns and the cities realise that life is just not easy. There is no one to feed them, clothe them or even shelter them. Within no time they flock in the streets and resort to begging. About 40% of these children in the street are homeless, the other 60% works on the street to supplement the family income and to support their families. They are unable to attend school and are considered to live in especially difficult circumstances. They are the victims of brutal violence, sexual abuse with most of the young girls getting impregnated, abject neglect, drug abuse and other forms of child rights violations. This has rapidly grown into one of the most alarming problems of urbanization.

Youth contribution to the containing of this problem has taken various forms. In Nairobi, a collective effort from youth organizations under the umbrella arm of Youth For Habitat: Kenya National Youth Facilitating Group, a Nairobi Street Children Day was organised. This was a follow-up of a similar Street Children Soup Kitchen project that was initiated during the 16th Session of the Commission on Human Settlements. This was further followed by a prayer session at a local catholic church, namely, the Consolata Shrine. Through a collective effort between the Church as represented by St Andrews Anglican Church, Consolata Shrine and St. Paul’s Catholic Church; the Hotel Industry, for example, the Block Hotels, Holiday Inn, Nairobi Safari Club, the Panafric Hotel, Serena Hotels among many others, and the youth from a wide spectrum. Food and clothing were collected for the purposes of donating it to the street children and youth. The United Nations Centre for Human Settlements was also actively involved as well as the staff of the United Nations Offices at Nairobi.

Besides the above youth effort, other activities include the establishment of children centres and homes where some of the street children are taken for rehabilitation, offered love and security and education. These include the Undugu Society of Kenya, Child Life Trust and SOS Children’s Village Kenya. Other organizations such as the Young Street Girls Project-Rescue Dada Centre are girl specific and offer the same services to girls up to the age of 16. Other areas are training in order to prepare them for employment, pursuit of affordable training. Another such organization is the Mukuru Promotion Centre.

Water and Sanitation

This is through Water Quality Training workshops where the youth learn how to find out whether or not water is safe for consumption or other usages. Other activities in this area include the digging of boreholes and water tanks in the villages in order to provide water for use. The Environmental Conservation Alliance conducted several training for the youth in this area.

Building and Construction

At the grassroots level, the youth have achieved this by either promoting the shelters in which they live or those of their neighbours and friends, building sanitation facilities such as toilets for the village where there are none or they are beyond usage value and therefore pose a health risk to the community. Further, other youth have constructed bus stages in the communities thus providing a user-friendly point for boarding and alighting from public service vehicles. Others also construct their own offices within the community setting for better access by the members. The Architectural Students Association and the Shelter and Environment Club (SHEC) of the University of Nairobi focus on this areas.

However at the National level, focus is more to the maintenance of public utilities such as public toilets. The youth organise themselves into groups and clean the facilities. For people to use them, they are required to pay a prescribed amount of money.

Anti-Drug Abuse Activities

This is one of the most widespread problems in our urban areas. The children in the streets sniff glue. In other parts of Nairobi and the rest of Kenya, drug trafficking has exposed our youth to all sorts of drugs such as cocaine and heroine, bhang and hashish to mention but a few. There is however an awakening and the Kenyan youth are determined to fight this menace. Higher learning institutions have formed organizations to discourage students from getting caught in the trap of drug use. Also, many other organizations are forming alliances to spread and promote the national crusade against drug trafficking and use.

Infrastructure and Community Service Improvement with the Local Authorities

This area is constrained by the financial implication. However, minimal attempts are made by the youth to improve the roads at the estates especially if they are in bad conditions. This can be where the roads have worn out and there are numerous potholes that make road use almost impossible. Others can be repairs of burst water pipes and other such activities.

Promoting Participation and Involvement in Decision Making

There is focus on influencing the government to involve the youth in decision-making processes. Currently, the Convenor of the Kenya National Youth Facilitating Group sits as a youth representative in the Kenya National Committee on Human Settlements. This Committee comprises all the relevant key stakeholders in the of shelter development. These include the central government through the Ministry of Public Works and Housing, the Ministry of Local Authorities, the Private Sector, the Association of Local Authorities, the Youth, and the Non-Governmental Organizations among others. It deals with all issues that concern promoting the attainment of the policies set out in the National Plan of Action as prepared in line with Habitat II Conference principles of adequate shelter for all and sustainable human settlements in a rapidly urbanizing world.

Through this representation, the youth have had the opportunity to be included in government delegations to various international events such as the Seventeenth Session of the Commission on Human Settlements and the African Ministerial Meeting on the Implementation of the Habitat Agenda. Further, they have formed useful partnerships. The youth in Kenya have therefore been actively involved in the decision-making processes at the highest level.

The Partnership with the Commission on Human Settlements has also played a tremendous role in the policy making level. This is because the Kenya National Youth Facilitating Group has in the past four years been able to organise and host the Youth Parallel Events during the 16th and the 17th Sessions of the Commission on Human Settlements.

There are other attempts to improve the living conditions. However, the examples presented provide a good overview.

3.3 Kenyan Youth Activities at the International Level

Paragraph 214 of the Habitat Agenda calls upon all relevant stockholders at the international level to co-operate in the improvement and development of human settlements all over the world.

Youth in Kenya have also gone beyond the national borders. As far as other global youth are concerned, awareness creation and networking have proved to be the two key areas of focus. Kenya has had constant and regular representation at the various conferences that have been held over the years.

In 1996, Kenyan youth participated in the Habitat II Conference held in Istanbul, Turkey. Together, the youth launched a vision statement that highlighted the various issues/matters of concern to them. Further, the network of Youth for Habitat first received inter-governmental support as well as from the United Nations body. Later in the same year, at the Vienna conference on the United Nations System 2nd World Youth Forum, Kenya was actively involved in the charting out of the Plan of Action.

During the 16th Session of the Commission on Human Settlement held in 1997 in Nairobi, Kenya, the youth in Kenya hosted the youth events which resulted in Turkey being mandated to act as the international secretariat for the first time. It brought together various countries and culminated in the drawing up of a two-year Plan of Action among other resolutions.

In 1997, the first International Youth Consultation was hosted by Turkey in Eskisehir. This meeting brought over 430 youth from over 42 countries. Kenya was actively involved in the consultation, which saw the launch of the International Network of Youth For Habitat. A two year plan of action was also drafted and adopted that defined the tasks of the secretariat as well as the network’s objectives and membership requirements. Regional Resource Persons were also identified based on their experience on matters of the network’s operations and the roles also identified, i.e., advice to the secretariat on various issues at the national and international levels.

In 1998, the Kenya youth also took part in the ACOPS, Co-operation for the development and protection of the Coastal and Marine Environment in sub-Saharan Africa during which meeting various issues of concern to youth such as high incidences of crimes by youth in cities came to light. It was held in Cape Town, South Africa. Later in the same year, the Youth For Habitat resource person in Italy together with the local authorities hosted the Turin Conference. Kenya was also represented at this meeting.

Early this year, May 1999, Kenya had the pleasure of hosting the second youth parallel event during the Seventeenth Session of the Commission of Human Settlements. This meeting which brought together six countries, namely, Kenya, Turkey, Italy, USA, Namibia and Netherlands and also drafted the next Biannual Plan of Action. This Plan focused on the areas of Policies Development; Training of the youth in various areas; Institutionalising; Networking; Fundraising and Projects. Further, the youth were trained on the operations of the United Nations Centre for Humans Settlements and its programme areas. These include the Disaster Management Programme; the Sustainable Cities Programme; The Community Development Programme; the Best Practices Programme; Gender issues among others. The hallmark of this meeting was the passing of a Youth Resolution that inter alia requires the Acting Executive Director of UNCHS (Habitat) to report to the next Session of the Commission the progress report of the implementation of its articles.

In the month of June, at The Hague, Netherlands Kenya also presented a paper to the Hague Appeal for Peace Youth Conference which is aimed at promoting peace initiatives in the world. The first step thus is to declare 1st of January 2000 the International One Day of Peace.

Kenya was also represented at the Commission of Sustainable Development in New York in 1999.

Lastly, Kenya was identified as one of the ten member countries of Youth For Habitat International Network to present a National Report on the activities of youth in the field of human settlements development, to the United Nations Centre for Human Settlements. This report sets out in brief the information.


This chapter describes the modalities that have been put in place for the purpose of weighing the successes and failures of the activities and the reasons for any such failure as well as ways of avoiding duplication. Monitoring and Evaluation methods employed by the organizations are:

· Meetings

These refer to the meetings by the executive arm and the general members of the organizations. The constitutions of all organization provide for meetings by the membership to make decisions as well as establish whether on not the organization is meeting its objectives. The meetings are either general or special meetings. General meetings are held annually where progress reports are presented. Special meetings are called for when and if absolutely necessary. Through this, it is possible to establish whether the organizations have been able to work according to the plan and time tables set up for the projects.

· Membership

The number of people registering with the organization. If organizations record a continued increase in terms of their members, this is an indicator that they have and continue to impact positively upon the society hence a success.

· Attitudinal Change by the Target groups/Agencies

If there is a positive change of attitude on the part of their recipients, namely the target groups, this is an indication of achievement of their objectives.

· Report Writing

This is the most common form of evaluation. For every activity carried out, the youth organizations, upon its conclusion, write a report establishing whether on not they accomplished the objectives set out in the programme of action. Reports are written both for the particular activities carried out and at the end of the year when there is writing of reports for the whole of the year’s activities. It sets out the overall objectives, adopted strategies and the activities carried out. Such reports are then used for overall evaluation of the progress of the organization.

· Outside Evaluators

Some organizations also employ this method. It involves inviting of external experts to carry out an evaluation of the projects. Officials of the organization or project give the evaluators information as to their plan of action for the relevant period of time, documents containing that information and the external evaluators can also opt to interview the staff members of the organizations or projects. They then reach a conclusion on the basis of the information received and this is converted into a record for the above purpose. It is however utilized by organizations with a good financial base.

· Documentation

Generally, all the organizations keep a record on their operations such as the minutes of meetings, the terms of reference for its staff and other hired services, their assets and liabilities, correspondence to and from the organization/group/club. These provide a fairly good source of information for evaluation and monitoring.

Best Practices

Following the campaign spearheaded by the United Nations Centre for Human Settlements, more and more organizations are adopting the method of finding out whether their projects are best practices. If so then they submit them forward for adjudication. One of the local projects based at the grassroots level was declared a best practice by the UNCHS. It however, still needs replication by other organizations.

· Collection of Information and Data

It has emerged that despite the good effort made at collecting and recording information, this area requires more improvement. Due to the limitation of resources, it is not possible to collect all the information and data. Methods of storing the data for future use also are below standard. Most of the methods of collection include interviewing and use of questionnaires and then writing all the data on paper. Other organizations are lucky to be able to afford equipment such as video recording machines; others use slides; others photography and others use networks, mainly computer technology. However, majorities of the organizations rely on writing. This, in light of the level of technology is in need of change.


The area of youth in Kenya remains one that is undergoing constant development as more and more youth get exposed and learn more about how much they can contribute as part of the civic society. This is partly made difficult by the lack of legislation to govern issues of youth.

In spite of all this, there is a significant change since the Rio Summit in 1992 and the City Summit in 1996 in the involvement of youth in the areas of environmental conservation s well as that of human settlements development. More youth have now come out in the open and are pressing for change with the relevant authorities as well as involvement in the processes. By youth standards in Africa however, some of the organizations are relatively successful in achieving their objectives. Notably is the development of an inclusive participatory approach to activities. However, there are constraints that slow down the progress of these organizations. Such include:

By Youth standards in Africa however, some of the organizations are relatively successful, notably in developing inclusive participatory approach to activities. However, there are constraints that slow down the progress of these organizations. Such include:

· Administrative and Management Problems

Despite the attempts that are and continue to be made to ensure that organizations are managed professionally and with as little “political” influence as possible, it still is significantly problematic. This is sometimes due to archaic forms of governance or dictatorial style of administration, which does not agree with democratic styles. Further, lack of leadership skills has continued to hinder progress. However, as mentioned before, attempts are being made to incorporate this area as one of the areas that needs attention from the partners as well as the youth.

· Lack of Adequate Resources

Successful management of any body requires financial resources. This is to enable the organizations to implement their activities successfully. In Kenya there are no government agencies that provide funds to the youth organizations. The external donor bodies apply stringent measures to those that apply for donations. However, as the world slowly becomes a global village, there is a little progress in these areas as well.

· Institutional Relations with Partners

It has been realized that despite the intention behind the formation of partnerships, with time the line of independence is quickly blurred and the partner stakeholders start to give conditions to be met by the youth failure to which the partnership is dissolved. Clear guidelines must therefore be drawn such as signing of memorandums of agreements with each of the partners who come on board. Such must define the roles of each clearly stating the responsibilities and the duties due to each. Youth organizations must attempt to educate their membership on the importance of diplomacy in dealing with other partners. This is to avoid conflicts. These organizations are also better placed when they acquire legal personality/status.

· Lack of Commitment

Consistency in membership is imperative for an organization survival. Youth are naturally a group that needs incentives to dedicate their time and energy into something especially if it is voluntary. Some members are usually committed, but this is a minority. The majority quickly gets bored and leaves. Thus an incentive package needs to be worked on to discourage this, as well as work toward promoting the idea of volunteering.

· National Youth Policy

There is a need to put more effort into ensuring that a national policy on youth is developed. This will remove the ambiguous positions of youth. This should also encompass the creation of a National Youth Council or its counterpart to work at co-ordinating national youth activities in spite of their status, i.e., whether they are Non-Governmental Organizations or governmental among others.

· Periodic Training and Assessment Programmes

The specific areas are proposed, as leadership, conflict resolution, diplomacy and governance or management. These should be designed to improve the skills and confidence of the youth leaders and the other members of the organizations. They must be periodic to allow for societal change and growth of the organizations. Assessment must be carried out to establish whether or not the training is successful.

Definition of Youth

The local definition of youth extends to persons aged 35 years. Steps should be taken to streamline this definition to a more realistic one. The preferred age group of youth is proposed as 14 to 25, with the upper limit, if absolutely necessary being extended to 30.

· Financial Support

There is a need to establish a national youth resource pool from which the youth in Kenya can get financial support or support in kind. This is to enable the youth to achieve their objectives as well as play a more significant role in nation building.

· Institutionalization

First and foremost, this is to include all young people despite their backgrounds, beliefs, and level of education or even experience in all processes from the initiation of projects to decision making. Further, there should be distinct definitions of the various categories of status that are available. This is to ensure that there are no duplications of roles or ambiguous bodies masquerading as youth representatives.

· Areas of Co-operation

Finally in order to strengthen partnerships for safer cities through environmental conservation and affordable shelter development, Youth in Kenya throws a challenge to all partners to commit themselves to the following:

- Eradicate poverty by enhancing capabilities of young people in terms of knowledge, resource mobilization, organization, good governance and participatory approaches;

- Promote and enhance partnerships;

- Enhance research and documentation of youth activities;

- Offer exchange programmes, visits, experiences, study tours and appropriate technology to youth;

- Enhance resource mobilization and sharing.

- Promote gender balance in all socio-economic development plans.

- Fund youth volunteerism


1. Republic of Kenya, National Report and Plan of Action on Shelter and Human Settlements to the Second United Nations Conference on Human Settlements.

2. Cities and Homes for All, The Habitat Agenda United Nations Centre for Human Settlements.

3. Best Practice Initiatives in Kenya for Habitat II, Prepared under the auspices of the Kenya National Steering Committee for Habitat II.

4. The Habitat Agenda, UNCHS (Habitat).

5. Profiles, Youth Serving Organizations in Kenya, The Population Council, 1997.

6. National Housing Policy of the Republic of Kenya.

7. Report of the Proceedings of the First Parallel Event of Youth For Habitat during the 16th Session of the Commission of Human Settlements.

8. Legacies, Challenges and Opportunities in Urban Kenya: The case of Nairobi. Elijah Agevi, ITDG-Kenya, October 14 1996.

9. Slum Housing and Possible Remedial Measures. Paper by Waithaka J.K. Ministry of Planning and National Development as it then was.

10. Records of Youth For Habitat: Kenya National Youth Facilitating Group.

11. Interviews with various persons.


1. The co-convenor
Youth for Habitat: KNYFC
P.O. Box 39394, NAIROBI
Tel: 254-2-444887, Fax: 254-2-445166

2. The Drafting Team
Christine Makori
Evelyne Kilonzo
Davies Kelmen
C/o Youth For Habitat: KNYFC


July 1999, prepared by Youth Resource & Information Centre (YRIC)
S-4, 8th Staff Lane, Phase I, DHA, Karachi, Pakistan
Phone: 92-21-589 3796


The ninth most populous country in the world, Pakistan stands at number four among world’s 37 low-income countries. With an area of 796,095 square kilometers, Pakistan stands at number thirty-fourth in the world area-wise.

Pakistan is situated between latitudes of 23 30 and 36 45 north and between the longitudes of 61 and 75 31 east. With its capital, Islamabad, Pakistan is administratively divided into four provinces namely, Sindh, Punjab, NorthWest Frontier Province (NWFP), and Balochistan. In addition, there are the Federally Administered Tribal Area (FATA) and the Federally Administered Northern Area (FANA).

Pakistan has a mountainous geography. In the north it is bound by the Himalayan ranges, the Karakoram range and the Hindukush beyond it. The Himalayas have an average elevation of 6,100 meters with some of the highest peaks in the world. K-2 (Mount Godwin Austin), 8,611 meters, is the highest peak of the Karakoram range and the second highest in the world.

