Young Cities

Young people are uniquely placed to effect change. Yet, they are frequently excluded from local decision-making processes and frustrated by limited channels for cooperation with local governments. 

Our Young Cities programme connects young people with local governments all over the world, enhancing youth-led, shared solutions to community challenges, such as hate, polarisation and extremism.

Following requests from SCN members, our Young Cities programme was launched in 2018 to help them understand the challenges facing their youth as well as best practices for engagement. We build unity between local governments and young people, by first creating a shared understanding of the challenges facing their communities, and second through launching locally-driven, youth-led, and shared solutions to build more resilient communities. 

In partnership with city leaders, the Young Cities programme offers a series of training workshops, seed funding and ongoing mentorship to help young activists design and create campaigns for local change that respond to the needs of their communities. The youth are connected with key local partners from municipal government and civil society who are able to support their goals, and build out strategic local networks for cooperation.  

Highlights

  • Fostered networks and collaboration between youth and local policymakers in six cities across Kenya, Lebanon and Senegal, with expansion underway in North Macedonia.
  • Supported over 200 young people in creating social change campaigns in partnership with local government – engaging diverse youth actors ranging from ex-convicts in the most disadvantaged areas of Dakar, Senegal, to members of local youth councils in Mombasa, Kenya.
  • Trained over 50 municipal leaders on global best practice and provided tailored research and policy advice to support local programming and youth participatory governance models. 
  • Launched over 25 change-making campaigns that have directly impacted over a thousand  youth offline, and reached over a million people online. These have included rap and music videos challenging stereotypes against refugees; documentaries highlighting the need for the reintegration of youth ex-convicts; counter-narratives tackling gangs and violent extremist recruitment; community dialogue sessions furthering youth civic engagement and police-youth relations; and sports initiatives to engage disadvantaged communities and tackle community issues such as violence and trauma.
“The best part of my Young Cities experience was our last day of training when we could interact with municipal stakeholders. At that moment we had the opportunity to exchange on good practices and future collaborations.”
Youth Innovation Lab Participant, Dakar (Senegal).