Nairobi, 14 March 2018— UN-Habitat has signed an agreement with the County Government of Meru, Kenya to empower youth in that area. Under this landmark agreement, UN-Habitat has committed itself to support youth, local development and municipal finance in Meru County.

Meru County Governor Kiraitu Murungi and UN-Habitat Executive Director Maimunah Mohd Sharif signed the USD 1Million long term project commencing with a preparatory phase of USD 100,000.

It is envisaged that the agreement will lead to three outputs: the development of a One Stop Youth Resource Centre, as well as support to expand productive capacities in the County; cooperation to strengthen municipal finance on a long-term basis, and support to productive activities. The agreement is also expected to result in a project that addresses youth issues linked to urban challenges, municipal finance, and enhancement of productive activities in Meru County.

It was a result of an extensive consultative workshop held earlier between high level staff of the UN-Habitat and Meru County Government Ministerial team. The focus of the workshop was to strengthen the County Government of Meru’s capacity to address social and economic development challenges facing young people in Meru.

According to the agreement’s fine print, UN-Habitat will help build on and complete existing initiatives that will foster further collaboration with other United Nations agencies and partners toward youth empowerment.

The resulting project will address youth issues linked to urban challenges as such as unemployment; substance abuse; radicalization into militia groups; access to funds and lack of conducive environment for youth activities within Meru County.

Speaking after the signing, Governor Murungi said: We promised the people that my government will address youth issues to begin with the unemployment crisis which is resulting to young people leaving Meru County going out to look for opportunities in other cities.”

On her part Ms. Sharif commented: Our mission is empowering the youth, I am looking forward to the impacts that will bring youth development into focus.

UN-Habitat with the financial support from the County Government of Meru will organize a “Meru Youth Conference” to be used as a rapid assessment platform to formulate an appropriate Meru Youth Service Programme.

In a Facebook post, Governor Murungi hailed the signing of the agreement saying it was signalling the beginning of good tidings for the youth of Meru County. He also announced that they were expecting some 3,000 participants at the Youth Conference slated for May.

“We agreed to partner in combating youth apathy and hopelessness through creation of jobs and other activities including Agriculture. The Meru Youth Service that is in its formative stages of being rolled out will be the key driver in this big youth project that is being propelled by the Department of Youth in the County. I appreciate the Executive Director's commitment to work with us in upgrading and management of our urban centers as well as her willingness to avail a team of UN-Habitat experts to work with officials from the County Government to ensure success in the areas that we agreed to cooperate,” Mr. Murungi posted.