1.1 Demographic Situation

Pakistan, people between 15 - 29 years are considered as youth. According to 1998 census, the demographic distribution is as follows:

Age groups




















Youth constitute 27% of the entire population of Pakistan. More than 34% of the youth live in urban area while 66% live in rural areas. This shows a trend close to the national trend of rural - urban distribution.

1.2 Major Human Settlements Conditions

Of all the factors that have influenced the living environment, the process of urbanization has been one of the most significant especially for the Third World. Pakistan is no exception to this trend and the urban population is increasing much more rapidly than the total population.

In Pakistan, the number of urban settlements (i.e. more than 10,000 persons) increased from 374 to 496 between 1981 and 1991 (ADB, 1993). The growth of urban population has exerted pressures on urban centres, in particular the demand for resources for housing, urban development and for provision of services, i.e. health, education, utilities, etc. It has also led to a problem of security, crime, unrest, and political violence in urban areas.

The decade of 1980s has also witnessed major change in the urbanization rates of the provinces of Pakistan. The Working Group on Urbanization (WGU) of the Planning Commission, as part of the preparatory work for the Eighth Five Year Plan, has estimated that urban population grew at the fastest rate of 4.9% in the provinces of Punjab between 1991 and 1993, followed by Sindh at 4.7%, NWFP 4.2% and Balochistan 3.8%. WGU estimates also indicate that half the population of Sindh lives in urban areas; corresponding figures for Punjab, NWFP, and Balochistan are 35%, 18%, and 18% respectively. Furthermore, 56% of the urban population of Pakistan is in Punjab, 34% in Sindh while 7% and 3% in NWFP and Balochistan.

The growth of the rural population in the country has also been significant. It is estimated that between 1982 - 1991 about 114 rural settlements became urban by acquiring stature of town committees (ADB 1993).

The differences between urban and rural areas with regard to infant mortality, crude birth and death rates can be attributed to the availability of better social services in urban areas. In 1993, health facilities were available to 35% of rural population, drinking water to 47% and sanitation facilities to 13%. In contrast, 99% of the urban population had access to health facilities, 85% to drinking water and 60% to sanitation services (Planning Commission, GoP, 1994).

Poverty Alleviation & Unemployment

Poverty and unemployment are major problems in the country and affect all activities of human life. According to an estimate of poverty, using the basic needs approach nearly one third of the population in 1990-91 was classified as poor; 35% of the population in rural and 31% of that in urban areas lives below the poverty line (Ministry of Women’s Development and Youth Affairs, 1995). According to another estimate 80% of the poor are though to be living in rural areas.

The incidence of poverty in urban areas is most acute for casual, menial labor and self-employed workers with low level of assets. Households below the poverty line possess meager physical and human resources and all members of the family are equally disadvantaged. The poor suffer from inadequate access to education, health, utilities, land, and credit that might allow them to participate with dignity in society.

Housing, Slums and Katchi Abadi

The most fundamental change occurring through urbanization is the development of slums and “katchi abadi”s (squatter settlements) in major cities. The role of these areas are:

· Act as “reception areas” for migrants and to assist in adapting to urban life.

· Provide housing at rents within the means of migrants.

· Provide housing in the vicinity of work areas.

· Availability of social and communal organization support during periods of difficult time (e.g. sickness, unemployment, etc.)

Katchi abadi are found in all major urban areas. In 1990, about 39% of the urban population were living in slums (22.5%) and katchi abadis (16.5%). Katchi abadis initially developed as unauthorized settlements; they are usually constructed on public land. They are overcrowded usually with sheets and temporary structures of mainly one room built at random. There is no sewerage system and in most cases house to house water and electricity connection does not exist. Social services like education and health are also not available. The surroundings of these communities depict a poverty-stricken living environment. Sub-standard living conditions and general deprivation among the dwellers has a far-reaching impact on their life pattern, particularly the children and women which have to spend most of their time in these surroundings. Over the time however, significant improvements have taken place. Many katchi abadis have been regularized and living standards have improved. In many others, however, the conditions are still bad.

In 1987 there were about 2302 katchi abadis with a population of 5.5 million living over an area of 42,145 acres (EUAD, 1987). In mid-1980s, on realization of the magnitude of problems in such squatter settlements, the government initiated regularization and upgrading of katchi abadis on state and public land. It established a special unit at the federal level (EUAD) to deal with issues of such areas in an organized manner. However the efforts of the government were not very successful, and one of the main reasons for this failure was that it could not afford to develop and regularize these areas due to scarcity of funds. Regularizing these once unauthorized communities, may have prompted new katchi abadis to breed, and now the recommended policy of the government is that no now encroachments, formulation of katchi abadis or unauthorized construction are to be allowed or recognized henceforth (EUAD, 1994).

Most recently government has announced the construction of 500,000 houses for shelterless people all over the country over a period of three years. If implemented effectively this scheme will able to solve the housing crisis in rapidly growing cities of the county.


2.1 Policies addressing the needs and issues of youth

In Pakistan, the Ministry of Culture, Sports, Tourism and Youth Affairs is responsible for implementing the programs and policies related to youth. Youth Affair wing was created as Youth Affair Division in June 1989. In October 1993 the division was merged under Ministry of Women Development. In August 1996 it was separated as an independent division. Finally, the division was merged into the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism in November 1996.

The National Youth Policy is under preparation according to the government sources. At present government is trying to address problems and issues related to the youth. The government has taken a number of initiatives in this regard. The government has special concerns over poverty and unemployment especially among young men and women.

Federal government has been keen to support young men and women for setting up business. For this purpose Youth Investment Promotion Society (YIPS) was established in late 80s. But the sustainability and institutionalization of these types of institutions is always a problem. In the past, Yellow Cab scheme was introduced to enable the unemployed youth to get self-employed. Government had provided Cabs on easy installments but this was a failure.

Both academic and vocational education was also given priority to for youth development. In addition, national settlement policy, policy for the management of cities, settlement planning and shelter sites and services were also included into the policy framework with short term and long term effects on youth.

Although education has long been regarded as an important sector in Pakistan, expenditures in this area have not reflected this fact. Unfortunately, while spending on education is growing, Pakistan has yet to attain the 4% of GNP expedition on education as recommended by UNESCO for developing countries. More significantly, the quality of education is low and the international community considers this factor as a major contribution to the county’s poor performance in social sector.

Pakistan’s education system consists of five years of primary education, three years of middle schooling and two years each of secondary and higher secondary education, followed by three to four years of tertiary education. The combination of primary and middle schooling into one administrative unit is currently under discussion and the Province of Punjab has already restructured its education system accordingly.

Some of the deficiencies which ultimately effect youth growth and development in education sector include poor management, low enrollment, high dropout rates, low literacy, poor or nonexistent teacher training, bad curriculum development, inferior instruction materials, inequitable distribution of funding between girls’ and boys’ schools, low standards, and the absence of quality control. Furthermore, attempts to address these difficulties are seriously constrained by the country’s rapid population growth.

Strong rural-urban disparities exist in literacy, which divides urban and rural youth into different categories reflecting fewer opportunities for rural youth in the mainstream. This and other similar type of problems are responsible for rural - urban migration, unemployment, and growing number of urban slums and inequality in the society.

As a matter of fact, the existence of large number of institutions in government sector does not ensure the effectiveness of these institutions. NGOs are also active in promoting education, vocational training, and health and credit programs all over the country.

2.2 Youth related organizations and institutions

Governmental Institutions

Youth Investment Promotion Society (YIPS)

Youth Investment Promotion Society (YIPS) was established in late 80s to solve the unemployment problems of educated young men and women. YIPS provides financial assistance to unemployed educated youth along with the necessary technical and managerial guidance to assist them in establishing their own business projects.

YPIS had established 100 windows spread all over the country in Punjab, Sindh, Balochistan, NWFP, Azad Kashmir and Northern Areas. The following areas were identified by the government for loaning:

· Micro Enterprises
· Agriculture-based Industry
· Agriculture
· Farm to Market Service
· Agricultural Service
· Health
· Education
· Transport
· Distribution of Consumer Products
· Distribution of Construction Materials
· Maintenance Services
· General Services
· Construction/Housing
· Specialized Stores

In addition government has also specified 200 types of business under these main categories. YIPS has 12 sub-offices all over Pakistan with its head office in federal capital.

Tehsil Level Youth Sports Complex

Ministry of Culture, Tourism, Sports and Youth Affairs is planning to construct these youth sports complexes. In this regard, around nine sports complexes are in the final stage. These sports complex are intended to provide opportunities to young people for leisure and other extra-curricular activities in the local level.

Youth Hostels Association

As a part of the International Youth Hostels Association, Pakistan youth hostels association is operating to provide accommodation and food services to young men and women outside their home town on nominal charges.

Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs)

According to the governmental sources 120 NGOs/CBOs and other youth groups are registered by the Ministry of Culture, Tourism, Sports and Youth Affairs. Among these organizations only 23 were reported to be more active. These are listed below:

· All Pakistan Youth Federation
· National Farm Guide Council of Pakistan
· Pakistan Youth League
· Tanzeem Al-Fajar Pakistan
· Sowan Welfare Association
· Family Planning Association of Pakistan
· National Development Foundation
· Association for Rural and Environmental Development
· Baltistan Health & Education Foundation
· Pakistan Jaycees
· Sindh Graduates Association
· Sindh Balak Sangat
· Ghazi Social Welfare Association
· Pakistan Youth Organization
· Anjuman Nawjawanan Charsadda
· Sheikh Badin Welfare Association
· Youth Welfare Organization
· Millo Shaheed Awami Welfare Society
· Kashmir Blook Donors Organizations
· Anti Narcotics Organizations
· Pakistan Girls Guide Association
· Pakistan Boy Scouts Association
· Pakistan Youth Hostels Association

Although these 23 organizations were reported as active organizations, contacts and communications are weak and very time-consuming. Information about the activities of these organizations was not received in details. In addition, activities of organizations which are found to be active from the list or even outside list are listed below:

Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) & Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA)

On 6th of June this year, the association enters into its 156th year of the ceaseless dedication to the service of community particularly to the youth around the world. In Pakistan YMCA & YWCA have a long history of working for youth in a number of ways. YMCA Polytechnic Institute offers vocational courses to youth in various disciplines. The activities include education, vocational training, legal aid, extra-curricular activities, etc.

Pakistan Girls Guide Association & Boys Scout Association

Pakistan Girls Guide and Boys Scout Associations are active since the country was founded back in 1947. Being part of the international network, both associations work with youth as early as the school level.

Pakistan Girls Guide Association is more active in Sindh and Punjab and working on various projects on education, health and income generation. An excellent example is the Literacy Resource Centre in Punjab, which was initiated in collaboration with The Asia Pacific Cultural Centre for UNESCO in 1994. The aim of LRC is to provide training in various fields to young women. If education is linked to earning money, many young women will gladly seize the opportunity.

All Pakistan Women’s Association

APWA was established in 1949, with the aim of raising awareness of women’s - especially young women’s - problems in society and of ensuring that women participate as full and active partners in more equitable development projects. By providing women with basic literacy skills, APWA extends their organizing power and strengthens their participation in community life. APWA programs work for change in all areas - employment, health, training and community organizing - to benefit women through a practical approach.

Activities include:

· Training programs to help women organize and address basic needs;

· Skill development to improve overall quality of women’s lives and preserve traditional arts and crafts;

· Integration of women as agents and beneficiaries into a modern development process;

· Empowerment of women to safeguard their rights and uphold their position as equal citizens of Pakistan.

APWA is involved in four major activities:

· Training program in health measures, education faculties, vocational guidance, and employment referral;

· Skill development in arts and crafts production, arts and crafts development marketing, needle-craft production, dress-making and tailoring, goat raring;

· Integration of women into the modern development process as agents and beneficiaries, Empowerment of women, multi-purpose centre;

· Organization and memberships.

Sindh Graduates Association (SGA)

Sindh Graduates Association was established in 1972. The 58 branches with 5000 members are spread over Sindh province in the southern part of the country.

The association is presently working in fields as varied as education, health, literature, culture and art. Most of the activities are the field works of the association. The association has undertaken the task of round the year work in any single field.

Activities include:

· Annual Medical Scholarship
· School Scholarships
· General Scholarships for youth
· Building of 2 class room primary schools
· Provision of furniture
· Coaching classes for young students specially in rural areas
· Roshan Tara schools, schools established in Karachi under this program
· Training workshops
· Distribution of textbooks, etc.
· Free Medical camps
· Mobile medical teams visits over 200 villages
· Establishment of Mother and Child welfare centres

Baltistan Health & Education Foundation

The Baltistan Health & Education Foundation (BH&EF) aims to provide health care facilities to the local communities, focusing on women and children. The organization was established in 1989, starting with small clinic in Skardu. In 1992 two major projects i.e. Training of Female Community Health Workers and School Health Program were initiated. Young women were recruited for the health worker training in 20 settlements of Skardu and far flung villages. Under School Health Education Program early impairments are the main focus among children up to the 17 years of age. Around 6000 children were screened from 29 male and 9 female schools in the area.


3.1 Focus on self-development

Activities of organizations and departments under government and non-governmental level could be of same type but the methods and strategies adopted by the organizations are very different. The Ministry of Culture, Tourism, Sports and Youth Affairs has a Youth Development Fund, which is disbursed to organizations registered with the ministry. Other activities of the governmental organization include:

Youth Development Centres

These centres have been established under prime-minister directorate for the promotion of education and to provide the opportunities for recreation at local level. The verification of these centres is still to be made.

Financial Assistance

Provision of financial assistance to youth is a major activity of the governmental and non-governmental organizations. The financial assistance if given under the following categories:

Youth Education

Financial assistance for education in terms of scholarships is awarded by the government at large. But there are some NGOs and other institutions also provide opportunities to young men and women to get financial assistance to get education at all levels.

Youth Micro-Enterprise Development/Self Employment

Financial assistance for self-employment such as the assistance provided by Youth Investment Promotion Society (YIPS) is an excellent example. In addition, NGOs provide short term credits in their respective project area to provide opportunities to unemployed youth to establish their own business at different level. Micro-credit loaning is an important and very successful program of the NGOs and CBOs operating in Pakistan.

Skills Enhancement and Development

Skill development and vocational training in various trades are also offered to youth by the government and private institutions. From handicraft and cottage industry to rural women to electronics and computer science to young men and women are available in Pakistan. On job training is also an option for youth self-development.

Inter-Provincial and International Youth Exchange Program

This activity is specifically carried out by the Ministries at federal and provincial levels. These opportunities enrich the experience and exposure of youth in various age groups. Youth delegates among province and internationally go and visit various places for experience sharing and the exchange of knowledge and information.

Occasional Activities

In addition, occasional activities such as Youth Mela, Youth Folk Festival, Youth Camps and other program are arranged by governmental and non-governmental organizations periodically.

3.2 Contributions to the improvement of living conditions in human settlements

A number of NGOs in Pakistan engaged in the provision of water supply and sanitation facilities in slum areas of Pakistan. There are some missionary organizations involved in providing loans to built homes, but the focus is very narrow.

In the last decade, the government of Pakistan has developed and promoted a Katchi Abadi (squatter settlement) Improvement and Regularization Program, which aims to providing residents with lease on their property and physical infrastructure, for an improvement and regularization fee. The program has failed to meet its targets; not even 10% of residents have applied for ownership rights, or paid development costs for a variety of social, economic and political reasons.

On the other hand NGOs, as stated earlier, engaged in improving the living condition through:

· Credit facilities for house building
· Low cost housing
· Sanitation services
· Water supply, safe drinking water & purification
· Waste water treatment
· Technical assistance
· Low cost sanitation
· Education
· Provision of health services
· Health & hygiene education
· Micro credits
· Solid waste management


In Pakistan, overlapping of work and responsibilities among civic institution is a major barrier in carrying out proper monitoring of the status of human settlements. The issues spelled out in the Habitat Agenda thus could not be measured completely in the absence of a similar benchmark and indicators. Civic institutions run by government are found not responsible for a complete task. This dividing of work creates confusion and is responsible for incomplete availability of information.

In the case of activities related to the provision of social services and basic infrastructure involving people participation, the respective implementing agency i.e. government, NGOs and CBOs needs to define strategy with comparable indicators, which could be measured against the baseline data.

As the development authorities and various line departments have independent governing laws, there is a lack of coordination between the development authorities, local councils and the various utilities organizations which result in chaos and haphazard developmental activities.

As the existing planning legislation in Pakistan has been derived mainly from the old British legislation developed during the colonial period, they have very little regard for the local realities and cultures and are difficult to enforce. The regulations are based on command and control instruments and set rigid standards. Reformation of legislation is required with a more flexible approach based on fiscal incentives, performance standards.

At present information on the status of both human settlements and shelter is largely not available. Sporadic efforts to collect information by various government agencies have resulted in some information to be in available, but a comprehensive database is not available. This renders planning efforts uncoordinated and without reference to any parallel action that may be on going in connection with an alternate effort. Duplication of fragmentation, therefore, to cost-ineffective solutions. Moreover, in Pakistan, no city has a base map or a map showing the land use, location of infrastructure, road network, etc. Assistance in setting up an integrated database within a GIS framework and in preparing base maps through satellite imagery is required on crisis basis.

The World Bank and the Asian Development Bank have both fielded projects in this area to ensure that organizations, at the provincial and local levels, become meaner and leaner.


At present the focus of a large number of youth organizations is limited to the provision of education, health and similar facilities in terms of scholarships and holding youth festivals and program. Any concrete interventions by the youth organizations are rare.

