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Kenyan youth to receive skills training following Secretary-General’s donation

Kenyan youth to receive skills training following Secretary-General’s donation

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (in UN blue cap) briefing correspondents during his visit to  Kibera last year
Young people in two Nairobi slums will be the first beneficiaries of a $100,000 donation by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to assist a United Nations agency working to improve living conditions in the Kenyan capital’s poorest areas.

About 70 youths from Kibera and Mavoko are taking part in a course organized by the UN Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT) in which participants will be trained in three techniques – making special bricks, tiles and doors – that they can use in small enterprises, the agency said in a press release today.

“Habitat blocks” are bricks that cost only 20 per cent of the amount of an ordinary brick, glass “bottle window” tiles are unbreakable windows that can be made out of recycled materials, and “ferro cement” doors are virtually fire- and bullet-proof.

The training is being paid for by Mr. Ban, who announced last year that he would donate the $100,000 award he received from the Pony Chung Scholarship Foundation to UN-HABITAT for use in Kibera, Africa’s largest slum, which the Secretary-General visited in his first trip on taking office.

UN-HABITAT Executive Director Anna Tibaijuka, addressing today’s launch at the Youth Empowerment Programme, urged young people in Kenya to move beyond the deadly tensions that erupted at the start of this year after disputed elections.

Linus Sijenti, a youth leader from Kibera, welcomed the donation and the launch of the programme.

“There are over 700,000 people in Kibera, and 60 per cent of them are youth,” he said. “This project is the first step in giving young people skills to lift them out of poverty.”