raphael-obonyoNairobi, 31 October 2016---Raphael Obonyo, a Youth from Korogocho Slums in Nairobi, has been named the Runner-Up in the 2016 UN Persons of the Year for his contribution to youth empowerment

In an announcement by the UN Information Centre (UNIC) Obonyo was feted for being an influential voice of African youth to policy makers. He has served as a member of the UN-Habitat Youth Advisory Board, and remains audible in critical circles of influence. He is Global Young Diplomat, a 2014 Crans Montana New Leader of Tomorrow and an Emerging Leader with the German Marshall Fund of the United States. In 2015, Obonyo was named one of the Most Inspirational Youth in Africa. He is a nominee for the 2015 UN Nelson Mandela Award, and 2015 Global Youth Voice, and a finalist for the Business Daily’s 40 under 40 Top Men in Kenya.

He was born and raised in Korogocho, the third largest informal settlement in Kenya, an unforgiving environment, where poverty and poverty related problems strip people especially the youth of their dignity. Obonyo’s strongest passion has always been to create opportunities for young men and women, to realize their full potential and he have co-founded a number of youth empowerment organizations and programs.

The 2016 UN Persons of the Year award winner is selected based on their commitment towards the achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. The award to Raphael is not only celebrates his achievements as a youth, but it is also about the story of his struggle for opportunities. The award is a clear signpost that youth are leaders of today, and not only he future. This award shows that youth is not only about “lack”, but it is about “potential” - vision and action for social progress and development. The award affirms that youth are not only a population with problems, or pose problems, but youth are the solution, and that youth have the power to solve problems in our communities, country, continent and the world.

“I am grateful to the United Nations for their continued support to youth endeavors. Most importantly, to UN-Habitat, the agency that gave me a rare opportunity to represent and serve the youth, stated Raphael, a former member of UN Habitat Youth Advisory Board. The award demonstrates resilience, and speaks to youth’s highest aspirations –in the face of unimaginable difficulties, we can beat the odds, change the shape of history and create a better future for ourselves and for others,” Obonyo said.