In Pakistan, recognition of youth organizations is also not present. Most of the organizations that are involved in activities for youth have these activities as minor activities. Purely focusing on youth and addressing the problems and issues of youth is something missing and yet to emerge.

On the part of government, although it has a number of projects and program for youth but the proper implementation has always been a problem. The forthcoming youth policy is long awaited. The organizational structure as well as the bureaucratic system of government does not allow smooth functioning and implementation of any policies.

In a country where political process is itself not have strong roots, the involvement of youth on local level especially in decision making is seems far away. In this regard, there is a need to develop a network of youth organizations from a single representative forum to advocate and compel the government to fulfill its obligations given it already signed the Habitat Agenda with the international community.


Documentation from Ministry of Culture, Tourism, Sports and Youth Affairs

Resource Directory for Human Settlements, Urban based NGOs and Service Sector Organization in Pakistan, Export Promotion Bureau, 1996

Pakistan National Report to Habitat II, Government of Pakistan, Ministry of Environment, Urban Affairs, Forestry and Wildlife, Islamabad, June 1996

Moving Towards Community-based Development, Bread for the World, 1997

An Approach to Participatory development, SPO, 1996

Brochure, Youth Investment Promotion Society, Government of Pakistan.

25 years of Sindh in Statistics, Bureau of Statistics, Planning & Development Department, GoS, Karachi.

Social Sector Issues in Pakistan, An Overview, Asian Development Bank, 1997

World Development Report, Knowledge for Development, The World Bank, 1998-99

Our Urban Future, Oxford Press, Karachi, 1996

Pakistan Year Book, 1997-98

Fifty Years of Pakistan in Statistics, Federal Bureau of Statistics, Statistics Division, Government of Pakistan.

Social Indicators of Pakistan, Federal Bureau of Statistics, Statistics Division, Government of Pakistan.

Sindh Graduates Association, At a Glance, SGA

Various articles from newspapers.


June 1999, prepared by, Youth and Human Settlements Development Network (YHSDN) c/o Enda-Rup Ecopole Ouest-Africaine BP 3370 Dakar, Senegal Tel: (221) 822 09 42 Fax: (221) 823 51 57 Email:


1.1 Demographic situation

Through various determinant factors, the Senegalese population is subject to a significant growth. From 3 millions inhabitants in 1960, it nowadays reaches 9,000,000 inhabitants. According to the official estimates from the Prospective Study “Senegal 2015”, Senegal will count 16 million inhabitants in 2015 with 56% of them living in urban centres, mainly Dakar which will have 5 million inhabitants.

With an annual growth rate of 2.7%, the population analysis reveals considerable disparities between rural and urban areas. Even though 58% of the population is rural, the observed tendency since 40 years shows an important evolution of the urban population. Demographic analysis reveals a considerable increase in urbanization: 23% in 1960, 30% in 1970, 34% in 1976 and 42% nowadays, this surpasses the average rate of urbanization in Sub-Saharan Africa which is about 29%. This evolution has favored the existence of big urban centres and constituted also an actual source of new problems directly hitting the population. Currently, the region of Dakar is urbanized up to 96.5%, Ziguinchor follows with 37.7% and Thiis third with 34%. None of the other seven regions reaches 30%.

A retrospective view gives more details about that tendency of urbanization. So, in 1904, the most populated regions were Thi(19.1%), Saint-Louis (17.4%) and Louga (15.5%). In 1936, there had been a change with the following classification: Thi(14.6%) Saint-Louis (13.5%), Louga (8.8%) and Tambacounda (5.8%). In 1958, an important recombining came out through the following configuration: Sine-Saloum (22.4%), Casamance (18.2%), Thi(13.9%), Saint-Louis (11.8%), Dakar (11%).

The growth of Dakar as the capital and its region has been very fast. Its population has significantly increased since the independence with the capital transfer from Saint-Louis to Dakar. Its annual growth rate has been 3.22% from 1904 to 1958 and 6.14% from 1958 to 1998. With 550 km², 0.3% of the country’s whole surface, an important share of the population lives in Dakar: 14% in 1960, 17% in 1971, 18.8% in 1976 and 21.6% in 1992.

In 1960, the population density was about 930 inhabitants per km², nowadays it is about 2707 inhabitants per km² compared with the national average density which is 35 inhabitants per km² and the density in the region of Tambacounda (the least populated) which is 6 inhabitants/km².

Inside the region, the highest annual growth rate is found in the department of Pikine, (Dakar Suburban area) with 5.55%; the lowest annual growth rate is found is in Dakar-City with 2.37%. According to the official expectations, in the year 2000, nearly half of the population of the region will live in the department of Pikine and 57.2% in 2015. In comparison at the same period, none of the other Senegalese regions, apart from Dakar, will reach two million inhabitants.

The breakdown of the population as far as nationality is concerned features 4.4% foreigners. The breakdown of the population by sex gives 52% women and 48% men. The Senegalese population is also characterized by its youth group. 53% of the population are teenagers. Yet, there is a certain disparity between regions and inside each region itself. For instance, Dakar is populated with 54.8% teenagers. At departments’ level, the highest percentage is found in Pikine where teenagers are 57.3% of the population followed by Rufisque (56.7%) and Dakar (52%).

As far as the age of first marriage is concerned, there is a progressive backward trend. In 1978, 40% of women between 15 to 19 years old were single, 56.5% in 1986 but now it has climbed up to 57.2%. The available information gives 54% of married women. As far as men are concerned, the percentage of bachelors is a bit high up to 30 years. On the whole, nearly 36% of men are married.

The breakdown of the population based on ethnic groups shows the preponderance of Wolofs (42.7%). But the percentage varies in accordance with the region because the sharing of ethnic groups through the national territory allows noticing ethnic groups’ concentration. There is a strong concentration of Sereres in the regions of Thiand Fatick, Pulars in Louga, Kolda and Saint-Louis, Diolas in Ziguinchor and Soninkes in the Region of Tambacounda.

The Senegalese demographic situation is deeply influenced by national Health and Population related policies. With the adoption of new methods of preventive health care such as Enlarged Vaccination Programme (PEV), the infant mortality rate has decreased more and more up to 62%o new living births. Contraceptive methods use has also helped to increase reproductive health care and to decrease the number of births. From 1000 15 to 19 years year-old women, there have been 155 births.

1.2 Major Human Settlements Conditions

Mapping of Human Settlements

With the Regionalization law passed in 1995 by the Parliament, local authorities system has been henceforth composed of Rural Administration authorities, Municipalities and Regions. Regionalization has also given the power of local authority to the region. In the framework of this new division of the territorial space, an outstanding reform of the legislative and legal apparatus, which governs local authorities, has been carried out.

The Home Office (Ministry of Internal Affairs) issued in December 1994 the bill referring to local authorities. The impact of this bill focuses on sharing functions between Regions, Municipalities and Rural Communities Administration. The human settlements structure includes 433 local authorities divided as follows:

10 Regions
103 Towns and Municipalities
320 Rural Authorities

It is for the purpose of bringing population and local authorities together that big towns (Dakar, Pikine, Guediawaye and Rufisque) have been divided into 43 municipalities.

The living conditions in human settlements

The speed at which urban population has grown does not allow governmental and local authorities to efficiently use the available financial and human resources to ensure basic social services for population, mainly those in urban areas. The inadequate and mostly insufficient basic equipment is the cause of an urban dichotomy characterized by rich areas on one hand and by badly shaped shanty towns on the other hand, short of basic equipment, where an important percentage of the population can not have access to drinking water, sanitary equipment, medical equipment and to socio-educative equipment.

Another complicating factor in Senegalese cities is the crowd of rural population rushing into bigger cities pushed by the overwhelming drought, which often hits them severely. The rural exodus phenomenon that has increased through the worsening of the drought has also contributed to the existence of new urban crisis due to difficulties in planning and management of the urban space. Besides, the structural adjustment programme undertaken by the government under the guidance of World Bank and International Monetary Fund since the eighties has been the source of a particularly difficult socio-economic context that has severely affected the living conditions in rural as well as urban areas. In fact, the economic reforms drawn in the framework of these programmes have been directed to reducing the role played by the government in the economic and social fields. The goal on one hand is to promote the private sector, considered as the growth engine and therefore, development engine, and on the other hand, to reduce shortage in public finance by allocating less financial means to social sector, such as health, education, social assistance, basic equipment.

The social and economic crisis felt in major urban centres constitutes a serious survival concern nowadays for the population and for youth in particular, whose economic, social as well as cultural perspectives remain uncertain.

Environmental Conditions

Environment in Senegalese urban centres has always been a problem, very difficult to master by governmental authorities as well as by municipal authorities. High concentration of population in suburban areas and shantytowns remains the source of high daily production of wastes, which are difficult to get rid of due to the lack of material and financial means.

Despite the existence of tax on household rubbish, collected by municipalities, the problem is still unsolved and has even worsened by the liquidation of SIAS (a public enterprise founded by the government on the purpose of clearing household rubbish for the account of municipalities in the region of Dakar). The problem of household rubbish has essentially been caused by the way the tax on household rubbish fund is allocated. For example, in 1994, it was planned to allocate 2.400.000.000 CFA to the clearing of wastes in the budget of Dakar city. But information gathered by specialized services in SIAS has revealed that the credit share allocated to material and maintenance has been made difficult because of the lack of vehicles. Delays on clearing out containers result in leaving wastes on roads.

Like other African capital cities, Dakar and its suburban districts are facing the atmospheric pollution phenomenon. This is due to the increasing number of cars on the roads using gas-oil as fuel. In addition, we can mention the concentration of pollution industries, most of the time in juxtaposition with overpopulated shantytowns, at the Industrial zone which stretches up to 20 km.

Besides, in spite of the existence of important investments from municipalities, Dakar and the main regional capital cities are still facing the problem of improving the sanitation. In fact, taking into account the financial difficulties municipalities are facing, the government has to call on international aid in order to cover the cost of waste cleansing.

With the recent creation of the National Agency for Improving the Sanitation (Office National de l’Assainissement), and the increase of community based initiatives, some improvements have been notified in some towns as far as stagnant water processing in the rainy season is concerned.

The Dwelling Conditions

The urban habitat policy is bothered by the high cost of building materials, the lack of decentralized management of land reserves or their occupation control, speculative activities and the low family incomes. According to the survey by “Plan Directeur d’Urbanisme de Dakar” (Urbanism Director Plan) only 2% wages meet the conditions required by the two major building societies, SICAP and SNHLM.

Facing this problem, the government in relation with local authorities initiated a programme for social habitat promotion. That is why the Assisting Bureau for Social Habitat (Bureau d’Assistance pour l’Habitat Social) has been a part of the Ministry for Urbanism and Habitat since 1989.

Social Services

The continuous reduction of credits directed to social services hinders satisfaction on social needs. The growth of urban population and the generalization of poverty make the living conditions inside popular districts hard.

The available information from the Ministry of Health reveals one medical centre per 15,000 inhabitants. As far as Social Action policy is concerned, the available means are very limited. Most of the time, due to the harassment of administration, actions do not reach poorest population. Actions in favor of education heavily supported by the International Cooperation suffer from a bad sharing of equipment. For instance, the region of Dakar lodges the majority of the schools in the country. This has as an effect of reducing access to education for thousands of young people. In addition, the costs relating to child education are discriminating for poor families.

Socio-Economic Challenges

The difficult economic situation of Senegal has created serious impacts on the social field. The state meets more and more difficulties to provide basic public services. Similarly, local authorities face difficulties in supplying population with basic services resulting from the transfer of competencies designed in the decentralization policy. This alarming situation ever since the adoption of structural adjustment programme has worsened with the devaluation of the national currency, the CFA franc, which occurred in 1994.

The survey made on the current macro-economic trends features an antagonism between the growing needs of the government in terms of income and the desire to meet the needs of the most vulnerable groups within the society: young people, children and women.

The economic strategies conducted in various sectors have caused a decrease in the incomes of families, while their needs have been heavily growing. This context of general poverty creates serious concerns of survival nowadays, particularly among young people whose perspectives of the future are more and more uncertain and gloomy.

The Unemployment Challenge

The heavy employment crisis has strongly hit town people, especially middle class. Employment in public administration widely reserved to towns has seriously been obstructed by adjustment. In the civil service sector, the manpower estimated to 66,549 in 1988/89 falls by 3.2% on an annual average. This trend to manpower decrease hits more seriously the private sector. Despite the non-existence of reliable statistics, this phenomenon can be measured through closing enterprises and working posts reductions for restructuring reasons.

Weak employment generation cannot regulate the gap. In fact, every year, nearly 100,000 working age young people apply for a job. The employment survey conducted in 1991 brought out a non-employment rate of 34.6% for people in the 20-24 age group. Among active people, 40% are wage earners, 38% independent and 14% students.

The Social Exclusion Challenge

This situation of poverty and unoccupation among an important part of the youth has brought serious consequences in the social frame. It has generated an exclusion phenomenon upon thousands of young people, who have decided to get outside the society.

In fact, being troubled by ignorance and illiteracy and hopelessness, they drop out to delinquency, drug addiction, and prostitution. Solidarity networks burdened by the economic crisis are no longer able to supply relief to those young people in dire straits situation, due to the fact that the government’s action is essentially directed towards internal peacekeeping matters through delinquency repression based on physical violence.

For other categories of the youth, the main concern lies in unemployment but in moral crisis of families too, related to social changes and current economic difficulties, to the deadlock noticed in the major part of the education and training system. While social inequalities are widening and future perspectives are becoming more and more hypothetical, new methods of survival occur and spread out in urban areas, such as theft, violence and mendacity that throw Senegalese towns into insecurity.

Considering this situation and the resulting trends, it is undoubtedly noticeable that the main challenges the coming millennium will have to face and overcome remain those of the fight against poverty, the struggle for social inclusion and a hopeful youth policy, matching with the national strategies for social and economic promotion of the population.


Since the independence in 1960, Senegal has been endowed with institutional devices and structures in charge of implementing the national youth policy. This policy has been, under economic difficulties, subject to dire crises, which heavily trouble the daily life of the youth.

The various five-year plans that had been the key pieces of the national strategy for economic and social development before structural adjustment programme defined the objectives to attain. Those objectives were based on the following principles:

· to educate and train good citizens who are capable of efficiently participating in the national development endeavour;

· to value national culture and be open to the external world;

· to supply those in need with health care services;

· promoting sports and physical fitness among youth;

· welfare work for the youth in difficulty and social inclusion of marginalized people;

· safe leisure places for young people;

· to supply employment according to qualifications.

Under government direction, various centralized or decentralized structures are in charge of implementing those concerns through two approaches:

The global approach: it is essentially based on defining global objectives in the framework of macro-policies. It is coordinated by one or more central authorities, the recipients being generally absent could therefore no longer have influence on it.

The sectoral approach: It is based on the determination of specific objectives to attain in a given sector. Its aim remains the fulfillment of specific needs of one part of the juvenile population involved in the implementation process through associative organizations.

In parallel with that national policy, local authorities have mechanisms designed to train and support the youth. In compliance with their mission to manage the population’s daily concerns, they have directly or indirectly contributed to the development of initiatives in favor of youth, according to their available means of intervention. That action of local authorities has been reinforced by the increase of decentralization, based on an important transfer of competencies.

With the regionalization and new laws relating to decentralization in force since January 1997, some fields which had been run so far by central authorities, have been placed under the responsibility of local authorities at various levels: regional, municipal, and rural. Those fields include education, training, youth, culture, socio-educative issues, health, leisure and so forth. There is also the development of community-based initiatives among the youth, and partnership between youth community based organizations and local authorities.

Such a context constitutes nowadays an opportunity for youth participation to the local development in general, and to policies and programmes dealing with economic, social, educative and cultural issues in particular.

2.1 National and Local Youth Policies

2.1.1 National Policies

Education and training

Since its independence, the Senegalese government has started to build an educational and training system to consolidate the right to education and training for children and young people as established by the constitution and according to the country’s needs.

Headed by the Ministry for National Education, the government policy on education aims at:

· Assuring all children of a basic education;
· Allowing young people an access to knowledge;
· Promoting girls’ schooling;
· Forging a citizenship spirit among the youth;
· Cultivating good behavior in young people.

The main objective designed by the government is to succeed in a universal schooling. The various plans for education development have set the intermediary objective of schooling 70% of school aged children by the year 2000. At the same time promoting national dialects can fight analphabetism of young and adult people, mostly in rural areas. A particular concern is drawn on girls and women through projects specially created for them.

Despite all the efforts made, the education sector faces a lack of means while there is an increase in needs because of the population growth. Because of the emergency of economic restructuring and budgetary shortage, government is obliged to reduce the budget allocated to that sector.

As far as higher education is concerned, the lack of means is still too big with the size of classes beyond the capacity of departments and institutes, in spite of the newly existing Second University of Saint-Louis built in the north of the country in order to relieve the pressure on the University of Dakar. This is also the reason why there are lasting strikes in higher education centre where the main actors (students and teachers) gather around social and material demands.

Like the education, training has always been among the government priorities in terms of youth policy. In the first years following independence, professional education had been considered as an important lever of development and it had been directed towards:

· Training young people for a know-how and practical skills;
· Supplying enterprises with qualified manpower;
· Monitoring the agents who have to implement different government policies;

In order to reach those objectives, many training structures have been created for all levels of education: primary, secondary and upper education. For the youth’s better access to those structures, training centres have been built in regions. Considering the various problems noticed in the system, the state is trying to involve the private sector in professional education reorientation.

