mama sara obama1Kogelo, Kenya 10 December 2014—The grandmother to United States President Mama Sarah Obama has thrown her weight behind the UN-Habitat pioneered One Stop Youth Centres to help addressing unemployment. According to Mama Sarah, the problem of youth unemployment was not only acute in her own country Kenya, but the entire African continent and beyond. Measures like the youth centres would be a great boon in the fight against unemployment, she said.

Mama Sarah was speaking at her home in Kogelo after meeting representatives from UN-Habitat who explained to her how the centres worked. She had invited the agency to grace the occasion of the annual Mama Sarah Obama Kogelo Marathon as well as discuss areas of potential partnership. The president’s grandmother is the patron of the NGO ‘Safeguard Orphans and Widows Organization’ (SOWO) which part from helping widows and orphans, also helps youth groups to realize their full potential through training and self-employment opportunities.

“Having heard of the work of UN-Habitat in the youth centres, I am convinced that if we were to have such centres around here a lot of our young men and women will get the opportunities they so desperately need in their lives. I hope UN-Habitat will see it fit to gift us with such a centre here,” she said. Speaking at the occasion, SOWO’s Communications Director Mr. Ephraim Njoroge said his organisation was keen on addressing the needs of widows, orphans, the girl child and the youth. “We have been doing a lot of work in this part of the country but I am sure if we get more partners coming on board we will expand our reach,” he said.

Read more on Urban Youth here and UN-Habitat's Urban Youth Fund here