Culture The cultural policy has been considered by authorities as an opportunity to root the youth into national cultural and traditional values with the following objectives:

· the rehabilitation of national heritage for current and future generations;
· to facilitate cultural and artistic expression of new talents;
· to fight ignorance;
· to allow young people to open themselves to other cultures.

The main ways to achieve those objectives are creating and equipping cultural premises (cultural centres, libraries) and the existence of training structures (school of arts, school of dance, dramatic art institute etc.)


The Senegalese health policy is framed into the improvement of population’s living conditions. Its objective is to assure the population’s right to health through:

· offering health care services to all social groups, particularly to the poor;
· prevention of serious diseases;
· fighting STD and AIDS;
· promotion of reproductive health.

Specific bodies for young people are created at national and regional levels for preventing and curing diseases related to alcohol, drug and prostitution. With the support of international cooperation, the government, through the Ministry of Health, has scheduled since 1987 an enlarged vaccination programme (PEV) to fight infant diseases.

Sports and leisure

Sports and leisure constitute an important chapter in the policy of the Ministry of the Youth and the Sports. The major axes of the national policy about sport and leisure are based on:

· building and equipping sporting places;
· promoting safe leisure;
· training the technical team;
· supporting sports people.

Socio-economic issues monitoring

Included in the policy of the Ministry of Youth and Sports, monitoring socio-economic issues for young people through movements and associations has been considered as an opportunity to favor youth self promotion. The socio-economic monitoring chapter suffers nowadays from the priority given to sport, which absorbs almost the whole budget of the Ministry.


With the current economic crisis and programmes elaborated to stop it, the Senegalese policy on employment has heavily been blocked. However, employment promotion has always existed among the government priorities. Nevertheless, compulsions from the economic liberalization and the flexibility of employment dictated by the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank have not conducted to an actual solution of the problem.

In order to solve the problem, the government adopted in 1997 a new National Policy of Employment. That new policy, supported by the National Fund for Employment, has started its work with a general census of job applicants from February 22nd to March 7th 1999 for the following goals:

· the reinforcement of the National Manpower Service in order to furnish good quality services to enterprises and job applicants;

· the creation of an information system in the employment market to help government decisions on employment promotion.

Besides, facing the seriousness of unemployment in urban as well as in rural areas, institutional mechanisms have been set up to:

· help re-employment of those who have lost their job from the public, semi-public and private sectors;

· facilitate the employment of graduates from professional education schools;

· support young people’s initiatives relating to self-employment and promote entrepreneurship among the youth.

2.1.2 Local Policies

The Senegalese local authorities services have long been used as relay instruments between the Central Power and the people. This created a heavy dependence of local authorities on guardianship central authority that is the Ministry of Internal Affairs. That phenomenon has contributed to restricting the power of local authorities.

With the reinforcement of a democratic process that has worked towards the achievement of integrate multipartism (political liberalization), that trend has been reversed and administrative reforms in succession finally gave local authority administrations an autonomy somehow restricted by the weakness of means. With the regionalization and the new decentralization law in force since January 1997, regions, municipalities and rural community administrations have become legal entities with financial autonomy and new competencies. The new local administration law defines their power as well as the relations between themselves. That is why local authorities deal with education and training culture, youth and sports, health, social service and environment.

The working policies deal with:

Social Investments

According to available resources, budgets are allocated to improving social services, particularly in districts and peripheral areas.

Those investments are concerned with the following fields:

· protection from plagues;
· health and hygiene;
· education, culture and youth;
· administrative equipment.

Transfer of resources in parallel with the transfer of competencies allows local authorities to:

· build and equip sanitary structures;

· create centres for youth activities: socio-cultural complexes in the cities of the Region of Dakar, Youth and Culture houses in urban centres inside the country, Youth Homes in rural areas;

· build, equip and maintain sport places: stadiums, playing yards, jogging tracks;

· build, rehabilitate and equip schools, colleges and training institutions;

· supply students with material and financial assistance through offering scholarship and school materials.


The monitoring policy contributes to the reinforcement of the above mentioned actions and is based on:

· supplying young people with monitoring agents for sport and cultural activities;
· appointing additional staff to schools;
· appointing qualified agents for socio-economic issues monitoring and income making activities.

The involvement of youth in decision making

The youth participation in decision making is still of great concern. In fact, despite the available associative structures that have showed evidence of participation in development issues at national and local levels, young people are facing difficulties which constitute obstacles to an effective participation in decision making concerning their promotion and their future.

This brings out consequently the question of the place of young people in national and local institutions. Heavily influenced by cultural aspects, youth participation in institutions is limited to a mere symbolic presence.

Despite the existence of a democratic civilization, and evolutions in legal matters with the reduction of the electoral age to 18 years and eligibility age at local and national assemblies to 21 years, the representation of young people in political structures is insignificant. For instance, there are only 3 young people at the National Parliament out of 140 members of parliament. At regional, municipal and rural assemblies, young members are between 10% and 15% out of the total number of members.

There is only one youth representative at the Economic and Social Council who is the President of the National Council of Youth. There is also only one youth representative for regional advisory bodies, economic and social committees.

An important representation of youth is noticeable through regional and department youth councils, which gather youth organizations from regions and departments. This representation is generally issued per field of activity: health, education, culture, environment, economic activities etc. At the sanitary districts level, young people have representatives in the bureau elected to manage the Associations for Health Promotion (APS), in charge of the daily material and financial management of hospitals and health centres.

Youth support

In the framework of youth policies and programmes created by local and governmental institutions, endeavours on support exist and cover several fields. This support, though occupying an important place in actions planning, depends mostly on the priorities established by authorities as well as on the available resources. The efforts of supporting youth initiatives are still weakened by the harshness of procedures, which reduces their accessibility.

The financial support

At the national level, grant programmes coordinated by the Ministry of Youth and Sports are generally orientated towards sports activities. Because of the centralized management of those programmes, the financial support can only reach a very limited number of associations, most of which located in urban areas. At the local level, financial assistance is more important due to the proximity and it depends on the possibilities given to each local administration.

The Urban Community (Communautrbaine) of Dakar has always a chapter in its budget devoted to granting financial aid to youth associations. The targeted activities are sport, culture, environment and socio-economic activities. Some difficulties can be noticed due to the poor share of the budget left to grants that varies between 0.38% and 1.16% on average.

The material support

This type of support is based on supplying youth organizations with materials for undertaking large-scale activities. It is the responsibility of municipalities in particular and directed towards united actions such as:

· household rubbish clearing and environmental management;
· preventing and fighting natural disasters;
· restoration of public places and buildings.

The institutional support

With the scarcity of financial resources and the difficulties in coordinating, the institutional support has become a remedy for young people as well as for authorities. It is an opportunity promoting self-management of young people in organized structures with specific objectives. National Directions and local community administration choose more and more the above type of support which creates basic groups. The institutional support is based on the following points:

· support for setting up assistance socio-economic groups;

· support for the creation of micro-enterprises or production cooperatives for an economic exploitation of some activities;

· support for the creation of Mutual Savings and Credit banks for access to loans;

· training and technical monitoring for management capacity reinforcement.

Assistance for deprived youth

This type of assistance is from local authorities in the framework of policies scheduled for deprived people. In general, it constitutes a direct aid for disabled young people and children, from poor families or delinquency groups in order to improve their situation. The lack of allocated means does not improve their living conditions and it urges them to organize themselves in order to have the advantages of the institutional support.

2.2 Youth Related Organizations and Institutions

Government Institutions

In the framework of the youth policy the government has set up institutions for its implementation in various fields. Beside traditional institutions, other institutional mechanisms have been created for better supporting development practices for young people.

Education and training institutions

Senegal has education and training centres of all teaching levels:

77 Kindergarten schools are involved in preparing 3-7 year-old children to start elementary education: 16 in Dakar, 12 in Ziguinchor, 9 in Thi 8 in Saint-Louis, 6 in Diourbel, 6 in Fatick, 6 in Kolda, 5 in Tambacounda, 5 in Louga and 4 in Kaolack. 3505 elementary schools provide education to 7-13 year-old children. There is a concentration of classes in the most populated regions: Dakar, Thiand Kaolack.

The medium level is composed of 167 colleges providing general education to 13-17 year-old young people. Like the elementary level, there is a heavier concentration in regions with a high population density. Secondary education is provided by 34 high schools, all of them located in urban centres. Devoted to preparing 17 to 22 year-old young people to enter higher education level, it constitutes an opportunity for improving general knowledge or preparing for engineering and technician jobs.

The higher education system is composed of two national universities, the first in Dakar, the second in Saint-Louis, institutes and graduate schools amounting to 10 of which 9 are controlled by the University of Dakar. Most of them are concentrated in Dakar, with 7 higher training centres dealing with young executives training for public and private sectors.

Monitoring and vitalization institutions

Under authority of the Ministry of Youth and Sports are structures set up in order to support youth community based organizations. They are 31 located in department capital cities and their actions are concerned with popular education, sports monitoring and organization assistance. Apart from those institutions, other mechanisms have been designed like projects with the support from development partners, in order to take charge of specific problems.

Therefore, the Direction of Youth and Socio-Education activities has elaborated the Project Promotion of Young people (PPJ) funded by UNFPA through the national policy of population. The project counts 7 Adolescents Advisory Centres in 4 regions with a mission of advising, educating and rising awareness among young people about reproductive health, STDs and AIDS.

As far as enterpreneurship initiatives are concerned, the government has set up the body for Employment Promotion Support under the authority of the Ministry for Employment whose mission is to design and implement training, funding and assistance actions in favor of youth organizations.

In the process of setting up a national structure for fighting poverty and young people’s under-employment, the government has created AGETIP, the Agency Implementing Public Interest Building against the under-employment in charge of designing programmes with a high need for manpower in order to temporarily give occupation to some categories of young people. The Agency implements also building equipment projects for people and projects for poverty eradication, such as the Community Nutrition Programme (PNC) funded by the World Bank.

Assistance and social institutions

In the process of implementing the social assistance policy, Promotion and Social Reinclusion Centres (CPRS) are relay structures through the 30 department administrative areas. They provide various forms of aid to deprived young people. However, their impact is becoming less and less noticeable because of their approach based on specific aid. Having early felt the necessity to favor social reinclusion among young people in difficult situations of delinquency, drug addiction and theft, the Ministry of Justice created a department devoted to reeducating sentenced young people. That department had created 5 centres in charge of educating and training 15 to 25 year-old prisoners on labor activities, preparing them for social reinclusion.

Because of the remaining difficulties, other efforts have been provided mainly by the Ministry for Internal Affairs with the support of French cooperation and this permitted the creation of the Information and Sensibilization Centre on Drugs located in Thiaroye, the suburban area of Dakar. The Centre urges sensibilizating actions to fight drug abuse, initiates reeducation opportunities in order to help young victims of illicit products’ consumption. The main target group is young people above 15 years of age living in peripheral areas.

Non-governmental institutions

Besides government institutions, monitoring and funding efforts in favor of young people have been provided by national and international non-governmental organizations. Even if they do not entirely devote their activities on youth issues, they take very important actions, mainly technical monitoring, training and institutional support.

Nearly 260 NGOs have been registered in 1993, but almost half of them are concentrated in the regions of Dakar and Thi The example which is worth being underlined is that of ENDA-TIERS-MONDE which has succeeded to set up adequate institutions totally dedicated to young people.

ENDA-YOUTH-ACTION has, since 1985 been facilitating the improvement in organization of children and young workers, at local, regional and national levels. It undertakes actions in field, mainly micro-projects, training and organizational support issues. It has for instance worked in the setting-up process of a District Development Associations Network in order to facilitate exchange of information and experiences.

Always following its mission of assisting community-based groups involved in the fight against poverty and for environmental conditions improvement, ENDA has since 1997 opened the Ecopole-Ouest African (West African Ecopole) in the premises of a former factory, located in shantytown in the centre of Dakar. Services provided by this communication and exchange space are related to:

· Support to urban economy, more particularly creativity among young people and children.
· Creating and contributing to the implementation of poverty eradication projects.
· Production, exchange and dissemination of information.

Local institutions

The evolution of institutional mechanisms of local administration is related to the responsibility policy of local authorities stipulated in the decentralization law. Like the programmes scheduled, those institutions are depending on the available resources of each local community administration. That in the reason why, only Dakar, as a city, is currently provided with an adequate institutional apparatus.

Monitoring institutions

They essentially have been composed of structures placed at young people’s disposal in order to shelter their activities and also, provide some services relating to training and assistance. Each municipality is equipped with a Youth and Culture House. There are young people’s homes throughout the 320 rural community areas, more often built and equipped jointly with associations.

As for the city of Dakar, its sports and socio-cultural programme aimed at providing each district with a socio-cultural complex. Presently, there are 5 functioning complexes, which, apart from traditional activities, provide training actions related to sewing and cooking. They are also fit for culture and leisure spaces through libraries and game rooms.

The institutions of the urban community of Dakar

Due to its larger resources, actions of Dakar city towards urban social services are comparatively at the highest level. It has created various institutions in charge of implementing its youth policy. The department for Cultural, Educative and Sports Promotion (DACEPS) is in charge of drawing up and implementing policy related to those fields. It is coordinating the different actions relating to youth organizations assistance (grants, institutional support, training). It supervises the management of youth equipment.

The Department for Social and Sanitary Action (DASS) is in charge of studying and evaluating population’s requirements and coordinating the assistance to the poor. But, being aware of the limited power of the humanitarian assistance due to the worsening of poverty, the above department has orientated its actions toward young people by organizing them into Common Interest Business Groups (GIE) to allow them to deal with income making activities. Those GIE members group themselves according to demands and living places. In addition, in order to foster employment through social policy in the city, it has grouped more than a hundred Associations and youth movements of the urban community.

The Enterprise and Employment Promotion Assistance Body to better coordinate actions favoring young people’s employment. Its mission is based on providing a varied support to young people planning to create micro-enterprises or Common Interest Business groups: studying and setting projects, financial support, training. Those target sectors are various and include fishing, agriculture, commerce and arts and crafts.

Youth organizations

Severely hit by the economic and social crisis, young people endeavour to get together more and more through movements and associations. There are different youth organizations: community-based organizations (CBOs), non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and networks. They consider themselves as democratic, apolitical and without religious restrictions generally conducted by 18 to 35 year-old young people; their functioning principle is based on voluntary services.

The available data features 2024 youth organizations with all categories.

Community-based organizations

This category gathers 2000 Sport and Cultural Associations, District Development Associations and Common Interest Business Groups.

The Sport and Cultural Associations, 1483 in number, are located in urban centres as well as in rural areas. Deeply involved in sport, education, culture and environment fields, they participate in environment protection and to population’s education through Information, Education and Communication Programmes. They constitute also an excellent device for promoting solidarity and cohesion inside districts and villages.

The Districts Development Associations and Common Interest Business Groups are economic-based associations mostly involved in development activities and micro-projects. Those two types of organizations are intimately linked. Being incapable to deal with income making activities, Districts Development Associations have been obliged to create Common Interest Business Groups, which constitute actual micro-enterprises. 517 in number, their involvement in community development initiatives is based on sharing experiences and fostering self-management.


Young people are trying to progressively take care of themselves through the above-mentioned organizations in order to achieve their economic and social promotion. The Associative sector of young people, based on solidarity, voluntary services and mutual aid favors fostering popular initiatives and endeavours that trigger social mobilization participating to the improvement of living conditions in towns, cities and villages.

3.1. Self Development Activities

Awareness raising and advocacy

Education and awareness raising activities deal with wide fields such as environment, reproductive health, citizenship, participation, community development and so forth.

On the way to preparing Habitat II Conference, ENDA-RUP was given the functions of sensitizing and information collection tasks related to youth movements and associations in Dakar (EMAD). EMAD had initiated a programme of meetings among young people that consisted of inviting them to debate parties, a suitable frame for communication created by youth associations to express their concerns and send their messages. That was a great opportunity for Enda-Rup to get directly in touch with youth and discuss the Istanbul Meeting.

The same procedure has been undertaken by the Network of District Development Associations, which is supported by Enda-Youth-Action team and located in the suburban area of Dakar, in order to draft a guide book for young people working through District Development Association concerned with the Istanbul Conference.

Actions are initiated despite the low capacity of negotiation of organizations for some claims of youth groups dialoguing with authorities. When visiting Senegal, the President of the Republic of France had visited the Information and Stabilization Centre of drugs, created with French Cooperation support. That gave about twenty District Development Associations representatives the opportunity to express themselves face to face with both the Senegalese and French President in underlining the fact that drug discrimination through peripheral districts is mostly due to unemployment and poverty, and on the other hand the legal and statutory provisions and heavy taxes that prevent them from self funding in organizing money generating events. Those claims combined with suggestions must foster negotiations with authorities for redefining a legal, statutory and fiscal frame suitable for young people’s associations.

Trading and capacity building

Being already considered as real training and education frames, youth organizations have always been leaving a place for training and capacity building in their programmes. The aim is to develop young people’s technical and practical capacities in relation with elaboration, implementation and follow up of projects.

Mostly supported by specialized Governmental and Non-Governmental bodies, those training actions are based on:

· Workshops on administrative and financial management of organizations and micro-enterprises.

· Sessions on educative bodies monitoring and on information, education and communication techniques.

· Seminars relating to environment, decentralization policy, health and population matters.

In those various fields, successful examples have been identified and are followed by other organizations.

In the Management Field

The Coordination Committee for the Development of Guinaw-Rail, a network of associations located in the city of Pikine (the second town of the country) has very early placed management training among priorities. That led to many training sessions dealing with accountancy and financial management and the management of mutual savings banks and credit. That allows it to have qualified agents, ready to play the role of manager for the committee as well as for member organizations. The same strategy has been noted among Districts Development Associations Group that is concerned with the reinforcement of administrative and financial management of organizations.

In the field of micro-enterprises creation and management

The young entrepreneurs network of Senegal has decided to direct it actions to capacity development of its members through workshops on techniques relating to micro-enterprises creation and management: market study, fundraising, shopping projects etc.

Networking and information exchange

Networking has nowadays become a strategy of youth organizations for building a negotiation force, joining resources, exchanging information and coordinating some activities.

The National Youth Council

The reinforcement of the Senegalese National Youth Council held in 1994 as a coordinating body gathering all youth associations and movements constitutes an additional endeavour to the process. In relation with local networks - rural youth council in rural areas, communal youth council in municipalities, departmental youth council in department and regional youth council at regional levels - it fosters organizations activities and programmes coordination at all levels. At the local level, the different councils are involved in stimulating community development actions jointly with local authorities.

The National Youth Council (N.Y.C) which remains an absolutely necessary and unavoidable interlocutor on subjects relating to youth policy, participates fully in dialogue mechanisms set up by public authorities. In this respect, the N.Y.C has participated to all dialogues initiated by the government relating to the decentralization policy for taking better charge of youth concerns.

In order to fully involve young people in that new policy, the N.Y.C held awareness campaigns for political leaders just before local elections in 1996, to promote youth participation to executing local power. In order to enable youth organizations to be in step with the regionalization policy, the N.Y.C has set up 10 regional community development centres. In the field of information exchange, issuing an information bulletin enables youth associations to adapt themselves to activities and programmes relating to them, it also gives them the opportunity to express their point of view about local and national interest matters.

The Youth and Human Settlements Development Network (YHSDN)

It was born from a partnership between Youth Organizations and ENDA-RUP, local point for French speaking Africa in Habitat International Coalition, out of a national forum held in August 1997 in Dakar initiated and conducted by Youth Alliance for Enterpreneurship and Development Education (Y.A.E.D.E), funded and monitored by ENDA-RUP.

Through the theme of “Human Settlements Development in the decentralization context: Participation of youth and popular organizations”, the Forum aimed at reinforcing and stimulating the will to react to recommendations in the Istanbul Declaration. In this connection, the Forum had been an opportunity to gather community-based actors to create a reaction about their activities and to exchange their experiences. It mostly had an ambition to encourage and enable the involvement of the civil society more particularly the youth, in the implementation process of the Habitat Agenda. That is why the 70 youth CBOs who took part in the meeting have launched the YHSDN to enable an efficient coordination of the participation of the youth to the habitat follow-up and thee implementation of the programme drawn from that meeting.

Having underlined in its declaration the responsibility of the youth before the double challenge to protect the environment and to improve the quality of life and fight against poverty, the YHSDN goal has been to fully participate in solving the problems our towns and villages. From its first months of existence, the YHSDN started holding meetings with youth CBOs and local authorities for the restitution of recommendations drawn from the forum and for launching an effective collaboration between the above mentioned groups, for a joint management of human settlement as its main concern. In order to empower that trend, YHSDN has established a partnership with the Senegalese Mayors Association for a joint training programme for youth movement and local authorities on the decentralization process. The programme’s major goal is to promote a better understanding of the above mentioned process through three major themes:

· Legal and statutory aspects of decentralization;

· The transfer of competencies and their sharing between the different local powers (Regions, Municipalities and Rural Councils);

· The joint management of sustainable human settlements.

To meet its goal, the plan of action of the YHSDN is drawn around the following main programmes:

· Development of the urban popular economy: fighting against poverty, reinforcing actors capacity, promoting income making activities;

· Educate and sensitize population on legal aspects of local power, inform them about the shares of those powers and about their relation with the associative movements.

· Participation to the joint management of the environment, educate and train young people to the techniques of transforming domestic wastes, domestic wastes management.

Monitored and funded by ENDA-RUP, the YHSDN constitutes a successful example of partnership between NGOs, CBOs and local authorities.

The presence of 5 young municipality council members in its management constitutes another stimulating element for it opened relationship with local authorities. Beyond coordination and exchanging information, the goal of those networks is to help for institutionalization and long-living actions undertaken by the youth in order to participate generally to local development. For that concern, the devices used, though bearing limits, have permitted to notice a significant progress such as the creation of projects and programmes under the direct rule of the youth and oriented on their concerns and needs. But the difficulties noticed have essentially been of a financial order and they are due to the weak capacity of mobilizing financial means by the youth CBOs. With the scarcity existing in the government financial grant, and the poor support from municipalities, self-funding mechanisms - based on individual contribution and moneymaking ceremonies - do not permit to undertake large scale and long-life actions.

New ways are being tested, notably the involvement of the private sector through sponsorship. This method is mostly found in urban areas with a great industrial concentration, where youth CBOs have succeeded through dialogues, to receive financial support from polluting plants, for environment re-establishment. Popular participation to financing operations related to domestic wastes is an efficient method because proximity favours a financial participation of families inside the planned districts. Appointing goodwill persons enables to collect voluntary contributions, also based on proximity and solidarity.

Cooperation at regional and international levels

The networking system used by youth organizations has been an opportunity to set up contacts at regional as well as international levels in order to promote exchanging experiences and communication between young development actors of the human settlements. At regional level, the Africa Training Programme created by ENDA-youth Action toward several West African Countries Districts Development Associations since 1991 has always been an ideal frame of meeting for young urban actors of several countries facing the same concerns.

Participative action allowed the country representatives participating in the programme to launch the foundations of the West Africa Districts Development Associations and Children and Young Workers Network held for the first time in Bamako in October 1994 with the support of ENDA-Third World. Circulation of information between Districts Development associations (DDA) had been agreed to as a means to share experiences, to reproduce one or more actions in a district, to keep solidarity and to work together on local issues.

The setting-up of a similar Network in Latin America was supposed to create cooperation at the international level between Associations from the two continents. That has well contributed to taking charge of urban youth development actors concerns during international meetings (Social Summit, Habitat II etc.) Also at the international level the contacts between Youth Alliance for Enterpreneurship and Development Education (YAEDE), pioneer of the Forum on Habitat II follow-up in Senegal, and Youth for Habitat International Network (YFHIN), have brought to - after the creation of the Youth and Human Settlements Development Network (YHSDN), in Senegal - a profitable cooperation between the above mentioned two Networks. That’s how YHSDN has joined YFHIN as a national focal point.

3.2 Contribution to the Improvement of Living Conditions in Human Settlements

a) Activities relating to adequate shelter for all

Restructuring of spontaneous habitat and fighting against evictions

Government’s urban areas planning mostly generates demolition and eviction actions, mainly at squatter areas. With the lack of actual dialogue mechanisms, population is used to undertaking certain resistance methods created and conducted by the youth, that resistance, which is based on mobilization and demonstrations, ending sometimes with a fight with the police, has enabled to obtain benefits contributing to protecting the most deprived population right to a decent habitat. The example of the district called “Baraque” (HUT) located near an area belonging to the National Building and Housing Company (SICAP) shows how youth commitment in particular is able to constitute an efficient answer to the lack of dialogue in urban space planning.

Supported by ENDA-RUP, the inhabitants of that district enlarged from rural exodus, convened to an agreement with authorities for the restructuring of the district and the improvement of dwelling conditions. Similar examples exist in other peripheral urban areas of Dakar and that is why local and national authorities have been doomed.

Participation in improvement of urban areas

The rapid urbanization has generated a strong demand for new housing sites in urban centres. The inadequacy of planning and urban space planning related national policy has obliged communities to take initiatives for improvement of existing areas and creation of new dwelling spaces. There are three projects identified on that topic:

Social Housing Development in Touba

A large town, Capital of Mouridism, one of the biggest Islamic groups in the country, Touba is a victim of rapid growth. This phenomenon is the source of crucial problem of lack of adequate housing.

The administration of the town involves heavily the Islamic group members in the process of solving the problem. In this way, the Common Interest Business group called “Keur Serigne Fallou” (Serigne Fallou’s Family) conducted by young people, has designed the social housing development project in 1996, in Touba. This programme started with sensitizing sessions through villages neighboring the Holly town to involve population, mostly authorities (headmen) in improving and implementing the programmes. Then, the following steps were taken:

· Training on village and town planning
· Designing plans of houses at low costs
· Constructing new housing units

With an outcome of 500 recipients, the programme promoted actions against ad hoc buildings and to adopt new rules and techniques of planning and building in rural areas. Besides, the programme bears an education and sensitizing chapter on hygiene to prevent endemic diseases. Its interest is based on the fact that it has contributed a lot to stop spontaneous housing units in the holy town of Touba and is an example which can be promoted in other parts of town.

Rehabilitation of the Traditional Technologies of Housing in Sedhiou

Located in the natural region of Casamance (South of Senegal), Sedhiou is a town characterized by its far distance from the national capital and the difficulty of accessibility due to its bad roads and paths. The association for housing improvement created in 1996 by a group of young people, have issued a project on the rehabilitation of traditional technologies of building promoting access to modern building materials by the population.

As a CBO, the project’s means were essentially made by contributions and the financial and material participation of recipients. The association members voluntarily take charge of the implementing process. The project has first started with making bricks out of local materials, young technicians training on traditional techniques and the identification of recipients and their expectations. This permitted at first the maintenance of abandoned traditional huts and the demolished houses. 200 houses have been built in a 6 months period and 100 houses were rehabilitated.

Common management system of housing in Ziguinchor

Capital city of the natural region of Casamance (South region), Ziguinchor is facing a special situation due to conflicts and the civil war since 1981. The population movement from villages (war areas) to the capital city is a source of uncontrolled growth and contributes to worsen the housing problem in the town. That is why, the Housing System Group has undertaken a Community based management of abandoned buildings in transforming them into functional houses for the population considered as refugees.

The project started with a dialogue with authorities in order to leave all unoccupied buildings of the administration to Housing System; most of those buildings date back to Colonial period. Those buildings collected and registered by the group have then been improved with the participation of youth voluntary services and the material support of NGOs. A total number of 600 recipients have been re-lodged and they are participating in the common management of the housing. With low fees of participation, paid for housing maintenance, the community management system has enabled the project’s extension and durability.

Participation in improving sanitation in urban areas

Cleansing practices in heavily populated urban areas are becoming more and more important in youth activities. These actions are various and have impacts in large towns.

The cleansing Programme of Diokoul and its surroundings (PADE-CPDS).

Started in 1990 by ENDA-RUP in Diokoul, a district in Rufisque, the programme aimed at solving the sanitation problems that the town had been facing. For implementing the project, the town has called for Diokoul cleansing and compost making (Diokoul Assainissement Compostage (DAC)), whose members have been the major technicians of the programme. They work in various fields such as:

· Filtering waste waters and maintenance of technical equipment
· Picking natural fertilizers from filtering basins
· Collecting waste
· Setting aside organic elements from the waste
· Purification and recycling water
· Fermentation and compost making

This experience has contributed to solving problems related to unhealthiness and was considered as a best practice for the Habitat II process.

Cleansing the District of Guinaw-Rail in the town of Pikine

Deeply disturbed by the spreading out of liquid and solid waste, this urban area located in the region of Dakar is specially characterized by an overwhelming lack of a cleansing system. In this respect, the association “MANKOO” involved itself into traditional methods of cleansing. Voluntary youth groups equipped with old and traditional materials have succeeded to build up a system of liquid and solid waste management based on waste water drainage, waste filtering and purifying, and supplying families with waste bins. With the support of local authorities, they have created water pipes along the roads for waste water and ravine drainage.

Collective well drilling in the town of Pikine

The lack of cleansing systems and networks in the district of “WAKHINANE” (dig and drink) in Pikine motivated young members of the district Development Association “JANT-BI” (the sun) to build a cleansing system based on making joint wells for families. This equipment enables families to collect wastewaters and the separation of liquid from solid wastes. Ruled and conducted in partnership with the 6637 recipients, the District Development Associations (DDA) members take charge of the periodical maintenance of wells and training the recipients.

Development of basic infrastructure and services

The absence of basic infrastructure related investments has induced youth Associations to initiate actions to participate in rehabilitation, maintenance and building collective infrastructure equipment. In urban as well as rural areas, actions multiply whether they are in the frame of governmental projects or youth programmes.

Wakhinane Youth Club, a group of young people located in the town of Pikine, has - since its creation in 1990 - committed itself to reopening the Social Centre for unemployed youth and the educated girls. With the help of ENDA-JEUNESSE ACTION (the youth wing of ENDA), the club has fulfilled technical training competencies in the district and accommodated about 30 young girls.

With the success of the club in this first experience, the group decided to extend the centre through public participation. By sensitizing, the club members succeeded to convince more people to join the club. This ended with renting of a new building of 9 rooms for 50 000CFA (100USD) per month entirely paid by the club through fund raising organized in the district.

The projects of public authorities have been directed to actions towards health and education sectors rehabilitation through the Human Resources Development Project (HRDP-PDRH) funded by the World Bank. The youth participation in these public jobs is of a particular importance since they facilitate the production of necessary equipment less costly compared with those that would need specialized enterprises. In rural areas where the lack of equipment is more significant, youth actions are generally substituted to that of public authorities in order to equip villages with some basic services.

The most important examples are in high migration areas where youth organizations undertake building and furnishing schools, youth centres. In Saint-Louis (at the north and Tambacounda at the South of the country), about ten rural community areas have been supplied with such equipment. In some cases, the monitoring staff is entirely under the charge of community groups because of the financial problems of the state.

b) Activities related to sustainable human settlements development

There is a strong trend for initiating actions to promote sustainable development in various cities and rural areas. These actions are mostly concerned with poverty eradication, development of informal urban economy and social integration, the improvement of environment, urban security etc. The growth in the informal economy is a positive response to the current economic crisis, a mechanism of social regulation, and a factor for integration and solidarity.

The precariousness of living conditions and the absence of job security motivates urban populations to find ways of survival. In such a context and jointly with NGOs, youth organizations undertake several actions in order to implement enterpreneurship and employment generating programmes.

Popular enterpreneurship

The increase of youth enterpreneurship gave rise to numerous non-profit business groups as micro-enterprises created on the bases of solidarity. Common Interest Business Groups (CIBG) are working for income generating activities. Members contribute to financing through equal shares for starting the business. Beside their economic aspect, they participate to fulfil the needs in providing less costly goods and services to the population.

The importance of these initiatives influenced the municipality of Dakar to support the creation of CIBGs in districts on high unemployment through a Programme designed by the health and social actions department to promote youth self-management of job creating activities.

The following examples elaborate on the impact of CIBGs in the daily life of their members.

The CIBG “Takku Takhawal

Created in 1994, this CIBG is composed of 30 members and it deals with sewing, dyeing, cloth wearing and commerce of food products. All its members are now employed and food products use is widened and secured.

The CIBG of “seaside inhabitants of Gueule Tapee

Created by district inhabitants, it is involved in selling sea products, market-farming products, poultry farming, dyeing and chair making. Members work in those various activities according to their qualifications. The CIBG has 6 hectares for farming purposes.

The CIBG “Njabootu Ababacar Sy

Located in Yoff, traditional district in the suburban areas of Dakar, and composed of ten members, the CIBG is specialized in processing sea products. It had the advantage of a 5000 000CFA (10,000USD) loan completely refunded. Its members are ready for larger loans in order to diversify its activities and to serve particularly the sub-region market.

The CIBG of Medina youth (GIE des Jeunes de Medina)

A branch of the Medina youth Association created in the popular district of Medina in 1994, it has a farm for growing vegetables and fruits. It is involved in selling tea and various products. In its projects, there is a poultry-farming activity. It is trying to make the necessary funding through savings. It has planned to call for other members.

The CIBG “Viviane

Located in the districts of SICAP; it is only composed of women. It deals with selling sea products and is funded by the contribution of its members. After selling products, they deposit the money every week. A follow-up committee is monitoring the young girls involved in selling products in order to provide them with selling techniques with a plan to improve their capacity in other fields such as serving and cooking. The CIBG has activities also to improve housing conditions.

The CIBG “Takku Lgue”

Located in Thiaroye, a district in Pikine, this group is composed of 30 members and just after its creation in June 1997 has initiated a project based on the setting-up of a community shop for storing and selling common use products. It has funded itself with the individual contributions of its members who participate in management. As a community shop, members buy their goods from it and profits are immediately reinvested.

The CIBG “Fass Relaxe”

Created by the young members of Sport and Culture Association of FASS, this club is specialized in restaurant activities. Self-funded, this project has employed 4 persons for its management. The success it had in the first restaurant stimulated the members to enlarge the restaurant up to 100 seats with employment for ten persons.

The CIBG of Thieundeme youth

Located right in the middle of Dakar, the district of Thieundeme is characterized by the young age of its population. Created by the youth Club of Thieundeme, (JAT), the group is involved in the field of sewing. Training, which constitutes its major activities, is conducted by three agents. They work with local materials and prepare low cost clothes for their clients. The group has generated employment for 11 persons and is committed to improving the skills of its staff in the field of management and production.

The popular system of savings and credit

In parallel to the entrepreneurship projects, there is an increasing need of saving and credit facility, which can assist the actors of the informal urban economy to reach modern funding bodies. The creation of popular banks for saving and credits is a new approach of youth organizations and women groups devoted to creating savings productive activities.

Considered as actual “poor’s banks”, those popular saving and credit banks are organized by people who save their money in a common body, and who borrow from the same body at small interest rates. Based on solidarity, mutual aid and trust, its members participate fully in its management. They democratically elect the management bodies.

These popular savings banks also constitute training centres in the field of economy, saving and credit use. The following fields are directed to the youth:

· Funding projects created by the youth (individual or collective activities).
· Economic inclusion through loans to buy tools or materials.

The following examples enable a better understanding of the impact of those popular savings banks on the improvement of living conditions of the urban population:

The Senegalese Association of Promoting Education (ASAPF)

Located in Dakar, this organization is involved in the field of educating and training the disadvantaged youth. Its training centre supplies with technical issues. In order to employ young graduates the association has created a savings and credit bank in 1995. This bank enables young entrepreneurs involved in small-scale jobs to get the necessary means for the launching of their enterprises. Within a couple of years 500 recipients benefited from the project.

The mutual savings and credit bank of the western area of Rufisque (MECZOR)

Located in the city of Rufisque, this bank is a successful popular experience. Starting in 1996 with 324 members, it has grown now up to 600 members.

The CIBG “Soutoura”

Composed of young people from the suburban area of Dakar without a specialty and sometimes non-educated, the CIBG is created by a club of young people devoted to the urban transportation staff, whose functions are to play an intermediary role between drivers and passengers.

Being aware of the necessity to save money and have other longer-lasting activities, those young people have set up a saving and credit and selling food office. The bank has currently registered 81 members and it provides loans with varying interest rate between 3 and 6%. This type of bank has permitted food products to be supplied at reasonable prices.

Reinforcement of solidarity and social integration

Based on working together modalities, youth organizations developed solidarity and self-assistance mechanisms. With the existing socio-economic crisis characterized by poverty and lack of job opportunities among the majority of the youth, exclusion and marginalization phenomenon of the young people is worsening and criminal activities and drug addiction are increasing.

The fight against drug abuse

The following actions have been conducted by the information and sensitizing centre on drugs:

· Information and sensitizing on drugs drawbacks
· Drug addicted people re-education
· Supporting re-inclusion

With the help of youth voluntary services, the centre implements its programmes in partnership with youth organizations. That is why the “National Network of Youth Against Drugs” has been created as a coordinating body of the different programmes of combating drug abuse.

Assistance to children and young people in difficult situations

The fringed and youth in difficulties, street children are often compelled to devote themselves into delinquency. District Development Associations have involved themselves in stopping that trend through programmes drawn by ENDA THIRD WORLD, relating to education and training sessions, such as “Street Corner Training Activities” which are popular schools created in areas where youth and street children are concentrated. Activities conducted by young monitors help students to acquire some notions and capacities that can facilitate their integration.

The improvement of environment and rational management of natural resources

The protection of the environment and rational management of national resources are currently deemed as major concerns in human settlements. In this respect, youth associations and movements have actively participated in the elaboration process of the National Plan of Action for Environment (NPAE-PNAE). From 1995 to 1997 with a consensus around environment and natural resources safe keeping and awareness raising related to environment were the goal issues among societies at all levels. That process occurred through community based actions such as those conducted by youth CBOs. From education to designing projects, these actions contributed to improvement of living conditions in towns, urban centres and villages.

Environmental education

It constitutes of awareness raising and committing populations for their full participation in these joint endeavours to protect the environment and improve the quality of life. 36 recorded youth organizations have currently conducted successful environmental initiatives related to education programmes.

These programmes aimed at fulfilling the following points:

· To help individuals and social groups to be aware of the global environment.

· To help individuals and social groups to acquire information related to environmental issues.

· To enable individuals and social groups to actively participate in these initiatives.

The struggle against unhealthy settlements

The most important and popular action is the popular phenomenon of “SET-SETAL” (“be clean and keep clean” in the national dialect of Wolof); a large scale cleansing activity undertaken by youth CBOs in districts and villages. Started from Dakar, early in the nineties, the phenomenon spread throughout the whole country with a spontaneous character, which involved all population groups. Coordinated in districts and villages by youth organizations, the original character of operations is based on the fact that labour replaced the lack of material means, and this led authorities to launch initiatives to invest in human resources.

The following cases give a better understanding about the scope and size of these initiatives:

Sports and cultural association of Grand Yoff

This Association located in the popular district of Grand Yyoff in Dakar, succeeded to turn set-setal initiative to a real programme of public health. With the system of collecting individual voluntary financial contributions, the association was able to raise sufficient financial resources prerequisite to acquire materials such as: wheelbarrows, dust masks, brooms etc. During summer holidays, the association conducts intensive operations with the participating students. Those actions mostly concern getting streets off the sand, fighting against domestic waste and purifying rain waters.

The Cosapere

In relation to the Environment World Day celebration programmes, the Network of female teachers of environment related subjects, has conducted cleaning activities in the district of Fann Hock. The Cosapere is planning through those activities, to underline the children and young people’s role in conducting and disseminating information within their community, and to establish practical methods as support for education related programmes.

The group Askann-Wii of Fann-Hock

Specialized in collecting domestic wastes, through door to door process, the club has succeeded to remove 17 cubic meters of wastes per day. Facing the difficulties of public authorities involved in cleansing in the urban communities of Dakar, support to youth associations for a better cooperation of their actions fighting against unhealthiness was strengthened. This context gave birth to Coordination of Youth Associations and Movements in the Urban Community of Dakar (CAMCUD) which mobilizes 2000 young people to collect and remove household refuse.

Recycling activities

They constitute the continuation of actions of collecting household wastes. Qualified young people separate solid wastes from organic elements. The recycled elements are plastic and some metals (iron, aluminum etc.). The waste-recycling club, which uses those materials, has succeeded to develop a waste products industry. Products manufactured by these activities are various, including toys, bags, utensils and other useful items.

There is also another group of young people in the premises of West-African Ecopole of ENDA-Third World, which is specialized in the recycling field through learning. The group has set up a Workshop, for a few months duration, which has become an actual training and production centre with about thirty participants. Specialized in metal recovering, they produce objects interesting to the public such as: small suitcases, lamps, miniatures of cars, planes and bicycles.

Natural resources safe keeping

In order to take up the challenge of managing natural resources for a long lasting development at the national level, youth organizations have demonstrated their capacity. Participating actively in the national resources management project elaborated and conducted by the Ministry for Environment, these youth organizations are devoted to:

· Reforestation
· Fighting bush-fires
· Conservation off the fauna and flora

Large-scale activities have been undertaken by some organizations supported by the concerned departments.

The Association of Youth for the promotion of Non-Wage-Earning Employment (AJUPENS), through its project based on agroforestery and located in the rural area of Thies, this initiative has succeeded to promote arboriculture (tree growing) and regenerating rare categories of plants that are used in traditional health care pharmacy.

The Scout Organization (les Eclaireurs et Eclaireuses du Senegal: EEDS) has, in the framework of a common local project, participated in fighting against erosion at the northern region of the country as well as in the suburban area of Dakar. The project was based on reforestation and sand-hill fixing. The youth camps organized in rural areas are good opportunities for monitoring efforts in creating village forests.

The Senegalese Wing of the West Africa Association for Marine Environment has successfully conducted a project on the biodiversity of the mangrove ecosystem in the reserve of the biosphere of Saloum DELTA. The project has regenerated the mangrove forest intensively exploited by the island population and permitted a long-lasting management on sea-products, which constitute an important income source for the unemployed young people.

Prevention and fighting against natural disasters

The geographical situation of some towns and the failure of urban planning are frequent cause for natural disasters such as flooding, advance of sea etc. To prevent and fight against such situations, youth involve themselves fully in prevention jobs.

The most important and successful actions took place in Rufisque and Saint-Louis. Rufisque is a town located in the west-seaside and is under the threat of advancing coastline. This situation led to the destruction of entire districts. Relying on youth associations grouped in a network, the municipality has made a project, which consists of building a sea wall alongside the shore. Entirely implemented by the youth, the project has increased protection to the threatened parts of the town and the reestablishment of the damaged houses.

Located in the Senegalese River Delta, the town of Saint-Louis is accustomed to frequent floods during rainy seasons. In order to prevent this phenomenon, the Communal Youth Council has taken charge of construction of a sea wall and pipe for the passage of the water. Youth assisted emergency organization of the regional authorities in this initiative and young volunteers have been assisting displaced families.


The lack of proper documentation on urban initiatives constitutes a major constraint to a correct analysis of actions led by youth within the formulation and the application of local development programmes. The existing information systems, although being entirely supported by the international cooperation - in this case the World Bank and the UNDP - deal insufficiently with questions related to youth. Initiatives have been undertaken by NGOs and CBOs in order to address this deficiency and to better assess the programmes mentioned above.

Enda-Rup, acting as the national contact of the Best Practices Programme of UNCHS, implements mechanisms for data collection, identifying best practices and monitoring basic development projects. These mechanisms have given the opportunity to present many projects for the Best Practices Awards, to set-up the Urban Participatory Information System (SIUP) in collaboration with local authorities, and to follow-up decisions relating to projects management with the involvement of youth CBOs.

On the other hand, the creation of the Youth and Human Settlements Development Network permitted the identification of 288 actions favored by information collection from member-organizations. These actions - all of them conducted at districts, villages and built-up areas - have permitted to better understand the means, results and difficulties. Information gathered for the purpose of preparing this report constitutes a useful directory of basic initiatives, source of ideas for the partners and actors engaged in human settlements development.

In this connection, total projects and programmes are:

Field of activity

Number of Presented Actions





Saving and credit


Public equipment




Urban popular economy








The analysis of information from this total underscores the importance of monitoring in the concerned programmes. These monitoring activities are very useful for evaluating the impact of basic projects on the target-groups. Generally, monitoring allows guaranteeing sustainability of projects.


The analysis of mentioned actions in this report supports that the youth (CBOs, NGOs, and Networks) can be considered as a dynamic group for local development and capacity building. Through some programmes, it is noted that youth contributed to the success of certain initiatives mainly in the fields of poverty eradication and environmental management in human settlements.

Identified as best practices, these programmes defined strategic methods for addressing the insufficiency of policies conducted by national and local authorities, or for supporting those authorities within the framework of finding new alternatives to face the lack of material and financial means. On this basis, different partners have found it necessary to capitalize on the initiatives of youth organizations active in the same geographic area, and favoring a strong relationship for:

· developing solidarity

· awareness raising and advocating

· promoting better coordination of different organizations related to youth

· setting-up a continuous framework of dialogue for the follow-up, reinforcement and promotion of basic initiatives.

In order to implement these initiatives, youth organizations are increasingly committing themselves to building sustainable partnerships by:

· signing agreements for the carrying out of joint projects

· launching cooperation with other community leaders (religious chiefs) for facilitating the dissemination of information

· developing the dialogue between partners (NGOs, international organizations, and multilateral agencies) for taking into account the actions leaded by youth.

These initiatives must find real support at the international level for the effective participation of youth in the implementation of the Habitat Agenda, Agenda 21 and the Declaration of the Social Development Summit.

In this connection, it will be necessary to reinforce the networking system of youth at the international level.

Youth For Habitat International Network has a great role to play in this context and should:

· reinforce and widen its organizational basis and regional focal points

· institutionalize its activities by organizing meetings at regional and international levels on themes dealing with aspects concerning both youth and local governments

· work for capacity building of active local organizations by supporting their training programmes

· promote cooperation with UN agencies particularly with UNCHS, UNDP and UNEP and generate sufficient and sustainable financial resources for funding projects.

This cooperation must be open to governments and the private sector (multinationals) also for the search of new sources of funding. These new sources can be focused on projects conducted at the national or international levels and on the support of YFHIN representatives to attend international meetings, mainly those organized by the UN system. The major goal should be effective participation of youth in the decision making process at the international level and in evaluating the different plans of action.


“The fight against poverty in Dakar”: Urban Management Programme-Regional Office for Africa, 1996

Gaye Malick: “Entrepreneurial Cities”

Demographic and social studies-National Direction of Statistics-1994

National statistics of education-Ministry of Education, 1998

National studies on NGOs-Ministry of Family and Social Affairs, 1995

National Youth Council-Information papers, 1997-1998

Ministry of Health information documents, 1998

National Agency for Public Interest Works (AGETIP)-Report on the cleaning operations in Dakar, 1997

Enda Youth Action information bulletin No. 93

Enda Youth Action information bulletin No. 103

“The Urban Letter” Enda-Rup newsletter, October 1997


* National Youth Council
Rue Ramez Bourgi Dakar, Senegal

* Eclaireures et Eclaireurs du Senegal
5, rue Pierre Million BP 744 Dakar, Senegal email: asfall@ucad.refer.sen

* COSAPERE-African Network Women Teachers in Environment
Sicap Fann-hock cite I N° 5 BP 11184 Dakar, Senegal email: mbeinda@syfed.refer.sen

* Youth Alliance for Entrepreneurship and Development Education
BP 10146 Dakar-Liberte Dakar, Senegal

* Diokoul Assainissement Compostage-GIE BP 87 Rufisque, Senegal

* National Network of Youth against Drugs c/o West African Ecopole BP 3370 Dakar, Senegal

* Entente des Mouvements et Associations de Developpement-EMAD
Networks of Movements and Associations in Development
38, rue Sandiniery x Jean Jaures Dakar, Senegal

* Comite de Coordination pour le Developpement de Guinaw-Rails
Coordinating Committee for the Development of Guinaw-Rails
Quartier Talla Diene Pikine, Senegal

* Collectif des Mouvements et Associations des “Parcelles Assainies” (CAMPA)
Network of Youth Movements and Associations in “Parcelles Assainies”
Unite 16 n° 313 P A Dakar, Senegal

* Enda Youth Action BP 3370 Dakar, Senegal


July 1999, prepared by, Pamir Y, Youth Association For Habitat And Agenda 21
Bre Cd. Sisli Belediyesi Binasi Kat 12 Esentepe-Istanbul/TURKEY
Ph: +90 212 272 12 12 Fax: +90 212 272 45 96 E-mail:


This report aims to highlight and evaluate major trends and activities related to youth within the context of human settlements. The major event that has established the link between youth issues and human settlements in Turkey is the Habitat II Conference that was held in Istanbul in June 1996. Youth groups, together with other civil initiatives have been actively involved in the preparation period of this major United Nations Conference. A number of non-governmental organizations were very successful in using the momentum of the Conference in order to promote local and national civil initiatives in the context of human settlements both in the technical sense of the subject which include housing, infrastructure, etc. and in the broader sense that includes topics such as migration, street children, participation in governance, etc. Habitat II Conference has been an effective tool for NGOs to work with governmental offices, local authorities and the private sector with more ease.

As mentioned before, young people actively participated in the preparation period and the Habitat II Conference itself with numerous activities and with contributions to the formulation of the Habitat Agenda. Also after the Conference, Turkish youth was more widely accepted as a partner in human settlements management and improvement. Accordingly, there had been numerous local, national and international youth activities organized in Turkey towards the implementation of the Habitat Agenda.

This report will summarize the current situation in Turkey concerning human settlements and youth as much as the most recent data permits. In the other parts of the report youth activities in this field will be examined and then monitoring strategies will be suggested.


Turkey lies among three of the most vibrant parts of the world, the Balkans, Caucasus and the Middle East. Due to this strategic position, numerous ethnic and cultural heritages have come together to form now what is called the Republic of Turkey. This cultural diversity and its long-term results together with the historical developments have resulted in considerable differences in quality and way of life among different regions of the country. As a result of this, it is very hard to reflect the real living conditions through national averages and the presence of this difference especially between the western and eastern parts of the country needs to be kept in mind in evaluating these statistics.

Turkey has a population of 64.8 million (mid-1998) with annual natural increase of 1.6% It is divided into 7 geographical regions, namely Marmara, Aegean, Mediterranean, Central Anatolia, Black Sea, East Anatolia, Southeast Anatolia. These geographical regions also provide a useful tool to examine the country within these divisions.Major demographic trends are summarized in the following tables taken from the National Report and Plan of Action prepared for the Habitat II Conference.

Total Fertility rate

Child mortality (in numbers)

Final number of children

Net reproduction rate

Child mortality rate (Per thousand)

Life expectancy at birth







































































Population Growth Estimates (in millions)

























In the “Human Development Report 1997” of UNDP, it is reported that 50% of the population of Turkey in 1996 were living in 21 high human development provinces out of a total of 76 provinces. 52 medium human development provinces constituted 48% of the population while the rest, 2%, were living in the 3 low human development provinces. Most of these high human development provinces are concentrated in the western regions, Marmara and Aegean, while some are in the Mediterranean and the Central Anatolia regions. The presence of Ankara, the capitol, in the Central Anatolia has significantly contributed to the development of the nearby provinces.

The following statistics from the same report of UNDP will give a general idea of the economic performance of the country. The most significant figure and also the one that most directly affects the living style of the people is the high inflation. The effects of 1994 economic crises and the devaluation is very clear in the high inflation rates. Considering the fact that Turkey has been struggling with inflation rates closer and sometimes higher than those that are shown in the table for almost thirty years, it is realized that most people’s most important concern and the one that takes almost all of their time and energy is to earn enough money to look after themselves and their families. This also significantly contributes to the increasing disparity in earnings of the very few rich and the poor that are in millions. Moreover, this disparity has become a danger for the existence of the middle class and all of these factors have hindered the social development of the country as a whole.

Major Indicators of Macroeconomic Performance:




Annual Change %

Real GNP growth




Inflation (WPI)




Real exchange rate




According to the Statistics Institute of the State, since 1980, the percentage of young people, ages between 15 to 24, constitutes 20% of the population. According to other statistics, 35.5% of the population in 1990 was under 14 years of age and the median age for the total population was 22.21. These figures show that Turkey is a young nation in general and compared to most of the developed states, we see that the percentage of young people in the total population is about 5 points higher in Turkey.

II.1 Education

The mentioned disparities among different regions of Turkey is very clear in the respective literacy and enrollment rates. Moreover, differences can also be observed in educational attainment of males and females. These results are summarized in the following table:

Educational Attainment (1997):

Male Literacy Rate (%)

Female Literacy Rate (%)

Total (%)









Central Anatolia




Black Sea












Male Enrollment Rate(%)

Female Enrollment Rate (%)

Total (%)









Central Anatolia




Black Sea












Due to the compulsory education, enrollment rate in the 1990s for primary education is close to 100% especially for males. However, it is observed that this rate drops sharply for higher levels of education; about 70% for middle school and 50% for high school. For higher education this ratio is less than 13%.

In 1997, basic compulsory education was raised from 5 years to 8 years. This is expected to contribute significantly to quality of education in Turkey. However, the small size of classrooms and inadequacy in the number of available teachers especially in the rural areas are among some of the most important obstacles in achieving these goals of high quality education.

University entrance system is highly criticized by many scholars. Until 1999, the students were required to take two examinations that would place them into certain departments of certain universities with respect to their scores. This system would result in students not concentrating on their schoolwork in high school and mainly focusing on these two examinations. In 1999, for the first time in a number of years university entrance examinations were combined in a single examination and an important role was placed on the grade point average of the students in their respective high schools. This amendment of the system aimed at orienting students to focus more on their high school studies. Nevertheless, malfunctioning of that new system paved way to new problems, which were mainly meeting the demands of the students and indecisiveness in making the choices.

The number of students placed into the universities is far from satisfactory. Out of more than one million students taking these examinations each year, about 7% of them are placed into their top three choices.

To sum up, the students having to participate in this examinations for university entrance are destined to fully concentrate on this unique cornerstone, which is supposed to determine their respective futures, with the hope of a highly qualified life. The examination that requires devotion of more than one year for thorough preparation. As a result of this fact, students are pried apart from the society for one year at least. This also results in serious psychological tides with the pressure imposed by the families and the society itself, which also leads to maladjustments to normal life having completed the examinations.

II.2 Employment

Due to the economic conditions in the country, most of the young people start working at early ages and accordingly, employment is one of the biggest concerns of the Turkish youth. In a survey done in 1998 among young people, 45% of them has identified unemployment as the biggest problem of Turkey.

The average unemployment rate among young people of ages 15-24 between 1988 and 1994 was 16%.

The ratio of labor force participation in 1994 is given at the table below.


Male %

Female %

Total %





























As the table indicates, a large number of people start working at early ages and this is one of the most important obstacles for young people to continue with their education. Actually, these numbers do not realistically reflect the percentage of young people working in family businesses especially in rural areas.

II.3 Health

The major health problems among young people in the developed world such as drug abuse or sexually transmitted diseases have not been very widespread in Turkey. This is mainly due to the strength of society values, traditions and attachment among family members as well as due to religious restrictions.

However, in recent years, especially in big cities, drug abuse has shown signs of rapid increase although still the percentage of young people experiencing with drugs is far less than those in Europe or North America.

Due to the secrecy, young people deny the fact that they are somehow involved in drug-addiction, therefore it is impossible to identify the percentage of young people using drugs. However, a survey carried out in Istanbul in 1995 among high school students have shown that 4% of them had experienced with drugs at one point in their life while 1.6% of them had used drugs since the previous month. The fact that this percentage was found to be 0.27% in a similar survey in 1991 shows the dramatic increase of drug abuse among young people.

Turkey is known to be on one of the largest drug trafficking routes that is the main supplier for the European market. Although due to the strict governmental measures there is almost no production in Turkey, it is generally known among public and governmental units that a large number of people in the southeastern part of Turkey that is also the poorest region earn their living through smuggling drugs from neighboring countries.

Moreover, use of local plants that have not been medically identified as drugs due to their locality is also widespread especially in the east.

The first AIDS case in Turkey was reported in 1985. Until 1997, 700 HIV positive cases were present and 218 showed symptoms of the disease. The most important factors that contribute to the spread of AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases are “massive migration to urban areas, tendency of Turkish men to feel potent and impervious to disease, tolerance of polygamy in our traditional culture and prevalence of prostitution”.

II.4 Gender Issues

Some percentages such as literacy, enrollment, unemployment, etc. have already been stated before. According to these numbers and looking at the Turkish society in general, there is no doubt that women have not yet found their place in the society as equal partners with men.

The most important obstacle for women is the traditional definition of womanhood as a wife and a mother, which also prevents their acceptance as equal counterparts in the business life.

When urban and rural areas are compared, it is observed that women in rural areas are much more active in the labor force than urban women. However, rural women are almost always working in family businesses that hinders them from gaining economic and hence social independence from their husbands or fathers.

In a survey among young people, 23.6% of them has defined 20 as the ideal age for women to marry while 29,3% have put this age to 25 for men. Considering these facts, one needs to remember that 20 years of age corresponds to studying in higher education and 25 to graduation and finding a job. In the same survey, 62.7% of the participants have agreed to that young children would be negatively affected if their mothers are working. However, 62.4% of them has strongly disagreed with the idea that the only ideal for women is to get married and have children. The percentage of young people that are in favor of using various contraceptives is 83.2%.

This survey was done in various cities around the country but does not reflect the opinion of the young people in rural areas. In spite of this, we clearly see the conflict between different roles of women in society, a dependent family member and an independent individual.

Actually, Turkey has revised its legal system towards family and women beginning in late 1920s and also during 1930s as to give equal rights to women and men. This is almost the same time as most European countries. However, the existing laws have not completely been reflected to the lives of women. Although in 1994, the prime minister was a woman, less than 20% of the parliament consisted of woman delegates. As this example shows, all the legislation for women to participate to governance is present; however, only a few has the actual opportunity to be accepted as leaders of the society.

II.5 Urbanization

Turkey has been going through a rapid urbanization process in an uncontrolled way due to various reasons. The following table will give an idea of the extent that urbanization has reached.


Urban population (%)

Contribution to urban increase (%)

Net migration

Change in definition

Natural increase
















































As the table also shows, there had been a massive migration to urban areas especially towards the west. The major population group that has been affected from this rapid change is the youth as the incapability of the urban areas to integrate these young people to all aspects of social opportunities that are not present in rural areas has led to identity crises for large amounts of young people. As a result of this, there had been marginalized groups.

Despite the fact that there had been great migration towards the west, the South-East Project (GAP), which lies in the top ranks among the most successful economic and social projects has contributed a lot for diminishing this mobilization. This project, dating back to the 1970s, mainly aims at rehabilitation of land conditions, irrigation and modern agricultural techniques, which is still in the process of construction. In addition to technical aspects of that project, is also hoped to bring about revolutionary social improvements, some of which are the expected land reformation, poverty eradication, creation of job opportunities, enhancement of international and trans-national trade and equitable urbanization. From the SouthEast project, it is expected that this initiative for development will cease the imbalance and disparities between east and west.

The lack of civil initiatives is greatly felt as rather than the governmental units it is the civil society and the people of the city that can establish the necessary links with the migrated groups for them to adjust to the city life and learn to use all the opportunities that are provided to them.

Establishment of shantytowns around large cities like Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir and Adana has been a major city-planning problem. A major earthquake has hit the east of Istanbul, the most important industrial area of the country, and the destruction of about 100.000 housing units showed one more time inadequacy of construction strategies. However, more than 20,000 deaths in this earthquake have inevitably forced the government and the civil organizations to establish and monitor new construction policies.

In fact, with the organization of Habitat II Conference in Turkey, there had been various activities realized in this field. The national plan of action and also local plans of action were prepared and the strategies for city planning and establishment of new settlements were revised and evaluated.

II.6 Environment

The awareness of the society on environment is a recent concept in Turkey compared to the developed countries. However, it is observed that some of the biggest and strongest civil organizations are established with environmental concerns. We also see various student organizations working in this field. With the creation of Ministry of Environment in 1991, environmental problems are started to be evaluated at the highest level of government. Especially after the UN Global Conference on environment in 1991 in Rio de Janeiro, there had been various activities in this field. As a result of these, a national action plan for environment was prepared.

In this action plan the role of NGOs in raising public awareness and monitoring various activities have been accepted as a national policy and inputs from these civil organizations were used together with other governmental recommendations.


III.1 Youth Policy

There is a clear lack of policy development related to youth in Turkey both at the national and at local levels. Although Turkey has a very young population with median age around 22, there has not been a comprehensive youth policy developed. Youth issues are usually addressed along with other issues such as education, health, sports, etc. This lack of policy at the national level as will be seen in the following section is also reflected in lack of youth related institutions at higher levels of national governance.

In the 1990-1995 national development plan of the government, youth is identified as an important population group and it is stated that the potential of young people needs to be utilized to further develop the country in the new millennium. However, specific policy recommendations or projects have not been identified and naturally the importance given to youth could not have been materialized with actions and actual social development. In fact, this national development plan and its approach towards youth is a typical example for general governmental reports or plans of action. Youth is almost always identified as an important population group; however, concrete steps are lacking. The exception of Habitat II National Report and Plan of Action needs to be stated within this respect. The involvement of youth as an equal partner in the Habitat Agenda was reflected during the preparation process of the National Report and Plan of Action and in this report youth has gained more space with specific policy recommendations compared with other national plans of action. However, even in this report youth and sport policies have been integrated with each other in a single priority issue.

One of the most important reasons is lack of initiative on the behalf of young people. Although there are numerous student organizations both at the local and national levels, there is hardly any youth organization that has a mission of bringing together young people from different sectors of the society. As a result of this, governmental policies directed towards youth are canalized through either educational, cultural or employment policies.

In recent years and especially after the Habitat II Conference, youth has started to be accepted as a partner in development and implementation of youth policies and projects. However, there still a long way to go in order to achieve the necessary social acceptance of young people as equal partners in all aspects of the society.

The role of youth in society not only as students or workers but as young people need to be developed starting from early ages in one’s life. In a survey among young people, 18.2% of them have stated that family has a limiting role in their personal development while 17.7% of them perceive stating their own opinions freely as disrespect for their elders. These high percentages reflect the traditional family values present in Turkish society. Moreover, this survey was prepared in large urban centres and these traditional values are more prevalent in rural areas.

Young people need to participate in decision-making mechanisms starting from their own families. In order to achieve this, parents need to be trained in child psychology in local public centres or schools. Moreover, especially for middle school students, promotion of independent thinking and self-confidence in the family should also integrate school activities within this process. There has not been any policy development both at the governmental level and also in the civil sector towards promoting activities within these lines.

School is the first environment outside the family where the individual gains a place in the society. According to national education laws, there needs to be student councils in every high school. However, these student councils have different mandates in every school and these are almost always far from reflecting the views of the students and developing a participatory environment within high schools. According to the law, these student councils are to be represented in disciplinary committees but their effectiveness are also debatable.

Especially after the left-right clashes of the 70s, student movements in universities have been limited to a great extent and for years, student councils were forbidden. Although student movements have gained some momentum in recent years especially with the establishment of private universities, besides those that are in major cities such as Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir, the rest still needs more time to fully involve the students in decision-making processes. Moreover, political organizations, especially Islamic political organization within universities are posing an important threat for democratic participation within these schools.

Looking at the schools in general, both high schools and universities, we see that youth involvement in decision-making processes greatly depends on the individual administrators of these schools and their perspective on this issue. Within this respect, national education policy needs to be standardized to more actively involve student organizations and student councils in decision making. Moreover, especially in local environmental and social development issues, it is the student groups that can reach the local community and transfer their technical and practical knowledge with more ease. Accordingly, development of student organizations within universities would have impact on development of the local communities besides the development of the students themselves.

According to Turkish laws, young workers have the same status as their elder colleagues and as a result, their special needs and concerns are not considered in any legal way. For example, during the time that they spend for their specialized training in industry, they do not receive social security and this greatly decreases their motivation for more specialized training. It is also known that young workers are less inclined to join or take active part in trade unions and most of them are not trained or educated about the benefits of these kinds of organizations. On the other hand, there are various civil initiatives to bring together young entrepreneurs and young businessmen in order to raise awareness for their special needs and problems. As a result, young people are not given special consideration in the work place for their special interests or concerns and this is mostly because of the fact that there does not exist any policy or law specially prepared for young workers.

Turkish political system hardly ever welcomes people younger than 45 years old. The youngest member of the previous parliament was in his early 40s. Moreover, the youngest Prime Minister was in his mid 50s. Within this respect, we can conclude that young people in general do not take an active role in the higher levels of the political system. Although the political age in local governance is younger relative to national governance, even at these levels we do not generally see a 40 year old major. Naturally, it is not expected to see a 30 year old prime minister; however, the average age of the parliament and prominent political leaders shows that serious political involvement does not start at early ages. This is mostly related to the fact that according to the traditional culture of the society elder people and their opinions are more highly regarded compared to youngsters.

Although all political parties have youth branches, their function within the party is more towards recruitment rather than policy development and most of these youth groups are not concerned with the problems of the local youth.

Involvement of youth in local governance is a more promising issue. Especially in recent years, in relation with Habitat II and Agenda 21 activities, numerous local youth councils have been established. However, still the development of these institutions depends on the perspectives of the administrators towards youth issues. A more detailed explanation of these institutions and their policies will be given in later sections of this report.

III.2 Youth Institutions

The highest youth related institution in Turkey is Youth and Sport Ministry. Until the beginning of 1990s, this ministry was acting as National Education, Youth and Sport Ministry.

As it was mentioned in the previous section, the lack of a comprehensive youth policy is also reflected at the activities of this ministry and only this year the budget of the ministry is adjusted so as to allocate comparable funds to youth activities with those that are allocated for sports. With this new adjustment, it is hoped that more activities focusing on youth with all their concerns will be organized.

Related to this ministry, there are administrators responsible for each of the provinces in Turkey.

Although there are youth councils in almost all of the European countries, there is no institution similar to those civil councils in Turkey. There is a national youth committee composed of governmental delegates of the highest rank and as a result it is far from satisfying the needs of the young people at the local level. The key characteristic of a successful youth policy is generally accepted to be the involvement of young people themselves in development and implementation of such policies. Within this respect, establishment of a national youth council of a civic nature would be an important development in this area.

Moreover, the number and impact of youth NGOs in Turkey are also far from satisfactory. Various student organizations such as AIESEC, AEGEE, AFS, etc mainly focus on developed provinces and have very specific mandates that are able to satisfy the needs of a small portion of the young population. Besides these student organizations, the youth branches of a number of national NGOs such as DD ( Yastekleme Derne ADD (AtatD Derneetc constitutes almost all of the national youth work.

III.3 Major Youth Organizations


Four branches of AEGEE International are active in Turkey. The main goal of the organization is to promote student exchanges within Europe. The specialized task of the AEGEEs in Turkey is inclusion of Turkish students in the European Union’s exchange and study programs, although the country itself is not a member of the European Union.


AIESEC-Turkey has seven branches in various cities. Main goal of the organization is develop youth entrepreneurship through student exchanges. One of the initiatives that was conducted by AIESEC-Turkey named “New Horizons in South-East” project has contributed a lot mainly to recover the young people in south east from their isolation.

American Field Service-Turkish Cultural Foundation

The main aim of the organization is to promote exchanges among high school students for inter-cultural learning. The organization has also conducted a project called “15 Minutes Every Day” in order to increase the habit of reading.

GSM (Youth Services Centre)

The organization mainly deals with exchange programmes, especially between Mediterranean and European countries. It also works in collaboration with Youth Forum Jeunesse within the context of the Youth for Europe programme.

Turkish Scouts Federation

The main of the organization works closely with Provincial Administrations of Youth and Sports and carries out activities for the promotion of the scout movement all over the country.

Youth Association for Habitat and Agenda 21

Youth Association for Habitat and Agenda 21 has established a growing network of youth and youth related institutions and has filled to some extent the lack of coordination of youth related work at the national level. The related activities will be discussed at the next section of this report.

Considering the local level, it is observed that there are numerous student groups in universities that are organized within the lines of their academic work. Moreover, there are also youth groups working to improve their local environment.

In the survey of Conrad Adenauer Foundation, we see that 13.5% of the participants were members of a sports club, 3.3% were members of political parties, 3% were members of social, political or cultural associations while 62.8% were not members of any kind of social organization. These numbers clearly indicate the unsatisfactory performance of civil youth initiatives.

Looking at NGOs in general and youth NGOs specifically, we see that they are all concentrated in the big cities of the developed provinces.

The lack of interest for youth NGOs is a part of a lack of interest for civil organizations in general. The concept of civic responsibility is a recent challenge for the Turkish population and it is still waiting to be spread out from large urban areas to every part of the country.

The organization of Habitat II Conference in Istanbul was a clear milestone within this respect. There is an increase in the number of civil organizations both at the local and national levels. This is also reflected in the youth activities.


The activities related to the Habitat Agenda will be examined within eight sections that follow each other according to their time line as much as possible. Of course, it is not realistic to consider these eight categories as a total summary of all the activities that have been going on in Turkey since the beginning of 1996 at local, national and international levels. These categories would best be considered as important milestones in Turkish youth work in the field of sustainable human settlements.

Since the beginning of the Habitat II process, youth groups has seen in the Habitat II Conference and its follow-up a great opportunity to develop civil youth initiatives in Turkey. The concepts such as partnership and equal participation to policy making and implementation that are present in the Habitat Agenda were seen as key points that were used in every step of the youth activities. In this sense, Habitat Agenda and the concept of sustainable human development were integrated into every aspect of urban life and a wide range of issues including education, health, participation, etc. were considered in this sense.

IV.1 Preparation process of the Habitat II Conference

Youth activities related to the preparation period of the Habitat II Conference started at the end of 1995. These activities were tried to be organized by weekly meetings of youth and youth groups interested in contributing to the Habitat II process through different means. In the first months of 1996, these regular meetings resulted in the formation of a youth caucus including organizations such as AIESEC, ELSA, AEGEE, student groups and other civil organizations interested in youth work as well as individuals. The main goal that was set for this youth caucus was to increase youth participation to the Habitat II Conference and to raise awareness about related youth issues. Due to the venue of the conference, these awareness raising activities were mostly focused in Istanbul although by June 1996, information meetings in 13 different cities were organized and young people from those cities were both informed about Habitat II and also encouraged to participate in the NGO forum.

This caucus provided the necessary technical support for the international youth delegates that reached almost a thousand during the conference. Moreover, a 2-day orientation workshop for the conference participants was organized.

The main activity of the caucus was the organization of a symposium on “Problems, Expectations and Proposed Solutions of Youth.” The first day of the symposium was spared for professionals to share their knowledge and expectations with 420 young participants from 13 different cities around the country. On the second day, working groups on education, urbanization, participation to governance, communication and substance abuse were organized. The outputs of this symposium were submitted to the national committee that was preparing the National Report and Plan of Action for Turkey and we see that the priority issue related to youth in this plan of action largely consists of the solutions proposed by young people during this symposium. From this aspect, this is a key step taken by both young people and governmental authorities towards increasing youth participation in policy making and implementation. Moreover, the report of the working group on substance abuse was used as a resource material for the preparation of various training programs in different schools. The complete report was brought into a booklet and published at the end of 1997.

While this youth caucus was trying to raise awareness in Turkey, Youth For Habitat, an international network of youth organizations, was doing the same kinds of activities at the international level. As a result, the youth caucus turned into the Turkish branch of Youth For Habitat network and until now has continued its activities under this name.

Due to the informal structure of the youth caucus, there was no regular funding that was ready to be used. As a result, local sponsors for all of the activities including the mentioned symposium were to be found. This is another key step that enabled young people to learn how to fundraise and later use their experience for larger projects.

This youth caucus that started out with not very ambitious goals was able to create a platform for youth organizations to learn to work together and also for young people to find the most appropriate channels to communicate their concerns and ideas about the urban environment.

IV.2 Institutionalization

As mentioned before, the youth caucus of the Habitat II Conference was an informal platform of youth and youth organizations. The unwillingness of some of the governmental units, the private sector and other civil organizations to accept the youth caucus as an equal partner and the uncontrollable circulation of young people within the caucus inevitably led to the institutionalization process.

It is almost impossible especially in Turkey where strict laws for associations and foundations are present to sustain youth activities in an informal platform. The vibrant nature of young people as a population group and their concerns for education and employment greatly endangers the continuity of these platforms. As a result of this, Youth Association for Habitat and Agenda 21 was established in March 1997 as the continuing secretariat of Youth For Habitat in Turkey.

The networking strategy of the association is very similar to the formation of the youth caucus in the sense that it creates an informal platform for youth and youth organizations from all around the country to communicate with each other. However, now all of these activities are coordinated by a legal association whose members are limited to about 40 people that have been working in the secretariat. There is no goal of increasing this membership as the association sees itself as a mere focal point in disseminating information and putting all the Youth For Habitat activities in a more formal ground in order to work with more ease with other partners. In spite of the low legal membership number, the number of people and organizations that are in contact with the network approaches a thousand with the number of people that have gone through one or more of the national activities being well over two thousand.

Another important aspect of the institutionalization process is that it was aimed to be as local as possible in the sense that young people in different cities were tried to be encouraged to establish their own mechanisms in their own cities with the support of the Youth Association for Habitat and Agenda 21. This is one of the key steps for sustaining youth work at the local level.

Institutionalization process and various national projects that will be mentioned shortly led to the formation of a small group of people that have adapted youth work as their professional work. It was realized that it is impossible to coordinate all of these activities and develop new projects through using young people’s spare time. A recent strategy for civil initiatives in Turkey is to move towards professionalism without losing touch with the grassroots. This same strategy was also adapted for Youth For Habitat in Turkey. Professionalism was also used as a tool to attract more people to take active roles at the national level and for them to see Youth for Habitat as an important part of their future.

IV.3 International Youth Follow-up meeting for the Habitat Agenda and Agenda 21

The Human Settlements working group in the Second World Youth Forum of the United Nations System organized in November 1996 agreed to the wish of the Turkish youth representatives to organize an international youth follow-up meeting for Habitat II Conference in 1997 in Turkey.

Taking the responsibility of organizing an international meeting created a giant momentum for Youth For Habitat in Turkey and networking and training activities were channeled towards preparing Turkish youth for this international meeting.

Five national preparatory meetings were organized in five different cities around the country. With close to a thousand participants including professionals and representatives from governmental units, municipalities, universities and high schools, young people and other partners were informed about the Youth For Habitat approach and trained in various issues concerning human settlements. The discussions of the working groups were combined in a single document and prepared as a national youth action plan.

Besides these national preparatory meetings, two special meetings on “youth participation in local governance” and “youth participation in universities” were organized. The outputs of these meetings set guidelines for future work in these areas. Especially the output of the meeting on local governance was used as a resource material for establishment of local youth councils in Turkey.

Other than the proposed solutions and strategies for youth, the most important benefit of these meetings were the development of partnership among youth and other partners such as the governmental units, municipalities and the private sector. Since the meetings were organized through local fundraising, young people were in a way forced to use all their energy to communicate with local authorities and to attract their interest. This is also important for the development of their personal skills as active citizens. Of course, it needs to be mentioned that the effect of the Habitat II Conference and its momentum was a key factor in developing these relations with other partners who may never have encountered such a youth initiative during their terms of office.

In addition to these, a summer camp on substance abuse and sexually transmitted diseases was organized in order to train 50 youth leaders from different regions of the country on these issues.

The International Youth Follow-up Meeting for Habitat Agenda and Agenda 21 was held in 15-21 September 1997 in Eskisehir. The first national preparatory meeting was in the beginning of March 1997 and all of these activities were organized within 6 months.

Organization of this international meeting was also the beginning of the Youth For Habitat-Turkey’s relations with UNDP-Turkey and the Turkish government at the ministry level.

A project with UNDP-Ankara was prepared in order to ensure some part of the funding for the conference. In accordance with this project, a national youth newsletter related to Habitat activities was started to be published. In the meantime, the networking activities along with the principles of enabling local young people continued. The strategy for organizing local youth depended on the prestige of Youth Association for Habitat and Agenda 21 at the national level and its increasing relations with other partners. In the first stages of networking activities at the local level, as many young people as possible from various schools, NGOs, private sector and municipalities along with local authorities of the city were gathered for informational meetings. In the second stage, the local group was encouraged to participate to the national activities as much as possible; however, due to the lack of funding, financial constraints were almost always the most important problem. In spite of this, we saw that governmental units, municipalities, schools or the private sector were willing to pay for the transportation costs of young participants to national activities or their other costs at the local level. Through building such partnerships and this local enabling strategy, the sustainability of youth work at different cities was achieved. Local youth themselves were to decide on their institutional level or on their representatives while Youth Association for Habitat and Agenda 21 was to guide them through this process. The networking activities of 1997 forms the backbone of Youth For Habitat-Turkey mainly because of its sustainability and flexibility at the local level. Two more national meetings were organized after the international follow-up as to develop future strategies of youth work in Turkey.

IV.4 Local Agenda 21 Project

Local Agenda 21 project is implemented by UNDP-Turkey and IULA-EMME (International Union of Local Authorities-Eastern Mediterranean and Middle East branch) in order to develop local agendas in different cities in Turkey. With a subcontract signed in October 1997, Youth Association for Habitat and Agenda 21 has started to coordinate youth activities within the scope of the project. As of now, the duration of the project has been extended since the end of 2001 and the number of cities involved was increased to 50.

During the preparations of the International Youth Follow-up Meeting for Habitat Agenda and Agenda 21, it was realized that both at the national and international levels, there is a tendency to combine the activities related to these two UN documents in order to have a more effective approach at the local level. The youth related articles of both of the documents clearly show a parallel approach as they both stress upon the importance of youth participation in decision-making processes.

The youth activities within the scope of this project can be summarized in 3 categories; networking, local youth councils and local youth centres. The youth of the cities that are included in the project are informed about Youth For Habitat activities and encouraged to initiate civil platforms in their local communities for the improvement of their cities similar to what was done in 1997 for the preparations of the international follow-up meeting. After the establishment of a civil youth platform, the activities are focused on establishment of local youth councils and youth centres.

One of the goals of the project is to democratize the local authorities within the project and since youth is an official partner, establishment of local youth councils in these cities faces lesser problems. As mentioned before, Youth For Habitat-Turkey had already initiated activities for establishment of local youth councils and those activities and their outputs form the main resource material for these new initiatives. As of 1999, youth councils in 23 cities have been established; however, their sustainability, ability to reach the local youth and civic nature still needs improvement. Moreover, since there is no legal code for the status of such mechanisms, their effect on policy making and implementation depends on their willingness to take and the authorities’ willingness to share power with youth.

The aims of the local youth councils are summarized but not limited as:

· Encourage youth to actively participate in city management and to produce effective solutions to the problems related to their environment and themselves

· Represent youth at the local level on national and international platforms

· Promote a sense of belonging to the city among young people

· Facilitate the institutionalization of youth approach in participation to decision making processes

· Create opportunities for young people to develop their personal skills and take initiatives

· Raise awareness on environment and human settlements issues

· Promote partnerships among youth and all actors in the city development and management

Another aim of the project is to develop effective communication channels among these youth platforms and councils around the country. Taking into consideration the fact that the western and eastern parts of the country are living in very different conditions and there is almost no existing direct communication between youth from these two regions, we see this as one of the most important goals of the project. Some links between different cities and schools have been established but their formulation into actual shared activities still remains to be materialized.

With these activities towards increasing youth participation to governance, Youth Association for Habitat and Agenda 21 have been included among the top 100 Best Practice projects of UNCHS in 1998.

Youth centres have also started to be established. The most prominent of these is the Atatuth Centre in mir. With the support of the Governship of mir, the basement of a large sport complex have been allocated as the youth centre. The governance of the centre depends on the representatives that the local youth have chosen among themselves. Various cultural, sportive and training activities have been organized and through local funds the sustainability of the centre is ensured.

These youth centres are important in promoting young people’s sense of belonging to the city and creating the necessary environment for their communication and social activities that neither the central government nor the local authorities can establish. The main goal of the youth centre is to create a refuge where young people can help each other their environment. Moreover, the management of the youth centre by young people is a key criteria that will ensure the success of the centre.

IV.5 Seminar on the Role of Non-Governmental Youth Organizations and a National Youth Council in the Development of Civic Society in Turkey

The seminar was organized by Youth Association For Habitat and Agenda 21 in collaboration with European Union Youth Forum in order to enhance cooperation among youth organizations and to undertake initiatives towards establishment of a national youth council in Turkey.

The existing non governmental youth organizations and local youth platforms gathered in the city of mit from 24-31 October 1998 prepared an action plan, in order to enable youth to take part in international platforms and to institutionalize their partnership via regarding the country’s interest and with accordance to the international agreements on youth which are also ratified by the Republic of Turkey.

The non existence of a detailed program about youth at the national level, the fact that the projects are implemented at different levels and by diverse institutions, lack of a national youth council that would contain detailed and various youth projects are the reasons of the necessity of the action plan.

The action plan aims to gather young people for the implementation of concrete projects and following up and implementation of national and international decisions through developing communication among themselves as well as acceptance of youth as a real partner.

IV.6 Renewable Energy Project

A renewable energy project was launched in partnership with Clean Energy Foundation and UNDP-Ankara in order to train the public and young people in this area and to impose the awareness of using alternative energies, consequently to increase their contributions to sustainable and ecological urban management.

IV.7 International Summer School ’99

Despite the fact that the Summer School was entitled as an international activity, it also comprised a national dimension to transfer international experiences to the young activists and leaders in Turkey, as well as to provide them with the basic training on the four main themes emerging from the Habitat Agenda and Agenda 21, namely human settlements development, human rights education, environment and capacity building. The sustainability of this initiative will be provided by means of establishment of an international youth academy.

IV.8 The Global Meeting of Generations

The Global Meeting of Generations is a four-year project which aims to promote inter generational dialogue for equitable development in the 21st century. Youth Association for Habitat and Agenda 21 has carried out three inter-generational dialogues within this respect in the year 1998. The concept of youth and elderly cooperation will attempt to be located in the national policy, which will also be nourished by the convention of the national coordinators of the process in Turkey in March 2000.


Various monitoring methods have been implemented at the national level in order to better document and follow the local level activities; however, their success is debatable and new strategies need to be developed.

The first level of monitoring activities is composed of a national newsletter and a news bulletin that is prepared every two weeks. The national newsletter has been published 3 times a year and it includes the summaries of the national activities along with short reports from different regions. Moreover, the opinions of professionals and useful hints and contacts for youth leaders are also included. This newsletter is disseminated to close to 1000 organizations (NGOs, youth groups, governmental units, municipalities, schools, private sector) around the country and aims to inform all the partners about youth activities in this field as well as motivating youth through showing stories of success at the local level.

The bi-weekly news bulletin is more geared towards informing all the partners about youth and human settlements issues with short summaries and contact numbers and is send by fax or e-mail.

Besides these, the best monitoring mechanism that has been developed so far is regular national or regional meetings where local projects are presented and new strategies for youth involvement are discussed. These meetings are also a source of motivation for young people especially for the host city.

Moreover, the cities included in the Local Agenda 21 and Renewable Energy project needs to submit monthly reports.

Documentation of all national projects usually with their English versions are prepared as booklets or brochures and disseminated at the national and international levels. These documents are used as resource materials in various activities and also in training of new youth leaders. Moreover, an archive of these documents is being complied.

There had not been a systematic evaluation mechanism developed for youth work in Turkey. However, various indicators of success have been developed.


The most important moral gained in the follow-up process of Habitat II concerning youth, was the essence of institutionalization and organization process of youth for the implementation of the decisions taken so far and for youth’s enablement. It was also observed that institutionalization was essential for youth to get involved in the decision making and implementation processes or else they would not be recognized sufficiently by the executive mechanisms.

It is obvious that enablement of youth is not enough in itself, there is also need for the activities to be carried out close partnerships. Therefore, promoting partnerships and sustaining these relationships are necessary.

Youth Association for Habitat and Agenda 21, being a part of Youth for Habitat International Network and having initiated the Youth for Habitat approach at the national level facilitated sharing of information and experiences. While youth organizations had never been able to reach information directly; now, they can reach various kinds of data even before the official branches. Another fact is the networks’ essential position in not only acquiring information and experience but also sharing them.

Special Session of the General Assembly on the follow-up of the Habitat II (Istanbul+5) stands as an important endeavour for the YFHIN to consolidate its strength in youth contributions to the implementation of the Habitat Agenda. This great opportunity needs to be utilized for:

· Enhancement of partnerships of youth with the central governments in the processes ahead and beyond tanbul+5

· Acknowledgment of Youth for Habitat approach by all stakeholders, especially central governments and local authorities

· Activation and development of the structure of the network

· Initiation and revitalization of Youth for Habitat national networks

· Promotion of establishment of Habitat Committees in the national youth councils where they exist

· Fundraising for youth activities in human settlements development


World Population Data Sheet 1998. Population Reference Bureau

Human Development Report-Turkey, 1995, UNDP

Human Development Report-Turkey, 1997, UNDP

Annual Report of the Statistical Institution of the State, 1998

Drugs/Warnings, 1996, Istanbul University

In Light of International Declarations Women in Turkey, KIDOG

· Turkish Youth 98, Conrad Adenauer Foundation

· National Report and Plan of Action - Turkey, 1996

· National Report and Plan of Action for Youth Contributions to Habitat and Agenda 21, 1997, Youth Association for Habitat and Agenda 21-Turkey

· Research on Problems of Youth and Young Employees, Turkish Metal Syndicate

· Seventh Five Year National Development Program, Republic of Turkey


AEGEE-Istanbul, Nispetiye Cad. Belediye Sitesi D-2 Blok No:63 Levent - Istanbul

AIESEC-Turkey, tiklal Cd. Tonton Mah. Postack. up Ap., Istanbul

American Field Service-Turkish Cultural Foundation, ValiKonaad. Konak Ap. 67/4 Ni 80220, Istanbul

International Union of Local Authorities-Eastern Mediterranean and Middle East Office, Yerebatan Cd 2 34400 Sultanahmet, Istanbul

Konrad Adenauer Foundation, Istanbul Ph: +90 212 2495491-63

Environment Commission of the Parliament, TBMM Atatlvar7 KavaklAnkara

Prime Ministry Housing Development Administration Habitat Unit, Bilkent Plaza B1 Blok Bilkent 06530 Ankara

UNDP-Turkey, Atatlvar06680 Kavakl Ankara

Youth Association for Habitat and Agenda 21, Bre Cd. Binasi Kat 12 Esentepe, Istanbul